action movie freak    

 

 

HAPPY New Year!
December 31, 2012

As we close out 2012, I leave you with this composite photo of the ultra-manly cast of The Tomb:

 


The Action Movie BAD ASS: How to bring back the Awesome '80s Age of Action
December 29, 2012

The persistent talk about missing the awesome 80s age of Action and whether or not Action Movies are dead (!) is a little irritating to me. I think it's just stalled. All it would take to have that Predator-pumped-up Action Movie magic in theatres again is a whole lot of testosterone. Somebody needs to get a little mythology going—add a WHOLE LOT of muscle, a liberal splash of confidence, and start doing some trash talking.

We all want to feel there is someone big and strong who can come to our rescue, defeat evil, and save the day. Part of being an Action Movie Action Figure is being heroic in real life, and consistent in your choice of roles. 

Once everyone heard of Arnold Schwarzenegger through Pumping Iron, he had his mythology in tow. Bringing a real-life story like this to his roles is what made him the Action Movie Action Figure. He already had the stature. Weightlifting gave him a championship title and the world's best physique. These things combined with his unique personality and drive in pursuing 'the American Dream', made him someone to look up to. His first acting role was nothing less heroic than the most heroic character in mythology, Hercules.

Rocky and Rambo: Sylvester Stallone cemented his place in our hearts as an Action Figure with the underdog story of Rocky, and with his own struggle to make the movie he wanted, his way. The Rocky series is part of Sly's mythology, and the character is "absolutely" a mythic hero.

Following Rocky, Mr. Stallone then made thoughtful and sensitive choices by taking up causes with the Rambo series (representing the unjust treatment of the returning Vietnam veteran, the POW-MIA heartbreak we all felt at the end of the war, and the 'use' of the Afghanistan people by an 'evil' super power*. With these career and life achievements, comes our respect. 

An undeniable part of the success of these men and their movies was their impressive physicality. This ingredient is the most-often-forgotten part of today's Action Movie formulas, and rubber-suited-comic-book-hero movies. Take, for example, Thor: Chris Hemsworth was great as Thor, but Thor is supposed to be mammoth-ly muscular. Action Movie Freaks crave that. When I heard it was said Chris was getting too big, I wanted to scream "It's THOR!"

As with the mind-popping side shot of Arnold's bicep in Predator, we want to blown away by size. Size matters! You have to be big enough to make what you are doing seem real. Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, with big muscles and with bigger attitude, through real-life struggles and on-screen choices, became larger than life.

The Action Movie Bad Ass can also become a legend even if they are not as big as Arnold or Sly, as long as they have mad skills like Jackie Chan or Jet Li. We  respect their abilities so much, we are eager to watch them in anything.  Their mythology is in their training, and with each film they make, their legend grows.

Speaking of mad skills and muscles, the only thing wrong with Michael Jai White's and Scott Adkins' careers is that we don't get to see enough of them in leading roles. Cast them! We'll watch. As much as I love him, I wish Tom Cruise would let someone else take some of his roles.  I think he's been so blessed, people are starting to resent him (the public's negative reaction to him simply expressing his happiness with the sofa jumping is proof of that). I would have liked to see Scott Adkins in Oblivion.

When an Action Figure has Mad Skills along with super Good Looks*, like Dolph Lundgren, or Jean-Claude Van Damme, they tend to stray or are lured into Drama and Romantic Comedy. Dolph and Jean-Claude didn't, and this is part of what made them Action Movie Legends. It's okay to stray to other genres a few times, but over and over dilutes an Action Movie career, and your Bad Ass Action Figure image. Channing Tatum could easily have become an 80s style Action Movie Legend but he did too many other genres. (He's also a dancer and his acting career has been more varied.) It will be interesting to see where Chris Pine and Taylor Lautner's careers take them.

To become an Action Movie Legend, you have to be loyal to the Action genre. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson had his Action Figure mythology in spades with his family's cultural heritage and wrestling legacy, but then he stalled our enthusiasm by doing too many kids' movies. Vin Diesel's career is half Action, half other. Seems every three Action Movies, he does a drama. These two Actors were supposed to continue the Action Movie BAD ASS Legend started by Schwarzenegger and Stallone, but I guess they didn't realize we just don't want to see our Action Heroes as the Tooth Fairy or The Pacifier. 

They last way to become an Action Movie Legend is Mad Skills and Trash Talking. You guessed it: Steven Seagal. Even in the heyday of his Aikido skills, as we were watching him crack bones, he was a little gangly, a lot less 'big'. This didn't matter as long as he made it look good and shoved it down the bad guys' throats. There just isn't enough trash talking in Action Movies today. There's some, but not nearly enough.

We are still waiting for one or more really muscular guys, with a crazy amount of confidence, skilled in some fighting style or other, to play the HERO, and talk shit! MAD FLOW! We want mad flow . . .

____________

*(turned out to have been more than one evil super power)
 



Blood Money: Who is Zheng Liu?
December 28, 2012

IMDB sums up Blood Money as "A Colombian drug cartel joins forces with a group of Hong Kong Triads and the hottest Hitman on the planet . . ." And it stars Pitbull as himself!


My first thought was: "I live in Miami. How did I not know Pitbull was in an Action Movie?" The fact that Pitbull was in the movie was enough to get me interested, but then they billed the star (the "hottest hitman") Zheng Liu as "the next Bruce Lee"! Then I thought "Who the hell is Zheng Liu and how come I never heard of him?"  So, I investigated and found this at indiewire:

"XLrator Media (website/not on twitter) is launching a new label, Turbo by XLrator (no website/not on twitter), dedicated to the release of INTERNATIONAL ACTION FILMS in North America [emphasis added]. The first three films will be Naked Soldier, Blood Money, and Brawler. Some of the most thrilling and boundary-pushing filmmaking that has revitalized the action genre is coming from all over the world, such as The Raid: Redemption from Indonesia, 13 Assassins from Japan, District 13: Ultimatum from France, Ironclad from the U.K. and the Og Bak series from Thailand,” said XLrator CEO Barry Gordon (not on twitter?), who will curate the new label with marketing and distribution president Mike Radiloff (@MikeRad63). “Turbo by XLrator will bring the most adrenaline-pumping, kick-ass new visions and filmmakers from around the globe to NORTH AMERICAN [again, emphasis added] ACTION FANS.”

Well, that's more great news I missed, but . . . Lucky for me, I saw most of those movies at ActionFest (@Actionfest). What caught my eye was "North America".

Dear Turbo by XLrator, Barry Gordon, and Mike Radiloff: 
If you make an Action Movie with Pitbull in it, Miami audiences will pay to see it ("North America" we are not LOL). If billed as such, no doubt Central and South American audiences (and the Caribbean) will as well.

So, why did this movie go straight to DVD?!  

Maybe Action Movie distributors need to go to the midnight showing of Fast Six at a theater in Miami. We LOVE Action Movies, and we love our reggaeton stars (and it's BIG here and it's here to stay)! Seeing Fast Five at midnight here was one of the most fun movie experiences I have ever had. It was like you were in the movie with Vin Diesel, The Rock, and Ludacris, because when Tego Calderon and Dom Omar appeared, it was like you knew them from down the street.

So, I had never heard of this movie, Blood Money, until someone in my family bought me a DVD of Director Isaac Florentine's Assassin's Bullet, and it was in the trailers. (The release date was listed simply as only USA 28 Aug 2012.)

And I had never heard of Zheng Liu. There isn't much on the web about him, he is not on Wikipedia (nor is the movie). I guess I will have to wait and watch for myself. The movie is not on Netflix, and it's not on Amazon Instant Video. (You can look for an illegally downloadable version but there are 2 other movies with the same name from 2012: A Bollywood movie and an abortion documentary.  I ordered the DVD from Amazon.com. I don't download illegally. I prefer to pay for my entertainment because it's right, and, to show my support and  appreciation the efforts of all involved in bringing it to me). Reviews were mixed, but I can't wait! It's not the first time someone has been called "the next Bruce Lee". I just think of it as a compliment, not to diminish the legend of Bruce Lee but to pay homage. Of course everyone is unique. Think of it as a tribute to Zheng Liu's skills or attitude, style, or philosophy.  If he is all that, we can say we saw him starting from his first movie . . .

 



Mad Max: Fury Road vehicles

Mad Max: Fury Road
December 22, 2012

From photos of the vehicles for the next Mad Max movie, it seems the movie will more than satisfy on the wicked machines side, but this movie is also surprisingly chock full of beautiful women. Led by Charlize Theron, it should be interesting to see what kind of group they make and what they do to our hero Tom Hardy: poor, beautiful Tom, it's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it.

Mad Max: Fury Road cast composite

In alphabetical order L-R: 

  • Courtney Eaton (first Acting role for this Model) aka Fragile, 5'10"

  • Megan Gale (Model, no character name; looks like Megan Fox), 5' 11"

  • Rosie Huntington-Whaley (Victoria's Secret Model and Jason Statham's girlfriend) aka Splendid, 5' 9"

  • Riley Keough (Elvis Presley's granddaughter and Model/Actress) aka Capable, 5' 7"

  • Zoë Kravitz (Lenny Kravitz & Lisa Boney's daughter and Model/Actress/Musician) aka Toast, 5' 2"

  • Abby Lee (Victoria's Secret Model/Actress) aka The Dag, 5' 10 3/4"  

  • Charlize Theron (Dancer/Model/Actress) aka Imperator Furiosa, 5' 9 1/2"  

 


 

Jack Reacher delivers Action Movie mayhem!
December 21, 2012

Jack Reacher was nothing like I thought it was going to be. I guess I was expecting something akin to Every Which Way But Loose with Tom Cruise brawling his way through bigger men but it was a suspenseful Action Movie with snappy dialogue. It had great action.  I would recommend it, especially for Tom Cruise fans. As often happens with movies that create characters for possible sequels, you wonder if it would have been better or just different with an unknown.  No matter who Jack Reacher is, you can't get past that he's Tom Cruise. I think if the Actor was as physically huge as the character was supposed to be, it would have come off as if he was a bully or anyone was crazy to mess with him. Having someone of average build just made him more Bad Ass.  If you can let go of the source material, the movie is great fun!  It should be seen for the car chase alone but there is so much more there to enjoy!

Jack Reacher car chase
 


 

Pain & Gain trailer is hilarious!
December 19, 2012

Been waiting for this one. Ever since some photos of filming showed up on twitter and instagram, I've been wondering what the trailer would look like for this movie. Naturally, I'm crazy excited that it's Michael Bay and that it's filmed in Miami. PLUS it stars Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg (I know, I know, you were thinking "The Rock" and "Marky Mark", me too!).

Pain & Gain the Rock Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Mackie

Pain & Gain the Rock angry
 

 


Action Movies & Action Stars on instagram
December 15, 2012

Seems some movies are jumping on the instagram train. If you haven't tried this app yet, it's fun and addictive!  Here are just a few of the movies, studios, or stars I found on instagram:
After Earth ("afterearth"), Chris Hemsworth ("chrishemsworth"),
Dwayne Johnson ("dwaynejohnson"), Fast 6
("fastandfuriousmovie"),
Lions Gate Movies ("lionsgatemovies"), Arnold! ("schwarzenegger"), 
and
Zac Efron ("zefron")
starring soon in The Lucky One. 

Dwayne Johnson in a matching dress with Miley Cyrus on instagram  Arnold Schwarzenegger playing around on instagram Zac Efron in The Lucky One on instagram     

Fast 6 is an example of getting it right (so far). They have shown production and behind the scenes shots (makes you feel like you are part of the crew). I'm all for using every available method of promotion. Lately, however, it seems they do too much. Prometheus oversaturated the market, and it looks like Pacific Rim is going to do the same. We already want to see these movies, so I wish they'd leave something for the actual movie going experience, and wait for the buzz/word of mouth. Please don't show us the creatures and the robots in Pacific Rim, let us be surprised.

Take Hansel and Gretel for example. The first trailer was cool, but they've started showing too much of the witches. I just know they are going to get desperate and show whatever huge creature is in the forest, and that will be the only thing worth going to the movie for, so why bother?  I am speaking up on this because I hope it will help (if anyone's reading this). (LOL . . .  crying.) ;D 

juancagram instagram collage

(The photos above are all from one cool guy "juancagram". You should follow him if you like what you see. He posts very regularly and always cool Action-oriented stuff.)

 


 

After Earth movie poster Man of Steel movie poster Pacific Rim movie poster Star Trek Into Darkness movie poster G.I. Joe: Retaliation movie poster

Trailer OverloadToo much of a good thing?
December 12, 2012

A Good Day To Die Hard movie posterSo many new trailers have come out in the last week:  After Earth, Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, Star Trek Into Darkness, and G.I. Joe Retaliation (#3 with an intro by The Rock). I did not go see The Hobbit, therefore I missed the first 9 minutes of the Star Trek movie. I hope that's not a trend. Trailers lately are more like highlight reels than teasers. They show you every big moment, so you just have to figure out what order it comes in. It's disappointing to leave the theater thinking that the two-minute-mini-movie that got you there could have sufficed. The trailer should never show ANYthing of the ending. I am still wishing they did not show James Bond adjusting his cuff when he jumped onto the train "Just changing cars". WHY!? "Damn you all to hell!" I have been waiting to see that since Pierce Brosnan 'tanked' St. Petersburg. Save something for the film, dammit! 

I am hereby pledging not to watch trailers anymore, and hoping that A Good Day To Die Hard's short-but-sweet trailer that I already watched (you can't help it sometimes, you know) is not every big moment in that movie.

 


 

 

Oblivion
December 9, 2012

Just discovered this via @GraceRandolph of Beyond The Trailer. Tom Cruise is starring in yet another cool movie: Oblivion.

I am anxiously awaiting the new Chronicles of Riddick movie but Oblivion looks more like what I was hoping for visually. Since I heard the Riddick movie is set in one place, I was wondering how cool could it be if we don't see the Underverse and he's not being chased from place to place. Also, seems there's no jail.  This from someone on IMDB:

 "Betrayed by his own kind and left for dead on a desolate planet, Riddick fights for survival against alien predators and becomes more powerful and dangerous than ever before. Soon bounty hunters from throughout the galaxy descend on Riddick only to find themselves pawns in his greater scheme for revenge. With his enemies right where he wants them, Riddick unleashes a vicious attack of vengeance before returning to his home planet of Furya to save it from destruction."

I am glad to hear it ends on Furya, but that makes me wonder how Vaako took over, and will we ever get to see the Underverse? The Chronicles of Riddick was SO COOL in every aspect: costumes, armor, etc., Riddick will just have a lot to live up to. Wonder which will come out first?  Oblivion is listed for 19 April 2013 (in IMAX) and Riddick just 2013.

 


Amazon Instant Video
December 6, 2012

Amazon Instant Video has some low prices at times. This FREE documentary about the filming of Quantum of Solace is offered. Amazing how they filmed the dogfight scene.

Quantum of Solace dogfight
 


PARKER Jason Statham is unstoppable!
December 3, 2012

Another kick ass Action Movie from Jason Statham. Plus: Nicke Nolte. And The Commish!


 

"More Cars! More Cons! More Death!" Discovered this Death Race 3: Inferno 2013 trailer. There are bound to be some Gnarly Kills!

 




 

Red Dawn 2012 is a Battle Cry for Action Movie Essentials!
December 2, 2012

I'm going to assume you saw the first movie and know the basic premise, and unless I have to, I'm not going to compare it to the first version unless it serves a purpose, because even though it's a remake, it stands on its own. The first thing I loved about it was the TRASH TALKING. "Don't you have to secure the perimeter or something—rendezvous with Douche Company?" They kept me chuckling throughout—Love that! Also loved the opening DOMINANCE "Let's compromise" and the resulting CAMARADERIE later.

The Action takes off right out of the gate with the aerial attack and then an all-out car chase that lets you know the STAKES ARE LIFE AND DEATH. Chris Hemsworth's character "Jed" does what he has to:  clips a car to keep going, slams into the back of his father's police car to bash it into the enemy, drives through yards, and doesn't back off when crashing to take out the enemy's Hummer. The movie uses the hometown invasion situation to its full potential. The kids know the back roads and get the hell out of town.

Jed is the lead character. A Marine, home on a break from Iraq, visiting his father and brother. Without going too much into particulars to spoil it, suffice it to say with some MILITARY TRAINING, he turns his younger brother and the group of his high-school student friends into a fighting unit. As Jed says "We'll hit them on our terms when we're good and ready." They don't waste time showing too much of the training (meaning it doesn't take too much time out of the movie) before the team is in action. They hide in plain sight, use a decoy to ambush soldiers, get more weapons, plant explosives, and generally cause havoc. As Jed put it "Even the tiniest flea can drive a big dog crazy."  What can less than a dozen high school students do? Plenty! There's a fairly HIGH KILLCOUNT.

