action movie freak
Action Movie Fans
Hovitos are near, the poison is still fresh days, they're
following us . . . "
just admit it now,
CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK
. . . everything you love about ACTION MOVIES
Essentials that make a great
WELCOME TO THE
January 18, 2021
2020 gave me the experience of being on 2 podcasts. The first one already aired. The second one is airing on 1/27.
After these two podcasts, I chickened out of talking about Predator with Robb. I don't think Podcasts are for me . . .
2020 is over! Bring on 2021
What to Expect and When to Expect It:
As if you need a reason to celebrate . . . 2021 brings us a huge list of awesome movies to look forward to. These are in the order that they appear in the trailer compilation below. If things keep their release dates, MAY will be a HUGE month!
(Bond 25) No TIme To Die (2 April 2021)
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
(The Fast and The Furious) F9 (28 May 2021)
• Black Widow (at last! 7 May 2021)
All those trailers and a few more are here in this Film Spot Trailer compilation:
Monster Hunter: Gimme More!
Monster Hunter was cool and fun. Visually, it was a little Transformers DOTM desert scene, a little Stargate, a lot Pitch Black, a little Starship Troopers, and a little Dune mixed in and, maybe, some Mortal Engines (but I didn't see that movie).
What surprised me most was that Milla made it believable that she could take on Tony Jaa (!). Not kidding. The fight scenes were surprisingly believable. I mean, it's TONY JAA! Loved the supporting cast, including: Ron Perlman, T.I., Meagan Good, Diego Boneta, and Miami boy (North Miami Beach) (he appeared in my favorite F&F, 2 Fast 2 Furious) Jin Au-Yeung.
I'm hoping for a series. Love "bad-ass team" movies.
From IMDb Trivia:
Wonder Woman 1984
If you haven't seen this on the big screen, what are you waiting for?! It's WONDERful. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
This movie surprised me with the depth of its emotional appeal and some pretty spectacular action moments for Wonder Woman. Spoiler: The winged gold suit ascent really took my breath away. I didn't expect to feel so proud of how 'good' she is. It was the message we really needed to hear RIGHT NOW. Without saying anything more about it, one more ENORMOUS spoiler . . .
The cameo at the end after just a few credits really hit me 'in the feels'. I watched the 1975-79 Wonder Woman TV show when I was 15-19, and it's hard to say how much Lynda Carter/Woman Woman means to girls because there was so little out there then in the form of powerful role models. All that pride from the '70s and all that women have lived through since just so unexpectedly came at me all at once.
Of course, I highly recommend this movie and will watch it over and over for years to come. