Friday, June 29, 2007

Civil War

I honestly don't read comics that much. Being a nerd, I know a lot about the universes and see a lot of the movies, but I really don't actually read the comics. When I was younger, I read The Spectacular Spider-Man for a few years until it ended, enjoying it but not really realizing it was a very secondary book and the important stuff was happening elsewhere. I have a stack of a couple dozen random other issues, mostly Marvel, but that's about it. Recently I began reading some trade paperbacks of stuff by Jhonen Vasquez and Garth Ennis, and I wanted to maybe try some Marvel but wasn't sure where to begin. I had an opportunity to read a friend's copy of Civil War, so I figured I might as well, there's no reason not to.

Seeing as I had almost no context with what was happening with the characters, it could have been impenetrable. The book doesn't exactly explain everything for the uninitiated, probably since they don't expect many people who don't read comics to jump into a big event like I did. I didn't recognize a lot of the characters or know some of the circumstances (Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman have kids?), but it's not like the storyline hinged on understanding these nuances or anything. There's a clear arc; they introduce a conflict, have it play out, and more or less resolve it. It was a fairly entertaining book, although some of it seemed kind of ridiculous, and from what I've heard from some fans who know more, a lot of the characters' decisions don't make any sense at all.

It starts when some crappy bit characters cause an accident that kills hundreds of children in a school, which causes a general backlash and call for all superheroes to register with the government. Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, is the main guy for registration, pushed forward by an unlikeable mother of one of the dead; Captain America is the leader of those against the idea. I understand the pro-registration perspective. Just because they're gifted doesn't mean they should be able to operate outside the law, and they should be held accountable for their actions. Plus, they'd be getting paid for their work, and what's wrong with that? Some anti-registration folks are worried about the risk to those close that comes with their identity being easier to find out, but some are just stubborn about things staying how they've always been. I think pro-registration is probably more justified, as you can always take measures to ensure the protection of your family, but Stark's methods to subdue the rebels are absurd. The main reason the sides are so even is that even people who would tend to agree with Stark are driven away by his insane plans to win the war.

Iron Man's ideas wouldn't work without Mr. Fantastic creating the necessary technology, so he's also to blame. First, they engineer clones of heroes to try and take down the rebels, but fail to ensure that they use less-than-lethal force, leading to the death of a beloved character I've never actually heard of. WHOOPS, SORRY ABOUT THAT. He then lets a bunch of villains out of jail and recruits them to do his dirty work, because there's no way releasing super-powered, highly insane criminals to catch your friends could backfire. He also creates a gigantic prison in another dimension to prevent escapes, which really isn't too bad, just kind of an idiotic use of money.

Anyway, there's a lot of changing sides and secret moles and traps and stuff, before it all climaxes with a gigantic battle in the streets of New York. It's a cool scene with a lot of turns and moments but, honestly... comic books are not a very good medium for conveying a big action scene. Simpler scenes can work well and look nice with the art, but a few pages of still drawings just doesn't get it done for a huge fight. It ends abruptly when some normal people take down the Cap'n and make him realize what he's done. Honestly, the American people are collectively the worst character in the book. They're unreasonable and act like complete douche bags to good heroes who had nothing to do with the accident, even attacking them on the streets. There are so many stupid moves and ridiculous reactions across the board that it brings down an otherwise enjoyable story quite a bit. I don't really care about the ramifications, since I don't really read Marvel. I don't feel like I wasted my time though. Maybe I'll read this summer's World War Hulk when it's released in convenient TPB form later.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Venture Bros. - Season 2

There have been some changes around here. I picked a better looking layout, added some menu stuff for quick access to specific kinds of posts, and revamped the link section to be more organized. There's a ton to click on over there now. I also decided to add TV shows and books/comics to the list of subjects I'll talk about here, to have some more writing material.

I got the second season of The Venture Bros. recently. It's a really nice DVD; the color on the actual packaging is less garish than that image suggests and the presentation is pretty nice. I'd have to say this is the best show being produced on Adult Swim right now. Despite the typical low budget (They spent about an eighth of their funds for season two just to secure the rights to a single song), it looks much better than any of the other cheaply animated stuff they've been showing. They know how to do a lot with little means. I really like the universe the writers have created, the characters are well-defined and likable, the story arcs that tend to appear are a lot of fun, and there's a ton of continuity and backstory that really fleshes it all out. Combine this with hilarious writing and voice acting, and it's just a great show. It's become much more than the Johnny Quest parody it started life as.

