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CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK
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. Triple Threat | March 22, 2019
First and foremost! I mean, Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Tiger Chen, and Jeeja Yanin (and more) all in one film! No wonder the poster looks like this . . .
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)
4. 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.
5. 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."
6. 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.
7. Men in Black: International | 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.
8. 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 . . .
9. 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.
10. (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?
11. 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) . . .
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 being a portrait of Courage.
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 father is Fred Waugh (see photos), 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 websites 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 "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 Streets of Fire/Eddie and the Cruisers star Michael Pare.
Yeah, it's an Action Movie!
Delighted to see that Angry Joe enjoyed The Predator too . . . Off to see it a second time in IMAX (first time was in Dolby).
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. And, no, I didn't watch Narcos . . .
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!
Meets Action Movies:
내가 제일 잘 나가
Super excited to see Kpop Bad Ass CL (Lee Chae-rin) from super girl group 2NE1 in this new trailer for Mile 22:
More reasons to love Peter Berg! (Follow them on instagram @chaelincl and @pberg44.)
Mission: Impossible - Fallout: Tom Cruise
This installment of Mission: Impossible was exciting to the point where, once I got home, I realized I was exhausted! Pumped up, elated, but OMG! so many moments when you could see it was really Tom Cruise doing those crazy things. He rides a motorcycle against traffic at breakneck speeds, he does a rolling fall (100% Cruise), he drift drives a car, he flies a helicopter, he sprints fast as hell for a really long time. Who has that stamina?! Amazing from start to finish. What thrills, what excitement. It was more than everything anyone could have hoped for. Plus, he looked great in whatever he wore, but especially in a suit. His hair was cute. LOL I look forward to his hairstyle changes as much as I do Nicolas Cage's. Nothing looks bad on him. #tomcruisegirl
I posted but didn't watch the trailer or any of the promotions so (almost) everything was fresh on the big screen (IMAX of course) for me. Have to own it! Can't wait to watch it again.
TC knows Action Movies!
Wade Eastwood (MI6 Stunt Coordinator and 2nd Unit Director.): "There was not one time in Mission: Impossible - Fallout that I used a stunt double on camera at any time in the movie. Everything we did, it is Tom Cruise 100%"
This video is hilarious . . . #teamcruise All The Right Stuff! Love that signature Tom smile at 6:26, and he's great at deadpan. By the way, kudos to the cameraman. Great landing, Tom!! Love that James has to bear hug Tom on the ground.
If you want Mission: Impossible (and/or Tom Cruise shirts) try RedBubble.com. Shirts are soft, true sizing, and nice quality)
MISSION: Impossible - Fallout starts tonight
Today's the long-awaited day! Mission: Impossible - Fallout is in theaters. I can't wait to see it in IMAX! Here's Tom Cruise going all out for our entertainment. Can't believe he kept walking on it and did more takes!
AQUAMAN Trailer Tomorrow!
You gotta love him.
Skyscraper Delivers Must-See Big Screen
Lawrence Fishburne once divided his movies into Lawrence movies and Larry movies. This is a Dwayne Johnson movie; if you were expecting The Rock, it's a more subdued performance than that. It's a so-not-to-be-missed Action Movie if you're a Rock fan, if you want to see Hong Kong, ILM state-of-the-art effects, explosions, and edge-of-your-seat moments x 10! You should go. It will make you afraid of heights if you're not already . . .
But is it an Action Movie? Yes!
Just don't expect the in-your-face confidence of the Action Movie Bad Ass delivering Cheesy One-Liners to the villain. More like delivering dialogue. Almost as satisfying. #littlebit
I must have said "Oh my God" at least 20 times in this movie. The special effects are beautiful and breathtaking. If you're old enough to have seen Towering Inferno in theaters, it was kind of like that. Maybe more like that than "Die Hard in a building." It scored an 88/100 on my "But is it an Action Movie?" questionnaire that I've been refining. It is action packed. I have to see it again on the biggest screen possible.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Paul Rudd—Who doesn't love him?! He's all gay-guy cuteness in a hetero-handsome-Average-Joe package. What's that mean? I don't know. Straight guys are stoic? Paul Rudd is the perfect fun match for the imagination of the Ant-Man. So is Michael Peña, who keeps stealing the show with the character based on his friend "Pablo".
movie was even more enjoyable than the first. Love the lab/gadet-iness
of it all. The shabby exterior hiding a high-tech/luxury interior,
the kicking it up a notch with a Hot Wheels Rally Case of
cars, and transporting the shrunken lab like a suitcase.
you don't find Science exciting but when it's in a Lab that is
building a massive machine (Captain America: The First
Avenger, Stargate, etc.),
and has a space pod . . .
