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CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.—A Gilt-y Pleasure
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was based on the Television Series . . . which I either never saw or don't remember, so . . . clean slate (and, something to look forward to checking out, now that Guy Ritchie has made me a fan).
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. FIRST CAR CHASE
Love a great opening sequence and this movie's was surprisingly good because it had real stunts—the drivers had mad skills. Not since The Fast and The Furious: Toyko Drift has a chase scene impressed me like that. It was fun and creative and fit so well with the story, the characters, and the cars. The cars were a big part of the appeal in this movie, the clothes, the hair, the suits . . . I thought Henry Cavill was rocking vintage dress suits until I saw him in the all black 'casual stealth' outfit. This movie was just full of pretty people, which was fun to watch, but what I took away was that Guy Ritchie is at the top of his game in Action Movies. Not just directing, but he co-wrote the script with Lionel Wilgrim [Sherlock Holmes (2009) oh yeah!].
I have MUCH praise for the script. I love when they make enemies work together. In that sense, this was a Buddy Movie. The stakes were huge—love that—but what kept it going was what was happening between the two lead secret agents. Being secret agents, they are both in top form and really want to 'win'. What develops moves past competition into bromance and, in true Action Movie Hero fashion, they <<SPOILER>> do the right thing. Something I haven't seen before was the two lead characters hyping each other. To be an Action Movie Bad Ass you need some to Trash Talk you up.
Everything about the movie was a "wow", like Rome: gaudy, gauche, glitzy, and glamorous—a gilt-y pleasure! There were a lot of scenes that were great because there was no dialogue. They didn't do a lot of exposition either. You just knew by what you were shown. The filmmakers seemed to be having a good time with it. While they didn't talk down to the audience, they didn't let that stop them from being campy and cheesy just for the fun of it. Guy Ritchie knows what to do with the Action Movie Essentials!
Another thing that kept the movie going was sexual tension. You really didn't know whether 'the girl' was good or bad for a while. They kept you guessing about that, but not about how they felt. You knew it was love because they just couldn't deny the attraction, no matter what the circumstances. I especially love <<SPOILER>> that it was not resolved, so we can look forward to what happens in a second movie: Two Men And A Girl From U.N.C.L.E. because, surprise, she's not just a mechanic. She's also a secret agent at the top of her game. Funny, because they made the men so pretty, for once good looks didn't detract from the female character. The lead villain was a woman too. You go Guy Ritchie. The next movie will probably be all about 'the girl'. You'll see.
Coolest Action Movie Project: "In Action"
If you could imagine a cool Action Movie project, it probably wouldn't be as intense as this one. Distill your ideas down into super-concentrated form, and you would have this feature film project: In Action.
You're thinking, that's been done. Nuh-uh. Not like this.
Good luck with that, right? Don't be hasty, there's more . . .
And that's the "coolest" part. It should be easy to do whatever you can think of with an unlimited budget, but HOW MUCH COOLER is it to try to do it with as little as possible?! What an amazing learning experience. After this, any budget will go just that much further because of what they learned to do with 'nothing'. I'm certainly envious of this experience and can't wait to see what they come up with. I love beginners (so to speak—their team sounds really creative) and so I made a pledge. I can't help it, I love Action Movies. So, if you can help, please do! If you can't afford to then help them via social media: Like In Action movie on Facebook and share, and follow @InActionMovie on twitter. And stayed tuned to their project to see how it's going.
Mission: Impossible - Ilsa Nation
Tom Cruise delivers yet again in this very M:I story. They've set it up for the next film so that they can now do what they want with the backing of the CIA, and, they've added one of the coolest female characters to be in an Action Movie yet. The performance by Rebecca Ferguson is incredible! There isn't an ounce of fat on her/her stunt double. Regardless of her body type (I'm always harping for bigger, stronger women), she's a machine. Anything she's doing seems believable because she seems so fit, and handles the movements so realistically . . . I was blown away. So, kudos to Rebecca and especially to her stunt double Lucy Cork @CorkLucycork! BAM!! The fight scenes (and all the others) were top notch. I really have not been so impressed since Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
All hail "Isla Faust"
Schwarzenegger + the WWE = Awesomeness
Play as da Turminadah . . . Pre-Order WWE 2K16 to receive playable Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator! Raise some hell! For XBOX 360, XBOX ONE, PS3, and PS4.