Recurring elements in the second season are the revelation that the boys are actually clones that repeatedly get killed and have to be replaced, the development of Rusty's long-lost twin brother, Orpheus' attempts to reunite his old team and get a real arch enemy, and the Monarch's fight with Phantom Limb. Several episodes revolve around the Monarch rejoining the Guild of Calamitous Intent and trying to win back Dr. Girlfriend while Phantom Limb makes a play for the title of Sovereign, but there are also plenty of great one-shot episodes featuring returning characters and some new ideas.

Brock Samson is still one bad dude. He has just as many over-the-top, awesome moments as season one, if not more, as we learn a bit about his past. I'd like to see some more stuff with him back in the OSI, and the events that led to his demotion to protecting the Venture family. I liked the development of the titular characters in the second season also, we saw a lot about their personalities and Hank is really coming into his own.

The third season is in production, and I can't wait to see what's in store.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Liveblog 4: The Yankees Are Baffling

Seriously, what is with this team? They're completely baffling. Streaky doesn't begin to describe them. How can one team go so quickly back and forth between amazing and terrible?

After Clippard's first start, they looked like they might be picking up the pace. They took two of three from Boston in some well-played games. They then lost five straight to the Angels and Blue Jays. Immediately after, they got back on the horse and went on a tear. They beat Boston twice again, and won nine straight. Including the salvaged final game of the Toronto series, they won 14 of 17, slashing half a dozen games off Boston's lead and getting within four games of a wild card berth. They were back in the race! Then they went to Colorado, and apparently were replaced by talentless, alien clones as they forgot how to hit and lost 6 of 7, including two against the awful Giants and two in walk-off fashion while their best reliever rode pine.

I'm still not sure whether the 14-3 or 1-6 Yankees are closer to the real team, but it's looking more like the latter. It doesn't make any sense, though. They shouldn't be underperforming this badly. A-Rod is back on track for a monster year, with his huge home run total, RBI, slugging... his batting average is also going up too, which is pretty irrelevant to how well he's producing, but showing that recently his power's leveled off a bit but he's collecting a bunch of smaller hits. He had yet another huge, clutch, game-tying home run in the ninth inning against the Giants, unfortunately his team eventually lost that game anyway. Posada is coming back down to earth, and it's making his defensive deficiencies this year more obvious. He's fallen from a great defensive campaign in 2006, and he's throwing out nobody. Damon should be on the DL, but he isn't because he's a "gamer" and is trying to play through his injuries. It doesn't matter that him being in the lineup hurt is worse for the team, apparently. Abreu is back to his slumping ways after a strong beginning of the month. I wonder if last year's playoff push was his real last hurrah before declining much faster than you'd think he should.

Tyler's back in AAA after a few bad starts. He looked promising when he came up, and I think he has potential for a good future, but he just wasn't controlling his pitchers and couldn't give the team innings. Kei Igawa is back on the team after some work in the minors, hopefully he can fill in well as the returning fifth starter, but right now that signing looks like wasted money. Maybe Hughes can come back next month (his return was delayed when he rolled his ankle), and Igawa can find a role in the bullpen to prosper in. Lord knows the Yankees need help there.

Luis Vizcaino has been improving of late, and hopefully he can earn some trust and contribute as the season continues. It appears he may be the best thing we get out of the Johnson trade, because the prospects that came with him aren't doing much. Kyle Farnsworth is just bad. He's not trustworthy, but he's still Joe's go-to guy in the eighth. I'd be angrier about it if there were clearly better options. Proctor continues to get abused the hell out of. Last night was the second time in his last two appearances he lost the game when Rivera was still available. The first game, he was in his third inning, the last one, he just didn't have it.