Wolverines and Marines in Red Dawn 2012

The movie is mainly about the group as a fighting unit and what that means, and about family. Jed's HEROIC WORDS about fighting for your freedom resonate and when they are repeated later, give weight and meaning to the movie. It's perfectly done in that respect. They have a focus and they stick to it. They keep it simple and it works.

suppressed M4A1 carbine

I loved that they have to upgrade the WEAPONS! They start out with TEC-9s and upgrade to AKMs, AKMSs, and AKMSUs. Thanks to IMFDB who sees and knows all. When more Marines show up, it reminds you and drives home the fact that the Wolverines are just kids by contrast, which makes what they have done that much cooler.  The difference is clear, not just in the uniforms versus plain clothes but also in their weapons. The Marine Corps Sergeant Major Andrew Tanner (played Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and and the other two Marines "are armed with suppressed M4A1 carbines" (pictured above). Impressively scary gun.

Vehicles with mounted guns in Red Dawn 2012

The movie bristles with weaponry and wrecks lots of VEHICLES. [SPOILER] When the group charges the detention area in vehicles with mounted Heavy Machine Guns and Mini Guns, they haven't shown you them preparing the vehicles, they just appear in them, and it gives the ambush the maximum visual effect.

The moment we were all waiting for and wondering about was when the battle cry "Wolverines" would be uttered. Since most people have seen the first movie, the novelty of them being just high school students who become an effective fighting unit was gone. The originality of idea of the battle cry being the name of their high school mascot as a call to power could not be unknown to audiences who love the first movie, so what could they do? 
 

Wolverines battle cry moment in Red Dawn 1984

Well, what they did was amplify that moment (in action and in context) and EXEMPLIFY BRAVERY, so that it not only satisfies, it pumps you up. Click the image below to watch the scene but don't ruin it for yourself if you haven't seen the movie yet. They delivered on that moment and then some by having it not be the moment they have an identity and become a force but more of a crowning victory moment later giving it maximum impact.  You knew they were the "Wolverines" before you sat down so they wisely made it celebratory rather than branding and you know it's coming, so you cheer with them.

Wolverines battle cry moment in Red Dawn 2012

They have a little fun with the Marines being older (I won't spoil that). I was glad they didn't miss that opportunity. It serves to highlight what youth can do, and the movie is all about that too—It celebrates that and should be a hit with high school students. Time will tell if this movie has the cult popularity of the first. In keeping with true Action Movie Essentials they also have plenty of fun with the ONE LINERS. When the Marine Sgt-Major says "It's a good day to die." Jed jokes "Marines don't die—they go to hell and regroup." I'd never heard that so I loved it, and it drove home what they were up against.

They don't delve much into character development or relationships beyond the two brothers and that helps. When Jed says "You fucked with the wrong family" it's another example of how they kept it in the forefront that these were ordinary citizens in extraordinary circumstances.  Seeing the family station wagon in use for attacks was surreal.

The whole movie I was expecting them to kill one person. They seemed to hint at it several times, but when it finally happens they still manage to surprise you (the GNARLY KILL that makes you flinch) and to remind you that the stakes are high. Their keeping it simple story wise was spot on. When the father says "I want you to go to war and stop this piece of shit or die trying" (I may not have that quote exactly right) you know the setup and they do this very early on (as they should) so you are invested. In all the ways the first movie was good, this movie was better considering originality was off the table.

  Josh Peck and Chris Hemsworth in fitigues in Red Dawn 2012

Kudos to the writers Carl Ellsworth and Jeremy Passmore (2012 screenplay), and to Director Dan Bradley. For his directorial debut, it's a winner! He's had a distinguished career being Stunt Coordinator and Second Unit Director in some really great Action Movies. I hope he was as satisfied with it as I was! Oorah!  (Besides being a Stunt Coordinator for all three Bourne movies, he also did stunts in an amazing list of movies. Some of my favorites from the list: Crank, Monkey Bone, Disorganized Crime, Heathers, and Re-Animator(!). The list of movies he was the Second Unit Director on is even more impressive than the Stunt Coordinator list. I hope he directs more Action Movies because the man KNOWS the Action Movie Essentials

Another standout was actor Josh Peck of Nickelodeon-TV-Show-Drake-&-Josh fame. He stole the show there and he steals it here. Really? Against BAD ASS Action Figure Chris Hemsworth? Well, there is the blue-eyes-in-the-moonlight scene but since Chris Hemsworth blue eyesChris keeps his shirt on, yeah, Josh steals the show.  Chris was really good too, though, and I have to mention the "Enough Talk!" guy.  Not since Gary Oldman screamed "Eve-ry-one!" in The Professional has someone scared the crap out of me just by yelling.  The Actor's name is listed simply as Boyuen. He's done mostly TV until now. If he can do that in such a small scene, I'd like to see more of him (in Action Movies of course).

And I'd like to see more Action Movies like this one that satisfy my Action Movie EssentialsIt's what people are always talking about when the mention the awesome 80s Age of Action. Gotta have as many of them as possible. If you are in doubt, refer to the Bible of Awesome Action, Predator.

 


Aaah, the Riddick!
November 22, 2012


Riddick 2013 movie poster  Snitch movie poster


Snitch

Snitch stars Dwayne Johnson, Jon Bernthal, and Benjamin Bratt. So glad to see Jon Bernthal again! Since he left The Walking Dead and left a huge Bad Ass vacuum . . .  that show just hasn't been the same. The movie seems intense. Brought to mind 1998's underrated Black Dog (starred Patrick Swayze).  (Poster released 12/22/12.)

 



gangster squad movie poster wide banner

 

Gangster Squad
November 21, 2012


Before the showing of Argo I saw a trailer for Gangster Squad. The cast blew me away:
  • Sean Penn
  • Nick Nolte
  • Robert ("T1000") Patrick (the liquid metal Terminator from Terminator 2: Judgement Day)
  • Josh Brolin
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Emma Stone
  • Michael Peña (End of Watch)
  • Anthony Mackie, and
  • Giovanni Ribisi . . . but the trailer was just as good!  Can't wait for this movie (11 Jan 2013). Love that Old Hollywood look like L.A. Confidential from the 1940s and 50s. That movie catapulted the careers of Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce, who were equally good. I wonder who will be able to steal the show from the likes of Sean Penn and Nick Nolte? Such a strong cast!

The Director and Writer are young and fresh off TV. To me that makes for big drama since the way TV is written they have to keep you wanting to come back after the commercials. The Director did Zombieland.

Gangster Squad drawing of Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie, and Michael Pena
 


The ExpendaBelles?! :(
Women in Action Movies: What Real Women Want to See and
the Only Way This Works
November 18, 2012

I woke up to a Google Alert that @TheSlyStallone is going in a new direction with The Expendables 3. Here it is:

“I got two great ideas,” Stallone said in the interview. “I believe the Expendables … they’re broken up, they’re shot, they’ve had it, they’re done. We have to hire new ‘us,’ we have to find new Expendables, but there are none! They do not make people like us anymore, they are all like robots. I know I can go out and hire five young guys, but they’re the new army, they got drones and technology, but they’re not like us. Remember in Tropic Thunder? Just like Those Guys!

Or, there’s another combination, and it Involves girlfriends. Say I got divorced, say I am married to Sigourney Weaver, then she gets half the Expendables, she gets what I call the Expendabelles. I know I need help and I have to go to her. And I’d like to have like Michelle Rodriguez, Gina Carano. It’ll be something like that, very different. The main thing is it can not be about us! We’re done. We need to bring in new blood. And you bring in geeks and girls and women, people who are different.”

First idea. Let me say that a well-chosen cast of unknowns could easily pull this off. Young blood, strong hot men, YEAH, we want to see that. Start with bodybuilders or martial arts masters or fighters who are not Actors, or find the Actors who just have not gotten a big break. Just pick young, good looking martial artists (worked for Dolph Lundgren!). I don't agree that there are no men like them. Just no men like them being given, and sticking to, the right Action Movie material (scripts). They may not have the repair manual but they have the tools and the equipment.

Second idea, and I choked at the word "girlfriends"—OMG NO! I know everyone has been saying if the old guys can do it, let the old Action Movie actresses (Sigourney Weaverr as he chose to list) prove they can 'do it' too.  NO. We don't want to see that from a "girlfriends" angle. Keep the domestic drama out of it! If the women are not equals (another Expendables team but all female EQUALS not wives), it won't work.  (No drama, unless Mr. Stallone wants to make the last Rambo movie a love story—women would love that!) (Or maybe it would work if The Expendables are training their daughters? We teach our sons to fight but not our daughters who need self protection more.)

So who do I think am I speaking for? Well, always first for women in general. Then, for the true Action Movie Freak.  Surprise! This site is by a woman. Are you leaving? Please don't. And I'm an older woman at that. (Anybody left reading? LOL) Yeah, everyone assumes I'm a twenty-something guy 'til they meet me.  I've been around since Chuck Norris movies were in theaters. So, what do female Action Movie fans, actually, I can make that: what do ALL FEMALES want to see in Action Movies?  The same damn thing you do! It's as simple as that. 

Master Sergeant Tina Robinson  Master Sergeant Tina Robinson powerlifting  Air Force Master Sergeant Tina Robinson
(Air Force Reserve Master Sgt. and powerlifting champion Master Sgt. Tina Robinson)

We relate to the Action Movie Hero, never to the bimbos you put in there to pump you up and make you feel manly (MJW :-X). Anything you can do, we think we can do it too. Women do the impossible every day all over the world. What would be the worst possible thing is if they put now-soft old women in these roles (like Helen Mirren in Red who really couldn't run or handle that gun) and think we give a shit or buy it. We don't.

We want Vasquez! Don't tell me Men and Women don't equally adore her.

Aliens Vasquez

We bought 'it' with The Expendables and The Expendables 2 because: 1. AWESOME ACTION, 2. you still look the part, 3. we love you so damn much, and 4. we're starved for the type of Action Movies you made great (containing my Action Movie Essentials). Yeah, you might break a bone, but it's not laughable when you fire a gun, or throw a punch. So, no slender-armed Michelle Rodriguez or Milla Jovovich (as awesome as they are) waify model types. Those are the fantasy FOR MEN. No jiggling in scanty CosPlay outfits.  I'm thinking Gina Carano too but bigger. Gina, please stop promoting the 'sexy'  image. Strong rong is sexy. Sexy just loses their respect. Speaking of which . . .

What we want is R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and the only way to get it is to do the same thing with the same amount of clothes on. No shorts, no cleavage. Here are the only two ways I think an all-female Expendables group would work:


1. Battle of the Sexes

An all-female Expendables (Expendabelles is a horrible name, sorry, but it really is) team is hired to do the same job as the all-male team. It could play with gender stereotypes and we would watch to see who gets the better of the other team, but they would have to be equally strong, equally believable. It might be funnier if they were younger women who were strong as hell (like put-the-fear-of-God-in-you strong). We want to see that!

2. Payback's a Bitch

Inside every woman is a Warrior (even one doing your dishes right now, maybe especially them). You can't say women have not traditionally been strong. One word: Amazons. They cut off one boob to aim their bows better . . . (sound of crickets). No arguments. I thought not. (Boudica. Joan of Arc.)

Okay, so a new image for girls and women. The fully clothed soldier. A strong cheerleader WTF?! Meet Anna Watson. Be anything you wanna be grrrl! The Equal. Show us that. Let us beat up some weaker bad guys (let me)! We want to win for once without your help. Be our own hero. Come to yourr rescue. We want to fight a real fight. We want to not use feminine wiles or garb and get the job done the same way you would. We want to outsmart you and get there first, then we want to trash talk it to your face 'til you cry.  We want to rate you on a scale of 1 to 10 and trivialize your existence. We want you to prance around in skimpy clothes. We'll pay to see that.

Not since American Dreamer has there been ANYthing even close. As far as a physically strong woman character, that movie was a joke (at the time I loved it) but it had a glimmer of hope because she stood up for herself. We want to get the better of you . . .  I think you hear us knocking and I think we're coming in! It's just a matter of time. (Payback's a Bitch is a great Action Movie title LMAO!)

STRENGTH is the universal language of Equality. To quote Enter The Dragon: "It is STRENGTH that makes all other values possible. Nothing survives without it."  Especially not Respect. Strength works for men, it will work for women. It's the same. We are people first, female second.

Hey Females, Get some!

pretty girl flexing her biceps  Jessica Biel with muscles

_______

Other Thoughts
A new team, with distinct personalities: an explosives expert, a sniper, an IT expert, etc., just like a male team. I can see that "The Right Stuff" team-march-out moment now . . . (looked so cool most recently in Act of Valor).

Another thing I'd love to see is a James Bond double-oh Agent Academy (training for Secret Agent status) with hot young male and female Agents!  (worked for Starship Troopers)

 


Your Action Movie EDUCATION
November 16, 2012

I've seen some awesome marketing tools but this one blows every other one away! Created to promote the release of The Expendables 2, the creators of this video KNOW their Action Movie Classics (LOL snake punching sums up what is missing in today's Action Movies). Their "This is what you want; This is what you get" mantra is SO on the money. I was tired of feeling like the only one who wasn't satisfied with superhero movies. Yes, they're good movies but they don't satisfy. They don't  meet the Action Movie Essentials. AT LAST, incontrovertible video proof of why . . . (Subscibe to TheActionMovieArtist's channel for more!)


 


indie Action Comedy: Unlucky Stars movie posterUnlucky Starss . . . old school smackdown
November 8, 2012

Tomorrow's Action Movie stars may come from humble but kick-ass beginnings like this indie film Unlucky Stars.  Synopsis: "When Peru's biggest Action Film star and Jordan's newest rising talent find themselves pursued by a notorious bookie, a couple of private investigators are forced to choose between their job and their conscience."

Their twitter bio for @Unlucky_Stars is "Because Old School Action needs to live on . . ." Amen to that!

Enjoy . . . and keep an eye out for Unlucky Stars, set for completion by the end of the year.

(Help them promote the film by following them on twitter and liking them on Facebook.)

 


Starring
Dennis Ruel Writer-Director of Aciton Comedy Unlucky Stars
Dennis Ruel

as "Josh Whitman"
Writer-Director @hapkiden
Shawn Bernal star of indie Action Comedy: Unlucky Stars
Shawn Bernal
as "Kyle"
@ShawnBernal
Ken Champaco star of indie Action Comedy: Unlucky Stars
Ken Quitugua
as "Ken Champaco"
Roy Chen star of indie Action Comedy: Unlucky Stars
Roy Chen

as "Vic"
Sari Sabella star of Action Comedy Unlucky Stars
Sari Sabella
as "Sameer Yousef"
Sam Hargrave star of indie Action Comedy: Unlucky Stars
Sam Hargrave
as "Sam"
Vlad Rimburg star of Action Comedy Unlucky Stars
Vlad Rimburg

as "David Palatnikov"
Fight Choreographer/Fight Coordinator/
Action Director and Stunt Coordinator
Emanuel Manzanares star of indie Action Comedy: Unlucky Stars
Emanuel Manzanares 
as "Rich"
Stunt Coordinator
Jose Montesinos star of Action Comedy Unlucky Stars
José Montesinos

as "Tomas De La Cruz"

Steven Yu
as "Stan"
Giovannie Espirity star of Action Comedy Unlucky Stars
Giovannie Espiritu
as "Amera Flores"
@giospirit
 

Skyfall 
November 7, 2012

Skyfall is showing at 0:07 AM tonight in IMAX. Got my tickets and can't wait!  It seems to be widely considered the best Bond yet. As well it should be.  And it's 2 hours 23 minutes. LOVE that! I think Daniel Craig looks to be a little beefier this time around. (The look on her face says it all.)  Hope I can forget the trailer so it doesn't ruin anything for me (other than the straightening of his cuff after a dangerous moment—which I wish I hadn't see until it happened in the movie. Love that suavy-ness!)  It's great that Bond moviess are still the pinnacle of the Action Movie genre.


 


The Man with the Iron Fists 
November 3, 2012

Action Movie Freaks will thoroughly enjoy The Man with the Iron Fists. It's Action-packed! Everyone in it seems to have a turn or two starring in an all-out fight scene.  I was especially curious about Dave Bautista as "Brass Body" and wow! "Hulk smash!" The violence seems nonstop but there is a story to follow. As I watched the fight scenes (most of which involved wire work) I thought, I know purists complain about wire work, but Action Movie Freaks eat it up as long as the moves seem original, the fights are bloody, and the weapons are cool. In that respect, this movie is seriously over the top!

