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WELCOME TO THE
TERMINATOR: DARK FATE Featurette from Comic Con
July 19, 2019
Tim Miller is fanboy-excited over his directing role in this super-exciting action-packed featurette on the sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator: Dark Fate, which played yesterday at Comic Con 2019's first day. This is refreshing and builds my hopes because Miller has an interesting background. He is an American animator, film director, creative director, and visual effects artist with an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film under his belt, who made his directing debut with Deadpool [source: IMDb]. That's impressive! The action in Deadpool was so refreshingly creative it felt like it reawoke the genre. Miller is also famous for creating opening sequences of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Thor: The Dark World." (Check out more videos at Miller's BLUR Studio vimeo channel.)
Perhaps most exciting is this Terminator Salvation game trailer (set between Terminator 3: Rise of the the Machines and Terminator Salvation):
Here's Miller's you-can't-take-your-eyes-off-it Opening Title Sequence for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo:
Thor: The Dark World Opening Sequence:
TOP GUN: MAVERICK
"A love letter to aviation"
Oblivion Director Joseph Kosinski is sure to make Top Gun: Maverick a feast for the eyes if the trailer is any indication. I love the look of the trailer (dropped at Day One of Comic Con International: San Diego today—Tom Cruise made a surprise appearance during Paramount Pictures' Terminator: Dark Fate panel in Hall H 11:00-12:00 AM), and it seems to not give anything away (gotta love that). Kosinski won three AICP (Association of Independent Commercial Producers) Awards for his commercials Gears of War "Mad World", Assassin's Creed "Unity" and Destiny "Become Legend", all of which are now featured in the Department of Film at the Museum of Modern Art (source; IMDb). Loved rewatching these . . . (continues below)
Gears of War Mad World Commercial (2006)
Assassin's Creed Unity Commercial (2014)
Destiny Become Legend Commercial (2014)
Under Kosinski's "Personal Quotes" the first one is something that's weighed on my mind a lot lately: "You never watch movies the same as you do when you're a kid, ever again." Part of why that is is our perception of time. Sure, in the summer of 1981 I rode the bus and paid to see Raiders of the Lost Ark 11 times (the first 8 times I was late and missed the spiders in the opening sequence!). Could any movie make me do that now? Even with AMC A-List softening the price blow of admission and snacks, that investment of time is unthinkable now. Back then, my only care was to do something enjoyable. Now, the 'price' of the time is weighed against everything else I could be doing. Even two hours seems like a waste when a movie sucks or disappoints as they so often do these days. I wonder where my sense of wonder went . . . Movies can still wow me, but rarely do they transport me to another world like The Thing or Chronicles of Riddick. Most of the reason I love Action Movies is they leave me feeling good/pumped up. I'm definitely not spending my time and money on Drama.
And speaking of other worlds, this movie has big shoes to fill, HUGE. And the trailer seemed to get the look of the first one so right with the sunset shots, the military color palette, the silhouettes in shadow, and just about every damn cool thing a jet can do. Another quote: "An established property can be a blessing and a challenge. On one hand you have all those fans of the original that you can pick up with and continue on with, but then you have a lot of people out there who haven't seen the first and might feel like this isn't a movie for them because of that." And here's where the Tom Cruise haters usually come in. They just don't get it. He's larger than life . . . In fact, he tells a story that a lady said her favorite movie of his was "An Officer and a Gentleman" but that was Richard Gere in 1982. Just 4 years later, I guess Tom encapsulated that role for her, and eclipsed Richard Gere. You can't dismiss Top Gun. It is a classic!
In the trailer Ed Harris says "The end is inevitable Maverick, your kind is headed for extinction." Kind of makes you think of our Action Movie heroes. Who's stepping up?
On a final note, this is a Jerry Bruckheimer movie (of course it is) Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media. Bruckheimer holds a special place in my Action Movie Freak heart for his excellent taste in movies. Just picking my favorites: American Gigolo, Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, Days of Thunder, Bad Boys, Crimson Tide, The Rock, Con Air, Enemy of the State, Gone in 60 Seconds, Black Hawk Down, Bad Boys II, National Treasure, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Coming up we have: Bad Boys for Life, National Treasure 3, Beverly Hills Cop 4, and Bad Boys 4.
Post-Rambo V filming Mr. Stallone is thinking about Expendables 4! Happy 4th!!!!
. . . prequel?
Doesn't this poster make you crazy excited to see Rambo V, as if you weren't already? But I mean, Rambo: First Blood Part II excited . . . massive EXPLOSIONS . . . the bow (so stealthy, so deadly) . . . If you love weapons, sign up for the IMFDb (Internet Movie Firearms DataBase) newsletter. They recently posted about Rambo V, here's an excerpt:
Yeah, I'd watch that. They tell us more about various other story possibilities and then explain "Stallone wanted a 'soulful journey' for the character". Of course he did! The Rambo movies have always been standouts for the social consciousness aspect, issues that we should care deeply about. Yet another reason to be excited that this movie will all it should be. Can't wait!
Read the full article: https://mailchi.mp/imfdb/rambo-v-last-blood?e=97615f2316
Film or Action Movie?
Writer/Director Jesse V. Johnson has been promoting Scott Adkins and their film, Avengement, heavily on his facebook fan page posting quotes from glowing reviews—of which there are plenty, and rightly so. A review Johnson posted from Salon.com asks if Avengement will be a "breakthrough role for fan favorite" Scott Adkins. There are two issues that get to the heart of that: 1) Scott Adkins is already a huge Action Star. He and Jesse Johnson are not hard sells to Action Movie Freaks. We're in. And 2) Action Movies are never going to 'break through' with the film community #becausesnobbery. So, what does that leave to say about Scott Adkins in Action Movies?