When a team is losing, the manager should try to win games. This includes using the best available pitcher in high-leverage situations. High-leverage situations, such as the bottom of the ninth inning or later in away games, when giving up a run means you lose the game. It does not include keeping your fully-rested and apparently back-to-normal closer out of the game when you need him most. Joe Torre is a terrible manager of the bullpen, and more and more people are realizing it. Combined with his idiotic use of bunting (Useful in a select few situations, but usually bad for your chances) and waste of resources, and he just should not be running a big league team anymore. He probably won't be thrust out of office until after the season, but it's been time for him to leave for a while. And by waste of resources, I mean not using what the team gives you. Like continuing to start Miguel Cairo, an okay glove man with no power, at first base, a position of little defensive importance that teams like to have a lot of power at, when you've gotten rid of a player who can't play defense and replaced him with someone who can, and who has more power than Cairo. Or letting Chris Britton, who was great last year in the majors, continue to be great in the minors while you are dying for bullpen help. Or leaving players you've called up on the bench instead of using them to pinch hit, so you can have an overworked reliever pitch a THIRD INNING while you still haven't used your best available guy. It's maddening.

Roger Clemens has joined the team, and not helped them too much. He earned the win in his first start, and would have in his stronger, second outing if his team could hit a lick against Oliver Perez. He was bad in his last start and ineffective in relief against the Giants, hopefully he can rebound tonight. He's not doing too bad, but in what's looking more and more like a rebuilding year, most of me wishes they used that signing money to secure draft picks or something. I may or may not be back later to blog about some or all of the game. Honestly, watching this team doesn't seem very interesting lately.

Top 1 - Erik Bedard starts the game by striking out the side, which makes sense since he leads the majors in strikeouts and two of the three hitters were lefties who aren't doing jack right now. I wasn't familiar with Bedard and wondered why he's been so good this year, and it's because he's a lefthander with a 95 mph fastball and wicked breaking stuff. Why isn't he getting as much attention as the guys he's ahead of in K's like Peavy and Sabathia? It's just because his ERA isn't shiny and he doesn't play in a big city or for a good team. He was certainly impressive, although it took him too long - those three outs required twenty pitches.

Bottom 1 - Clemens wasn't as flashy, but got through the inning in just seven pitches. He gave up a single to Chris Gomez but erased him on a double play ball. Did you know Yankee pitchers are last in the majors in striking batters out? Someone has to be, I guess. It's definitely hurt the team this year... they never seem to get the big strikeout to cancel the runner-on-third-one-out threat, and it leads to runs they shouldn't be giving up. They've also been pretty bad about preventing walks.

Top 2 - A-Rod made contact with a foul, but also gets struck out on a full count. Bedard won't be around too long this way, no matter how many Yankees he rings up. Posada breaks up the monotony with a single over the shortstop's head. The one guy he doesn't get out sees by far the fewest pitches. Abreu lazily flies out to left. Melky grounds out and the inning's over. Only sixteen pitches for Bedard there.

Bottom 2 - Some positive stats on the pitcher peripheral front - the Yankees don't give up that many home runs. The hitters are also pretty good about walking and not striking out, although they've been very mediocre about hitting home runs. A-Rod has a ton, but he's the only one with double digits this year. He has more than one third of his team's total, which is just crazy. A fly out and a ground out, and Clemens is working quickly. On what was potentially a very scary play, a groundball ricochets off him before he slides to get it and throw the runner out. He's not blowing hitters away but will probably stay in the game longer than Erik.

Top 3 - Cano is quickly called out on strikes, Bedard's fifth. He then gets out of the inning with two ground outs. Using their peripherals and an average of 8.85 innings per game, the same as they've had over their first 74 games, the Yankees are projected to have an even-worse 4.53 ERA at the end of the season, assuming they pitch to their Fielding Independent Pitching the rest of the year. I'm gonna bet it's lower than that, because they can't really be this mediocre, can they?

Bottom 3 - Our old buddy Kevin Millar grounds out. While watching the game, I've been listening to The Mars Volta's De-Loused in the Comatorium, and it just ended. I'll talk about it more another time, but it's damn good. Gibbons hits a ball that Melky easily catches. Patterson hits one right to Abreu, and it's on to the fourth. He has only 29 pitches to Bedard's 47.

Top 4 - Jeter likes helping pitchers out. He flies out on the first pitch. Mora boots a slow roller from Matsui, and it's counted as a hit anyway because scorers are nice. A-Rod hustles nicely to beat out a potential double play. Nice to see big sluggers who do that. Posada goes down looking. Bedard's dealing. 6 K's in 4 innings and the pitch count is getting more stable.