There's a surprising amount of going-here-and-there in this movie, which only makes it more fun, and which ramped up the tension. They really should not have shown giant Ant-Man using a flat bed like a skateboard in the trailer. That would have been so cool to see for the first time on the big screen. Between the intentional re-sizing (very clever for the fight scenes) and unintentional, the timing, setting, and situation made the transformations all the more interesting. It's always more fun (like the Jurassic movies) when you bring the madness to the streets.
Putting a timer on it always helps too. Then, every time-consuming thing they do, every detour that pops up, only heightens the movie's enjoyment. The other thing that's always great is a hateable villain. Ghost is kind of a total annoying pain in the ass. All the cast members were excellent, but Sonny Burch and his oily Southern charm was a standout.
Stuntman Sighting: Henry Kingi, Sr. was driving one one of Walton Goggins' SUVs. Jeff Habberstad was 2nd Unit Director. Also, Jessie Graff is listed as a Motion Capture Double :-).
Mile 22 Iko Uwais Mark Wahlberg and Ronda
The action-packed trailer for this movie has me excited to see Iko Uwais! He's so great in action. It's bound to be compared to Heat (1995) because of the street battle. See it August 3rd.
Deadpool 2: Two Endings in One
They had their fun with us. A tear-jerker and then a surprise. At first, the jokes were a little lame, but they got better. The Action was as expected (LOL unexpected) as they overdosed us on the Gnarly Kills. They managed to pull off a little twist at the end. Also, they dialed back the anti-vag/woman hatery-ness a bit (did a 180 I would say), which was a relief. David Leitch did a little too much choppy cuts on the action in the beginning, which I found surprising. It was a little hard to follow what was going on. That could have been the fault of the editing as well. I think there was a lot of action there that we didn't get to see because they squashed down those fights into too short a timeline. I wore my The Villainess shirt and was surprised to see this version of a scene from that movie. It was a funny take on it.
I don't think any Deadpool or Action Movie fan (or freak) would be disappointed. This movie was great fun and even choked us up a little at the end. It's not often we care so much for a character and much of that credit goes to Ryan Reynolds. It was a great sequel!
Avengers: Infinity War
I finally go to see this movie (life gets in the way of my Action Movie ambitions). It brought the last Thor movie to mind, Thor: Ragnarok, which I felt was just big and funny like Kong: Skull Island was big and dumb. It was too long for sure and could have been trimmed a lot in the editing and script as well as the action. Can't believe I'm saying that about action. The last big fight with the Venom-like 'dogs' could have been so much better with an Aliens "last stand" feel, but, the last fight was—as the movie was on the whole—a little underwhelming. But enough about that. All the fuss beforehand regarding this movie was much ado about nothing IMO. I thought I was going to hate Star Lord after this movie, but I don't see what all the fuss was about that either, I mean he fired the gun (like the uproar about Superman's moustache removal in Justice League, which I didn't even notice). I think it could have been more clever in what Thanos did with the powers in the order that he got them, but that's easy to say from outside. It had a lot, but, the whole was less than the sum of the parts. Bucky didn't do much, which surprised me. Cap's never looked better (and that's saying a lot). Black Panther was regal, as he should be. Loved Wakanda's role. When this scene came up, it was worth the ticket price. Now I know why my nephew keeps yelling "Wakanda forever!" Ironman's wise cracking was enjoyable, but Dave Bautista stole the show. In the end, it's a long journey into a world that we longed for as kids—So many super heroes. What's not to like about that?! Oh, and Thor (my comic book favorite tied with Aquaman), got to be the mega Bad Ass that he is. The space worlds were visually stunning. Just wanted to live inside a science fiction movie after this. It wasn't much of a cliffhanger, obviously an installment, which I expected, so even that didn't bother me.
Rambo V! Rambo 5, people!!!!!