The other person I really wanted to see was what kind of role (and power) Lucy Liu's character would have as a Madam. I don't want to spoil anything so let's just say her character more than delivers female empowerment that has nothing to do with sex or being in a brothel. The fight choreography is so incredible that you can hardly take it all in (Corey Yuen is the "Action Coordinator".) I would have to see it at least three times to feel like I caught it all. The costumes, the settings, the moves: When Bautista appears, you can't take your eyes off him! I thought the idea of a brass body might seem cheesy but, hell, who needs brass? The man is seriously strong!! 

RZA does the narration—his voice is perfect—and his acting is understated, which is very effective in garnering sympathy for his character.  I love the vision in this movie. It's a fantasy for sure, a fractured fairy tale of sorts (some of us do dream of violence). I feel like we have seen so much, it's hard to imagine that movie makers will bring anything new that can impress us, and yet, they keep on doing just that! I loved all the detail, the period it's set in, and all the characters. So often when a movie has this many characters, it loses something. Not here.

According to Wikipedia: "RZA described the film as an homage to the martial art films of the Hong Kong based Shaw Brothers." "[Eli] Roth said that RZA had 'imagined every tribe, every fighting style, every costume'." Like the myriad characters in this movie, the weaponry is not only interesting but wildly varied and plentiful! How about a four-barrelled rump gun? Rapid-fire cross bows, a revolver that fires but also has a spinning double blade, interlocking yin-yang axes, a suit of armor with spring-loaded knives of every size and in every location, and, I almost forgot, Iron Fists . . . just to name a few. All the characters use all kinds of things as weapons. There's even a scene where the blood trails in slo mo like the streamers on sticks the dancers use.  Also according to Wikipedia (from an article by Bryan Alfaro for The Eastern Echo), the blood trails spell the Chinese word for "revenge" and RZA "declined to subtitle" it for English audiences. That's a shame. The Chinese character and then the English word next to it would have been cool. The scene has a huge impact anyway, but that would have been a little like "BAM!" (I didn't include that fact when I first wrote this, but after I slept on it, it haunted me.)

Speaking of "Bam", this movie has so many visually arresting scenes it could knock an eye out. The opening credits, first fight scene, and the feel and lyrics of the opening song really set the tone for the movie. RZA's character of the humble blacksmith is compelling, and there is a lot of philosophy here. "When we see through the veil of the color of skin, we are all the same."; I was surprised that his character was not featured more, but the movie was stronger for it. There was a WHOLE LOT of talent, and he showcased it and let everyone shine. And even though the story was about what went on around the blacksmith and how that affected him, it was more a portrait of "Jungle Village" in a feudal time and a fight over gold. That made it more interesting.

I don't know enough about the Shaw Brothers movies to say this was a fitting tribute, or if anything was 'copied', or enough to spot a specific homage, but the love shows through, stylistically, aand as pure entertainment, there are plenty of surprises and the pacing's great! I have to mention Grace Huang who was "Gemini Female". She and Bautista stood out a little, but only a little because everyone was really good.

 


Woo-ping Yuen trilogy! 
November 2, 2012

This article from twitch reveals Woo-ping Yuen aka Yuen Wo Ping is set to direct a trilogy starring a FEMALE (yay!) lead as an assassin. It's a revenge story and, according to twitch, is "being touted as The Matrixx meets Wall Street." I love that idea because it marries Action to dressing well. You know you love it when the Bad Ass dress well. How cool is the scene in Face/Off when Nicolas Cage's coat flaps in the wind, and you know you've always wanted that Nehru-collar black coat that Keanu Reeves wears in The Matrix. Dressing well made Takers that much cooler.

Nicolas Cage Face/Off coat flapping in the wind at airport Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Nehru-collar black coat

cast of Takers

 


Happy Halloween! 
October 31, 2012

MARVEL ZOMBIES artwork by Arthur Suydam.


 



Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning
October 28, 2012

If you're a fan of the Universal Soldier series, this trailer should have you over the edge with excitement. Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning is directed by John Hyams who also did Universal Soldier: Regeneration and Dragon Eyes.  You could watch it before it hits theaters, but you should watch it in the theatre too. I'm gonna wait for it on the big screen Nov. 30th, and hope the limited engagement includes Miami. Click through to YouTube and watch it full screen. As Dolph says "Spread the word . . . that's an order!"

 


RZA Rising . . .
October 26, 2012

The Man With The Iron Fists should be a lot of fun to watch. The soundtrack is great. It has Corey Yuen as the Action Choreographer (that alone is enough for me) and it stars 
Dave Bautista @DaveBautista
Jamie Chung @jamiechung1
Russell Crowe @russellcrowe
Pam Grier @PamGrier
Cung Lee @CungLe185
Lucy Liu @LucyLiuOfficial
Byron Mann @Byron_Mann
RZA!
@RZA and Rick Yune

If
this article is an indication of RZA's mind set as a Director, it should be interesting to see how those one-take scenes look! It must be really cool to be involved in a picture with someone with such a creative vision.  Even if it's cheesy, it should still be visually and thematically cool as hell.

I think Dave Bautista would be a perfect Marcus Fenix (his voice is great!) for a @GearsofWar movie. I am adding him to the Bad Ass list and hope to see more of him in films. He's coming out as one of the top 3 characters in the "Untitled Chronicles of Riddick sequel" with Vin Diesel and Karl Urban. Is there a better word than WOW? Holy wow!
 


ALEX CROSS
October 22, 2012

I'm a big Tyler Perry fan, and yes, I will also see a movie that has Jean Reno and John C. McGinley in it for sure, but going in, I wondered if Tyler Perry and Action would turn out to be a strange mix, whether he would pull it off convincingly, and what he would bring to the process.

Tyler Perry as Alex Cross

Tyler Perry's a remarkable man with a keen understanding of what is important in life, and sure enough, this movie was Action, but it was also Tyler in the best ways. The wisdom of his mother and her role in his family are central to who his character is. How often does that happen in an Action Movie? (Loved seeing Cicely Tyson!) Although for most of the movie I couldn't forget it was Tyler Perry, like I couldn't not see "Jack" from LOST, in the final scene when Alex Cross came back home and stared at his mother through the screen door, all I saw was the character. When someone transcends their identity in a movie, it's a very special thing. The last time it happened for me was Chris Brown in Takers. I forgot it was Chris Brown . . . I think when the acting's really good the emotion of the scene reaches you on a primal level, you connect to the character, and forget they're acting. In the end, Tyler Perry was just Alex Cross.

Alex Cross movie posterAs Tyler Perry movies often are, the movie was very emotional, but also surprisingly suspenseful. I was afraid the torture parts/sex scenes would be uncomfortable, but it was handled without seeming gratuitous or degrading. And as is Tyler's signature, there are lessons taught without being overdone. In that way it reminded me of Romeo Must Die. You come to care about the central characters a lot in a very short time. Intellectually, it was interesting too how good Dr. Cross is at his job, and how this played into what happens.

In the Action scenes, Tyler Perry handled himself well. I know he's a big man, but I thought that maybe he wouldn't be convincing as a cop. Maybe I didn't think he'd be tough enough? I didn't think he'd be able to sell the intensity, but he was good even in the fighting scenes (although they were, at times, the typical, chopped-up direction that makes it hard to follow the Action). Overall, he was more than good at everything.

The characters and the dialogue were also above average. There were only two 'wait-a-minute moments'. First, why would they let the convoy that was in danger enter the blockade they established to prevent what happened from happening? You would think they would want them anywhere but where the killer knew they would be. And second, is a policeman really going to conspire openly to frame someone from the police station?

I would recommend the movie if you like the actors in it.  It's a little light on Action with a capital "A". Maybe I wouldn't say that if the big explosion was a little less fake, or maybe I'm saying that because it was so emotional. In any case, it had enough of my "Action Movie Essentials". The camaraderie between Cross and his partner makes it a Buddy Movie for sure, and they left it open for a sequel.

The character is from the novels by James Patterson. They made two other Alex Cross books into movies: Kiss The Girls and Along Came A Spider. According to Wikipedia: "James Patterson confirmed in an online newsletter from his website that this will be the 3rd Alex Cross movie. It will be based on the book Cross. Although no studio has as yet picked up the treatment, it is being shopped around (Paramount is the only studio that has not been included) and Lloyd Levin has signed on as producer. Tyler Perry has been signed on to play Alex Cross, and Rob Cohen has signed on to direct the film."

Matthew Fox was good and his scary character was a big reason I wanted to see the film. Edward Burns was good too, but mainly just cute.  (P.S. I swear that Jean Reno was 50 pounds heavier in his first scene than in his second . . . anyone else notice that?)

 



End of Watch
October 20, 2012

There hasn't been much in theatres. One standout was End of Watch. Although it was entertaining and very moving (tell me you weren't choked up at the end), it was not technically an Action Movie. The filming within the film and the way it was shot were creative. If a cop was filming in real life like that, I would think they won't be paying attention when they should and it would put them and their partner at risk. Glad they didn't use the obvious ending and, instead, flipped it.  Jake Gyllenhaal was Oscar-nomination (win) great. The shaved head look made me want to see him in a movie with Jon Bernthal (Shane from The Walking Dead).  I hope to see a lot more of Jon Bernthal. He appears with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in Snitch, due out February 2013.

 


 

Actor Profile ERIC ST. JOHN
September 29, 2012

Kudos to Actor Eric St. John for hustle and self-promotion, and for his mad fighting skills shown on the video below.  I am running this profile to help promote his Action Movie Out For Blood. If this clip is typical of the movie, it's Action all the way! Eric St. John has a sweet face, so if you don't see the physique in motion, you wouldn't know he definitely has some boom-shaka-laka going on!

Just watch the video, then tell me how much you'd love to see his Action Movie—or tell him, he's on twitter: @actorericstjohn, and Like him on Facebook.

 

He has also been a Writer, Director, Composer, and the Sound Department on his own short films. Here's his bio from IMDB:

"Eric St. John is an American actor residing in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts New York. Some of his Television and Film credits include General Hospital, Passions, It's a Miracle, True Beauty This Night, Afterlife, The Boarder, The Shifting, and Being American.

As a model Eric has worked for clients including Nike, Chrysler, Men's Fitness, Roar Clothing, IndyMac/OneWest Bank, and Corbis.

He is a highly skilled Martial Artist and won the Gold medal in the Black Belt Division in Taekwondo in the Jr. Olympics. Eric is trained in Muay Thai (video), Taekwondo, Jeet Kune Do, Kali, Boxing, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He is also skilled in Japanese and Filipino based weapons.

Eric St. John studies with acting coach Bruce Glover  [indelibly memorable as "Mr. Wint"—on the right—of Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint in Diamonds Are Forever] in Los Angeles."

Hope his career takes off and one day I can add him to my Bad Ass list. 

Eric St. John is represented by Torque Entertainment. Love this from their site:  "Torque manages clients in motion pictures and television--specifically writers, actors, and directors who embrace change and push the envelope. Artists with unique voices who communicate by instinct, not by formula. Artists with passion and craft."  Sounds like the recipe for Action.



Pacific Rim
September 28, 2012

Stumbling around I found this movie: Pacific Rim (July 12, 2013).

 @GraceRandolph from Beyond The Trailer describes it as a "Godzilla on steroids movie."  The plot is summarized by IMDB as ";When an alien attack threatens the Earth's existence, giant robots piloted by humans are deployed to fight off the menace." I'm game!  The trailer is supposed to debut before The Hobbit.

Guillermo del Toro says it will "hopefully make people revert to a state of almost childhood abandonment. Abandon at the fantasy you're proposing."  That is JUST the mindset for Action Adventure!

Bonus. . . the cast has a Sons of Anarchy double whammy!

This fan art by ~RYANISFLYIN totally captures spectacle, the wonder of abandonment, and a sense of awe.  Great work!

Read more in this interesting article.  Watch the Comic-Con footage of the panel.

 


 

Mark Your Calendar for October 13

If you're in Miami, here's a fun local event for a good cause:

ComicED and Emerge Miami are teaming-up to organize the 2nd annual SUPERHERO BIKE RIDE. Dress as your favorite superhero or create an original superhero costume. The ride meets at the University of Miami Metrorail Station @ 10:00am on Saturday, October 13th. A costume contest will be held before the ride. Prizes include: bike accessories donated by Mack Cycle and a gift certificate to Mac’s Comics. The ride will stop by Miami Children’s Hospital where superhero volunteers will pass out free comic books to kids and parents at the Michael Fox Family Center and be making room visits to children.

To RSVP, click here.

 


'Expendabelles' announced
September 28, 2012

That's not the name*, it's just what it's been dubbed.  This came from HitFix (they know everything first).   I hope they learned the lesson of SUCKER PUNCH. The only way it will work is if they use truly strong, properly clothed women. If it's just another jiggling cleavage cluster of pretty pin-ups, it will be a joke . . . or just another Charlie's Angels.  It's such a great opportunity to get real respect for women's ABILITIES and not their attractiveness or sexuality.  I can only hope it's not in the wrong hands.

*Apparently there are two all-female Action movies in the works, and that really is the working name of one of them.

 


Action Icon Awards year 2
September 24, 2012

Only just discovered the "Action Icon Awards" through twitter @ActionIconAward.



This is GREAT!  From their website:  

"In today’s entertainment industry, the imbalance of jobs based on gender is startling. In the Stunt Industry alone, male performers receive far more employment opportunities than their female counterparts. Additionally women are discriminated against once they reach the age of forty, while stuntmen continue to receive work well into their fifties. In general, stuntwomen have fewer opportunities and face more challenges finding work in the industry. Therefore it is imperative that more female stunt coordinators be hired for jobs in order to create more opportunities for female stunt performers as a whole. 

It is for this reason the Diamond in the RAW Foundation has created the Action Icon Awards & Stuntwomen’s Coordinating Conference, so that these women can attend seminars that will educate them on aspects of stunt coordinating and provide them with the enhanced skills, knowledge and confidence to succeed in a male-dominated industry. Additionally, These unsung heroines risk their lives every day in order to help create some of the most memorable moments in film, television and commercials. And therefore should be recognized for their noteworthy contributions in the entertainment industry."

Aaaaaah! R.E.S.P.E.C.T. which will only come from strength. Something to counteract the Grindhouse fad. We need more female Action Movie Writers and Directors too! Ric Meyers told the audience at ActionFest 2011 that the origin of Action Movies (kung fu) was to amuse housewives. How far we've come, but we have a such long way to go. The age of powerful women in Action Movies has yet to begin. It had a false start with Red Sonja (1985), but the audience is out there for truly strong women in equal (or higher!) Action Movie roles.

What a wonderful journey it will be to truly strong female domination of Action Movies . . . and the WORLD!  LOL And to paraphrase Denis Leary yet again (cause I LOVE this) "I think you hear [us] knocking, and I think [we're] coming in."  We're kicking the door down when we do.

 


RED DAWN remake coming (21 Nov 2012)
September 22, 2012

I love movies with this kind of premise (your whole world changes). The original is on Netflix instant.
 


 

 


DREDD 1D 2:15 AM
September 21, 2012

My expectation-to-delivery ratio on Dredd 3D was 5 to 1. Don't waste your money seeing it in 3D because it delivers nothing 3-D wise worth the $4 difference. If I had seen it in 2D I would still have been disappointed in it as an Action Movie, although as a Drama or a Crime Movie, it's fine.

Karl Urban is good. His voice is cool, but the dialogue was a little hard to hear. I wish he was beefier for the role. I just think futuristic Super Cops should have super physiques, and he wasn't Bad Ass enough for what should have been an ultra-violent Action Movie. Olivia Thirlby's character Anderson was who the movie was about (more than Dredd), and at least you rooted for her a little. I liked the female character even though she was weak. I understand now from the plot standpoint why she was. Beside some gnarly kills and a creative weapon, there was just a lot of talking and walking. When fired, the gun does deliver a wallop—one shot and down, and it has several cool features, but it wasn't enough to save the movie. I can't believe they didn't have the gun see around corners.

Just when I thought all they were going to use the slo-mo for was showing the drug effects, they used it briefly for a few kills, but the CGI showed and ruined it :( Oh well. I was really hoping they would use the slo-mo to stretch out the violence to its goriest and cheesiest Action Movie best to where the audience would be groaning, half in appreciation and half grossed out. YEAH! Not even. The worst killings were right at the beginning. They had gnarly kills but not enough blood. It was like they didn't want to show stuff.  OMG that's what we came for! The guy is judge, jury, and executioner. We wanted carnage, not just a body count. I'm going to ruin the movie for you and show you the best shot, which was this one where you could see (barely) his teeth. And no, the blood was not worth the 3D.