Scott is awesome in this role. But then, Scott has always been awesome. Ticket sold. He doesn't need to prove anything. He's already top notch at action and at acting. What he needs to "break through" (and for me that means to be at Schwarzenegger or Stallone's level, or The Rock, or Statham for that matter) is to be in a series of trash talking Action Movies where he's the HERO who kicks ass. Brag a little or better yet, have someone else brag about you (like in Triple Threat), shove it in the bad guy's face—so satisfying! That's a real Action Movie (as opposed to a movie with action). That's how we want to see him. Not beat up/beat down like this. Not bleeding out on the sidewalk at the end.
Action Movies should leave you feeling pumped up. As much of a beating as he took, he should dish it out even more and he didn't quite get there. Should someone who kills (an "anti-hero" as Adkins says is more fun) in self defense and then kills for revenge get off Scot free? Oh hell yes. His fucking brother SO had it coming to him, it just pissed me off when he even opened his mouth. You don't get to speak. When Cain finally kills the big mouth guy (you know who I mean), I wanted him to shut him up so bad it felt like if Cain didn't shoot him, I would shoot him if I could. (Yeah, the movie's that intense!)
As a film, what is missing here is about another 5th of the story. How the two brothers were 'brawn' (Craig) and 'brains' (Cain) from the time they were little, and how their mother treated them accordingly. Maybe she sheltered Cain and admonished or ignored Craig assuming Craig could fend for himself. And fend he did. Making money through violence made him feel smart, especially since all Cain's schemes seemed to fail. Craig ignoring his mother at the very end makes sense in light of this, and Cain not making it to see her in time is more meaningful since she was all he had left (someone who believed in him) when his own brother had turned against him. In being "successful" Craig felt he had become the smart one, and in trying to kill his brother, he forced the real "brain" to become the "brawn". If Cain had been just a little smarter//nerdier, and had a little more difficulty (mentally) descending into the physical side of himself, it might have been a Coen-esque study in brains versus brawn the way The Big Lebowski is, artfully, a study in passivity versus aggression.
So, it may seem nitpicking when there is SO MUCH there to watch and enjoy. I couldn't take my eyes off Scott as he careened his way through every situation. When they put him in the back of the police car, the look on his face at what he had done just crushed me. I mean like a boot to the chest. It doesn't get any better than his acting in that moment. And you did want to root for him . . . We just needed to feel something for the character first—finding out he was double crossed later wasn't enough in order to feel more outrage at what he went through and to hate Craig even more. Also, the ending was ultimately unsatisfying as Cain doesn't get away. That's a Tragedy. Action Movies are not Tragedies. 'Cain kills his brother' is not enough for a movie. And just naming him Cain doesn't make Craig Abel.
No matter. Whether the movie is a film or an Action Movie, the other 4/5ths of what is there is poetry in motion as far as violence is concerned. The fight scenes are flawless. I think only once I thought I might have seen a stunt double but how Scott moves (and kudos to all those he fought against) looked so damn real. It is hard to put in words how much great Fight Choreography adds to fight scenes (Dan Styles is listed as Fight Coordinator) but THIS, my friends, is Oscar worthy. Dan Styles bio says "As the eldest of three children Dan has been play fighting for as long as he can remember. As a child he was a fan of WWF (now WWE) wrestling, martial arts films, and historical epics." Of course he was! His nickname is "Action Dan".
I thought this movie would be hard to watch, but it's so well done even the teeth breaking scene is mesmerizing. Nobody had any doubt about Scott's action skills, but after this, well, this video came to mind. To any naysayers I say:
Shut Up and Eat Your Awesome!
Game of Stones
Am I the first to use that title? It took me too long to get to the theatre to see this. REALLY glad I finally made it. I thought it was great that it was 3 hours. I think all movies should be at least 2 hours. They had some fun with the time travel. It really had that "Avengers" feel. Fat Thor was hilarious, although I feel like superheroes should just always magically be in shape without trying. He's still Thor. I'll take him.
So many deaths, though. Now that Stan Lee is gone, that was part of it. I think what really killed me was Steve Rogers finally getting back to the love of this life. And now, we'll have a black Captain America! How cool is that?! Bring him on.
I had so much fun watching, there was no time for taking notes. There were 3 magic "Avengers Assemble" moments: First, when they were in ordinary clothes and decided to go get the stones; second, when we see that epic first time they assembled in New York via time travel; and third, in the final battle.
Plus, they gave us this epic all-female moment . . .
We care so much about each of their stories, their relationships, friendships, and dynamic within the group, that when they die, it's almost like losing a family member . . . well, not really but I had to try super hard not to cry. The character of Iron Man was really the driving force in these movies. THOSE are some big shoes to fill.
Avengement + Escape Plan: The Extractors
Two great Action Movies to look forward to!
Avengement | May 24, 2019 action crime
"While released on furlough from prison, a lowly criminal evades his guards and returns to his old haunts to take revenge on the people that made him a cold-hearted killer. It's an epic, bloody battle to search for the soul he lost years ago on the streets of an unforgiving city." Avengement is Scott Adkins unleashed. Writer (with Stu Small)/Director Jesse V. Johnson knows what Action Movie Freaks want to see.
Despite the synopsis above, the fights in this trailer seem to take place mostly in prison. Limited Release :-( [Why God?!]
Escape Plan: The Extractors | July?, 2019 action
Escape Plan: The Extractors is rated "R" (as it should be). Release dates listed so far are only for other countries (Russia 6/20, Netherlands 6/27, and Hungary 7/11). Stars include Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, Daniel Bernhardt, 50 Cent, Russell Wong, and Jing Zhang. The Stunt Coordinator is stuntman Justin Yu who has also been a Fight Coordinator. He worked on John Wick, and John Wick: Chapter 2, as well as Captain America: Civil War.
Here's the hard-hitting trailer . . . love that voice!
ACTION movie motherfucker!