This Rambo V poster was posted via Eoin Friel of The Action Elite who got it "Courtesy of Chad Law from Cannes". This is the BEST news Action Movie Freaks could have gotten from Cannes! Apparently Millennium is also coming out with The Expendables 4 (which is sure to include Jackie Chan). Expendables 4 is on IMDb but Rambo V is not. This article makes it sound like they are back to the Mexican Drug story line . . . All I care about is it better have Sylvester Stallone in it. Would be nice if he passed the torch to another bad ass in Rambo's family (son, daughter) . . . #justsaying. Hope they don't kill him off :-( !
I wrote "Coming full circle with RAMBO: Last Blood" back in the October 2014 of PAYBACK magazine (just my mini online action movie magazine that I wish I had more time for). At that time I wanted them to pass the torch and I mocked up a photo of Roman Reigns. It could be a huge opportunity for some new Bad Ass!
The Rock's spirit animal goes on a
Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock aka Samoan Thor aka The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment aka Rocky aka Rocky Maivia aka The People's Champion aka The Brahma Bull (he's a Taurus) aka The Great One aka Flex Kavana aka The Silverback gets to magnify himself (so to speak) in this movie as he and his gorilla pal share his bawdy sense of humor. This movie throws a lot at you: a super-sized gorilla, wolf, and crocodile/alligator do some damage to downtown Chicago, with a military element thrown in. It's a little like King Kong meets Transformers (not that there's anything wrong with that). Whereas Kong: Skull Island was "big and dumb" (my 3-word review), this movie was big and fun (what's not to like?!). Fans of The Rock (like me) will love this ride. It's very Saturday matinee in the way that 2005's King Kong satisfied. It reminded me the most of The Lost World: Jurassic Park . I especially enjoyed Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Tommy-Lee-Jones-ish cowboy lawman. What's become clear is The Rock knows is how to share the spotlight with a strong cast of supporting characters (part of why Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is so popular).
The Hurricane Heist
that '80s Action Movie Feel
So, there's a little difference—a girl is the lead, and there are 2 guys (brothers) who help her out, but overall, it satisfied my Action Movie Essentials, and the action was creative. Maggie Grace as US Treasury Agent "Casey" does a good job of handling a weapon (as far as I could tell—I'm no marksman—but she looked competent/confident), and she handles being in charge and her character's job in a convincing manner. She's far removed from the delicate Maggie we saw in LOST. The movie's special effects of the hurricane are realistic enough that they don't detract, but exaggerated for dramatic effect—Like the villains—For me it all worked. The Action Elite enjoyed it as well. I paid to see it twice. And I would watch it again, just for the brothers.
What I especially like was that they were a little "Bubba" without being too "good ol' boy". Just Southern enough to give them values and for us to enjoy their camaraderie, accents, and lingo ("well ). In Action Movies there are lessons to be taught, and learned and these two step up to the plate to be heroes. "Will" and "Breeze" are brothers who lost their father in Hurricane Andrew. As the movie begins, Will, now a meterologist (PhD in Synoptic Meterology), says: "We got 500 miles of Armageddon on its way to crush your house and ruin your life." Let the games begin.
There were lots of Boy Toys, vehicular manslaughter, and even vehicular vehicleslaughter (Gnarly Kills), crashes and Explosions, semis, drones, a "tank" (storm chaser), Chase Scenes . . . I highly recommend this movie, so I don't want to spoil it by describing specific scenes, like this one:
Love that there's even a payoff for "the harsh part". The dialogue is good and there are surprises. What's at stake here is $600,000,000 that's headed for the shredder, which attracts bad guys and even good guys gone bad. That's plenty to divvy up, so there's no shortage of villains. Disposable villains, as it turns out, and we are treated to some Gnarly Kills. The sound effects are really awesome as well. The only thing was I wished it was a little bit longer. They made a joke at the end, but I kind of wish something had developed between Will and Casey and we could have seen them "all cleaned up" after the storm. Bring on a sequel! I'm ready.
Death Wish à la Willis
You know Action Movie Freaks did not miss this movie. Bruce Willis was enough of a draw but the premise would also have been enough considering the original Charles Bronson series. It had been a while since I watched the Death Wish series (1974, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1994) so I was spared the comparison (I also didn't want to compare Willis to Charles Bronson).
