Ah, I know! I’ve been holding on to this one for some time; it was meant to go up on the old PMO, but I never quite got around to it. Presenting…
…I really wanted to make that bigger, but for some reason, no code I use will work.
Anyway… Urban Champion: The Movie. What a horrible idea, right? Who in their right minds would ever conceive of such a thing?
Well, to be honest, I’ve always been a fan of Urban Champion, and quite enjoyed the improved 3D Classics remake which came out for the Nintendo 3DS eShop not too terribly long ago. It was one of the first NES games I had ever witnessed when a friend of the family brought over some rented games for our new system, so I suppose nostalgia may indeed be a factor.
But I also loved the simple premise:
Don’t let the bully of the block push you around. Fight for your right to walk the street. Hit ‘em high or hit ‘em Iow, but don’t forget to dodge or block his punches. Avoid being taken away by the Police or bonked on the head by a flower pot in your fight to hold your head up high. Spar with the computer bully or with a friend to see who’s the toughest on the block.
Not to mention my affection for the simple sort of “Main Street” charm the game possesses… though sometimes I wonder if that isn’t a result of the game itself. And then there is the police car sequence, where the sound of sirens cause both fighters to back away to their respective street corners and play innocent until they’re gone.
If I had to sum it up in one word, it’s “charm.” The game just has a certain charm about it that I like.
Of course, I know that there are plenty of other people who do not like Urban Champion, and would like to burn the eShop to the ground for even daring to remake it in 3D, much less label it a “classic,” 3D or otherwise. The game does have its fans, but they tend to be few in number.
Which brings up the question once more: Why a movie? Not that there actually is a movie, but why even risk invoking such a thing by putting those two words together?
The reason is quite simple: To win a t-shirt.
A few years ago, Topless Robot was holding their weekly contest, this one being to make your own video game movie. “I’m the moronic Hollywood exec with a nose full of blow and a head up my ass, and you’re the producer,” said Rob Bricken, who runs the site/judges the contests. “Sell me on the most ludicrous movie adaptation of the most inappropriate videogame you can think of.”
And so I set out to do just that. Someone had beaten me to Pong, Joust was announced as being an actual thing, Pac-Man could never exceed this, and a Spy Hunter movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was attempted, but never finished (though it did result in one game which didn’t receive much critical acclaim).
But that gave me an idea… after all, what would people consider worse than a bad movie based on a video game (almost) no one likes?
A bad movie based on a video game no one likes starring professional wrestlers.
Let’s face it, even wrestling fans seem largely indifferent to movies starring wrestlers, save for maybe their favorites. It’s the perfect triple-threat! But who to have star…
Fortunately, this was around the time that The Rock and WWE poster child John Cena were taking shots at each other in interviews for the former’s decision to leave the mat wars in favor of Tinseltown. Mind, their epic bout at this year’s WrestleMania didn’t even seem to be anywhere close to happening yet, as The Rock was still making his mark in the movies. And, as luck would have it, Cena had some acting experience himself after taking part in WWE Films’ The Marine.
So, I had my concept, and I had my players. All that was needed was the pitch, and this is what I delivered:
John Cena versus Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in Urban Champion.
Johnson is a good man in a bad town, where Cena’s gangs of lowlifes (who all look identical to him) terrorize the locals, and people are afraid to even leave their homes.
But Johnson will fight for the right to walk the street! Acting under the cover of night, Johnson systematically takes out the members of Cena’s gangs one by one, avoiding the ever-watchful eye of a corrupt police force.
And in the end, it finally comes down to Johnson vs. Cena in an all-out slugfest, and in the end, Cena is sent toppling down an open manhole to what may be his apparent death, and the people celebrate as their city is free once again.
Character names and roles pending; we can swap the two out easily enough.
I could probably have fleshed it out more, but one of the contest rules stated that we should “keep it short or you’ll lose the attention span of the drugged exec which is me (I may be drinking heavily while judging to preserve some authenticity here).”
So, why did I choose The Rock as the good guy, and Cena as the bad guy? To be honest, I don’t even remember… I think it had something to do with The Rock still being well-liked, while Cena is fairly divisive. Or it might have been because I so clearly played off of The Rock’s part in Walking Tall. Or maybe it was because the pics you see in the image above fit the best, I really don’t know.
Now, I know you must be asking yourself “did you win? Because your entry was so awesome that your t-shirt should have been hand-delivered by an actual topless robot, which you could then keep as your own personal servant.”
And the answer is… no. Not even close. I didn’t even get an honorable mention, or even on the “favorite lines from the entries” bit.
Perhaps my problem was that I was too sincere? I mean, I tried to make it sound as bad as possible to the everynerd, but… well, what can I say? I’d watch it.
Oh, and just so I’m clear, I’m not bitter or anything. The fact is, I already have a Topless Robot t-shirt which Rob was gracious enough to give me after the old comment system ate several of my previous contest entries. For that, I am thankful; the main reason I enter is to more legitimately “win” the shirt I have, if you know what I mean.
In the years since, though, Topless Robot has grown exponentially, at least insofar as its readership seems to be concerned, as the contests now have tons of entries and the competition is very, very strong. If I think I have a good idea, I throw one in every now and then, but for the most part, I find myself sitting them out. I also tried to offer up a prize of my own for a contest, partially out of gratitude, but Rob never responded, which was disappointing (which I bring up in the event he should ever see this and is interested after all).
That’s my tale; what do you think? Does the movie sound like something to truly be reviled, even in concept? Or perhaps it sounds like just the sort of cheesy popcorn flick you’d like to take in at a dollar matinee (do they even still have those?)? Sound off in the comments! I’ll be refreshing my browser every 90 seconds until you do.