Triple Threat made Action Movie history tonight. A MUST-OWN Action Movie, it delivered on everything you want in an Action Movie. It would really drive home the non-stop Action if I listed all the fights except I didn't think of that until right now. But seriously, non-stop to the point where it's almost exhausting to watch, and it moves fast! First, there's Iko Uwais versus Tony Jaa, which sets the tone for all the epic shit that's about to go down. Then Iko Uwais fights Tiger Chen. Man, is Tiger Chen fluid. The whole time, you're kind of pinching yourself that you get to watch these amazingly talented people fight for your entertainment all in one movie. The fight choreography (by Tim Man) is nearly flawlessly executed. The speed looks real and the hits look real and painful. What I particularly enjoyed is anytime one of the Triple Threat fought a villain because there's a mismatch on their physicality. This made me wonder if the speed you lose being bigger is worth it because when you connect it's harder or if it's better to be smaller and faster, then you can get more hits in and get out of the way easier.
Don't even imagine the movie starts out slow. They literally blow shit up, and before long the Killcount is HIGH! The guy in the seat next to me (I was pleased that the theater was filled) said, at one point "'U' chained up and shit!" If they call Iko Uwais "U" that's awesome. I had never heard that before. Anytime I was thinking the plot was a little thin, they brought us back in with a twist to make it solid again. I like that they told the story the way they wanted to (not in service to the audience). Even though he is the main character, "U" isn't presented as the star of this movie—everybody shines. (I was writing furiously which makes my handwriting bad, so I may not have gotten this dialogue 100% right, but as comic relief, it was great:)
COLLINS Who are these guys?
COLLINS Yeah, from the Village of Fucking Ninja Warrior Land.
It's so enjoyable to see the three get under the skin of the bad guys. They break a lot of desks in this movie. LOL And the gun play is out of hand! Not even counting all the intro fights, you get to see Michael Jai White versus Iko Uwais, Scott Adkins versus Tony Jaa, Michael Bisping versus Tiger Chen, then Iko and Tony versus Scott. There are Gnarly Kills enough to make the audience groan and laugh out loud. Love that. Tony Jaa does one kind of corkscrew/windmill move that is an I-can't-believe-my-eyes moment; even beyond Marko Zaror's signature move.
I was too busy enjoying the hell out of the movie to take as many notes as I usually do, but there are some things said in the post-credits scenes that were great and I wanted to share. A ringing endorsement from Michael Jai White was that it was the most epic Martial Arts Action Movie since the Five Deadly Venoms. No lie! Scott Adkins fanboyed over Tony Jaa and said he is the best martial artist in the world, and praised his speed and power. Seeing that was worth the ticket price alone. I had to laugh when Scott said "It's supposed to be painful if you're doing it right."
While there are tons of weapons in this movie, Iko's character Jaka wants to kill the bad guys with his bare hands. LOVE that. Seriously, anyone can fire a gun, but if someone's really worth killing, don't you want to beat the crap out of them first? Besides the incredible fights, there were lots of funny moments, and seeing the three stars (from China, Thailand, and Indonesia) speak English made them seem like the big Action stars they should be in the States. Would love to see the movie again in the theater. Wish it wasn't a limited release.
The Action Elite calls it "A near perfect blend of fistfights and firepower."
1 NIGHT ONLY 3/19 (in Miami at AMC Sunset
Place, Aventura, and Regal South Beach). A
THIS is THE Action Movie we've all been waiting for ever since we first heard about it. So many amazing Action Figures in one movie. I have not watched the trailer because I want to see it all on the big screen. I've heard it has like every kind of fighting and that it's funny. I REALLY am hoping for some Cheesey One-Liners rubbing it in someone's face. Yesssss!
Action Adventure SciFi
Captain Marvel Sizzles!
Tonight's Captain Marvel Fan Event was sold out and the theatre buzzed with excitement and anticipation. There's nothing better than seeing a movie with an enthusiastic audience of true fans.
Brie Lawson was perfect. No one stole the show because it was her show. Without laying it on too heavily, Captain Marvel was heroic in every way. What kept it from being bad cheesy, in my opinion, was her human side. This was the first time that having a superhero be human first (and super not just by accident but through a heroic act of self sacrifice) really meant something to me. All the back story from when she was a little girl and she got hurt and got back up again made 'the every woman' such a huge part of who she is that you felt she was 'super' not just as a powerful hero but as a human girl/woman. She was also super because she tried, because she did the right thing.
The movie was BIG on space adventure. The look of things was original, and they had fun with the retro aspects. It reminded me at times of Robocop. The suits were cool, the weapons were cool; even the aliens, forcefields, and space travel seemed original—not the lately-all-too-common hodgepodge of things we've seen in other movies. Sure, the cat was named "Goose" and she was a 'top gun' singing along with the jukebox in a bar, but it was short and sweet and the tie-in only made her seem as cool as Maverick, without the bravado and skirt chasing aspects.
Women are certainly central to this movie. [SPOILERS] The Supreme Intelligence image Carol sees is a woman: Dr. Wendy Lawson who "cracked the code on light speed tech" and had a secret, cloaked space station lab. She is alien but it's still important that she's female. Carol has no romantic interest, boyfriend, husband, neither does her best friend. The movie isn't concerned with that. They keep it to the mission she is on and her back story is woven, cleverly, into that in stages. The movie was very well written and is entertaining all the way through. The special effects added to the overall feel of the movie and didn't seem like filler. When there's a dogfight with two planes it's with two women pilots. Also, both people in the plane on the side of good are black. It was awesome when they high fived. The only laying-the-goodness-on-thick was with the character Maria Rambeau's daughter Monica (11), but the audience seemed to love it.
There was a lot of humor. I loved the script by Writer/Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Also listed were Geneva Robertson-Dworet ("Screenplay by"), plus Nicole Perlman, Meg LaFauve as well for "Story by". 4 women and 1 man. Refreshing that it wasn't just a male director and male writers.
The Blockbuster video store was perfect and it seemed like the audience knew that it would be Radio Shack next. That got a huge laugh. I guess my audience was older because they loved the time travel back to 1995 with computers and the internet showing just how far technology has come. Coincidentally, I had just watched this . . .