Bottom 4 - Roberts dunks a single just out of Matsui's reach. Gomez flies out to right center. They showed the stat that in the last two years, runners have stolen 20 bases off Clemens in 22 tries, which is atrocious. On the bright side, that's not many attempts in two years, so he's good at keeping runners off base. Roberts makes that 21 steals in 23 tries. The runner's moved to third on a grounder to first. Hernandez walks, and Clemens looks like he's trying to catch up to Bedard in pitches thrown if he can't in strike outs. He flirts with another base on balls before inducing a ground out to end the inning. He threw a lot of pitches, but thanks to an efficient beginning he's still good to go deep in the game. The lack of K's is odd, though.

Top 5 - Abreu grounds out on a 3-1 pitch. Come on, Bobby, if you're not gonna hit, at least give the guy a chance to walk you. Melky bunts himself out, which you know, is awesome. Why try to squeeze as many pitches out of the guy as you can and try to get to the bullpen when you can hand him outs in a vain attempt to scrape together a run, which seems unlikely? Robinson Cano somehow walks after two swinging strikes. Bizarre. I would have predicted Cairo to slam a fly ball 20 yards in front of the warning track, but he grounds out instead.

Bottom 5 - Mora quickly grounds out to short. I'm glad interleague play is over. Somebody's schedule is always unfair, and I really don't like the lack of a DH in the NL. I understand the tradition and increased strategy, but that doesn't make it enjoyable to watch guys who can't hit try, and it just makes extra-inning games take longer as they get low on pinch hitters and consider batting relievers to squeeze more innings out of them. Millar pops out. Gibbons walks, and that's it for now as I'm gonna go watch some Romans kill each other at my friend's house. I'll wrap this up later.

Wrap-up - Clemens allowed a double but escaped the inning without harm. The same could not be said for the sixth, when he allowed four runs, and with Bedard picking up two more strikeouts en route to seven innings of shutout ball, it was more than enough to hand the Yankees their seventh loss in the last eight games. If it weren't for the Mariners having the Yanks' back and sweeping the Red Sox, they'd be right back where they started before the hot streak. The team is just lifeless.

An interesting, perhaps overlooked subplot to this season is the battle for second place all time in strikeouts. Clemens had a slim lead over Randy Johnson at the beginning of the year, and while he sat around pondering who to sign with for the first couple months, Johnson caught up and passed him by one in time for Clemens' first start. After that, it was a bit of a back and forth before Randy went back on the DL with back problems, giving Clemens a chance to get a bit of breathing room. He isn't helping himself there by striking out no one in six innings, though. Tonight was the first time in years he didn't get a K in a game he pitched. I don't know, I personally find the fight for all-time runner-up to Nolan Ryan more interesting than a few guys gunning for the deflated 500 home run plateau.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Week With WoW

So, a lot of my coworkers have been playing World of Warcraft. You know a game has to be doing something right when it gets people in their 40's addicted to it. I decided to try out the free 10-day trial account and see if it was really that amazing. From my obviously very limited experience, WoW is definitely a fun game, but still can't avoid a lot of the pitfalls that steer me away from MMO's in general.

I played a bit with two different characters; a Tauren Druid named Haniki and a Dwarf Warrior named Chucksteak (This character is on the server my coworkers play, they mostly have meat-themed names). Being purely combat-based and tougher, warriors are a bit easier to play, at least in the beginning, and I made more progress with Chucksteak. He's level 11, and Haniki is level 6. Right when I first started playing, I thought I was already hooked. The combat was pretty simple but fun, and there's just something compelling about the RPG cycle of killing monsters and getting rewarded for it. But it really wasn't too long before some seams started showing. For the most part, there are four kinds of quests.

1) Kill a certain number of a certain type of enemy.
2) Kill a certain type of enemy, and hope they drop a certain kind of item you need to collect a certain number of.
3) Kill a specific, slightly tougher enemy.
4) Bring a given item from one place to another.

And that's it. A game with a bit more creativity than that is more my speed. That's fine in an action game sometimes, but we're talking about a genre where combat consists of right-clicking, maybe using a spell or ability as necessary, and hoping the random number generator works in your favor. I'm sure as you get farther in the game it gets deeper, as you do things in large groups and get to face more advanced enemies, equip more advanced gear, and develop actual combat strategies that require intelligence and a bit of dexterity to pull off. But that sure seems like it will take a while.