SCHWARZENEGGER + THE WWE
KINNIE GIBSON: A "First Class Stuntman"
ActionFest is no more, but many hope it will rise again. And, even though the Norris brothers were the heart and soul of the Festival, the face of it was surely Kinnie Gibson, "The Rocketman". For those of us of a certain age group, the Jetpack was the ultimate cool invention that we never thought could be realized. To have someone learn (and it was not easy to control and unbelievably LOUD AS HELL) to ride it like the smooth secret-agent-type we always thought we'd be when we got to fly, Kinnie Gibson brought that cool factor to ActionFest's Stunt Show the first year. Tell me you wouldn't turn out just to see that. The last year, Dan Schlund kicked off ActionFest 2012 by landing on the red carpet in a tuxedo. It went something like this:
Overheard: "Dude, man, what was that? That was so loud. Rocket Maaaaan. No way! That's way cool!"
And it was way cool. Here's a video of Kinnie speaking to a crowd in Asheville, inviting them to come out to the first year of ActionFest. Like everyone associated with the festival, he was incredibly nice and gracious. He died way too young. My heart goes out to his family. He will be missed and he was greatly appreciated and admired.
TERMINATOR GENISYS: Smile!
Contains SPOILERS . . . Don't read this unless you've seen it. And YES you should go see it! (I didn't watch the trailers because trailers ruin movies, so I enjoyed seeing it all for the first time.)
So I tweeted "@Schwarzenegger carries @Terminator Genisys with muscle and heart. True fans will enjoy it. Others will complain." I'm a BIG FAN of all the Terminator movies. I happen to like 3 better than 2. Sacrilege, I know, what can I say? I think the action's some of the best ever and I really liked that the T-X was a girl and the scene with Arnold carrying a coffin on his shoulder. Nothing that other people complained about T3 bothered me much. I was just grateful for a great ride! But enough about Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines . . .. Now I'm going to contradict myself and seem like I'm full of it, but give me a chance. I did enjoy the movie, but it's not without its issues. Here goes:
This movie is fun. All the way through there's plenty of action. It's just a little weird seeing other actors as characters we loved so much. That said, it's really minor, because we're all about Arnold anyway, and we get at least 3 versions of him: Young, older, and old. The suspension of disbelief is easy because he's a robot underneath. And he's Arnold. This is the Arnold we want to see. Big, Bad Ass, Funny.
People have complained about the script, but there was a good deal of humor and enough continuity with repeated lines from the earlier movies to keep the illusion, cause this movie kinda pretended to be a Terminator movie, I mean, they have Arnold, right, and 3 kinds of terminators, so what was 'off'?
John Connor made a Big Dog Entrance, which was cool, but after that he was not in the movie much until later and he didn't come across as this legend/savior at all. I wondered if this was your first Terminator movie, would you think he was this big hero? Would you even be scared of the machines? Other than John Connor not being large and in charge, the thing that bothered me the most was, at times that were urgent, the characters took their time with exposition. (Excuse me but a Terminator was just sent through the portal. You should be following him ASAP. No time for sitting down and chit chat.) Arnold makes several Big Dog Entrances as well, but since he's a good guy now, he's a father/grandfather figure and the Bad Assery is toned down with sweetness. It's this heart that his character has that carries the film (with Schwarzenegger's understated spot-on performance). How do you play emotion with an emotion-less machine? He does it, and does it well, as he has all along since the Terminator went from evil to good.
The movie is a love story and ends with a kiss (to be continued?). All For Love happens to be one of my Action Movie Subgenres, but either they have no chemistry and/or it just doesn't work here. Emilia Clarke handles the action well but her doe-y eyed baby face doesn't look the part. Neither does Jai Courtney. Byung-hun Lee was great as the T1000 but they hardly used him, and kudos to J. K. Simmons who stole the scenes he was in. I think a big thing that was lacking was that Jason Clarke wasn't scary as the converted John Connor. There wasn't that terrifying sense of betrayal and danger. I wondered if that was because of the casting. We weren't invested in him, nor attached. Although there is one intense scene where the skeleton of an old Terminator tries to kill Kyle, the thrill of the relentlessness of the machines has worn off. They were really creative in how many different ways they tried to put evil John Connor down but it was no longer scary. Terminators are supposed to be scary. The new version of The Terminator looked wicked in black but it was just a robot. There was nothing really malevolent about him. Plus, he talked too much!
Another thing is the music is supposed to be really intensely noisy, not orchestral. I was expecting Brostep. I mean, Terminator movies kind of invented Dubstep, right?