By the time the other Judges are hunting Dredd, the movie's dragging. What the plot really needed was some introduction of Dredd's character as outside the fold, so to speak. A bad ass who thinks he's better than all the other Judges (because he is and because they are bad. but we don't know that yet), so that when the opportunity presents itself for them to betray him, you are shocked and you root for him. It had a little of that him-against-the-others feel but there was no why. The 4 of them turn on him for $1M credits but there's no frame of reference for that. We need the camaraderie and dominance and the cheesy one liners.  There were two maybes:  "It's all deep end" and "hot shot"..

Although the movie had a video game look because most of the action took place in hallways, it had very little tension. The scenery, sets, and machines disappointed me somewhat for lack of creativity but it was probably more because of a lack of budget.  I'm not knowledgeable on budgets but, as a comparison, Blade Runner had  a $28M budget in 1982 and  Avatar had a $237M budget in 2009. This movie had a $45M budget. I'm sorry to say it won't be a cult classic and I don't think it will do well, but I hope it recovers the costs.

They didn't use the building layout to any maze-like puzzle-solving purpose. The lab that was a fortress had no payoff. It had all this surveillance and security and in the end they get in through a thin (described as much heavier) rusty metal door with a keypad code. The one saving thing in the ending was the way that the explosion didn't happen.  They should have faded completely to red . . . that would have been prophetic.

 


DREDD 3D 11:30 PM
September 21, 2012

Now that Dredd 3D is finally here, I HAVE to see it at midnight. STARVED for Action Movies! Really wish the summer had included G. I. Joe: Retaliation but we'll have to wait until March 2013. Psyched for the shooting scenes. Hope the blow stuff up and have at least 2 gnarly kills.  The slo-mo should be cool in 3D, so I hope the $15 admission price is worth it. (Great art by Jason Brashill.)

 


Indiana Jones Movie Marathon
September 15, 2012
Saw all 4 Indiana Jones movies today ($25 but $5 credit on our AMC Stubs cards). We got a full-size poster and a lanyard that was too cool. Didn't want to take it off.  The crowd clapped after each movie. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, everyone was waiting for the part where it looks like Belloch eats a fly. The crowd favorite was clearly the third movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. A few skeptics/Shia LeBoeuf haters said they thought the auditorium would clear out after the third movie, but at least 85% stayed.

They gave away more posters (2 sizes), a Blu-ray set (this movie marathon is to bring attention to the Blu-ray release on Tuesday), some playing cards, and a comic. 

I noticed in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom that Dan Aykroyd was the man who helps them on the plane. If I knew that before, I had completely forgotten. You never really see his face full on, but his voice is unmistakable.

What makes these movies so special for me is a three-part formula, Stephen Spielberg's direction, Harrison Ford's acting, and John Williams' scores. The scripts were good too, but they all had different writers.

WRITING CREDITS
RAIDERS
Screenplay-
Lawrence Kasdan
Story-George Lucas and Philip Kaufman

TEMPLE OF DOOM
Screenplay-
Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz
Story-
George Lucas

LAST CRUSADE
Screenplay-
Jeffrey Boam
Story-
George Lucas and Menno Meyjes, Characters-George Lucas and Philip Kaufman

CRYSTAL SKULL
Screenplay-
David Koep
Story-George Lucas and Jeff Nathanson, Characters-George Lucas and Philip Kaufman

I like the first script, Raiders of the Lost Ark, best.

Sitting there watching them back to back like that, they really are stylistically cohesive.  In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, in the opening scene when they pull Dr. Jones out of the trunk, his hat falls on the ground. As he bends to pick it up, instead of showing him put it on, they show the shadow of him putting it on.  All the little things like that 'make' the movies.

The only thing I didn't like was a little too much unbelievability in the last one. Surviving an atomic explosion and hard landing in a refrigerator?! Also, the waterfalls were too much for them to survive three times, and the swordfighting on the all-too-level jungle floor was just silly. Still, it had so much to enjoy that it didn't matter. What made the last one was Indy's personality. It was nice that they closed the book, so to speak, with he and Marion getting married and it turning out he has a son.

The thing I enjoyed the most this time around was in The Last Crusade when they blew up—I mean like BLAM!—a whole truck full of Nazi soldiers close range with the side tank gun in the big tank chase scene.

It definitely made me want to buy the set with the extra hours of footage, even if I saw it already.

Lucky fans in New York got to have a Q & A with Karen Allen (from @amctheatres on @instagram)

 


killzoneTony Jaa NEWS
September 11, 2012

From Asian Movie Pulse's Facebook page today via twitch Sept. 3rd: Tony Jaa has been cast in Sha Po Lang 2! I don't see it on IMDB listed under Sammo Hung, but the article is there in IMDBPro from Beyond Hollywood who credits twitch.

Here is a fight scene from Sha Po Lang aka S.P.L. aka Saat Po Long aka Kill Zone.  Adding Tony Jaa to Action of this intensity blows the mind!  This I can't wait for. It's like the best instrument in the hands of the master. Sammo Hung starred in the first movie, but maybe he'll let Tony will be the star of this one. Tony Jaa finally steps out of the shadows (so to speak). The Ong-bak movies are like nothing I've ever seen. And Sammo Hung, well, this could be a torch passing of sorts—I say that because they are both so athletic.  Sammo Hung's moves were astonishing in Eastern Condors.


 


 

DREDD 3D will be out Sept. 21st
September 9, 2012

This is not a movie I will be waiting in line to see on a Thursday at midnight, meaning there is not a lot of anticipation built for a remake starring Karl Urban, but don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Karl Urban fan.  I was MIGHTILY disappointed his sidekick is a slight blonde, though.  WTF I wish she had been a barrel-chested, broad-shouldered WWE mammoth type. Think how much fun it would have been just to watch her clothesline someone. Think female version of Ryback. What might that look like?  Meet Master Sgt. Tina Robinson of the Air Force Reserve. She's a powerlifting champ.

 

Or how about University of Georgia cheerleader Anna Watson? She can bench press 155 pounds, squat 255, and deadlift 230.  Action Movie audiences love strong women and we haven't had one like "Vasquez" from Aliens in decades!  I hope the fact that Dredd's Rookie "Anderson" is of slight build pays off in some entertaining way, and is not just an element of unbelievability.

 


Raiders in IMAX
September 7, 2012

To promote the sale of the set of all 4 movies on Blu-ray (available September 18th) Raiders of the Lost Ark and the other 3 Indiana Jones movies are back in theaters.

Raiders 9/7-13 in IMAX and a movie marathon of all 4 movies on Saturday morning 9/15. Your $25 marathon ticket includes a poster, lanyard, and $5 bonus bucks for AMC Stubs members. 

If you go to the movies and are not a Stubs member you should reconsider. AMC Stubs is a great program because you accumulate points toward cash that you can use for tickets or for snacks. It's saved me a ton of money.  I think $12 a year was easily covered in the first month for me.

 


New Computer!
September 5, 2012

Thank you to BNC Consulting for building my new computer (he's rebuilding his website so no link just now). I have had a recurring computer virus since April—I threw in the towel and started from scratch, including legal software (fingers crossed). So far, it's lightning fast!  Been without a computer for a week (~ jitters~) so, can't wait to catch up.

 


Sad news about Michael Clarke Duncan
September 3, 2012

I loved him in The Scorpion King.

 


True Religion
August 22, 2012

The Expendables 2 gets it so right.  As Terry Crews explained at ComicCon:

"One thing you gotta understand about the Action genre is that it's like a religion.
It really is. You get your beliefs from these movies.
You get what's right and wrong from these movies.
You get your inspiration from these movies."

Preach!

My take on The Expendables 2 in one word: Celebrate! Read more . . .

 


All-female Expendables?
August 21, 2012

Planet Fury contributor Superheidi wrote a list of older female Action stars she would like to see in an all-female Expendables in this posting:

So They ARE Making An All-Female 'Expendables'? Can They Be OLD, Like the Men Are?

Her list actually came from an earlier post that discussed the notion that the men don't think they're too old to do this stuff, so the women shouldn't buy into thinking they're too old either. That's a huge double standard that men over 60 can still be Action Stars but women over 40 can't?!

It tied in with this photo posted by The Rock on his Facebook page. When I saw it, I thought "Why isn't Gina Carano wearing the same neckline shirt as him?!" I was so disappointed she was showing cleavage. Women will never be taken seriously as Action Stars if they have to be "sexy".  After seeing that this All-Female Expendables is being produced and written by men, I had to leave a comment (below the photo)  . . .

Why aren't women writing/directing/making this happen? If men write it, it will be sexist or sexy (don't know which is worse). I am still barfing over Sucker Punch getting "empowerment" so wrong. I love that the women would be older and I love your list, except I don't think Helen Mirren fits. I would have picked Gena Rowlands because I loved her SO MUCH in Gloria and bring back Jenette Goldstein for her kick-ass portrayal of Vazquez in Aliens. If strong women (any age) are going to make Action Movies, the women have to be fully clothed or it won't work. Even showing cleavage should be out, like in the picture (unless the men show cleavage too LOL as if).

To be taken seriously, they have to be people first, women second. Women in battle don't wear revealing clothes, they wear uniforms like every other soldier. It would be great to see older women getting the better of a competing man's team of mercenaries. I feel there is a HUGE untapped audience for strong women in Action Movies. I though 1984's American Dreamer was going to start something. Was I wrong! It can't happen fast enough for me; it's long overdue. We need to make radical feminist, positive, strong role models in film for young women to counteract the focus on looks and sex appeal that permeates EVERYthing. PLEASE, something to undo the damage of movies like Machete. I really want to see physically strong women in Action Movies. Just recently in Disney's Brave, I loved hearing the line that everyone needs to learn to fight. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it:  We teach our sons to fight, why not our daughters? They are more at risk!

 


Vincent Thomas brige from To Live and Die in L.A.

 

Tony Scott: Gone at 68
August 20, 2012

Woke to the tragic news that Action Movie Director extraordinaire Tony Scott committed suicide at age 68. He left a note in his car and jumped off the Vincent Thomas bridge around noon yesterday. When I looked up a photo of the bridge, I recognized it from To Live and Die in L.A.  ("The green bridge that Chance jumps off of is actually the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro.") I always thought how ironic it was that the character of "Ruth" tells William Petersen's character "Chance" (pictured above) that if he had any balls he'd jump off the bridge, like to kill himself—without knowing that's what he does for fun! (Pre-bungee-cord-jumping craze, it looked like Chance just has a rope tied to his jeans—no bounce.)  We may never understand why Tony Scott took his life. Only he could really know, but what a way to go!  At times like these it helps to think of this: "If you could explain crazy, it wouldn't be crazy." Yes, it's crazy to waste so much talent. What a loss!

Tony Scott left behind a great body of work. Just recently I decided to add (at some point) Action Movie Writers, Directors, and Fight Choreographers to the website as Bad Ass categories and Tony Scott and Michael Bay were the reason why: For all the hours of enjoyment they have given me. Not just from the first time I saw their movies, but from the thousands of hours I have had them playing in the background, listening over and over. Of course, everyone will feel the loss for his family. The Action Movie community (yes, there is one: ActionFest) is like a brotherhood. At ActionFest 2012 they showed True Romance because it was "'Chick Norris' Honoree" Gina Carano's favorite movie. I wondered then how many more great Tony Scott movies would we have to look forward to.  This will make us appreciate the movies he gave us, and in being reminded that life is uncertain, we should appreciate every moment, celebrate the positive, and the gifts and talents of people like Tony Scott.

____________________

(I found out that the stuntman who did the jump in the photo of William Petersen was Dar Robinson.)

 


Movie Buzz with Peter Rallis @RallisP
August 19, 2012

Movie Buzz is a YouTube channel that covers what's coming up featuring all the latest trailers.  RallisP is also on twitter @RallisP and has a website coming soon. He also occasionally reviews movies. His on-point review of The Dark Knight Rises, includes some funny minor grousing "It's been eight years . . . I mean, get yourself a new car." I think "The Bat" was the new car. A new car would have competed with that. It evolved!

 


 

The Expendables 2 will "Man you up!"
August 19, 2012

Yes, you can go home again. The Expendables 2 delivered what we wanted. Honestly, we could have just watched them shooting stuff with one liners "Shoot something!" That's all we want. Plot schmot! Holy crap on the boy toys and firepower! And super satisfying on the explosions, chases, killcount, gnarly kills, skills, camaraderie and dominance . . . everything in my Action Movie Essentials below except the Whiner, but lots of funny moments without one.

and. . . Raiders will be in IMAX 9/7-13!
"The Hovitos are near. The poison is fresh—three days. They're following us . . ."

Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark Indy is chased by the big stone ball
 


We have entered the . . . Stallone Zone
August 14, 2012

Somewhere in the back of my mind a wild monkey paces back and forth, screeching and gesturing. When will it be time to go see @Expendables2 !?  Even our anticipation for The Expendables cannot match this.  The previews are Rambo-ish in their explosive intensity, and it brought me to this realization:  Something very BIG was missing from my Action Movie Essentials.  I had:

>At least one BIG, beefy, good looking HERO
   - Who's on the Right Side
   - With Skills
   - Who Makes a BIG Entrance

>Explosions and Vehicle Chases

>Big Toys
   - Gadgets
   - Weapons
   - Vehicles

>A High Killcount

>The Gnarly Kill

>Trash Talking

>Camaraderie and Dominance, and . . .

>A Whiner

So what was I missing?

>The RUSH! 

The #1 Action Movie Essential is that you leave the theater feeling pumped up! That's the reason we go to Action Movies. Like with Fast Five: When we left the midnight showing everyone was high on Action! It's the sum total of all of the above. You gotta have that feel-good hero ending. Blow shit up. Push somebody around. Leave feeling juiced.

The Rush is the 'Stallone Zone'. It's where even the Action Figures want to be! Everyone should fall in line behind @TheSlyStallone. He knows what Action Movie Freaks want. This movie will be the ultimate proof (if his remarks on The Expendables DVD extras didn't convince you) Sly knows Action! 

If you want more on The Expendables 2 . . . check out Craig Zablo's StalloneZone.

 


@Expendables2 RED, WHITE & BOOM!


 



Halo 4
August 5, 2012

AMC's First Look has been showing Halo 4 and it's so exciting to wonder how it will feel to play that way, "blurring the lines between motion picture and computer game".  Guess we'll all find out November 6th.  The books are incredibly exciting! Love this super short glimpse (photo above) which shows the size of a truly strong Spartan< next to the troops. From Machinima Prime:  "'Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn' is a live-action digital series that takes fans back to the terrifying beginning of the Human/Covenant war, when the Master Chief inspired a young cadet who would eventually become a leader aboard the UNSC's greatest vessel: the UNSC Infinity." 

The Halo series gets the emotional part so right—and rocks the Super Soldier concept!


 


Total Recall (2012)
August 4, 2012

Total Recall (2012) was very disappointing. I felt like they recalled watching Blade Runner. We really didn't care about Colin Farrell's character like we did about Arnold's. They didn't spend any time making us care, they just jumped into the whole resistance thing. I felt like I was watching a tribute to Blade Runner with the "New Asia" clear raincoats and aerial of umbrellas in the rain and neon lights reflecting in the streets. As amazing as the visuals were, they lacked the originality of Blade Runner and the fun of the original Total Recall where there was something new and cool at every turn like robotic drivers, x-rays before travel, and a 3-boobed lady. You expected that they'd keep the 3 boobs, but I wanted "Consider that a divorce." Kate Beckinsale did such a great job at being relentless that you needed something action-aggressive and cheesy at the very satisfying moment she is killed, and instead we got silence. She was his 'wife' and she tried to kill him for bleep's sake! 

If you're going to do a total recall like this, at least make it like Predators, and understand what made the original version great. They left out what made Total Recall so much fun and instead focused on story. There were never any moments of uncertainty (except the stand off which you knew was b.s.) of what was reality and what was not. The original had that stumbling-around-in-total-weirdness unreal feeling. In this one, he had a dream, period. The novelty of Arnold leaving messages for himself was lost as was everything else. The visual above sums it up.