The other MMO annoyance is when you get killed, usually because you get ganged up on. This happens much more as you advance and enemies are smart enough to retreat, which doesn't actually save them, just causes you to walk into the range of another, fully healed foe if you decide to pursue. WoW is really pretty forgiving, you don't lose experience or money or anything, you just have to either go find your body or sacrifice some of your equipment's durability to resurrect. The relative kindness still doesn't make it less annoying to die than in any other genre, though. Especially when you get killed in a cave somewhere far away from the nearest town, it's a complete chore to trudge all the way back to your corpse and try to do better this time. It really becomes a problem when it's tough to find a place close enough to the body that isn't in range of some more enemies, because it sucks to come back and then almost immediately die again while trying to retreat and gather your bearings.

World of Warcraft is a fun game, but it's a little difficult for me to justify paying $15 a month for it, when I don't totally love it yet and there are plenty of other games I want to get around to finishing first. I might upgrade my account some time in the near future, at least to see what some of the higher level stuff is like, but it won't be happening too soon.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Adventure Games Are Strange

Just let me describe this sequence to get a key in The Longest Journey to you.

I use a notice about a missing ring to retrieve my gold ring. I use a bread stick from a cafe to entice a seagull to land on a grate which frees a stuck inflatable duck and allows me to hoist up a clothesline. I use the ring to fix a gap in a wire to activate a machine, and solve a puzzle which allows me to take a clamp. I go find the inflatable duck that went downstream. I take the duck, clothesline, and clamp to the subway. I tie the clamp to the clothesline and put the duck over the clamp so it is being held open, and remove the band-aid from the duck so it slowly deflates. While it's doing so, I lower the contraption to the object the key is on, and when the duck is deflated the clamp closes so I can lift up the object with the key on it.

What the hell.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dredg - Leitmotif

Leitmotif, Dredg's first full album is interesting in its contrast from their two subsequent releases; El Cielo and Catch Without Arms. Those two sound very different in some ways, but also have a lot in common, especially the emphasis on tight compositions and vocal-heavy songs. Leitmotif, on the other hand is highly meandering and instrumental. Despite the running time over 50 minutes, there are only five or so real songs. Half of the tracks are continuations of previous songs featuring some extended rocking. The final track is 20 minutes long, including several minutes of silence followed by a very lo-fi jam session accompanied by a lot of electronic beeps and scratches. Despite the relative lack of ideas in a similar time span, it doesn't seem out of place in Dredg's discography. It's definitely different, but you can tell it's the same band and how they went from there to evolve into what they are now seems to make sense. Gavin's voice isn't highlighted as much, and the guitar playing is a little more intricate than it tends to be later. It's also noticeably harder than they've usually been since.

My favorite song is the first. It starts with a nice high-pitched guitar riff combined with a hard backbone, and the chorus is an impressive display of intensity. "Lechium" isn't as hard but still technically pretty nice and fun to listen to. As it goes on, the album gets more experimental with strange, distant vocals and some ambient stuff. It changes back to a more standard sound with the only time I think I've heard the vocalist scream in "Penguins in the Desert" (A song title referenced in lyrics on El Cielo), which has a nice contrast between the shouts and a more melodic singing in the verse. After a nice continuing interlude, it builds to "Yatahaze", the last real song. The whole album is written around a short story by the bassist, which is printed in the jacket, broken up by the track names. It's interesting to read along and see how the music matches the tone of the story, and where lines are repeated in the lyrics. Leitmotif doesn't have the same standout, brilliant songs like Dredg's other work, but it's still a very enjoyable and worthwhile album, especially when taken as a whole.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

MC Chris - Dungeon Master of Ceremonies

Dungeon Master of Ceremonies is a bit of a return to form for Chris. The skits are back and funny as ever, especially "The Package", about Chris arriving in Heaven and meeting Jesus. He continues to rap about whatever he wants; video games, drugs, himself, with geek references thrown all over the place. The album seems a bit more poppy and chorus-centric, but he never strays too far from his roots.