Arnold got the only above-the-line credit, which was cool and as it should be. I was afraid they were going to kill him off but he stayed as the central character in the movie throughout. Without him, this would not be a movie worth watching. Arnold as the "Guardian" spends years stockpiling weapons (in Iron Man's old bunker) but how many can they carry? They end up blowing it all up, and it still doesn't do the trick. Plus, Skynet is wide open and seemingly deserted—They just fly in, land, and walk in through the front doors. They take out the complex of buildings like a chain reaction of implosions with just 3 bombs in the basement of one building. How is that possible?!
Overall, they paid homage to all the critical elements of a Terminator movie, it's just a shame the casting was off. That is a minor thing though. If you're a true fan you will enjoy the movie all the way through despite these little nit picky things. It's always hard when they try to resume something like this series that was so popular, and try to keep the ball rolling. The way they leave the ending, they could do another. They probably will, and it will be a tear jerker when they kill off Arnold (we cried once before as it was). With the time travel thing, the sky's the limit on plot twists. With the advancements in movie magic, I was expecting another level. What I got was more of the same. Good thing that same was so good to begin with. A good analogy would be unwrapping a present when you know what it is. It's still a gift: Shut up and eat your awesome.
BIG GAME: little meat
The trailer for this movie gave EVERYTHING away. WHY do they do that?! It was a great trailer and a fun movie, but there didn't seem to be much left to watch since I SAW IT ALL ALREADY. That's what I get for watching another trailer.
This movie is enjoyable but it didn't seem like 110 minutes. Samuel L. Jackson's version of the President really didn't do much. I am sure we all paid just to hear him say "Motherfucker" again. If I hadn't seen the trailer, I might have been happier because I wouldn't have known about the freezer falling and the ejector seat. In the end it was like eating a great big burger with all the fixings but no meat. The hero of an Action Movie has to be beefier. I thought SLJ would make up for that in attitude and go Obama's Anger Translator on us but he kept it downright wimpy. Still, it's fun. I would probably watch it again.
BIG GAME TRAILER
From the Miami New Times article in 2014: "What could be better than an Entourage-inspired HBO series created by Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson both filmed and set in Miami? Here's what: A series that is all of those things, and also titled Ballers. (We'd have preferred Ballerz, but whatever.)"
More better: the Director is Peter Berg.
"Legends don't retire. They reinvent." is the tagline. So it's all about @TheRock. And "Get Rich, Get Laid, Have Fun." As big a star as Dwayne Johnson is, the city of MIAMI might outshine him. Damn, we look good on film! Can't wait to watch the Samoan Thor take charge. Know your role and shut mouth.
BALLERS TRAILER TWO
Jurassic World: Nightmares in Babysitting
on LIVE with Kelly and Michael
If you're a big Jason Statham fan, you probably already know he was an amateur high-board diver, but did you also know he wanted to be a stuntman? Here he tells Kelly and Michael what he really wanted was to be a stuntman and he shares his insight into stuntwork. Jason Statham knows what it means to be an Action Movie Bad Ass. He's always praising the stuntmen first, and even does his own stunts when he can. (Like the time we nearly lost him to drowning on the set of The Expendables 3.) I don't need to convince you what a true Action Figure he is.
Thanks to ";LIVE with Kelly and Michael" Production Associate Alexa Monahan for sharing this clip from the show.
Book Synopsis: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor, The Athena Project is the first in a thrilling series featuring Delta Force’s newest members: four fearsome, deadly, and incredibly skilled female operatives. Part of a top-secret, all-female program codenamed The Athena Project, these four women are about to undertake one of the nation’s deadliest assignments.
When a terrorist attack in Rome kills more than twenty Americans, Athena Team members Gretchen Casey, Julie Ericsson, Megan Rhodes, and Alex Cooper are tasked with hunting down the Venetian arms dealer responsible for providing the explosives. But there is more to the story than anyone knows.
In the jungles of South America, a young US intelligence officer has made a grisly discovery. Surrounded by monoliths covered with Runic symbols, one of America’s greatest fears appears to have come true.
Simultaneously in Colorado, a foreign spy is close to penetrating the mysterious secret the US government has hidden beneath Denver International Airport.
As Casey, Ericsson, Rhodes, and Cooper close in on their target, they will soon learn that another attack—one of unimaginable proportions—has already been set in motion, and the greatest threat they face may be the secrets kept by their own government.
According to deadline.com, the script will be written by Ashleigh Powell. In an interview with Blue Cat, she says she's written 12 scripts, only 3 of which she would show anybody. This is quite a feather in her cap then and I wish her much success. I hope she knows what a responsibility it is to represent women well. I hope they get a female director and I look forward to hearing which stuntwomen will star (I say star because we all know it's the stunts that make the movie). Here's an introduction by the author. His heart seems to be in the right place, even if his perception of women is as sexy and beautiful first, and people second. With the exception of the stupid line about "stilettos" (by a woman!) as a teaser. When are we going to be able to strong without having to dilute it to nonthreatening status by being attractive?
is epic Movie Magic!
