Posted: 05 Jan 2005
If you've got internet access, you may be familiar with the phrase "all your base are belong to us." If you're not, just do a quick search on that phrase, because I don't want to waste any time going through all of that bullshit just to get you up to speed for this silly-ass article.
Things of the "base are belong" nature come about as a result of poor translation from one language to another without regard to linguistic structure, or some shit. Whatever.
So I was checking out a bootlegged copy of Starsky and Hutch on DVD, and I accidentally turned on the English subtitles. In most cases, I would have turned them back off, but within the first few minutes the translation actually enhanced the film.
Because, now, it wasn't simply idle entertainment; this DVD became a window into the mind of the entrepreneur who went to the theater, camera in hand, and at some point must've thought to himself: "What about the deaf? Don't they deserve to enjoy low-quality bootlegs? Shouldn't they, too, develop astigmatism as their eyes try vainly to focus on a projection slanted by my fucked-up choice of an aisle seat? I know, I'll put subtitles on the DVD!"
I feel it should be noted that this DVD was a very ambitious project. Not only are the subtitles available in English and about five Asian languages, this dude threw in some bonus materials! Granted, the bonus materials consist only of a preview for "The Mask of Zorro" starring Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins, but the man really tried to give the buyer his five dollars' worth.
Now, let me give you a synopsis of the film:
It opens with a bizarrely slanted view of the ocean, as the shot pulls in on a yacht, the original titles set the scene as "Bay City- the Seventies," but the DVD subtitles have another opinion: "Big City." I find it quite interesting that even with the titles right there, the translator still managed to fuck it up. Anyway, back to the movie.
Vince Vaughn, whom the subtitles will throughout the movie only refer to as "He," sits on his yacht and shouts at some dudes who lost a plane full of drugs, finishing the scene by shooting one of them.
From there, we are whisked away to a rooftop chase, as Ben Stiller (as David Starsky, or Starkey, depending on who you believe) pursues a criminal throughout Big City. "I says freeze!" Next we are introduced to Owen Wilson (as Hutch, the subtitles actually get that one right) as he robs a bookie. Hutch's voice-over tells us, "I've always had this theory about police work: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Too many cops worry about the wrong things." This is where the subtitles really come into their own, and steal the scene with lines like, "There's nothing scary about police. You can't worry about the long thing."
Next, we find Vince "He" Vaughn arguing with his partner about whether or not the killing from the first scene was a good idea. "I don't know why you're upset. He crashed a plane and cost us $200 grand!" is replaced by "I know both you're upset. That costs 200gram." Unfortunately, they don't have time to discuss the matter in depth. They are late for a meeting with local Big City drug dealers. They show them a new kind of cocaine which is undetectable. The partner demonstrates this by setting a dog loose in the room. "Canus Familiarus" translates as, "I guess you're familiar with this. The German Shepard." "It falls, the dog search nothing there."
Up next is probably the best scene in the film. The newly partnered Starsky and Hutch get set to meet "Harvey"/Huggy Bear. When Snoop learns that his pal Hutch is outside, he asks his bodyguard, "What did you got my man outside?" Starsky and Hutch enter and Snoop greets them with "Hey look what we doing?" Once they're settled in, Hutch struggles to make amends to Harvey/Huggy/Snoop. "I come by to apologise what happen. I was as surprise as you are." But it ain't no thang to Huggy, who responds with, "I want surprise. You know I never surprise."
Things seem to be going well, until Starkey spots a gun on someone's hip. "You got a weapon in the web you carry?" Everyone looks around, awkwardly, until another pistol packer says, "Yeah, me either." This breaks the ice and they all laugh, except for Starkey who rises to his feet and says, "I'm sorry, I don't say something funny!"
Snoop, trying to calm things down says, "Just think of us as...Luxembourg." "What's that?" Starkey asks. The gunman answers "It's a constitutional monarchy," which scrolls across the screen as "It's a costume."
They all draw their weapons, or "webs" as the case may be, until Snoop demands, "Lower your pieces," or alternatively, "Hold your pisses." That's pretty much the high point. Other highlights include Starkey and Hutch discussing vehicles. Starkey feels that Hutch's "Camper site pickup" sticks out "like a sore tongue." And so he decides to show off his Ford Gran Torrino. "You just land up!" Hutch exclaims as he sets a cup of coffee on the roof, enraging Starkey. "Hot Chuck, what you think you are doing? This is a 4grand Terreno, it's not some crappie campers truck...you certainly not put your coffee milk on the roof of the car, in fact, no coffee milk what so ever!"
The boys set out on patrol and soon find the victim of the opening scene floating in the bay, just as an audience member rises to go to the bathroom, casting her shadow across the screen. Hutch declares that it's "Extra impossible" to solve the man's murder, but a clue brings them to Vince "He" Vaughn's house. It turns out that "He" hired the murder victim through a charity program giving felons a second chance. Hutch comments, "It's a vicious cycle that they get caught up in" or, "It's a vicious psycho that really called up."
Starkey and Hutch, apparently now working for the "LYPD," whatever the fuck that is, follow a lead to a football team's cheerleading practice, where the victim's beautiful ex-girlfriend, "Howie" or Heather, tells them, "I used to be macho about his bullshit." She gives them the victim's jacket and they take it to Harvey/Huggy.
Handing Harvey/Huggy the jacket, Hutch asks, "Can you tell if this smells good?" Huggy sniffs it. "It smells like..." But that's all we'll ever know. Turns out the jacket was made by a guy who "Owns a biker bar that goes 80 miles. He's one top model." What do they do in the biker bar? "Listen to Jim and play dopes."
I could tell you more, but I'm sure you've lost interest. At this point, even the subtitles gave up, (flaking out around the time that they run into "a tinny little man! And he's got knifes!") chiming in occasionally to declare that "to air is human," and that God is "the greatest smack of all." Eventually Hutch disguises himself as what Starkey calls "A Taxes royal tycoon," and they catch the bad guy before he can sell "the staff" to the drug dealers.
All in all, the whole thing sucked. But I had the night off, so fuck it.