It's hard to imagine that you would like this movie if you never saw the original. Watching the original years later, the effects seemed campy and low-budget for all their originality, but it was Arnold, and the story was fun. This wasn't fun yet it wasn't dark.  I felt like I had seen all the action (and everything else) before in The Matrix (fighting scenes), Minority Report (clear computer 'screens'), Star Wars: Episode III - The Phantom Menace (falling car), and in Colombiana, Fast Five, and The Incredible Hulk (rooftop chase).  The overcrowded slum with its modular honeycomb feel was unique. The elevators were cool; 'The Fall', not so much. It feels bad to dislike something that so obviously had a lot put into it, but it didn't satisfy. It was Action without the . . . I was going to say Action Movie Essentials, but it had most of those. What it didn't have was the most important: muscles and in-your-face attitude. Well, no worries. It looks like The Expendables 2 is popping at the seams with that. Consider this a Total Flop except for Kate Beckinsale. They should have given her the cheesy one liners, like "Consider this a divorce!" She fought like a man! Boo-ya!! At last. Women fighting like men. Women fighting each other like men. Overall the movie is worth seeing, just for Kate. Sorry Colin. If you keep doing Action movies, no more confused-Mr.-Nice-Guy roles. I wanted to see his other true Hauser self. The contrast would have been fun, oh well.  I bet he would be the best-ever Whiner!



The Dark Knight Rises
July 22, 2012
 

For me, there are 3 levels of Action Movies (all good):  1. It was good,  2. I would pay to see it again, and  3. I can't wait to pay to see it again (and again).  I would definitely pay to see this movie again. Overall, it was exciting and great fun and delivered lot of the cool stuff you expect in a Batman movie. Read more  . . .

 


 

'86 HEAT remake
July 21, 2012

What a perfect combination:  Awesome fight scenes, gambling, and a cool/tough guy character once played by Burt Reynolds, this 2013 remake of this Buddy movie Heat (1986) will star Jason Statham and be directed by Brian De Palma! (MOMENT OF ZEN!) Read more from @DianaLVariety

 

The Dark Knight Rises
Gotta see this in true IMAX. I missed the opening weekend opportunity :( Ooooieee! What kind of Freak  missing the opening show at midnight?!   



The Amazing Spider-Man
July 20, 2012
FINALLY
got to see The Amazing Spider-Man.  It was a very good movie. You really felt for the character of Peter Parker. Andrew Garfield did a great job of making it believable.  When he used his web-slinging powers and went for a swing through the City, I remember thinking "How do they do that?" It was the best yet. It was showy but without seeming like it was 'for show'. Movies have gone beyond our wildest imagination in what they can make seem real. The only time I noticed reality versus CGI was here and there with the lizard (and mainly just from a distance). They did a great job with that as well.  The face and the fact that it could speak were hilarious but frightening!  Imagine Godzilla with eyes like that and speaking to us. 

Overall, the movie was perfectly paced. It never dragged. It never lost the suspension of disbelief. I absolutely loved Martin Sheen and Sally Field.  It was very heartfelt, and because it was so well done, I didn't really mind that there so much story/drama in the beginning before the Action started.  We needed to know the character's story first.  I think because this was Andrew Garfield's first leading role, we accepted him more as Spider-Man and were willing to give him a chance. I'm a big fan of the unknown actor for major roles (as opposed to the major star 'vehicle').

This movie reminded me what it is to be human, and how important imagination is.  It gave an amazing sense of home and family, and I never minded the romance (compared, for example, to the romance in Zombieland, which brought the movie to a screeching halt like a wrong turn).  I felt the movie was properly focused on Spider-Man and the villain was minimal.  I loved that there were a lot of comic-book-style poses and moments that seemed like rapidly turning pages.  And although they did it quickly, they also did a great job of showing his progression of learning how to use his powers and tools.  I would see it again.  Emma Stone was cute in personality, and, of course, looks. She was girl-y (young, innocent) but intelligent and brave. She risked her life, but obeyed her father. Her character really fit the story. It allowed Peter to be more of a hero. The ending sequence (which they showed in the preview) of the tower apparatus falling would have been so much more impactful if they didn't reveal it.  I swear I am going to stop watching previews!  Here is Peter baby-stepping his swinging abilities.  I can't praise the movie enough for capturing the feeling of an ordinary guy becoming a superhero, and taking us all along for the wild ride!


 


Total Recall . . . August 3rd
July 20, 2012
Leading into The Amazing Spider-Man was the long trailer for Total Recall.  TMZ already spoiled the 3 boobs thing with a photo but I was glad that even though the trailer sets up "Consider that a divorce", they didn't say it.  They did show the shape-shifting face though.  I am really excited about the look of this movie. Haven't been this excited since Blade Runner, but I am hoping that Dredd 3D (September 21) will also be good in creating a unique look. I suspect it will just be the violence that makes that movie though. I have already read some critics complaining it's too bloody/gorey.  Sheesh! Go watch a chick flick then.

Total Recall features some fierce-looking guns like this one above and below, the Chiappa Rhino 50DS (photos from IMFDB):


 




 

The Dark Knight Rises
July 18, 2012
Lucky South Floridians can see this at a real IMAX theater! (They are still showing The Amazing Spiderman today and tomorrow but after that, it's all about Batman.)  This trailer shows EVERYTHING. I wish they wouldn't do that.  Imagine how cool the football field collapsing would be if you didn't know it was coming. Like blow-your-mind cool.  So . . . this time around I am as excited to see Tom Hardy as anything. Gary Oldman and Anne Hathaway are a big bonus as well. The  strong supporting cast (love Morgan Freeman :D) helps me abide Christian Bale.  There are very few actors in Action Movies that I don't love but he is one of them.  I can't get over the lisp. Batman should not have a lisp.  It's just that it doesn't fit the suave idea I have had of him since I was a child. Anyway, enough of my issues.  Christopher Nolan will surely deliver lots of excitement.  I can't help but wonder what Michael Bay would have done . . . The Dark Knight Goes Boom!  LOL As for me, Fort Lauderdale Auto Nation IMAX here I come. (That's right, there's no IMAX Theatre in Miami!!!)



 

 

CZ 12 aka Chinese Zodiac
July 15, 2012
Jackie Chan KNOWS Action Movies! This trailer shows Jackie doing what Jackie does best— incredibly creative moves, and always some fun thrown in.  All we can do is marvel.   He appeared at @comiccon to promote CZ 12 and was as gracious as always saying he would love to do a movie with Stallone (Expendables 3?). Stallone and Jackie fans should be SO lucky!

 


The Man With The Iron Fists
July 28, 2012
This movie has a lot going for it. It's visually exciting and that makes me happy. I like what looks like a limited color palette (gold/mustard, black, and that kind of flat 'Asian' red that has a hint of brown).

The "Action Coordinator" is Corey Yuen, and the preview looks like he's pulled out all the stops. There will no doubt be several jaw-dropping moments.  I will be most excited to see the scenes with Cung "Ninja Toe Kick" Le* @CungLe185 and @DaveBautista (he's sooooo Marcus Fenix!). As an Action Artist, it must be exciting for Yuen to 'paint' with brushes like them! 

I hope Lucy Liu's role is more than 'pretty with knives and gymnastics' because judging from the preview, this movie is NOT going to be kind to women. The sex will probably be like the sex in Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown:: gratuitous for the sake of proving virility.  I get it.  But someday, the tables will be turned . . . just saying . . . Payback's an Iron-Fisted Bitch. What's my problem? This stuff hurts women in real life. Doesn't get in the way of me enjoying a great Action Movie cause I identify with the (usually male) lead characters and not the 'props', but I'm here to  say women want to see strong women in the lead roles. I am hoping the exploitation is balanced by the lead role of Lucy's character. I see Pam Grier is listed in the credits as well. 

Rza's vision as Writer/Director in the style of the Shaw Brothers. I'm afraid to say it, but how can this go wrong?! 
___________________________

*How Cung Le described his new kick at ActionFest 2012 when he received the "Best Fight" Award for Dragon Eyes.

the man with the iron fists movie poster
 


 

The Dark Knight Rises
July 23, 2012
So, this is a mini anti-Christian-Bale rant.  The first movie was really good, but Christian Balee had some kind of lisp—WTF—which was such a wrong note for me that I couldn't get past it. It kept bringing me out of the experience (knowwhatImean?). I don't want my second-favorite superhero to sound like that. So I was not thrilled about the second movie since they kept Bale. Then, when Heath Ledger died (I was a huge fan since 10 Things I Hate About You), it was too soon to see the movie. I guess I just I didn't want to remember him that way (clown face), so I still have not seen it. (I have heard nothing but good things and that it was his greatest performance, but still not ready.) 

Now with Tom Hardy starring in the third, it looks so good I think even Christian Bale cannot ruin it for me. (I can't believe they gave Bale an Oscar for The Fighter. I love Mark Wahlberg so I tried watching it on Netflix, but Bale was so annoying, I just couldn't get through it.)  I guess after the famous "Christian Bale rant" on the set of Terminator Salvation, I just lost all respect for him. (Gotta love Kevin Brueck—check him out on YouTube. He would be so great in an Action Movie as an over-zealous, macho Bill Paxton in Aliens type character. Somebody please read this and cast him . . . )

 

 

The Amazing Spider-Man
July 22, 2012
The Amazing Spider-Man previews look better than previous Spiderman movies.  There is a midnight (12:01 AM July 3rd) showing on Monday July 2nd, IMAX 3-D of course. Got my ticket! This bridge shot with cars dangling on spiderweb should be worth the price of admission alone.  I can't wait!

 


Dredd
July 14, 2012
"I am the Law!"  Dredd without Stallone?! Yeah, but . . . Karl Urban!  Or as it's pronounced in Australian Kirl Irbin. A pity the helmet hides his oh-so-pretty face but that makes it more mysterious and bad ass . . . I   watched the trailer before I read the blurb below about the slow motion drug. I have to laugh. Great excuse for TONS of (now un-)gratuitous slo-mo.  It looks like a cross between Blade Runner and The Raid!  I think it's going to be everything the Action Movie Freak is looking for: shamelessly glorified violence and ridiculously impossible feats!  I smell a cult classic.

Plot summary from IMDB: "In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury, and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO. ";

Check out the first trailer:

 


Check out Hark.com
July 11, 2012
"The world's largest collection of sounds, sound clips, and quotes." Here are the Top 20 Action Movie Quotes from the 1990s.  Hark is a great source for all your favorite Action Movie Quotes!  I am happy to present this fun blog entry from Leslie Martinka of Hark.com..

GUEST BLOG SPOT:

Top 20 Action Movie Quotes From The 90s
"The 90s brought us extreme action movies where actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone blew up buildings, shot insanely huge guns, would save the day for mankind, and said lines that will forever remain etched in our minds. Below are the top 20 action movie quotes from the 90s in no particular order, found on Hark."

1.  Universal Soldier “You can't run from this war, soldier. Not under my command. Huh?
You've grown weak. You should have taken your... Medication.” 


You Can't Run From This War Soldier


2.  Total Recall
(1990)
“Consider that a divorce.”


Consider That a Divorce



3
.  Under Siege (1992)
"Another cold day in hell." 


Cold day in hell

4.  The Last Boy Scout (1991)
CORY: "Go stick your head in that speaker and you'll be screaming play that funky music white boy!"
JOE: "The screaming part I believe."


Play that funky music

5.  Armageddon (1998)
"Guess what guys! It's time to embrace the horror!
Look, we got front-row tickets to the end of the earth!" 


Embrace the horror

6.  Demolition Man (1993)
"Hurting people is not a good thing! Well, sometimes it is...
But not when its a bunch of people looking for something to eat!"

 

Hurting is not good

7.  Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
“Hasta La Vista Baby.”

 

Hasta La Vista, Baby

8.  Starship Troopers (1997)
"You kill anything that has more than two legs. You get me?"


With more than two legs


9.  Braveheart
(1995)
Aye. Fight, and you may die. Run, and you'll live... At least a while.
And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days
from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies
that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom.”
   


Fight, and you may die. Run, and you'll live



10.  Lethal Weapon 3
(1992)
“Diaper rash makes you cranky, huh?”

 

Diaper Rash Makes You Cranky, Huh?

11.  The Fugitive (1993)
"The fugitive's name is Doctor Richard Kimball!" 

 

The fugitive's name is Doctor Richard Kimball!

12.  Saving Private Ryan (1998)
 “We're here for a Private Ryan.”


We're Here for a Private Ryan

13.  Con Air (1997)
“Define irony. A bunch of idiots dancing on a plane to a song
made famous by a band that died in a plane crash.” 


irony


14.  The Rock
(1996)
“Welcome to the Rock.”


Welcome to the Rock



15.  Ronin
(1998)
"I ambushed you with a cup of coffee."


I Ambushed You With a Cup of Coffee

16.  The Matrix (1999)
"I know Kung Fu."


I Know Kung Fu

17.  Face/Off (1997)
"What a predicament!"


What a Predicament!

18.  Falling Down
(1993)
"Yeah? And now you're gonna die wearing that stupid little hat.
How does it feel?"


Yeah and Now You're Going to Die Wearing That Stupid Little Hat

19.  Mission Impossible (1996)
“Everybody has pressure points, Barnes. You find something
that's personally important to him, and you squeeze.”


Everybody Has Pressure Points, Barnes

20.  Goldeneye (1995)
“Now pay attention 007."


Now pay attention 007.

 21.  And even though this list is for 20 quotes, we have to add in a 21st because we couldn’t
leave out the President’s speech from
Independence Day (1996)


We Will Be United in Our Common Interestsssssterestssssssssssss
___________________________________

About the GUEST BLOG SPOT Author
Leslie Martinka is the marketing manager for Hark.com
the world’s largest platform for
pop culture sound bites.


The 3 Best Avengers Moments
June 7, 2012
While I wait to go to the midnight show of Prometheus,  I have to get down three things about The Avengers. I saw it a second time, and I will see it a third. For me, there are 3 BEST moments.  I think the best moment in the movie is "Hulk . . . SMASH!", but the moment that best represents what the movie means to everyone, and it's total awesomeness is when they all form a circle. THAT MOMENT is like the culmination of all your childhood comic book fantasies. To see them all brought to life, together like that—it's everything you hoped for.  The third best moment, Action-wise is another Hulk moment (Let's face it, Hulk DOMINATED) . . . OH YEAH. This moment:

This particular frame. I remember thinking "It doesn't get any better."  The Incredible HULK! If you don't see this movie, you'll be kicking yourself the rest of your life.

 



 

It's all about PROMETHEUS
June 3, 2012
We have waited so long for this! There is no way the visuals will disappoint—it's going to be beyond anything so far and I am too thrilled to be able to see it in IMAX! (3-D, meh, but bring it on.) 

RIDLEY SCOTT!  I feel like Chris Farley when he interviewed Paul McCartney on The Chris Farley Show on SNL.

"Remember when you made that Alien movie?"
"That was awesome!"

.

Saw Snow White and the Hunstman
June 2, 2012
Oooieeee... I wanted to have it be that Kristen whats-her-teeth was this fierce heroine, but she stumbles about much as she does in the forest of the Twilight series while the camera seems to linger on her open mouth and red lips, fascinated by her two big beautiful chicklet teeth. Yes, she's pretty but she looks exhausted and dirty almost the whole movie. The child version of Snow White is supposed to have "hair black as night", but is a redhead.  Why?!  Pale and pretty though Kristen may be, she really was NOT my idea of Snow White.

One of the seven dwarfs wants to kill her. Yeah!  It was SUCH an off note. (shaking my head)  The dwarfs are just weird and dumb, and all that talent is wasted. I have never seen worse performances by all these talented actors.  The makeup and hair, etc., was so odd it was off putting. They looked like a weird gang of rejects from a Vegas circus show.  They had no time to take care of Snow White or vice versa.

The faeries were like naked mini Gollums, with NO wings!  Any little girl will tell you faeries are supposed to be beautiful (we all expect Tinkerbell).

Snow White kisses two men, or should I say two men kiss her while she is under the spell. Again, Why?!  It's confusing who she is supposed to have the romance with. The audience was clearly there for Chris Hemsworth but not much happened, even at the end.  You can't really call it a romance. And it certainly was NOT an Action movie.

I am tired of movies where they seem to throw together elements from other movies that they thought worked. They put these things together like we'll be satisfied with a knock-off  and forget we already saw that.  A little Avatar, a little Lord of the Rings; it really was a walkabout movie. There was none of the charm of the Disney version. The visuals were the only worthwhile thing.  I thought Charlize would be great but it was a Pacino-worthy performance. At one point, I wondered if instead of "Action" the Director was saying "Shout". Everyone was shouting. Shouting is not acting. It got old. At the end the men were dead, then alive again. Snow White should have been killed.  And instead of having an ending, the movie just kind of stopped.  meh.