What are you looking here for? Go see it! Go see it again if you already have. Give @TheRock more money to make more Action Movies. San Andreas looks so real, it's beyond the suspension of disbelief. How do they do that?!
Max Takes a Backseat in
One of my favorite details in movies is when they change the logos at the start to reflect the theme of the movie. Love the rusting logos in this one; the throaty sound of a thirsty engine, and then the narration begins:
"My name is Max."
Thomas Hardy as 'Mad' Max is captured by a pack of 'wild dogs' from a cult-like society under the control, and fueled by their worship of, their leader (the Immorten Joe). Driven by the need for gasoline and bullets, speed and violence, and with insane delusions/illusions of an afterlife/rebirth in Valhalla, they are the "Mad Boys"—the muscle that drives the 'machine'.
Near the top of the chain is Charlize Theron's character "Imperator Furiosa". Once she appears onscreen, the movie detours with her in her flight to freedom and Max takes a backseat to Furiosa. Because of that, you expect there to be a spark of romance that will play out in future movies, between the two of them, but there isn't (yet?). That may be the most 'feminist' thing of all in a movie being widely hailed as feminist. A female character who's not there merely to be a romantic interest! Who would have expected that in this macho, post-apocalyptic culture!? The other main female characters are "breeders/wives", which makes the fact that the Imperator is female even more unusual, but then we see that she comes from a tribe of strong women (capable of surviving alone).
It's encouraging that so many who are labeling this movie as feminist see it as a positive thing. That's progress. Charlize does a great job of fighting. She swings as hard as a man, and in true Action Movie style, goes all out to help further her cause and protect the weaker females. It's a clear distinction that seems to be increasing. Yes, there are still the damsels in distress who need rescuing, but it doesn't have to be by a man. More progress.
That may be because this is just an installment in a longer story—Tom Hardy told Esquire magazine he's attached to 3 more Mad Max films, which is great because he does a great job and that will give us a chance to see him as Max because this film kind of did not. While he had a big part, not much of it was vocal, and a lot of it played second fiddle to Furiosa. There's even one surprising scene where he misses 2 shots out of 3 total bullets left, and so hands the gun to Furiosa for the final shot. All it needed to be "Mad Furiosa: Fury Road" was her backstory in the beginning to get us invested in her success, but we don't find out until near the end what is 'driving' her.
Against the rich tapestry of Felliniesque freaks that Mad Max is, for a woman to not only survive, but hold her own and rise to the top of their screwed-up society to drive a war rig is really something. But really, who cares about all that They didn't invest us. We were just along for the ride. What a wild ride. You have to see it for the stunts. There's nothing like it! It's as edge of your seat as it gets for a Chase movie.
What do I love so much about it? Pretty much everything. The one thing that stood out was the too-short-skirt shot from behind before they added pantyhose to the outfit but the costume is not revealing overall and they kept her wholesome. Plus, but, most importantly, she's a SUPERHERO and she's a girl! Love the amount of pink, and Calista Flockhart doing a Devil Wears Prada/mean boss thing, the romantic interest(s), and the career jokes. Should be fun!
Life of Action: The must-have
Action Movie book!
LIFE OF ACTION is a new paperback book by Mike Fury (a Martial Arts & Film Journalist, at right) that features interviews with many actors, filmmakers, and stunt people from the world of Martial Arts and Action Movies, like:
and many more. The book has just been released and you can buy it
mikefury.net/lifeofaction or on
Any Action Movie Freak you know will have to own this book!
Amen to that! There are some sample pages
below. Great reading . . . Dolph attended Clemson #whoknew.
Click on the photos below to read larger versions:
Avengers: Age of Ultron
. . .
I didn't watch the trailer, so the opening was great (and unspoiled for me). It was just so comic-book-y in its visuals that I was delighted. The movie is great fun, but, . . . Whoa. Family Hour? (sigh) Do we really want Superheroes who are just like us in their down time, who live on a farm, and who go home to 'the wife and kid(s)' and the latest DIY project? (snooze) No! Was this the only way to make us care more about them as 'people'? And where are they going with that Black Widow and Hulk match up? A tragic Romance movie?