There were so many funny moments. I love situational comedy. Earth aka "C53" got a big laugh when described as "a real shithole." The Stan Lee moments were poignant from the opening credits to "Thank You Stan" to his cameo
How cool was it that Captain Marvel (and Carol) was female and powerful without resorting to her sexuality or without exposing too much flesh. Her outfits covered her completely (as completely as her male and other female counterparts), which keeps the focus on what she's doing. Even her regular clothes are regular clothes. No Daisy Dukes or tank tops. She's a total bad ass when she comes out strutting in the first green outfit as one of the Kree, it's her "The Right Stuff" moment and it kills. Later, when she learns to use all her power and she glows with energy, it's palpable in the theater. I loved the movie. Every minute of it.
Brie Larson was perfect!
Facebook Event LIVE
on Sunday 2/24
This Facebook Event hosted by Stand Up for Stunts, Jessie Graff , Stunts Unlimited, and featuring some of the top Stunt Coordinators (including the legend Buddy Joe Hooker) in the country begins on Sunday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time and 8:00 PM Eastern Time. Join the event to discuss why The Academy continues to snub stunts and how to change that.
Also, please add your name to this Petition, shared by The Rock's double Tanoai Reed. This comment by Duke DuQuesnay really makes the point: "I have a lot of friends I consider my family in the stunt industry. IT IS ABSOLUTELY INSANE they are not recognized by The Academy. If it wasn't for these men and woman LITERALLY PUTTING THERE LIVES ON THE LINE day in and day out in the film industry you WOULD NOT have ANY of the action packed blockbuster movies you love. THATS A FACT!!!! Please show your appreciation for these hard working individuals and sign this petition ASAP and forward to ANYBODY and EVERYBODY YOU KNOW!"
Stand Up For Stunts and #BoycottOscars!
Chokehold . . .
Yeah! Female Fight Movie
"Chokehold, directed by Brian Skiba, is an action-packed, revenge caper telling the story of an up and coming mixed martial arts fighter named Zoey. After her father is killed by the Russian mob, she gives up her dream to fight professionally and instead enters the seedy, underground fighting world to get closer to the people responsible for her father's death and bring them to justice." Available now for pre-order on Amazon.com, releasing March 5th.
When I found out about this movie, I wondered: is women's underground fighting a thing? Apparently, and it's not new . . . I was intrigued! And who doesn't love Casper Van Dien?!
The trailer shows only women fighting, no male fighters and lots of women watching, yet the 3 male stars were the only names printed on the screen. I understand that's how it works (use stars we have heard of) but "Story of a woman" . . . Nitpicky on my part, but it stood out to me (as a woman), and made we want to know who the women of Chokehold are.
The Women of
Someone in Canada had great fun getting all these female fighters together. I am thrilled to see another female-focused fight movie with so many big, strong women. The instagram blurb reads "The story of reconciliation, redemption and revenge told through the eyes of a woman MMA fighter!" Co-writer/Director Brian Skiba's IMDb bio describes Chokehold as "a fast-paced female empowerment action fight movie". Another good sign (also from his bio) is this: "Brian's favorite quote from the highly regarded Director, Alfred Hitchcock is, 'To make a great film you need three things - the script, the script, and the script.'"
The run time is 1 hr 38 min. It currently has only 3.6 stars on IMDb—Let's raise that after watching. Order your DVD today and support strong women in film. I really like Casper Van Dien and I'm hoping I will be rooting for his character to help the heroine avenge her father.
The Wandering Earth:
Chinese Sci-Fi Blockbuster
An interesting read on the future of Chinese science fiction by The Verge's Andrew Liptak makes the point that "Just as America is looking to make inroads into the Chinese market, Chinese filmmakers are increasingly looking for global appeal and international-scale releases" [emphasis added], citing The Meg (Jason Statham), The Great Wall (Matt Damon), and Bleeding Steel (Jackie Chan), all starring Action Figures, and this movie is no exception. I can't wait to see this movie, just for Jackie Wu (Wu Jing), but the visuals, oh my gosh, the visuals . . . Released today, it's a must see, even if it turns out not to be an "Action Movie".
The movie is adapted from The Wandering Earth a book of short stories by award-winning author Cixin Liu. In the same article, Liptak explains the plot: "The sun is on the verge of turning into a red giant, and when it does, it'll expand beyond the orbit of Mars, incinerating all of the solar system's potentially habitable planets. They concoct a desperate plan to move Earth out of the solar system to a new star, Proxima Centauri." This brought to mind an explanation from a book I happen to be reading right now called Planet Hunters: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life, wherein a teacher tries relate the size of the universe by building a one-ten-billionth (1/10,000,000,000) scale model of the universe with vegetables, and then spacing them proportionately by their distance from the sun (planet sizes are to scale in this photo below, but not distance from the sun).
With the Sun as a red cabbage, and the Earth as a peppercorn, Earth has to be placed 15 meters (49.2126 feet) away. The farthest planet, Neptune (a raisin) has to be a little over a quarter mile away (450 meters or 1,476.38 feet or 0.2796174242 miles) [pp.41-43]. Using this scale, the distance between Earth and the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, is 41,306,000,000,000 kilometers or 24,854,847,689,493.36 miles—almost 25 trillion—away (a distance represented in the book as the distanace from Haarlem, Netherlands to Tehran, Iran).
Alpha Centauri, Alpha Centauri B, and Proxima Centauri [aka Alpha Centauri C] are part of a trinary system, with Proxima circling the other two. The distance between these three seems irrelevant when you realize (according to Planet Hunters) that getting to Alpha Centauri B would take 160,000 years [pp.57-59]. However, Inquisitr.com mentions that "Using Stephen Hawking's Breakthrough Starshot project, a fleet of small nanocraft could reach the Earth-like world around Proxima Centauri in  years" where a potential Earth-like planet has been spotted, sending back photos so we might learn if it's habitable or not. "The proposed [nano] spacecraft, called a Star Chip, would be just a few centimetres in size with a lightsail weighing a few grams. It would be powered by an array of lasers based on Earth that would drive the tiny probe 'on a beam of light' at about 100 million miles an hour, a fifth of light speed." Fascinating! "Once there, the nano craft could image any planets discovered in the system, test for magnetic fields and organic molecules, and send the data back to Earth in another laser beam. This tiny signal would be received by the same array of dishes that were used to transit the launch beam, and return is estimated to take about four light years."