 


Snow White and the Huntsman
May 29, 2012
starts on Friday! I love this darker version, which makes Snow White a warrior rather than just a poisoned Princess waiting to be awakened by a Prince. What excites me the most, besides the visuals that include armor, magic, and pagentry, is the stellar supporting cast including Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, and Vincent Regan. I noticed a lot of the actors in this movie have a heavy Action Movie background, and some are new but their careers seem Action-oriented.

New ACTION Actors?
There seems to be a few burly, Celtic types as "Woodsmen", among them, Duncan Meadows, who is listed as Body Builder Double in Director Chris Cunningham's short/excerpt "flex" [which is 'artistic' (meaning visually beautiful, conceptually interesting, but most times strange)].  He's got that "What the hell you lookin' at" stare down pat and the physique to back it up. Hope to see more from him.

Another Woodsman, newcomer Julian Seagar looks like a Brendan Gleeson type. Love that! (I see people are already throwing Braveheart comparisons around.)

Another interesting (maybe just to me) note is that actor Duncan Casey is Bahamian (a fellow Nassauvian). Maybe he does not hold Bahamian citizenship but he was born there, and we say that if you are born there you will always be Bahamian. Duncan is listed as an an uncredited Ravenna guard, and also I see he will be an uncredited MI6 Agent in the upcoming Skyfall.  He's 6' 1" so keep your eye out for him.   

 

 MORE FILMS TO WATCH!
On the films lists for a lot of the British actors in Snow White are a great many interesting-looking Action Movies (released and as-yet-unreleased) I've never heard of: 

The Lost Future (2010) TV movie with Sean Bean
Welcome to the Punch (2012) Action/Adventure/Crime starring James McAvoy
Last Days on Mars (2013) SciFi/Thriller starring the unfortunately-named ("Laws yes!") Tom Cullen
300: Battle of Artemisia (2 Aug 2013) Action/Drama starring Casino Royale's Eva Green in this prequel
World War Z (21 June 2013) Action/Drama/Horror starring Brad Pitt and LOST's Matthew Fox
47 Ronin
(8 Feb 2013) starring Keanu Reeves
Ra.One
(26 Oct 2011) Action/Adventure/SciFi a big-special-effects, big-budget, Indian superhero movie


Men in Black III
delivered on what you expected. Buddy chemistry, alien killing, strange guns and vehicles, comedy and light science fiction.  Loved the Lady Gaga and Howard Stern jokes. I don't think 3-D did a thing for it, though, except jack the ticket price up to $17!    


 

 

1st trailer for SKYFALL
May 21, 2012
LOOKS GREAT!


 


BATTLESHIP
May 18, 2012
Aw, YEAH!  This movie satisfied like The A-Team did!  It was all about the 'toys'. Director Peter Berg knows what he's doing! He hit all the sweet spots, from a hot chick (you know 3/4 of the guys are in love with Brooklyn Decker), to a re-creation of a hilarious viral video of dumb-criminal-break-in footage, to a soccer game, Berg gave the Action Movie audience everything it wanted.  This movie also brought in a love of the sea, and a great respect for actual Battleship veterans who knew how to operate these giants of destruction. n.

You couldn't help but wonder how they would be able to make it like the board game, but they did it! They also used the ships like characters in the movie, and taught you a little along the way.  For those who didn't know, the Battleships are all retired. The star of the movie and the show stealer, the USS Missouri (and 3 others) are now museums. What was once amazing engineering is now old school. Now we have Destroyers—It was great that they used these mega ships first, and then saved the 'best' for last.  Hats off to Writers Eric Hoeber and John Hoeber for getting it all right.  We learned the names of the ships, like they were people we cared about.  It was especially meaningful that there was a Japanese (JMSDF Kongo class destroyer) destroyer, the Myōkō, destroyed along with the Sampsonson. And in order to defeat the Aliens, Alex must work with the Japanese character, Capt. Nagata, rescued from the wreckage.  They overcome their soccer incident differences to help defend the John Paul Jones, and defeat the Aliens.

This movie has such a great ending that it was like a crescendo of firepower. Even seeing the crazy shot of all the weapons fired at once did not detract from seeing it in it's proper place and time, probably because it was so damn exciting you completely forgot anything except what was going on at that moment. The movie could not have been more of a tribute to the Battleship.

From Wikipedia:

"USS Missouri (BB-63) ("Mighty Mo" or "Big Mo") is a United States Navy Iowa-class battleship, and was the third ship of the U.S. Navy to be named in honor of the US state of Missouri. Missouri was the last battleship built by the United States, and was the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan, which ended World War II." 

Talk about history!

If you're looking for an incredibly entertaining movie, this is it! Take an average guy you can relate to, a beautiful girl you wish you could be with, a funny YouTube video you saw, flawless and fascinating alien creature special effects, plus alien ships that are even better than the above-average video game, a lot of Titanic big-ship destruction action, wicked alien weapons that destroy even more than the Transformers, the kind of detail that fascinated you (if) when you built ship models, a pop princess, a couple of funny nerds, a few hot guys (uniforms!),  some real-life heroes, some history, beautiful scenery, destroy everything you can including skyscrapers, and add the fun of one of your favorite kick-ass board games.

Now watch this trailer and know that, for once, they did not put all the good bits in a 2-minute mini movie, this is the tip of a massive iceberg of destruction and hellfire that rains down on everything in this movie. THEY. BLOW. SHIT. UP!  And if you're a pissy little whiner who didn't like this movie, I bet you can't remember any movie you liked since Heat. Yeah, yeah, that was 1995. This movie ROCKED the boat!  And no, no one said "You sunk my battleship" because SINKING is for LOSERS!  LOL

 

 


Follow the production of SKYFALL
May 17, 2012
jamesbond007
is the YouTube channel for videos from the making of Skyfall. One of the videos show the artwork for the 50th Anniversary of Bond.



Starship Troopers showing
May 10, 2012
Oh, to live in Hollywood tonight!


Casper Van Dien
posted on his FB page that tonight is the 15th Anniversary of Starship Troopers, and according to Nuke the Fridge there will be an "unprecedented cast & crew reunion screening at the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood."  This was a short-notice event but there was a link given for tickets ($17.50).

He's off to Germany, so lucky fans who attend FedCon (May17-20) might get a chance to see him (he's on a panel twice).

 


May 3 The Avengers: "Suit Up!"
Lucky Me!  I got the day off from work to go to the Ultimate Marvel Marathon:  6 movies staring at 11:30 AM, beginning with Iron Man (2 May 2008), then The Incredible Hulk (13 Jun 2008), Iron Man 2 (7 May 2010), Thor (6 May 2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (22 July 2011), and ending with The Avengers (4 May 2012), at 12:01 AM.  The Avengers exceeded everyone's expectations and definitely delivered your money's worth and then some in entertainment value. It might have been the Tony Stark show except that Hulk dominated ALL. The one liners were great, and there were jokes throughout.  The Gallaga joke was really good.  The name calling, "Point Break", was too good! There was a flying battleship!  I don't want to give anything else away, just go see it: "Suit up!" 

 


here

May 2 Call of Duty: Black Ops II
The Call of Duty: Black Ops II reveal features the Quadrotor that was previously seen on the FPS Russia Show
. . . OH YEAH!  

 

 

 


Apr 30 Riddick (3) News, plus . . .

Vin Diesel's Facebook page offered this news of the untitled Chronicles of Riddick (3) and possible future movies!

"The studio said the earliest they could release the new "Riddick" is in January... was hoping for 2012... but, it's on the horizon.  /smile
P.S. I think they are liking what they are seeing... haha, cause they asked when both Underverse and Furya would be ready to make and release... haha... now that's a ways in the future but it is exciting."

 


Apr 28 Prometheus screencaps
WOW! This YouTube video from Prometheus6812's channel was so revealing, I had to make some screencaps (on my FB page)—I said I wasn't going to watch any more trailers but I couldn't look away!

 


Apr 27 SAFE was . . .
"Everything I expected"
, 27 April 2012 (10 out of 10 stars)
Author: stbsolo  from United States (off IMDB site)

"It's strange to rate this a 10, but I do believe those of you who like Statham movies will find this movie to exceed your expectations. This isn't really a 10 as compared to all other deserving 10s out there, it's [a 10] for people who like movies like this. You'll love it! ... Great chemistry, great villains, great action, and awesome plot. It also gets a 10 because it, unlike all of the other action movies I've looked forward to only to be disappointed with, actually delivered much more than the trailers and ads promised. So, my 10 isn't the sign of a cinematic masterpiece, but it's a sign of enjoyment, met expectations, and those who enjoy vegging out and watching action movies of Statham's brand will probably agree."

I do agree!  And since stbsolo said it so well, I quoted it here. I will see the movie again and write more in detail just HOW much I liked it but for now, GO SEE IT!  You'll be so glad you did.

 


Apr 25 After Dark ACTION

 

 


Apr 21 The Raid: Redemption
THE RAID
I finally got to see The Raid. SO MUCH anticipation.  I had seen the preview but I didn't read any reviews because I wanted to enjoy it as much as possible. [I loved seeing Iko Uwais in Merantau, where his (and everyone else's but especially Mad Koudal's) fighting skills were top notch.] I expected there to be some fighting, and with the SWAT team, more gun play and killing, so I was surprised how quickly things turned to shit in the plot, and that most of the team's weapons were taken out of the equation. Also, although it was a 30-story building, the story played out mainly on the 7th and 15th floors—kind of misrepresenting to me, numbers wise. Considering the unknown enemy numbers, I was surprised they went in with only 20 men.  We needed some build up for these "20 Elite Cops". Let us in on the plan (have a plan!). The more bad ass you make them, the greater/scarier it is for us when they are defeated.

THE FIGHTING
My favorite line in the movie had to be the warning about the character "Mad Dog" as "a wall of fists and feet" (and elbows and knees). Enter Yayan RuhianThis photo is from what I called "the 7th floor beatdown" of Joe Taslim by Yayan Ruhian. Yayan* and Iko are credited with the Stunt Choreography, and it's excellent. I would say this is the best fight, and I also liked the hallway fight with Iko against two men shot from above (it reminded me of the ax fight in The Transporter).   The final fight of two on one was a little long. I think the brother took too much of a beating to be that fresh and have that much left in him, also, they both had way too much spring in their step when it was over.  That takes away from the reality of it.  At one point (in the fight in the room with chemicals), the choreography really showed for me when Iko was going through the motions like a dance he was sick of doing.  It's probably hard to know when to stop if you're a perfectionist, and while the moves may be perfect, maybe the emotion in the scene suffers from over rehearsal. In the final fight, it was noticeable only a couple times—that's incredible given the duration and complexity! That scene was worth the whole movie. Any fault I find is just nitpicking because so much of it is at the 100% level, the 85% stands out more (know what I mean?).

There were plenty of gnarly kills. The knife through the neck, the flip (shown above) with the throat landing on the jagged edge of a broken door, a couple back-breaking stair/balcony falls. The final fight that become a blood bath. I loved the fist to the back of the neck about midway through—that looked like it really hurt. There was lots of close-range shooting and head smashing, etc. The movie was mainly machetes and hand-to-hand, but there was lots of creative beatings and escapes as well. Action Movie Freaks, however, want the Super Cop movies to pull out all the stops on weapons. I liked the improvisation (like with the propane in the refrigerator with a grenade) but where were the rest of the grenades, etc?  They had no bag of tricks. If Iko hadn't shot a hole in the floor, the movie would have ended very quickly.

It was a great waste of investing me emotionally in the movie to make the plot linear. After I found out about the brother, I kept thinking, "What if?" . . .

THE BROTHER
What if Iko's wife wasn't quite so pregnant, but had just come from the doctor telling her it's a boy. If they discussed names and Iko got emotional saying he always wanted to name a boy after his brother, that could bring up that the brother is missing. Now that Iko's wife is that far along in her pregnancy, maybe they could decide it's time to tell their families. Iko's character could then have called home to tell his parents the good news, and they could tell him that his missing brother had been spotted somewhere in the city, and urge him to keep trying to find him. Then, he could go in for the briefing on this big mission and see the photo he mentions (but they did not have a scene for) showing his brother as one of the two sidekicks for the henchman they were going in after (rather than have it be a surprise). This would really have made The Raid have added danger and meaning for Iko, and we would be on edge wondering if and when the brother would turn up, and whether they would be enemies, or reunite to get out alive. If they had  flashback of some bad deed and tied it in with the brother's defining changing moment, maybe a payoff on a behavior pattern that he breaks?

Like Merantau, there was a bit of the theme of someone's who's changed who can't go back home, but we want to know why not.

REDEMPTION
With what little we find out about why the Brother chooses to stay, the "redemption" element was missing. If he had done something bad/illegal and had fallen in with the wrong crowd, he could have redeemed himself by saving Iko and the others. Instead, he chose to stay.  So why was he there and where was the redemption?  And where was the cause for the 'Chief' to mount this attack himself?  I got it that he thought taking out the bad guy might bring him something reward/recognition, but all hope of that was obliterated. 

Other than my suggested change above to invest me in the story (other than hoping a rookie gets back to his pregnant wife), I have only one observation that seemed an obvious oversight (?). If the armored car the squad arrived in wasn't bulletproof, why would the two SWAT team members stationed to remain outside just sit there like they're safe, when they are raiding the most dangerous criminal's building/home in the city?  That just seemed dumb.

ALL BEEF, NO BUN
Overall, I enjoyed it but it really was not what I expected in spite of trying not to expect anything. I guess I did just based on there being a heavily-armed SWAT team, 30 floors, and the bad guy speaking over the P.A. Just that led me to believe all of it would be a little more organized (the attack and the defense) and not so random or sparsely populated on each floor.  The capture of the crime boss so easily by the 'Chief' was anti-climactic. Considering how it was handled, it's a miracle any of the SWAT team came out alive, and there was no idea of what was going to happen with the internal corruption/power plays?!  Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of great fighting, but it seemed like a collection of bad-ass fights too loosely woven together and capped by a beginning and ending that were insufficient to make it work as a great movie.  Maybe they shot scenes to emotionally invest us but then cut them?  Merantau was so good at making us root for Iko Uwais' character that this movie surprised me by being so emotionally un-engaging.  You can beat people up all day long, but it's not satisfying unless they have it coming and we weren't given that hook.  Nobody learned a lesson here.  Pity.  If you agree, check out my Action Movie Essentials.

_______________________________
*Yayan (pictured above) also played 2 roles in Merantau.




Apr 15 ActionFest 2012 Awards
Yesterday was Day 2 of ActionFest. I saw the Trailblazing Stuntmen PANEL and the first part of the STUNT SHOW. I had to leave the Stunt Show early to see True Romance be introduced by Gina Carano. (Gina said she loves the fight scene in the movie. the I think every girl loves that Patricia Arquette takes a beating and wins in the end. It's a primal, powerful scene.) I also saw The Art of Fight on Film PANEL, Headhunters, and all of the AWARDS SHOW, which made me late for Dragon Eyes.

So, who got Awards?  Read more . . .



 

Apr 14 Helping Young Talent
At the screening of Sinners & Saints it was announced that ActionFest wanted to promote young talent (like Director William Kaufman).  These two guys emailed me last week to put something on the site for them, so in the spirit of helping young talent who want to make action movies, here is Brett O. Walker and Chris Coffel's appeal. Good luck guys! Hope to see one of your films :30 second, :20 minute, or feature someday at ActionFest. Their teaser really had a spirit of fun and their love of Action shined through.

 


Apr 14 Free Stunt Show, Movie, & Panels
Today's the best day to come out to @Actionfest! They offer 2 free PANELS (Trailblazing Stuntmen at 12:30 and The Art of Fight on Film at 5:00 PM), a free STUNT SHOW at 2:00 PM, and you can stay to watch TRUE ROMANCE for free at 3:00 PM.  Gina Carano will be introducing the movie (it's her favorite Action Movie). Hear behind-the-scenes stories and get insight into Action Movie making from:


 

Lifetime Achievement Award honoree
Mickey Gilbert
(that was him doubling Robert Redford to make the real high jump into the river that took our breath away in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)


"Man of Action" Award honoree
Jack Gill 
(that was him doing the driving that made Nicolas Cage look like a bad ass in the yellow Ferrari in The Rock, and fighting for Stuntwork to be recognized by the Academy Awards—an omission that signifies an ongoing prejudice on their part not shared by audience$!)



Fight Director of the Year
Award honoree
J. J. Perry 
(that was his fight choreography that made you so impressed with Gina Carano decimating the male cast of Haywire! His career is on fire, he's just finished Safe (Jason Statham), Get the Gringo (Mel Gibson), and Bullet to the Head (Sylvester Stallone)!