There was plenty of Action and it was good, and there was only a couple of times the fight scenes were hard to follow(you know 'how they do' with too much shaky cam). The Camaraderie and Dominance was fun, but each of the characters seemed to get too little screen time (especially the black actors).
And what's with Black Widow calling herself a "monster" just because she can't have kids? After seeing the movie, they (the actors in real life) were way off base calling the Black Widow character a slut. That was so unfounded. It just makes me realize we women haven't come very far at all. We still get no respect even when we are playing superheroes. I heard somewhere that Black Widow had "taken over" this movie, and stupid me, my mind went to stuntwork (which was incredible in the last movie), but this time, all they cared about was having her be in love (rolling my eyes) . . . BORING. Is that what they think we want to see, or is that what they think of us, or both? Which would be worse?
A flying city, lots of Ultrons (like Agent Smiths) . . . it all seemed like I'd seen it all before. Remember the first movie and how cool the flying battleship was when you first saw it? Plus how special the whole laboratory/Hulk-Iron Man/scientists bromance seemed? They flushed Pepper Potts, yay! This was NOT an Iron Man movie—but that was more of a minus than a plus. The Mjolnir jokes were the best thing about the movie. Iron Man was more than subdued. Hardly any "merry quips" as my Dad used to call them. Just some little jokes about cursing.
There were so many characters it was like a carousel of swirling people: heroes, villains, by the time we got to Ulysses Klaue I didn't care anymore about who the hell he was. Seemed like too much detail and very little movement forward.
I'm kinda tired of Superhero movies in general, although I'm a huge Superman fan (over Batman) and an even bigger Aquaman fan. 1) Aquaman, 2) Superman, 3) Thor, 4) Wonder Woman. As Action Movies go, I prefer real characters, not fantasy creatures with strange powers like pointing your fingers to use a red light and mind control. The kind of mind control I like is true physical superiority. I thought I would hate the brother/sister act, but they (the actors) were both good and then [too bad] SPOILER they kill one of them off. The whole time I was thinking they were going to kill Iron Man, because he's human, and because RDJ doesn't (supposedly) want to do any more Iron Man movies(?).
Unless you're really into the story line of the whole stones thing from the comics, I can't see much reason to go see another Avengers movie. I'm ready for the Justice League.
Just read that "Tom
Hardy Wants to Play Frank Castle in the Next Punisher Movie".
Indiana Jones spotted in Miami
. . .
What does Indiana Jones drive? A Jeep, of course! A nice khaki green. [Sorry it's blurry (phone shot taken hastily in the mist of the car wash). ] The Punisher lives here too. Drives a flat black pick-up.
I'm Ready for
Avengers: Age of Ultron
I haven't watched the trailers. I saw a bit of the first teaser so I know what Ultron looks like and that tons of people are running from something in the city. I am so excited that nothing has been spoiled for me. I have heard the rumors that someone is going to get killed and that it's Captain America but I was thinking Iron Man . . .
Thor is still my favorite (after Aquaman LOL #notfunny). Watched this to get psyched:
HULK TRIES TO LIFT MJOLNIR
Get Ready for
Loving this Darth Vader ring. That's cool! And this Star Wars logo ring . . .
Whole Lotta Love for Jeremy Marinas
Check out Stuntman Jeremy Marinas' mad skillz (and follow him on twitter @jermskillz) . . .
JEREMY MARINAS STUNT REEL
Furious Seven says goodbye to Paul
SPOILERS . . . It's so poignant, I couldn't help but wonder how much of the story was always there and if they added anything (other than that final goodbye with the computer-generated smiling face of Paul Walker). It really was a family, and Brian was the heart.
Those who truly love the franchise also loved 2 Fast 2 Furious, a movie a lot of people complained about. That's when they hooked me, although I loved the first movie too. 2 Fast 2 Furious was just too much fun (that's a good thing)—Brian and Roman were great together. For me the best movie was Fast Five. It was everything you hoped it would be (a Heist fairy tale). I hadn't seen such an intense opening since T3. This movie is almost non-stop action sequences. Some of them are nail biters. This seemed like an ending to the whole series but I would watch 8 just to see 'the family' again, and the cars. This movie (as usual) is FULL of great cars.
Ronda Rousey was wasted in this movie. What was with the weird eyeliner? If they want to make you up like that, you should just say no. She's so strong, she looked like she could snap Michelle Rodriguez like a twig!
The plot was really simple but the one thing that really stood out was why they had to steal the "God's Eye" (which would need a supercomputer to run and yet is portable) to find Jason Statham's character, when he just keeps finding them and showing up? Stick together and wait.