Looking at the size of Earth compared to Jupiter in (2) and then Jupiter compared in Proxima Centauri in (3) gives an idea of the size.
Giving a relatable distance from Earth to the nearest star puts the idea of moving the Earth into perspective. What an undertaking to try to move the Earth.
Of course, I will have to read The Wandering Earth book after I watch the movie. And, I highly recommend Planet Hunters: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life by Lucas Ellerbroek because it imparts a lot of knowledge in a very entertaining read.
POLAR on Netflix
Do yourself a favor and don't play the trailer first, they totally ruin the ending. Just watch. It's a little like In Bruges meets John Wick, with a little of The Rundown, colored by Michael Mann. It reminded me most of this Biting Elbows video that lead to Hardcore Henry (which had one great action scene, and was an amazing cinematic achievement, but was not a good movie), and somewhat of Brian de Palma's Snake Eyes.
Too many movies have disappointed me of late, so I was pleasantly surprised by POLAR. As Action Movies go, it delivers and then some. And while it is not nice to women, the (how do I say this) seediness and simulated sex didn't bother me like it usually does*. It went a long way to show what lowlifes we're dealing with. So how seedy? They make sure you know someone died with a boner. Mads gets a rectal exam in a very strangely endearing scene where he eats pie after with his doctor, which humanizes Mads' character completely. And strip clubs, nudity, sex, a bunch of sex. Some of it pitiful, some of it funny, some of it hot LOL—I kid, but Mads is in amazing shape and, BTW, nice ass. It's just kind of stupid, like you're supposed to not take it seriously. For the most part, it all works because it's situationally funny. And that's because . . .
The script is great! It's written by Jayson Rothwell and Victor Santos (Victor Santos Montesinos based on the Dark Horse Comics, Inc. graphic novel "Polar: Came from the cold" he wrote and illustrated). There are some great lines. That's missing a lot in most movies.
The direction (Director: Jonas Åkerlund), costumes, and characters are all entertaining, no matter how 2-dimensional they are. What they lack in backstory, they make up for in presence. It's a band of mistfits versus a professional. And the man can kick ass. The gnarly kills are almost as high as the killcount. There were some creative cuts and it was always interesting visually.
As for the women's take on the 'typical' Action Movies "anti-vagina" angle (as AllOuttaBubbleGum.com phrased it), women who like Action Movies don't relate to the bimbos you put in these movies, we relate to the hero. That's what Sucker Punch got so wrong. We're not looking to find the sexiest outfit and accessorize our guns, we just want to kick ass.
What they do best, is make you root for Duncan. His kinda shitty, lonely, boring life (despite the killings), is contrasted with the colorful craziness of the others. They throw in one hell of an ending. Since I didn't watch the trailer, I thought it was one of the coolest things ever.
For more of Victor Santos:
*Nobody really cares like I do about this kind of stuff. So I just have to say what I have to say. It's because the world is not safe for women that I object to showing (even simulated) sex. I object to nudity in general as well. In this case, both Mads and the girl "Sindy" were naked so that's fair. I am not a voyeur so I half looked both times I watched (seen it twice now). What I got from it was that it's entertaining for men. Even though I "got" to see Mads ass, and I looked, I'd have rather not had him show it. Would it have been the same movie without all the tackiness? No. When [SPOILER] Duncan kills Sindy with an axe to the head, that's one thing, but then when they show her naked with the axe in her head, that's the one moment I felt it was grindhouse. Where the trouble is with that is when men are aroused by violence against women. Ted Bundy said exactly that, so I feel validated. (And I heard what he had to say long before it was a thing on Netflix.) Are there women like Sindy in the world? Probably less than you would imagine. The saddest part to me is that women who act that like were often abused. If the world were safe for women, if both men and women were objectified equally, I would still have a problem with it for the sake of morals. I really think it cheapens the human experience to make it so public. If there wasn't so much of this stuff around, men would get out of house and have to meet and touch real women to get off. And in doing that, they might have to build a relationship first, and then it might be love instead of sex. And love is SO much better!
Action Movies I Can't Wait To See
1. Sinners and Saints: Vengeance | no date yet
Johnny Strong (before Sinners and Saints he appeared in Get Carter, The Fast and the Furious, and Black Hawk Down) is back with Scott Adkins(!), Director William Kaufman, and scriptwriters Chad Law and Jay Moses. (Kaufman wrote the original Sinners and Saints script himself with Jay Moses.) I was lucky enough to meet Chad Law at OCinema Wynwood (now closed :-( ) for a showing of Daylight's End (another Johnny Strong movie you should see). He has mentioned on social media that S&S:V is filming in Bulgaria. Chad will appear in the upcoming volume two of Mike Fury's Action Movie book: LIFE OF ACTION: Interviews with the Men and Women of Martial Arts and Action Cinema. BTW LOVE this poster!
Check out these other Chad Law movies . . . (click poster for trailer)
2. Glass | January 18, 2019
Were you a fan of Unbreakable? I liked it. I think it was underappreciated in the extreme. This is labeled Drama Mystery Sci-Fi Thriller not "Action" but I am still excited to see where they take it. Trailer is cool as hell.
3. Cold Pursuit | February 8, 2019
This looks like a true Action Movie: a big bad-ass Action Figure with attitude, hell bent on revenge.
4. Triple Threat | March 22, 2019
The IMDb plot summary reads "A hit contract is taken out on a billionaire's daughter intent on bringing down a major crime syndicate. A down-and-out team of mercenaries must take on a group of professional assassins, and stop them before they kill their target."