They did a good job of modernizing the movie, which added to the situational comic relief. (Speaking of comic relief, I could swear that is "Noel G." Noel Gugliemi @1:20 uncredited, who will forever be monkey-butt guy from Bruce Almighty—he did another butt thing too but I can't remember which movie it was). I think we all wanted to see more at the end, meaning we would enjoy a sequel. I love an 'up' ending. I think Shawshank Redemption is as popular as it is because of the ending. Nobody wants an Elysium ending . . .
Breaking Box Office Records
How gratifying to see Black Panther so widely well received!
•Rotten Tomatoes crowned it "The Greatest Film of All Time"!
•The biggest box office opening for an African-American director.
•The biggest February opening in history.
•From it's record-crushing $202M Friday-Sunday opening, it has now earned $400 M in the first ten days.
•"With Japan and China still on tap, Ryan Coogler's MCU Action Movie has already topped $300M overseas for a $704M global total. It should be just over/under $900M worldwide by the end of next weekend, and it has already topped the likes of Man of Steel, Logan, and Justice League; with Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($714M) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($709M) next in its sights. Black Panther is well on its way to being the biggest solo superhero origin story/non-sequel ever. We'll see if it can get past The Dark Knight ($1 Billion), The Dark Knight Rises ($1.1B) and Iron Man 3 ($1.2B) to become Earth's mightiest hero."
It gave me tears of joy seeing this clip of the premiere in Busan, South Korea where part of the movie was filmed. There was a lot of love from the crowd, and I felt as proud of the cast as if they were my kids.
Busan is home to the center of South Korean's film industry. Busan is home to BIFF, the Busan International Film Festival, the beautiful Busan Cinema Center (aka Dureraum <- watch their PR video), and Busan Cinema Studios. I have been armchair traveling to Busan for some time, and this poster shot going over the Gwangandaegyo Bridge (광안대교 aka Diamond Bridge). How beautiful the bridge looks at night, all lit up. It's so much bigger than I thought. This action sequence was crazy exciting. Here's YTN News with a clip of the chase and highlighting the bridge appearing . . . (I posted thist last week but can't stop watching.)
Stuntwoman Janeshia Adams-Ginyard talks about what it was like being Danai Gurira's stuntwoman and one of the fearsome Dora Milaje warriors.
Sinners and Saints: Vengeance Starts
Filming in Bulgaria
Daylight's End Writer Chad Law posted this picture and WOW! Right to Left: THE MAN Tom Berenger, TOTAL BAD ASS Johnny Strong, Sinners and Saints Writer/Director William Kaufman, Chad Law, not sure-so familiar . . . , not sure, not sure . . . but will figure it out by the end of the day lol, and Sonny Puzkias. He hashtagged Scott Adkins and he is listed in the cast as starring with Johnny Strong! SCOTT mfing ADKINS! This movie could not be ANY cooler!! #youhadmetatjohnnystrong
Hold the phone! That means Johnny Strong will fight and defeat Scott Adkins (who must be the bad guy). Hahahaaa! SO psyched. Johnny Strong vs. Scott Adkins. SOMEBODY better make sure this movie comes to the big screen in Miami for me, pleeeeease!!!
"Glad to officially be meeting up with some of these #sinnersandsaints here again soon in #Bulgaria #startupsunday #sundayfunday #JohnnyStrong #ScottAdkins #TomBerenger #WilliamKaufman #SonnyPuzikas"
Black Panther: AT LAST!
AMAZING to finally have Black Panther in theatres. What seems like just a few years ago at ActionFest 2011, I was sure it would be Michael Jai White. (He was there in person and spoke about his directorial debut, Never Back Down 2, Black Dynamite, and spoke on a "Modern Fight Directors Panel". The group gathered around him, and he, sighed wistfully as we contemplated there finally being a Black Panther movie, and how perfect he was for it.)
Just reflecting—not to take anything away from Chadwick Boseman who was already phenomenal in Captain America: Civil War as Black Panther, and helped make us even more excited to finally see a stand-alone film, but if anyone's career had led them to that moment . . . Anyhow, MJW is such a great action movie supporter, he has been cheering CB on. If only I could work on this website full time, instead of holding down a job—Note to self: Add Chadwick Boseman to Bad Ass list!
I am on my way to see it now, and really glad the only trailer I have seen was the teaser trailer below. Been so psyched to see this movie, it's hard to describe. Larnell Stovall posted the variety of posters when they came out. And, he posted this message back on January 2:
Just seeing the continent of Africa like this is cool as hell!