Kurt Russell was good and his role was probably more screen time that he would have gotten in an Expendables movie.
Jason Statham vs. The Rock was great to watch but the final fight scene of Jason Statham vs. Vin Diesel looked like a mismatch. I thought the copied Romeo Must Die a little (this image below). It was kind of crazy how they cut away from this fight scene and then came back to it. Even though Vin is bigger, I thought Jason seemed like such the better fighter that it showed. (The movie borrowed from a lot of other action movies: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (bus scene), The Expendables 3 (The Rock is out), Mission: Impossible 2 (backwards hanging hand hold), Live Free or Die Hard (took out a drone with an ambulance), maybe more . . . (haven't written about it yet). They did their own take on it all though and it was still enjoyable.
I don't know how they make Paul Walker hold his own against Tony Jaa. It looked like such a beating, but guess who wins?
I am sure Furious Seven (the credits spell out 7 but everywhere they use the number) will break box office records. I will buy the movie just to see the extras. It delivered on all the things we love the series for. You gotta see it. And try not to cry. Just try . . .
FEMALE Action Heroes
WOMEN IN ACTION film festival
Big News today! Just found out via a Google Alert that Artemis Motion Pictures will be holding the inaugural Artemis WOMEN IN ACTION Film Festival in Los Angeles from Friday thru Sunday (April 24- April 26, 2015). They have an IndieGoGo Project for funding. Contribute if you can, please. Also, they are on Facebook and twitter @Artemis_FF.
“If we want to see women taking up a
Amen! How women are presented on film now that movies with female "superheroes" like Wonder Woman are finally being made is quintessentially important for the future of all women. Not to be Cosplay Bimbos but real women of strength. Not fantasy dick accessories but properly attired heroes. Not a pair of tits in a tight costume bouncing around for the amusement of men. Not a skinny girl that it's impossible to suspend disbelief for when she wields a sword. Not a bloodied victim to feed misogynistic fantasies, or relegated to a sidekick, or a damsel in distress. I only hope their red carpet will have properly attired women as well [my thoughts on that are in issue 2 of PAYBACK action movie magazine celebrating the emergence of women in action movies <--shameless plug], and that their choices or awards will not be concerned with what is "hot".
Congratulations to @ActionChick Katrina Hill (author of the book Action Movie Freak") who was chosen as a judge. If only I could get her and all women to stop putting their desirability to the forefront . . . Yes, you're pretty. You're so much more than pretty, be more than.
. . . and if only I could attend the festival. Well, I will certainly be there at heart. #grrrlpower!
'cock' it up.
In the Spartacus series on Starz, words spew forth, like buckets of blood, and none more forcefully uttered than "cock"—Could be a drinking game (no doubt is). They use that word so often and with such force that it becomes funny when you hear it, but it wasn't until John Hannah as "Batiatus" bemoaned for the second time how the universe "rammed cock in ass" that it hit me how often I'd heard it. With all the beefcake, boobs, 'Action', and penis there is in this series, it's a compliment to Hannah's acting that the character of Batiatus commands the most attention.
I wondered if the series would really be about gladiators or if they would be just a backdrop, but it's ALL about gladiators.
I've always groused about gratuitous female nudity, degradation, and debasing, saying that it might be a different matter if it wasn't always one-sided, but it never was. And then, there was Spartacus. A nearly equal offender (certainly more so by Season 3), the series is ripe with male and female nudity and festers with soft porn, delivered roughly. So much so, it's ridiculous at times, but viewers not easily offended could discount it, and enjoy the plot and the Action. The first season's fighting was top rate, and oh, the Drama. Passion, and even true love, drive multiple story lines, and it was a testament to the writing that all the various characters were equally engaging and the stories held our interest. (I've read some complain that it's poorly written. Are they crazy?! Game of Thrones has some of the worst dialogue I've ever heard. Spartacus is F. Scott Fitzgerald by comparison. And then we lost Spartacus himself when actor Andy Whitfield died. So Season 3 began with a back story, and when we caught up we had another actor in the lead. There was a resemblance but he's not nearly as built, so they covered him up a bit. It took a while to accept him in the role but the Drama is so compelling that even a radical feminist like me can roll her eyes at the ridiculous and ignore the blatantly misogynistic rape, disfigurement, and murder scenes (believe it or not) to be engrossed, enthralled even, in the story line. Guess I'm just a bloodthirsty warrior at heart. Aren't all Action Movie Freaks? In Season 3 they give women more of a fighting chance. Took me a while to get to watch this but the life/death stakes are such a hook, that I'm hooked! Wouldn't want every series to be like this but it is entertaining. The characters make it great, and I love that there are so many of them, and yet it doesn't dilute the main plot as it so often does in movies because of the time constraint.
