Kobe Bryant's and Robert Rodriguez's short-film, 'The Black Mamba,' hits the Web
Just in time for Kobe Bryant's 13th appearance in an NBA All-Star game tonight, Nike has released 'The Black Mamba' short film, directed by Robert Rodriguez.
The movie, which has been hyped for weeks with clips from the film serving as commercials for Bryant's new Nike sneaker, the Zoom Kobe VI, runs slightly less than six minutes and was filmed in Los Angeles in only two days.
The filming was paired with weeks of post-production work as special effects were added to give the advertisement a handful of hallmarks typical of Rodriguez's over-exaggerated style of film-making.
As Rodriguez explains his ideas, Bryant chimes in and scenes of exploding buses, mutant adversaries, flaming boundaries on basketball courts and hoops played on rooftops with life-or-death stakes hit the screen.
In Rodriguez tradition, the short film doesn't attempt to take itself too seriously and never forgets that the point of the piece is the shoes.
The main villain, known as The Boss, is played by Kanye West, and the line "Boss wants your shoes" is said a handful of times as reminder that this is a production paid for by Nike.
Bryant and Rodriguez also poke fun at themselves and the project, with dialogue about the movie stars they'd like to be in the film and then, on-screen, showing lower-cost alternatives.
At one point Rodriguez tells Bryant about a bad guy he's imagining for the film, called the Crippler, who will be played by Mickey Rourke or "someone else cool that I know we can get."
Danny Trejo, who has made a career out of being in in his cousin's films, then appears as the Crippler in a frozen frame with B-movie-style text appearing next to him.
Later, Rodriguez pulls the same joke, stating that George Clooney could be in the film, but then admits it'll be "some other mega-star we can't afford, but hopefully he loves basketball" just as Bruce Willis pops up in the frame portraying a character also working for the Boss called Mr. Suave.
The film wraps up with a few words that seem a bit apropos given that the 2011 All-Star game at the Staples Center -- the second All-Star game that Bryant has played in front of a home crowd -- could end up being the last such game of his already 15-season career.
Bryant asks in the movie, "So how should it end?"
Rodriguez responds, saying, "Black Mamba doesn't end. Heroes come and go."
To which Bryant replies, with a smirk, "But legends are forever."
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Video: The Black Mamba. Credit: Nike Basketball via YouTube