 



"Chick" Norris Best Female Action Star Award honoree
 Gina Carano
(that was her making all the men look weak in Haywire—about time! Loved her in Blood and Bone "Call me". And she played herself in Ring Girls! How bad ass was that?!)

 



Rising Action Star Award honoree
Cung Le
("that was him" you'll be able to say you saw first THIS YEAR at ActionFest in the Art of Fight on Film panel and in Dragon Eyes showing at 9:15 PM—Buy your tickets early because it's sure to sell out with Cung Le in attendance!)

 


Apr 13 ActionFest Begins . . .
OH: "Dude, man, what was that? That was so loud. Rocket Maaaaan. No way! That's way cool!" Last night, downtown Asheville heard @ActionFest knocking with the Rocket Man's entrance . . .  in a tux! The site of this year's festival opener . . . Read more.

 


Apr 7 ActionFest Brotherhood
Already impressed with the first wave of announced films, now it's paroxysms of excitement over the full line up, plus the panels, (plus the Stunt Show, of course), plus the yet-to-come surprises, plus the appearances by the Festival creators, jury, stars, and honorees.  Everyone associated with ActionFest is extraordinarily nice.  It's a little intimidating to be a hobby blogger in a sea of film professionals, but I learn SO MUCH!  It's great to see/share how happy it makes Aaron Norris to be able to recognize those he respects who make the Action genre what it is and what we love.  For just a few days, watching the Stunt Show, at the Panels, or at the Awards, just by being there as witness, you feel like a part of their brotherhood—plus you get to watch Action movies 14 hours a day for 3 days/4 nights.

 


Apr 6 ACTIONFEST Full Film List is Up!
Ooo-eee I almost wish I wasn't getting new tires on my truck first thing in the morning so I could put the full film list up, but I need them tires to drive to Asheville!  So I'll have to do it later in the day. Can't wait to watch the previews.  My friends Ty and Brenton at allouttabubblegum.com are going to be SO SORRY (so sorry) (so so so sorry) they are not going as True Romance is being shown and it's Gina Carano's FAVORITE movie AND she is going to introduce it.  I think we should have a suicide watch for Ty.  Dude!!!!!!!  And WAY MORE exciting news but read it there for yourself.  And get off the fence about going. You should go! If you go for even a part of it, I guarantee you won't miss want to miss a minute of it the next year.

It's coming at you: bam-ACTIONFEST!  (did that hurt?)

Check out AshevilleNetwork.net  for fun stuff to do in Asheville leading up to ActionFest, and it's a nice blog for area information :)
 



Apr 3 Wrestlemania XXVIII Finally!
Being in the nosebleed seats didn't dampen anyone's enthusiasm for this event: 78,363 a record-breaking crowd, was cheering from the moment I got there.  First "Uuuuuuuu" (for University of Miami), then alternating cheers for The Rock, and for (or against) John Cena. Apparently Miami loves Randy Orten and doesn't care much for Diddy.  The match between The Undertaker (HUGE crowd response when he entered) and Triple H was more emotional and engaging than the title match.  It really was good to see The Rock back in the ring but I prefer him in Action Movies. There was no way he wasn't going to win. You could tell just by the response he got when he walked out on the runway . . .  The cheapest tickets were $25. Advance parking $35 (day of $40). T-shirts went for $30. It surprised me how many people bought the 'toy' belts. 


 

The most fun part of the night was the musical number featuring Brodus Clay and  "Momma Clay and The Bridge Club".

 

 


Mar 31 Tomorrow! Wrestlemania XXVIII


 


Mar 30 Born To Fight Gina Carano
Gina seems like she could become as big a star as The Rock.  I would love to see her movie career blossom.  She's a great fighter.  Love the slow mo miss at 12:56.


 


Mar 25 I Wanna Be Andrea James Lui


Image taken from interview who got it courtesy of Bob Mulrenin www.wrestlingfigs.com

It can't be easy to steal the show from Trish Stratus, but Andrea James Lui did last year it at Actionfest 2011 in her limited-space (bathroom) fight scene against Boomer Phillips in Bail Enforcers. (And yes, she was there!) This interview from 3/23/12 with Andrea by canada.com's MMA Crossfire is really interesting for her insight and perspective on many areas behind the scenes in film, as well as hearing about her incredibly well-rounded (and then some) career path. The article really conveys what it's like to be an Action actress—the life of an actor and KICK-ASS CHICK.  It mentions Systema and the fight below . . .  Great read about a Superwoman!

 

 


Mar 19  21 JUMP STREET
I laughed all the way through. It captured the dynamic of their "cool kid/nerd" relationship transformation so perfectly.

Even the Action was funny. They made up for the strange no explosions with one spectacular one. (Creative low budget workaround!? LOL)  I would have like to see a little more interaction with the rest of the characters who were undercover in other schools (it was limited to gloating), but that's a good thing because it means I liked it so much I wanted more. They were both really good in it. Channing Tatum more so for the bewildered awakening he experienced being uncool for the first time. I expected Jonah Hill to be good (he's everyone's favorite after Super Bad) but I didn't expect Channing would be that good (like Award good!).  The brother relationship was very well written, and acted. They came off as so in tune, you forget it isn't real.  The best scene in the film for me was when Jonah was trying to talk to a girl on the phone, and Channing came into the room and just started torturing him—love the giraffe (it was wordless and just perfect)! As a comedy team they worked as well together as any famous comedy team.  I think a lot of the credit has to go to the material as well,  but as a Buddy Action comedy, the acting was superb and they hit all the sweet spots :D!


Mar 10 JOHN CARTER

I enjoyed it so much more than Avatar.  It was fun to watch all the way through. I forgot there were special effects—when I wasn't being amazed by the whole the look of it!  I wasn't pulled out of the fantasy even once. It's the kind of feel-good Saturday-afternoon Adventure film you hope to see. I loved the 'dog'! How could you not? The acting was good across the board. Loved Willem Dafoe in it! 

The costumes and sets were beautifully designed and creatively detailed. The ships, the weapons, and the planet . . . the whole thing gave me an original Star Trek TV series feel, like Capt. Kirk had been beamed down on a planet to fight strange creatures until the ship figured out how to get him back, but in the meantime he shows them how wise he is and saves everyone. That kind of good-feeling fun. I think this concept art by Phil Saunders really captures that feeling.

 


Action Flick Chick Katrina Hill is the POP FanGirl of the Month September 2010

ACTION MOVIE FREAK: The Book!
March 7, 2012cover of action movie freak book

cover of horror movie freak bookActionFlickChick.com's Katrina Hill (@ActionChick) is the author of Action Movie Freak Pre-order it now at amazon.com for just $15.63! (it's a perfect gift for your Action Freak friends).

Krause Publications also did Horror Movie Freak which covered all your favorites and came with a Night of the Living Dead (watchable online now) DVD.
(Follow @HorrorFreakNews).  

 


 

ACT OF VALOR: What Do You Fight For?
March 5, 2012

I love this movie so much and apparently, this guy does too! He's on YouTube, Facebook, [FPS Russia (OFFICIAL)] and twitter @FPSrussia)  I've seen Act of Valor three times and I know I'll see it at least once more. I finally finished writing about it:  Read more . . .

 



RAMPART
March 4, 2012

There was zero promotion on this . . .  I was just looking for a movie to go to and found it that way.  I liked the creative camera work and the look of it (color/filters? a little "Instamatic-y"). It echoed Woody Harrelson's character's mental state. The club scene was incredible—Reminded me of Spike Lee's upside drug addicts floating. The way it ended was like he just got spit out or thrown up. 

It really is a stellar performance by Woody. At the end, despite all his flaws, you feel for him. The script revealed a intelligent yet ignorant man, that you wanted to dislike, but, because he realized he blew it, you couldn't help but care as you watched his heart break. I like the ending because, really, where do you go from there?  I enjoyed the performances by Sigourney Weaver, Jon Bernthal, Ice Cube, and especially Brie Larson.

 


Vin Diesel on a break from filming Chronicles of Riddick 2

RIDDICK: The Animal Side
Febrebruary 27, 2012

A contemplative Vin Diesel reflects on Acting on his Facebook page through of the passing of a fan who became a friend.   Read more . . .

 


Act of Valor soldiers in silhouette

ACT OF VALOR: The Real Deal
February 25, 2012

You have to see this movie if you're an Action Movie Freak, if you loved Predator, if you love the whole SOLDIER-movie concept, or, if you're crazy about military 'toys'. Just Go! You'll love it. Grown men cried both times I saw it.  


JOURNEY
2: The Mysterious IslandJourney 2: The Mysterious Island The Rock Dwayne Johnson pep pop of love
I had to go and give The Rock my $11; not $17 for the evening show in IMAX 3D, but . . . the big kid in me wanted to see it—a throw back to Swiss Family Robinson. I love Luis Guzman (ever since Q & A).  I am sure Disney is only casting who they cast for the greatest profitability based on popularity, but I wish The Rock would just do Action Movies. It was fun but really obvious most of the time: The payoff for him not liking lizards, "Only a fool trades his life for money", etc.  The set details were great: Atlantis, the Nautilus, the attic with the model planes, etc. There were the fun Rock moments too: the "Thunder Cookie", the "pec pop of love". Bottom line: it's an adventure movie for kids (I'd put the age at 8, maybe up to 13).     


ACT OF VALOR starts tonight!
February 24, 2012

You GOTTA see it!

And . . . LaRon Landry as "Augustus Cole"

photo of LaRon Landry next to drawing of Augustus Cole from Gears of War

From this article "LaRon Landry is big. 'Incredible Hulk' big..." by Chris Chase (NFL Shutdown Corner sports blog), where he mentions The Avengers, I see Gears of War.  With Batista as Marcus Fenix (scroll down), THIS is the kind of Action Hero we want to see. This is what is missing in today's Action Movies from what we loved about the Awesome 80s era of Action. Action Movie Freaks want this eye-popping largenesss that looks too big to be true (you know, like Arnold-in-Predator big).  That article led me to this one:  An interesting perspective on black characters in gaming history.

 


Ghost Rider: Spirt of Vengeance Idris Elba falling backwards stunt

The Devil Himself Wants This Boy
February 19, 2012

GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE is visually stunning, from the overall look of it with the intense colors, creative cut outs, collages, and camera angles, to the details like the absolutely bad-ass wardrobe of worn leather, to the stunts like Idris Elba's slow-mo fall backwards while shooting (as often as we've seen that original Dar Robinson move, it was a stand out, and delivered not only, surprisingly, SURPRISE, but impact—it says a lot that they made this move fresh, and that it was so bad ass, that it's still bad ass). I saw the movie in 2D thinking that if I didn't think 3D would have added anything, I would have been smart and saved the difference in the price of admission, but if it seemed like it would have been good in 3D then I could always pay to see it again.  And will I!  It delivered beyond my expectations on every level. 

SCRIPT . . .  The set up was right up front where it should be: "Bring us the boy and we will lift your curse."  Thank you. No :45 minutes of wondering where it's going. I love when you know what's at stake for the character so you can be invested in what he's trying to do and give a damn whether or not he gets there, hoping all the while for a few twists and turns even when it's predictable. Check and check.

Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance Nicolas Cage's face morphing into the Rider

CAGE-INESS . . . This scene alone, where Cage is riding while his face morphs in and out of being the Rider, is seriously worth the price of admission. Cage fans will be Oh So Satisfied.  The flame-thrower peeing scene from the preview was even better in the movie (how often does that happen?!).  It was a father-son/guy/penis bonding moment that made me wonder about the fact that there probably is, sadly, no female equivalent, and which was classic Cage. I am a huge Nicolas Cage fan. There is no one as entertaining to watch. If anything, I would have loved more Cage.  It was strangely fascinating to watch his moves in the The Rider scenes and to see Cage come through.  In one scene he's kind of dancing as only he can. If you don't appreciate what only Nicolas Cage can bring to a role like this, you're missing out.  

Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance the rider spits back bullets

SPECIAL EFFECTS . . . Even though this is the second movie, the novelty of the flames and the skull on fire didn't get old for me.  Excellent job to whoever managed to make fire as fascinating as it really is. This spitting bullets moment from the preview, still satisfied.  Love it when the preview doesn't ruin it for you.  Even though they showed this, and you knew it was coming, it was still incredible to watch.  And when The Rider cranks up the giant digging machine (HOLY HELL!), it's jaw dropping, and if it wasn't for you, it should be. I loved that he's un-killable and how he smokes when hurt.  The special effects are seamless. Even though I know we are suspending disbelief, I never felt pulled out of the story because the effects fell down. The sound of the motorcycle engine was exciting and strangely satisfying. Overall I loved the sound effects.  My only tiny criticism is that the music should have dominated more when the Rider operated the digging machine. I feel the song was a good choice and it would have punctuated it more than the real scene sounds that competed with and drowned out the music too often. It felt a little like someone wanted real sounds and someone wanted the song, and this was a compromise that didn't work as well as the song would have.

ACTION MOVIE FREAK-INESS . . . 
• with a side order of cheese, please. Cheesy one-liners were sprinkled throughout, and sometimes came in visual form, like Jerry Springer, the twinkie, and yet another surprise: Christopher Lambert. They cleverly worked in "fire wall" and "road kill". Loved "The apple doesn't rot far from the tree." Classic Cage attitude: "So, that happened", and "These guys are gonna lift my curse? They don't even have shoes." "Did we win? I'm gonna say yes. Hell yes!" 
It is my opinion that Action Movies that deliver the most satisfying experience do so when there are lessons to be taught or learned. This  movie was a perfect example of that. "This power that we have comes from a dark place, but it's not who we are." The religious tones gave depth and meaning. Cage's character is a little Christ like. "Where you go now, I cannot follow." We love a bad guy who fights for the right reasons. Without spoiling the ending, I thought the movie was obviously headed in one direction but then they turned it around. Although I could still see it coming, I still appreciated that they didn't go the obvious route and it happened late enough that it upside down camera angle from Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeancekept my interest right up until the end.
Gnarly Kills—there were so many. The ways in which people die are interesting. The chain kills are really wicked. The most satisfying kill for me was another surprise. When the mother plays the typical weak female to her advantage and throws a knife at a bad guy with a guy, you and the bad guy think "how lame" and let your guard down. Turns out she had a gun the whole time and it was just an (effective) distraction. (Brought to mind the scene where Indiana Jones shoots the guy with the big knife rather than use the whip.)  Although the mother has one all-too-typical weak female scene where after she is beaten she lays on the ground too long, writhing, mouth open seductively (As a female I have to say "Eew! why?"), they redeem it later when she is a bad Mamma Jamma using a sniper rifle. 
Car Chases and Stunts—There were lots of great car chases and crashes. And, there were two great payoffs for whatever The Rider drives also bursts into flames.

Everything happened so fast,  I think you really should see this movie twice to appreciate it all. I know I won't have to twist Cage-fans' arms. The pacing reminded me of Crank in the best way. So get out your Action Movie checklist and go see it.  You'll want seconds. (This is your brain on Ghost Rider 2 . . . )

 


New Chronicles of Riddick movie Fight Choreography
February 6, 2012

drawing of Marcus Fenix from Gears of War next to photo of wrestler Dave BatistaExciting News!
Dave Bautista is going to be in the new Chronicles of Riddick movie!  I wrote the paragraph below about the big fight scene in 2004's The Chronicles of Riddick, but I wonder how much of the credit I give to Vin Diesel might belong to Troy Robinson (yes, Dar Robinson's son) or to  Troy Connelly?  Nonetheless, all are gifted!  What I'd really like to know is who came up with the flying two-fisted decapitation move? 

From the credits on IMDB, it's hard to tell:

Stunts
Bradley James Allan | stunt fight coordinator
Bob Brown | stunt coordinator (as Robert Francis Brown)
Dean Choe  | stunt coordinator
Marny Eng | stunt coordinator: second unit
Paul Lazenby | fight instructor
Paul Rapovski | fight coordinator: Kali de Leon
Troy Robinson | stunt double: Vin Diesel (as Troy Jess Robinson)
Tim Connolly  | fight double: Vin Diesel

BALLET OF DEATH
Fight scenes . . . what we live for when we watch a really good action movie.
Think about how many there have been and you begin to appreciate how hard it must be to deliver when the time comes for one. Director David Twohy said if we'd seen it before he didn't want to use it. To the credit of everyone who helped to make it seem so: This fight scene is Vin Vin Vin. It's a ballet of death, dished out with double blades wielded with efficiency and lightning speed. The animal side takes over and it seems he knows what to handle first and how. Sure it's choreographed, but it had to be thought up, and it had to be played just right by everyone so it looks like it's real.  And it looks real mainly because Vin is selling it. And how!  It takes more than athletic prowess, ass-kicking strength, and fierce determination to pull this off. You have to be gifted. An actor could rehearse over and over, but to make it look this effortless, it's a gift.  He decimates the ranks and with his double blades in hand, pulls off a flying two-fisted decapitation on one soldier, and then lands both blades into the chest of another! And then he faces Lord Vaako. Vaako has one back-cracking kill and a spiraling jump from a prone position that exceed all expectations. For me, the whole movie is a wind-up to this one incredible non-stop all-out fight scene. How it ends is creative and calls into play the mark of the rage of the entire Furyan race
.