The story was surprisingly engaging, and there was quite the spectacular A Clockwork Orange homage at the end. It's rare that situational violence is set so well to music for visual and comedic effect. If you'd never seen A Clockwork Orange (1971) it seems genius, yet even if not original, it holds its own and it's a mother of a payoff. The new Bond-type character "Eggsy" was a refreshing change from the upper-class wankers that the Kingsmen seemed to be. When Eggsy puts on the suit and glasses at the end, it's kind of funny and endearing how it doesn't 'fit' who he is. He takes it all on though, fills the shoes, and more (saving the world), and that seems to be the movie message. Don't underrate people based on where they come from. He's not only good enough to be a Kingman, he's the better man (as his father was). I mistakenly thought it would be a bit more about where he came from in terms of juvenile-delinquent-type activities, like he was a bad boy and they were setting him to right, taking the skills he used to use for crime and making him use them for good . . . but, they surprised me. That's not really what his situation is about, which was a good thing. (There's a funny scene where Colin Firth rattles off the title of similar movies, including "La Femme Nikita" (Point of No Return), and the one Eggsy relates to is "My Fair Lady".)
Samuel Jackson's character makes a biting
commentary on modern life with his villainous antics and
ridiculous world-dominating plot à la classic
Bond Movies. From Oscar Pistorius, to McDonald's, to
Apple, to Westboro Baptist Church, modern life is askew and
skewered. Samuel Jackson's performance was both convincing and
highly entertaining, but the stand-out performance was easily
dancer Sofia Boutella as the evil sidekick
"Gazelle"—Frightening female villains being another
Bond Movie classic. Yes, Sofia has feet in real life. A
testament to movie magic that her special effects blades were
flawless. In fact, she's so good in the role, you were
just squirming for them to finish her in some awful way after
all the damage she inflicts. I won't spoil that for you. After
all, how much can we root for them to kill some with a
'disadvantage' even if they are evil?
Most of the movie's appeal is owing to Taron Egerton's performance as Eggsy, not to seeing Colin Firth in 'Action' as the movie was promoted. They more than deliver on that account though, as Mr. Darcy racks up an impressive Killcount and lots of Gnarly Kills. Also, if you missed the Bond gadgets after Skyfall announced "We don't really go in for that anymore", you'll be extra pleased at all the tricks up their sleeve here. It really was laugh-out-loud enjoyable violence for violence's sake. How often can you say that? Action Movie Freaks know what I'm talking about.
How this movie holds up as a 'Bond' movie is arguable. Speaking of Skyfall, the double meaning in the conversation where 007 meets the new quartermaster "Q" at The National Gallery when they are gazing at Turner's masterpiece "The Fighting Temeraire" comes to mind (everything of Turner's is magnificent but they must be seen in person—photos don't do them justice).
Whereas Skyfall revised the outdated version of James Bond into someone who could believably do the physical side of field work even if he was not that young, this movie takes a very young man (26 in real life), who is probably 20-21 in the movie, and completes the transformation. The "inevitability of time" transformed James Bond into someone athletic (an Action Figure not just an actor), something Skyfall addressed. And Kingsman: The Secret Service completes that transformation, however, they use the old version of Bond rather tongue-in-cheek, and there really is (in my opinion) no place or desire for a James Bond Academy series where just one person at a time gets picked.
The bloody big ship in Skyfall was "M" but it could also be the MI6 or the James Bond movie franchise, and this movie proves there's room for more than one Bond (in the past there was as well with satires, which this movie treads the line on). I'd like to see a co-ed Bond Academy movie that focuses on the training (like the focus of G.I. Jane or The Right Stuff, as examples). Also, where this movie gives some due to women, they 'kill off' one of the two female prospects (out of 9), the women are the shortest, and the one remaining girl is fearful. And while all the 'kids' are physically fit, none are Super Soldier material. That brings to mind "Soldier" starring Kurt Russell, and I would really love to see a remake of that! Really, isn't James Bond supposed to be the cream of the crop? Having upper-class kids play at Bond is fun and a fantasy, but is noblesse oblige enough to carry one into a secret life of danger? After the "weak chins" joke, it's hard to imagine they would want to do this. Having had everything handed to them, what's their motivation?