TheActionElite.com recently announced there is a release date of March 22, 2019 for US theatres (SOURCE: M.A.A.C). Really hope it comes to Miami so I can see it on the BIG SCREEN!
If you want to read more, check out M.A.A.C. David Vo's interview with Director Jesse V. Johnson: Love this . . . "I am a reactionary director, I prepare like crazy, storyboard or shot list, but more importantly, after preparing I like to see what the location, or actors bring, I will sometimes discard all my planning to do something else, it drives the crew nuts sometimes, but there must be that flash of danger or impulsiveness in the process for me." The article looks at Johnson's partnership with Scott Adkins. If you've been wanting something to watch, check out Johnson's portfolio of Action Movies (below Triple Threat trailer).
Other Jesse V. Johnson's films include . . . (click poster for trailer)
5. Shazam! | | April 5, 2019
The trailer makes it look like so much fun but maybe the credit is due to the acting and casting. The kid and superhero versions of Billy Batson/Shazam (Asher Angel/Zachary Levi) are both great. I can totally buy that that's him as an adult. It's bound to be compared to Big (and that is a compliment). Sometimes I think comic book/superhero movies should have a child-ish element because that's when we loved them best. Like with Spider-Man: Homecoming, if you didn't like the high school element, you're kind of missing the point.
6. Avengers: Endgame | April 26, 2019
Come on, it's an Avengers movie! "In the aftermath of Thanos wiping out half of all life in the universe, the remaining Avengers must do what's necessary to undo the Mad Titan's deed."
7. John Wick: Chapter 3 | May 17, 2019
The success of the John Wick movies was a sure thing. 87eleven's Chad Stahelski and David Leitch took it to the next level and launched their directorial careers with one hell of a bang. Bodes well for Action, don't you think, considering the bad ass movies they have made separately since. David went on to direct Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde, exceeded expectations with Deadpool 2 (talk about a hard act to follow with Deadpool—amazing action), and is now working on Hobbs and Shaw with The Rock and Jason Statham, but then if you stunt doubled JCVD you were already breathing rarified action air.
And speaking of stunt doubles, Chad Stahelski is who doubled Keanu Reeves in the The Matrix triology. He's also an MMA champion, and his specialized skills include: Wire work, Rigging, Tumbling, Mini-Tramp, Trampoline, High Falls, Fire Burns, Martial Arts Choreography, Air Rams, Ratchets, Weapons, Acrobatic Reactions, Scuba Diving, Precision Driving, and Motorcycles. Someone who knows Action inside out like that, brings a finer eye to Action as entertainment. The fact that Stahelski and Leitch formed their own company speaks volumes, and 87eleven's team is impressive as hell!
So with a pedigree like that, John Wick: Chapter 3 is a no-fail scenario, it's just a matter of topping John Wick: Chapter 2. I think Action fans are divided in their preference of John Wick vs. JW2. Personally, I liked the first just because it was the first (and the puppy), but JW 2 did exceed all my expectations. Bring on JW3. As we expected, Keanu Reeves told Entertainment Weekly: "The third chapter is literally connected to 2 and starts with John Wick on the run. It goes crazy from there." That is exactly what we were hoping for and a true next chapter, continuing in realtime.
8. Men in Black: International l | June 14, 2019
Weren't they already planet-wide?! So they have added Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok), Chris Hemsworth, Liam Hemsworth, and Rebecca Ferguson (Ilsa Faust from Mission: Impossible). If they don't hit a home run, it won't be for lack of talent. The Director is F. Gary Gray (Friday, Set It Off, The Negotiator, A Man Apart (Vin Diesel), The Italian Job, Be Cool, Law Abiding Citizen, Straight Outta Compton), and the Writers are Art Marcum (anyone who can write dialog for Iron Man! #justsaying) and Matt Holloway.
9. Hobbes and Shaw | August 2, 2019
The Rock stole the Fast and Furious franchise heat LOL when he joined the team on Fast Five. This spinoff was bound to happen. Sorry, I'm laughing, I couldn't help saying that after they F&F cast (not naming names) got upset. Who can blame them, but really, after the last two movies, where was there to go? Emotionally, it felt like they should have ended the series when Paul Walker was killed, but I still enjoyed Furious 7. If you're a true F&F fan, you love ALL the movies. It was already ridiculously over the top with the airplane on the endless runway scene in Fast & Furious 6, and then there was the kill a helicopter with a car scene in Furious 7 with The Rock in the street shooting at a helicopter with an M134 Minigun—that's what we wanted more of (you know it was so Arnold Commando)—that when we got to it's raining cars in The Fate of the Furious (BTW #btdt Die Hard With a Vengeance) and racing a missile/submarine on ice . . . it's just insane. But seriously, I'm not complaining. Watching that scene again, how awesome is Vin Diesel?! If you say you love Action Movies but you don't like the Fast and Furious franchise, check your pulse.
In any case, 9 and 10 are already listed on IMDb, so spinoff it is. Start another franchise, yes please! Put in ALL the Action Figures you can find. The Rock, Jason Statham, AND Idris Elba! It's not to be missed. Tagline "This time there is no team." Yeah, there is, Team Handsome. Here's a video of them shooting in Glasgow . . . .
10. Rambo 5: Last Blood | Fall 2019
How bittersweet. Another Rambo movie but they are going to kill him off (maybe?) . . . I so wanted him to be safe and happy and loved (at last). He's come full circle but the nature of a circle is it continues, and "when [Rambo's] pushed, killing's as easy as breathing." I'm hoping for a no-mercy Mexican cartel compound attack like Rambo III.
11. (T6) Untitled Terminator Reboot | November 1, 2019
Arnold and Linda are back! What else could you ask for? I'm down for any Terminator movie. I have loved all except Terminator Genysis. I think Terminator Salvation was really enjoyable even with the complaints made against it. A giant robot with robot motorcycle calves? Come on!