My favorite song is "Wiid", which has great rhyme scheme, lyrics, and beats. The preceding track, "Check the Ring, Yo" is a bit addicting too. "FTW" is a good opener, although it sounds better with the real music in the background, and that version isn't on the album. "Blastic" is a more pure hip-hop track with a nice sound. "OMC" features the return of Hallie Bullit, who does a lot of chorus vocals for Chris, and is a good song for shows. "Arulpragasam" is the next iteration of the more serious, wishful song that seems to appear on each record. It is one of many tracks that feature more actual music recorded specifically for the album instead of just beats made with Pro Tools. It's interesting to see him branch out a bit and I'm looking forward to his next album which might be out by the end of the year.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

MC Chris - Eating's Not Cheating

Eating's Not Cheating is easily Chris' most distinct and unique work. His other albums are known for tons of geeky pop culture references and funny skits to break up the songs. Eating's contains few of the former and none of the latter. Instead of songs about Star Wars and stuff like that, it focuses more on his thoughts about marijuana and girls. It's easily the least nerdy thing he's done and from a standpoint of pure rap prowess, it's probably his best album. It's filled with great beats and very strong lyrics. Whether you actually like it the most depends on what exactly you like about him, just quality rap or that along with the dorkiness he's known for.

I got the reissue, which has three extra songs and two remixes. "MC Chris Owns" starts off strong with an awesome sound to it, and is followed by "Badass" which is easily the silliest song on the album. "Illy Oi" is the first new track, and it's got a nice beat and fun chorus. "Tractorbeam" is probably my favorite, with great, very descriptive lyrics and a nice sound. The record continues along on with a good groove. The songs are maybe a bit more same-y than on his other works, but it's all consistently at least pretty good. "Care Bear" is a little different, with the only backing to Chris' rap being his own beatboxing. "Boys Don't Cry" is one of those sweeter songs he does sometimes, and I like it a lot, though I might like it more if the chorus didn't include the line "I'm jonesin' harder than Gollum." It would be fine elsewhere, but it doesn't really fit the mood. The album ends with "My Name Is", which is a prime example of Chris' penchant for telling us what his name is as often as it fits the song. One of his better lines from earlier is "My self-aggrandizing and deprecation keeps 'em guessing", and it's pretty true. MC has plenty of songs both praising his own prowess and others where he doesn't give himself a break. Whatever he really thinks, he's definitely good at making fun music.

Friday, June 15, 2007

MC Chris - Knowing Is Half the Hassle

I didn't really think much about the guy voicing MC Pee Pants and Hesh on Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Sealab 2021 for a while. He was funny, and was capable of rapping, but I wasn't paying much attention. That changed when I watched him perform for After Hours at Gamespot last year (See the performance here). I then downloaded the EP he has for free on his website, Life's a Bitch and I'm Her Pimp. The songs were catchy with good beats, he really can rap, and the skits were funny. It wasn't until he announced he was ceasing sale of his albums on his website that I actually decided to get ahold of his other work before it was too late.

His next album was a little longer, still only eight tracks but only three skits instead of four. It starts out strong with "Ten Year Old", with nice bass and funny self-promoting lyrics about how he's great despite his ultra-high voice. "Cookie Breath" is a little cuter and poppier, and it's a nice love song that doesn't take itself too seriously. He performed "Hijack" (poorly, by his own admission) on G4's Attack of the Show, and it's a really good song, another one about himself. "White Kids Love Hip Hop" and "Geek" are both humorous, entertaining tracks making fun of his own white boy culture. My version of Knowing doesn't have the older version of "White Kids" featuring Andy Merrill, known for playing Brak on Adult Swim shows, but you can probably find it if you look. The three skits are about a nerd's revenge on a bully, and they're well acted and written, not to mention hilarious. You might have some trouble finding a copy, but if you don't, Chris himself has said that he's okay with his fans sharing his old music as he moves on in his life with increasing success.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Conan the Barbarian

Conan was Arnold's big breakthrough, and it's pretty entertaining. He's not a very good actor, so he works in parts like these without a lot of dialogue, but I miss his one-liners that became his trademark not long afterwards. It's a somewhat minimalist movie. He says all of five words to his main love interest in the entire film. He doesn't say anything at all for vast stretches of time. He just kicks peoples' asses and spends time with some ladies.

The action is pretty good for 1982. It's not beautifully choreographed, but it's brutal and bloody enough to be entertaining. James Earl Jones is enjoyable as the villain. You have to be in the right mood to watch Conan. If you take anything too seriously, you might drive yourself insane. It's not a bad movie, it's just strange. The script is competent and the cinematography is pretty good. If you just want to have some fun watching things get killed, it's a good choice.