Casino Royale set it up, nicely: "By the cut of
your suit, you went to Oxford or wherever, and naturally think
human beings dress like that. But you wear it with such disdain,
my guess is you didn't come from money, and your school friends
never let you forget it. Which means you were at that school by
the grace of someone else's charity, hence the chip on your
shoulder. And since your first thought ran to orphan, that's
what I'd say you are . . . Oh, you are. I like this poker thing.
And that makes perfect sense, since MI6 looks for maladjusted
young men that give little though to sacrificing others in order
to protect Queen and country. You know, former SAS types with
easy smiles and expensive watches."
Jupiter Ascending soars!
Teary-eyed Channing Tatum captivates as an unwilling suitor in this . . . chick flick with action—I'm calling it a chick flick because that's how good the romance is, which puts it solidly in the All For Love subgenre. Also captivating are all special effects. The movie knocks it out of the park on the Sci-Fi. The detail in the other worlds is beyond stunning and there can be no complaints about the creativity (lots of wow moments). Yet, for all there is to see in Jupiter Ascending, the most enjoyable part was the simple message that we should appreciate whatever we have, because, no matter how lowly your position, it could all be taken away from you at any moment. In a sense, it was just like The Matrix, in reverse. Jupiter is 'the one'. Earth, where she is an ordinary girl, is real life, and being Queen is the Matrix. Jupiter just wants to get out of being Queen and get re-inserted back into her real life. And, like The Matrix she finds her true love. The best line in the movie has to be when she says "I love dogs. I've always loved dogs." And, at that moment, we couldn't agree more. Channing Tatum is so likeable, so everyman-yet-unattainable. He's that boy-next-door, all-American hunk, good guy we all had a crush on. Take that to the bank, because whatever else you think is going on, that's what's selling here. And rocket boots. Didn't you have to go just to see the rocket boots?!
trailer is up!
Back in 2012 a group of talented young action stars began their journey to make an old-school Action Movie. Love this part about having a blog—being sent information on what is new!
The trailer more than delivers on the promise of epic beatdowns. Some of the hits are truly cringe-worthy. Can't wait to see the film. Action Movie Freaks should definitely check it out and support them so we can see more from them in the future.
Love the sound effects and the energy and enthusiasm. They are having more fun than you! "This is going to be an Action Classic!"
UNLUCKY STARS TRAILER
When the movie was over, you could hear a pin drop. Nobody moved during the credits. As we poured out of the theater, you could hear many people sobbing. Movies like this ground us and make us appreciate all we have. In paying tribute to a real-life Hero (Chris Kyle pictured at left and below right), it reminds me why I love Action Movies so much, and what true Action Movies (not just movies with Action in them) strive for.
Bradley Cooper does a great job as "Chris Kyle". I was thinking he might not fit the part but he does Chris' life justice and in the end, it seemed like a special honor that we used one of our best actors to honor one of our greatest Heroes. I wanted someone who was already beefy but Bradley was more than an Action Figure, he was the total Bad Ass. I'm going to have to add him to the Bad Ass Action Figure list just for this role alone. I'm writing about the movie now, but I have to finish a website (real life interferes but makes this blog possible, so please check back if you want to read how much I enjoyed the movie).
You really should go see it. It has so many of my Action Movie Essentials. The boys and their toys (not to make light of war but the equipment, machinery, helicopters, guns, vehicles, etc. are impressive), the military speak "2 clicks out", and the Camaraderie and Dominance, give us much needed Comic Relief in this portrait of Bravery, and tragic ending to a life that honored and saved so many others. It feels and looks so real! A cinematic masterpiece that will undoubtedly not get the full recognition it deserves in the awards, so give it your recognition and respect by paying to see it.
Action Movies to Look Forward to . . .
What stayed with me most from 2014 was Lone Survivor, Murph the Protector, and The Raid 2 Berandal, plus the stuntwork by Heidi Moneymaker for Scarlett Johansson and the fight between Cap (Chris Evans and/or his stunt doubles Chris Brewster/Daniel Hargrave/Sam Hargrave?) and George St-Pierre in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
For 2015 and beyond, there is so much to look forward to—these are in order by release date, and then alphabetical by year where there is no release date other than the year—including my favorites in orange . . . And these are just a fraction of the movies (check out the full list of Action Movies By Year from IMDb). Some I'd heard of, some I picked just because the title or plot was intriguing. Most link to their IMDb page. And I skipped War movies and Westerns. They are their own thing. It bothers me when people count them as Action Movies. They are not. They are movies with action in them. Disagree? Check out my Action Movie Essentials :)
THE PROTOTYPE TRAILER
Dec 5-12 Nassau