In this video, IMDb tells "What we know so far", which includes James Cameron as Producer and creative consultant to Deadpool Director Tim Miller. THR says it's a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgement Day. This sixth film will kick off a trilogy that passes the baton to a new generation of fans.
The 'new' Terminator is Gabriel Luna. The 2nd Unit Director is Philip J. Silvera (who also worked on both Deadpools and as a stuntman, Stunt Driver, Stunt Coordinator, and Fight Coordinator on many other great Action Movies).
Action Adventure Sci-fi, Arnold. Need I say more?
12. Bad Boys for Life | 17 January 2020
MIAMI! Love any Action Movie filmed in Miami. Yes, Miami's as beautiful as it looks on film. Action Movie Freaks have been waiting a long time for another Bad Boys movie. Here's some more news (from May 10, 2018) . . .
GB hits the target again with
Gerard Butler's love for Action Movies (so much so that his finances his own choices) delivered in Hunter Killer. I really enjoyed this movie. I went to see it twice and I might go again. It sparked my interest and raised many questions.
What exactly is a hunter-killer submarine?
What is the tradition with keeping a coin, and the protocol of sharing one?
What a horrible invention the well-named Destroyer is . . .
What a massive display of power.! When the Russian Destroyer fired a barrage of rockets, it was clear why it's named that, and it was hard to imagine anything escaping that much firepower. Jive Turkey on YouTube sheds some light on it, starting at 3:42 (he also mentions at 11:21 that they are missing radiation detection devices on each crew members' belt—how scary is a job where you need to wear that?!). Jive Turkey also sheds some light on choices made for dramatic effect (versus real life), which is a fascinating glimpse into the movie making process that we take for granted.
If you loved Peter Berg's Battleship, or if you love heavy weapons, you'd love this movie. The movie definitely delivered on the underwater tension, and satisfied a lot of the Action Movie Essentials. There was a little Trash Talking to build up Gerard Butler's character, lots of Camaraderie and Dominance, and Explosions and Chases. When they "Dive!" they do the lean—Love the lean!
There's a part when the soldiers on the ground are running across a bridge/platform. The landscape was so otherworldly and stark it brought not only the Gears of War games but The Expendables 3 to mind. Other Action Movie Essentials like high-tech surveillance gadgets and military lingo were cool. It was a little unexpected that the wounded soldier came into play in such an intense way at the end. They hinted at it, but the delivery was way better than anticipated. What it means to be that kind of Super Soldier was clear. The underlying quality in this movie is Sacrifice. These men (on both sides) live their lives, or die in service to their country and ideals.
The Needs of the Many: We Need a Sequel
Courage, too, played a large part. What would you do if faced with a save-many-lives-but-lose-your-own-scenario? The greater good scenario in Star Trek's The Wrath of Khan came to mind, when Spock says of his sacrifice "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few . . . " and Kirk adds "Or the one" meaning Spock's life, but also it's the very personal hurt of Kirk's needing Spock. The ending of this movie sets up a Kirk/Spock kind of friendship, so I hope they make a sequel.
I found this video after I did this post and it made me feel great that it validated my take on the movie.
Jackie Chan, John Cena, Scott Waugh,
Project X-traction, China,
and the Future of Action Movies
This news is from July but I just stumbled on it this morning (in The Hollywood Reporter). Scott Waugh [ former stuntman and Director of Act of Valor, Need for Speed (Aaron Paul) ] is directing this former Jackie Chan/Sylvester Stallone movie Project X, now called Project X-traction.
In the THR article Waugh says "In terms of how the movie is stylized, it will hopefully be another level—our action will be extremely exciting." This is music to an Action Movie Freak's ears. Is there anything better we could hear?! (I mean after "Jackie Chan" and "John Cena" . . .) Well, how about "big-budget Hong Kong/China co-production led by Chan is entirely Chinese funded"?!
After seeing that Wu Jing's (aka Jacky Wu) Wolf Warrior 2 made $870+ million, anyone who denies Action Movies are still THE genre has their head in the sand. They are not dead, Action Movies will always be #1. What stars like Jackie Chan has always done, and John Cena does, is to bring the physicality to the forefront. Gone forever are the days of the old James Bond who looked good in a suit and faked the rest. Tom Cruise's latest Mission: Impossible movie was "100% Cruise", which went a long way in selling tickets, although I would like to see him use stuntmen but give credit at the end with clips. I mean, nobody wants to see him die—or anyone—while trying to entertain us. I think he's got the right idea though. This is what we want to see, real stuntwork, and he practices to try to be the cool, behind-the-scenes, "quiet professional" AND international man of mystery movie star, which nobody can deny he is! And what Scott Waugh is doing is also bringing practical stunts front and center, on possibly the biggest scale for a worldwide audience.
Scott Waugh's's father is Fred Waugh, co-founder of the elite Hollywood group Stunts Unlimited. Talk about stuntwork pedigree! Sadly, Fred Waugh passed away in 2012 [ IMDb, painfully, says only: "Died December 2, 2012 in USA (cancer)" ] Whenever I want to promote stuntwork and I go to the web for information, I find so little. I wish I could clone myself and volunteer to moderate all the stunt company website and catalog all the stuntwork. #idigress Getting to the reason behind little available information on stunts . . .
In this January 30, 2014 article "Why NEED FOR SPEED Director Scott Waugh Thinks We'll Never See A Stunts Oscar" by Devin Faraci, Scott says that "My dad always told me it will never happen because the people in the Academy don't want to wreck the mystique behind the movie. They quietly recognize what we do, but for the general public they don't want to ruin the mystique of the actor." Faraci remarked "As long as Tom Cruise gets to say he does his own stunts, we'll never see a Best Stunts trophy handed out on Oscar night. [Unless it's for Tom!] But for Waugh it's all part of the job." Scott Waugh concludes "It's a shame, but it's like that phrase in the SEAL team, the quiet professional. That's us."