Black Panther surprised in two big ways: First, the women! The fiercely blazing star of the movie was Danai Gurira who stole every scene she was in. If I hadn't seen the Amazons fighting in Wonder Woman, seeing the powerful all-female Dora Milaje (Wakandan special forces) would have given me goosebumps. Still, it thrilled me to no end that they were so fierce and skilled with their spears. Loved that they weren't scantily dressed! In her IMDb profile, Danai's bio gives this personal quote:
"I was a jock when I was a kid, so I've always wanted to physically live through a character—one of those really tough chicks." Mission accomplished!
This movie is so uplifting; a real when-they-go-low, we-go-high thing; a beautiful message, timely ("now more than ever"), and much needed. I especially liked the dig at the "monster of our own making" Donald Trump, when they said "the foolish build barriers". In the end, it was not so much about strength, as compassion. It hit every right note. When people ask me what I liked about the movie, I reply "EVERYTHING"!
Check out this
video about the stuntwork in Black Panther from Stunts Unlimited.
The Second Unit Directors on this film were
Andy Gill and
Darrin Prescott. Andy Gill also had a Stunt
Coordinator credit with
Jonathan Eusebio. The Fight Coordinator was
Clayton J. Barber. Movie credits are a little hard to
R.A. Rondell and
Hank Amos are also listed as Stunt Coordinator 2nd
Unit. The action was exciting in this movie. The fight
scenes were well executed and creative. My favorite, of
course, was the casino fight because it was so sudden and fast.
Share the love, if you can, by supporting the #BlackPantherChallenge and donate so a kid can go see the movie. #RepresentationMatters
12 Strong: A Portrait of Courage
This is more of a War Drama than an Action Movie (it's tagged Action Drama History War) . That said, it got applause at the end. At it's core, it is a moving portrait of Courage. It's the [declassified] true story of the Army Special Forces Green Berets who responded to the 9/11 attack. Just 12 men—I'd say God was watching. Makes you appreciate your freedom.
War is hell, that's obvious, but what isn't obvious is what kind of person, what kind of heart it takes to commit to something and push through fear and hardship to stand for something. To never give up, to find a way to complete the mission no matter what. They are well trained to be sure, but what stands out is who they are and what they signed up to do. You can't help but think that there probably would have been more attacks had they not struck back immediately as they did. It's a movie I'd like to own and watch again. To put it in a subgenre, I'd pick Revenge. It's not about who they are as much as what they did.
From IMDb: "The film is based on Doug Stanton's non-fiction book Horse Soldiers, which tells the story of CIA paramilitary officers and U.S. Special Forces, in addition to USAF Combat Controllers, sent to Afghanistan immediately after the September 11 attacks."
There's another movie Legion of Brothers (a documentary) that also tells the story. The real-life soldiers quote Isaiah 6:8 (KJV) "[Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying,] Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." It's powerful stuff.
Skyscraper: The Rock Die Hards
You've got to love The Rock and his social media savvy. I particularly enjoyed this post about Skyscraper.
And here's the trailer . . .
Mission: Impossible - Fallout Two Trailers
Two trailers! #becausetomcruise STILL not watching! So want to see it all on the big screen for the first time. The M:I movies have usurped /surpassed Bond movies in my mind already. He wants to be in Action Movies, and I love that he brings it to the extent that he broke his ankle and kept moving! #thatssojackiechan. What higher praise is there?! Yes, #takemymoney!
Mission: Impossible - Fallout announced for July 27, 2018
Take my money! Tom Cruise @tomcruise is now on @instagram! His first two photos are promoting Mission: Impossible - Fallout for Summer 18 (182 days until July 27). Deadline Hollywood supplied the tagline: "The best intentions often come back to haunt you."
First Look at
Brie Lawson as
Hooray! They didn't skimpy-up the Captain Marvel costume. Here's a look at Brie Lawson, appropriately attired from the Marvel Studio News website. They mention that: "Captain Marvel is expected to do much of its production in California, so this could be a scene from Avengers 4 which has still been doing additional filming in Atlanta."
Starting 2018 by Standing Up For
Happy New Year! If you haven't already seen
Concrete and Crashpads, it's on
vimeo and on
Amazon (Prime) . And please show them some love on
87Eleven Action Design
| Chad Stahelski + David Leitch
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