"Aaah, the Riddick [Fight Choreography]!" . . .

(P.S. I made an interesting discovery of similar fight movies in Eastern Condors)


The Evolution of Action Movies
February 5, 2012

What makes an Action Movie GOOD ?
Recently, HAYWIRE, ACT OF VALOR, and a video from ACTIONFEST, came together for me with comments by ActionFest co-Founder  Aaron Norris.

HAYWIRE
I had great hopes that HAYWIRE would be a breakthrough Action Movie
that would bring women out to see a truly physically strong woman in a lead role, and awaken that sleeping-giant market.  It had all the right elements . . . or did it

Gina Carano on beach fighting Ewan McGregor in HaywireIt had a good Director, big-name male stars (lots), a simple-but-intriguing story line, and, most importantly, the lead character was played by a real-life powerhouse female. Shouldn't that be enough? So what happened? 

From an Action Movie Freak's perspective bad movie happened. The Director was not an Action Director, and it showed.  Plus, there was no Second Unit Director.1  Fight Choreographer J.J. Perry did a great job but the big-name male stars either were slow in the fight scenes (sorry guys) or were filmed before they were ready. And, the storyline was tortured. The plot was confusing and seemed intentionally obfuscated to ill effect (sorry Lem Dobbs). There were too many characters and no meat.  By the time I got to the end and realized Mallory was talking about Ewan McGregor's character (He's "Kenneth"?! What?!), I realized I had already stopped caring after she explained all that stuff in the car to her 'hostage'—they got caught anyway, so what was the point of telling him all that? As a plot device, telling a story while driving in an Action Movie is, well . . . boring. 

The things that make an average movie good are NOT what make an Action Movie good. If you want to make a really good Action Movie, it helps to have people who know and value Action and the importance of its place in the movie.  Maybe this movie was intended to be more Thriller than Action, but if that was the case, it was hurt ($-wise2) by a huge missed opportunity!  I know my criticism may seem harsh to those who worked so hard on this film, and, no,  I have never tried to do what they did, however, I am an Action Movie Freak and I'd like to think I know what Action Fans are looking for. 

 

ACT OF VALOR
Speaking of what Action Fans are looking for . . . if you've seen the preview for ACT OF VALOR, you were probably as blown away as I was. Watch below if you haven't seen it yet before you read further. It, too, is possibly a breakthrough Action Movie

ACT OF VALOR

The Directors of ACT OF VALOR—and I am quoting from Aaron Norris (who would know better?!) on the Actionfest Blog—are "STUNTMEN!  Mike 'Mouse' McCoy and Scott Waugh . . . the real deal."  This movie looks like what Action Movie Freaks worship Rambo and Predator for. It's a SOLDIER movie of the best kind. What will put it over the top is if the storyline makes us care. The 'Actors' are "Active Duty Navy Seals". How interesting that they used 'Actors' who know what they are doing. "The story is fictional but the weapons and tactics are real." I'm afraid to say it, but "How can this fail?" Acting in Action Movies is both overrated and underappreciated.  By that I mean Action Movies where the acting is bad but the Action is awesome still satisfy, and Actors and Stuntmen (and others) in Action Movies never get any recognition by the Oscars. [Best Assistant Director (considered below the 2nd Unit3) was given only in 1933-37, and as a Proposed Category Best Stunt Coordination was rejected in 1999 and again in 2005.]

STUNTWORK
Action Movies are evolving.  While Motion Capture Actors also suffer the same snubbing as Stuntmen, CGI will never replace the wow factor of real stunt work.  There's no comparing a man really being on fire to a CGI version of that.

SET ON FIRE

This is where ActionFest comes in.  Being at ActionFest and the thrill of seeing a man set on fire makes you realize real stunt work has no equal. This video brought to mind the real driving stunts from The Transporter as compared to the recent Ghost Protocol glove/climbing scene which underestimated the intelligence of its audience by abusing the suspension of disbelief. We want to think an Actor did a stunt even if he didn't, but as long as somebody does it, it still works.  When it's faked or completely unbelievable, it takes us out of the moment and back to reality.

From their site: "ActionFest is the first film festival in the world devoted exclusively to action film. And ActionFest is the only film festival in the world that honors the stuntmen and stuntwomen who take the punches, falls and crashes that make ordinary actors appear superhuman on screen. Historically the film industry has refused to recognize the stuntmen and stuntwomen, the stunt coordinators, and the 2nd unit directors, and their Larnell Stovall and Michael Jai White discuss fight choreography at the ActionFest 2011 Panel: Modern Fight Directors at Carolina Cinema Ashevillecontribution to filmmaking. That was before ActionFest. At ActionFest we recognize, honor and appreciate the remarkable efforts of these amazing people who risk their lives every day to make big Hollywood films look exciting and great. ActionFest’s mission is two-fold: to honor these unsung heroes of Hollywood; and to show the best action films from around the world."

[Aside:  If you love Action Movies, ActionFest is over the legal limit on fun. Spending 3 days and 4 nights mainlining Action Movies is so worth the price of admission!  Ask now for time off to visit Asheville, April 12-15, 2012 and experience it for yourself.  An all-inclusive VIP pass is under $100 (prices have not been announced yet but I'm basing it on the last 2 years), or be a big shot and become a Sponsor.  [pictured are Larnell Stovall and Michael Jai White in the ActionFest 2011 Panel: Modern Fight Directors ]

Directors vs Action Directors
I became aware of the value of a good Second Unit Director after I saw Final Destination 2 (2003, not considered "Action"), because it was only the second movie David R. Ellis directed. I remember thinking how awesome that such a big-career Second Unit Director got to direct! (His film list is beyond impressive.)  The car crash scenes are so crazy good (the movie is good all around!!), how could you not become a David Ellis Fan?  Yes! I thought, more Second Unit Directors should get to direct, however, stupidly, the importance of whether or not a Director had an Action background or experience in Action Movies never mattered to me until I saw HAYWIRE. 

Of course, there are great Directors who are known for Action Movies who are also great at other genres, but it all came together for me  that Action Movies need Action-minded Directors after reading these remarks by Aaron Norris:

"Studios will give a writer, a Director of Photography, an Editor, or Special Effects person a directorial. Just about anyone other than [emphasis added] stuntmen get chances at directorial debuts. They will hire a person who shot one or two commercials and give them a $50 million picture.  Give me a break!  Stuntmen and Stuntwomen who Stunt Coordinate and 2nd Unit Direct have been making directors look good since the invention of film."

Actors vs Stuntmen
In HAYWIRE, even if the story sucked but the Action was good I might have been happy, but the choreography in the Action scenes was so obviously showing.  People waiting for someone else to make their movie, standing still and not reacting, etc. It looked to me like 99% of it was not because of Gina, but because of everyone else. The men fought like they didn't want to hurt her. She came off as the only one who looked like she knew what she was doing (except the stuntman in the hallway fight scene). She's an MMA Fighter and an American Gladiator, she knows how to fight. Even so, they needed more rehearsing. It seems like they went to print before they were ready, and it left me wondering about the Director.  Could he just not see that the fight scenes weren't good enough (I mean the practice, not the creation, of the moves) or did he think it didn't matter?  In this kind of movie (selling a stronger female), the fight scenes have to work. They were already halfway there because Gina was physically believable, but then they put her against Michael Fassbender and it was a joke. He looks like a soft smoker. It might as well have been Jeremy Irons.  Channing Tatum was a bigger disappointment. It sure looked like he held back. His seeming less-than-all performance made Gina look bad.

HAYWIRE and ACT OF VALOR really emphasized the value of using real stuntmen versus Actors, and the value of having an Action-minded Director. Before, I thought what makes an Action Movie good were mainly these things: Now I feel a great Action Movie needs as much of that as possible, but even more: It needs an Action-minded Director and 'Actors' who can sell the Action.  I think CGI has made it too easy for non-Action minded Directors to think they/anyone can make an really good Action Movie.  So not true.  It's exciting to me that HAYWIRE using Gina (and an ex-military fight choreographer), and ACT OF VALOR using Navy Seals (with Stuntmen directing), might be the beginning of a NEW ERA for ACTION—One where those in the know shine at what they do, and outshine those who only think they do. Where audiences begin to appreciate the elements that make Action Movies the most popular genre on the planet, and not attribute their success to a big-name Director or Actor alone. And best of all, a new era with lots of Kick-Ass Action Movies starring Stuntmen and truly strong women!  As an Action Movie Freak, I'm not buying it anymore that we need a big-name Actor/star who can't do these things. Those days are gone. I want to see the men and women who can! You just know there are more Stuntmen who can act than Actors who could do their own stunts.  It's a Action Revolution, baby!

 

________________________________

1 FROM IMDB's CREDITS for HAYWIRE:

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director:
Second Assistant Directors
Catherine Dunne, Jody Spilkoman

Stunts:
Fight Choreographers 
Jonathan EusebioJ.J. Perry (link to Actionfest interview),
Jon Valera .... co-fight choreographer
Don Tai .... fight choreographer: additional scenes
Stunt Coordinators
Clay Cullen, R.A. Rondell,
Don Tai .... stunt coordinator: additional photography and
additional stunt coordinator (uncredited)
Donal O'Farrell .... assistant stunt coordinator: Ireland (uncredited)  

2 Budget  $23,000,000 (estimated)
  Opening Weekend   $8,425,370 (USA)  22 January 2012  on 2,439 Screens
  Gross   22 January 2012  $8,425,370 (USA)  +  29 January 2012  $15,281,962 (USA)  =  $23,707,332

3 IMDB's glossary offers these minimal and seeming minimizing definitions:
   Second Unit  A small, subordinate crew responsible for filming shots of less importance, such as inserts, crowds, scenery, etc.
   Second Unit Director  The director of the second unit.

Excerpted From Wikipedia: 
[In film, the SECOND UNIT is a team that shoots subsidiary footage for a motion picture. Its work is distinct from that of the first unit, which shoots all scenes involving principal actors.  In addition to shooting establishing shots, close-ups, inserts, and cutaways, second units also film in locations too expensive or dangerous to send the first unit to. Often this involves stunts and close-ups with body doubles . . ..  The second unit has its own director and cinematographer.

The SECOND UNIT DIRECTOR is . . . considered above the post of Assistant Director. As Second units oversee many dialogue-free scenes with stunts and special effects in action movies, the job of stunt coordinator is often combined with that of second unit director.  As a result, many second unit directors are former stunt coordinators.


The next Chronicles of Riddick is filming!
January 20, 2012

Vin Diesel in Necromonger? outfit from Chronicles of Riddick 3Vin Diesel shared this photo on his Facebook page.  Made my day!  Can't wait for the story to continue . . . Follow him for updates on the movie. He posts regularly and it seems like it's really him.

Also follow Director
David Twohy's blog for rare posts that may, hopefully, pick up (if he has time) now that they are filming.   "7 DAYS AND COUNTING January 15, 2012 A lot of you already know how close we are to rolling camera on RIDDICK."

 

 

 

 


 

American Gladiators female fighters

HAYWIRE | Gina Carano
January 18, 2012

At Last!!  Here comes a truly powerful woman kicking ass.  I'm not saying all women have to or should look like the American Gladiator powerhouses here, but this is the kind of woman women want to see more of on screen. Women like: the real deal strength-wise Valerie "Siren" Waugaman (second from left) my pick for Red Sonja (see Seeing Red Over Sonja) over someone selected to please men like Rose McGowan; and like the star of HAYWIRE (third from left) Gina "Crush" Carano.     

 


2nd Annual Top 100 Action Movies
January 1, 2012

It's out!  AllOuttaBubbleGum.com's 2nd annual list of the Top 100 Action Movies was posted today, and here are the results (condensed).  Looks like the combination of John Woo and  Chow Yun Fat is best, holding the first spot and tied for the second.  If you LOVE this, listen to like-minded fun on their podcast.  The list is a little Western heavy (I can't argue they are not great movies though with great Action and definitive Bad-Ass characters.) Rambo is the only series where ALL the movies made the list. To celebrate that is the best tribute video EVER (at the bottom)!

 

1. HARD BOILED (1992)
2. - 4. The Killer (1989)

           Predator (1987)
           Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
5.  Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
6.  A Better Tomorrow (1986)
7. - 8. Die Hard (1988)
           Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989)
9. Total Recall (1990)
10. - 11. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
               The Terminator (1984)
12. - 15. Commando (1985)
               The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (1966)
                Lone Wolf And Cub: Sword Of Vengeance (1972)
                True Lies (1994)
16. Rambo (2008)
17. RoboCop (1987)
18. Police Story (1985)
19. Fist Of Legend 1994)
20. Eastern Condors (1987)
21. - 22.  Aliens (1986)

                The Matrix (1999)
23. Red Cliff (2008-09)
24. Bullet In The Head (1990)
25. - 26. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior  (1981)
               The Wild Bunch (1969)



   
27. Once Upon A Time In The West (1968)
28. - 31.  Django (1966)
                 Lone Wolf And Cub: Baby Cart At The River Styx (1972)
                 A Fistful Of Dollars (1964)
                Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
32. - 34.  HEAT(1995)
                The Professional (1994)
                For A Few Dollars More (1965)
35. - 36. The Legend Of Drunken Master (1994)
                 Lethal Weapon (1987)
37. Braveheart (1995)
38. - 43.  A Bittersweet Life (2005)
                 First Blood (1982)
                 Lone Wolf And Cub: Baby Cart In Peril (1972)
                 Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow (1978)
                 Sanjuro (1962)
                 Above The Law / Righting Wrongs (1986)
44. Project A (1983)
45. The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001)
46. - 48.  Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
                The 36th Chamber Of The Shaolin (1978)
                Let's Kill, Companions (1970)
49. Escape From New York (1981)
50. - 51.  Death Wish 3 (1985)
                 A Better Tomorrow II (1987)

 

52. - 57.   Casino Royale (2006)
                 Conan The Barbarian (1982)
                 Dillinger (1973)
                 The Great Escape (1963)
                 The Siege Of Firebase Gloria (1989)
                 They Live (1988)
58. - 60.   On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
                 Starship Troopers (1997)
                 The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
61. The Crow (1994)
62. - 66.  Black Dynamite (2009)
                 Jackie Chan’s First Strike (1996)
                 A Fistful Of Dynamite (1971)
                 Stone Cold (1991)
                 The Untouchables (1987)
67. Die Hard: With A Vengeance (1995)
68. The Getaway (1972)
69. THE LAST BOY SCOUT (1991)
70. - 74.  Battle Royale (2000)
                Enter The Dragon (1973)
                Face/Off (1997)
                GoldenEye (1995)
                The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008))
75. - 77.  Die Hard 2 (1990)
                Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

                The Expendables (2010)
 

 

78. - 80.  Blade II (2002)
                From Russia With Love (1963)
                Watchmen (2009)
81. Inception (2010)
82. - 88. Wheels On Meals (1984)

                Rambo III (1988)
                Star Wars: Episode VI – Return Of The Jedi (1983)
                Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
                The Blues Brothers (1980)
                The Driver (1978)
                 Ip Man (2008)
89. - 91.  Hard Target (1993)
                 Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
                 Under Siege (1992)
92 – 94.  Shanghai Express (1986)
                 Highlander (1986)
                 To Live And Die In L.A. (1985)
95. Licence To Kill (1989)
96. - 99.  The Street Fighter (1974)
                 Return Of The Dragon (1972)
                 Mr. Majestyk (1974)
                 Taken (2008)
100. Dirty Harry (1971)
         Marked For Death (1990)
         No Retreat, No Surrender 2: Raging Thunder (1987)



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Happy New Year!

Wishing you a happy new year and the time off and money to go to Actionfest 2012 , April 12-15 in Asheville, North Carolina.  Asheville is in full bloom at that time and couldn't be more beautiful.

 

 

 

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