You may think I am far afield here, but bringing it back to Scott Waugh directing Project X-traction: in speaking about making Need for Speed, Scott said "I almost never use CGI. I think they knew that when they hired me. They knew (practical stunts) was what they were going to get. I'm not a fan of CGI. I feel like it's the easy way out, unless you're doing like a futuristic movie that's in a completely other world, like 'Avatar.' In a car movie, it should be practical. It should be real. We hired (stunt coordinator) Lance Gilbert to come up with stuff that's real; that we can do practically. When we conceived this film, I really wanted to do a throwback to the movies that Lance and I grew up on that were the ones we still quote today as the greatest car movies of all time, which are 'Bullitt,' 'Vanishing Point,' 'Smokey and the Bandit,' and 'The French Connection.' You look at these films, and you try to figure out why are they still the best. It's because the (action sequences are) real. In the '60s and the '70s, they didn't do CGI. There's no big music montage. It's just motor noise. It's something we really focused on throughout the whole film."
Kind of makes you excited to see what he can
do with Jackie Chan and John Cena. Hyping the movie (which he
does not need to do for Action fans), Scott says "The
highlight of this movie is really simple: we have one of the
greatest legends of action working with a talented newcomer in
the action genre. It's possibly one of the greatest pairings."
And "I'm excited, when you get actors who are truly
physically talented, you can design action to really use
this—it's a dream."
John Cena has hit his stride as an Action Movie star. From The Marine to this movie, he's taking his place among the biggest (literal and figurative) Action Figures. Despite all the "Cena Sucks" storyline (which is fun but just WWE drama), he is a much-loved figure. Especially by children. In that sense, he and Jackie Chan are very similar. You may still be thinking "But he's just a wrestler." So was The Rock.
Anyway, my point is, the more Action Movie makers stick to Action Figures and Practical Stunts, the more audiences will love it. This movie is all that + Big Money and Bigger Audience = Big Future. John Cena gets it . . . giving credit where credit is due, in Mandarin, to his stunt double! Hope they do that with outtakes in the credits because real-life Action Figures already have mystique and this only adds to/does not take away from that.
The Chinese invented Action Movies, it's only fitting that they should save them and make them flourish. I look forward to lots more strong female characters, and some day, a female Jackie Chan will rise.
Action Movies coming in 2019. . .
Great news on 3 movies:
1) After posting the poster for Rambo V, Sylvester Stallone rocked a western look in a 3 photos on instagram @officialslystallone, quoting a line from a Gordon Lightfoot song. I guess they are going to kill him off: "Rambo goes up against a Mexican cartel in what's reported to be his last adventure." I'm gonna cry like a baby!
2) The Rock also posted on instagram @therock that it was the first week of shooting g "Hobbs and Shaw". This movie is going to be the Action Movie we've all been wanting them to make (instead of Disney movies, Mr. Johnson) to take their place as Action Figures. They really should (Jason Statham does for the most part) make ONLY Action Movies. Don't you agree?
3) Marko Zaror posted on instagram @markozaror that he's in a movie with Johnny Strong: "Invincible: Marko Zaror Turns Renegade In New Johnny Strong Action Thriller Now Filming" (SOURCE: Lee B. Golden III, Film Combat Syndicate. The Action Elite also covered it: "Director Daniel Zirilli Pits Johnny Strong vs. Marko Zaror in Invincible".
The synopsis sounds like Soldier meets The Condemned. [Colonel John Taylor, (Vladimir Kulich) enlists billionaire inventor Leor Teska (Paul Kennedy) to fund a secret black site, testing Teska's new nano technology for military applications, developed by scientist Dr. Quade (Sally Kirkland). When one of the test subjects, Brock Cortez, (Marko Zaror) escapes, Teska's head of security, Cam Devore, (Johnny Strong) is given the dangerous task of tracking him down.]
It also features s Streets of Fire/Eddie and the Cruisers star Michael Pare.
Yeah, it's an Action Movie!
Now that I've seen it, I can find out more about it (won't ruin it for myself). Didn't recognize Boyd Holbrook was the show-stealing bad guy in Logan (<--that movie is a masterpiece; it's not only an Action Movie, on a scale of 1 to 10 it's a 10 as a "film"). That character was really cool. I kinda wish he was a little more muscular for this military role in The Predator, but he is still a Bad Ass sniper.
This was what I was thinking before I left
for the theater . . .
And after the movie . . .
The fact that it opened in outer space was everything! The movie continuously surprised me with creative Gnarly Kills. From the opening EPIC post-death "kill" #wtfawesomeness, all the way to the end, this movie SERIOUSLY delivers on the killing. "They're large, they're fast, and fucking you up is their idea of tourism."
They science us, too. Funny, I was just thinking about this after seeing The Meg: that they put just enough science in to make it fun. Terms like "spontaneous specination", "hybridization", and "cybernetics"; secret government projects and labs; and crazy experiments—we eat that stuff up. Jumping to why this movie's Predators are different (no spoiler), they introduce an 11-foot Predator with 2 dogs " Our big boy's a hunter—he brought his dogs." ; It was a little like Predators, more so than Predator. And there was lots of humor. Love that they put Halloween in it. There were so many unreal moments, it kind of kept you on the edge of your seat. When, while laying on the ground they shoot up into the trees at the Predator, it's kind of a full circle moment. They KNOW it's using the trees.
Instead of muscle, the 'team' is heavy on crazy. There's a pay off for it though. It seems like they were just having fun with every tool in the Predator kit. What's not to love about that?! Anyway. I will see it again just to be back in a world with Predators. They looked Bad Ass! The very first one was a "wow", as was the big one. I'm not going to nit pick it to death. It was just too much fun!
87Eleven Action Design
| Chad Stahelski + David Leitch
Oct 24-27: Nassau
Oct 28-Nov 1: Abaco
Nov 1-Nov 4: Eleuthera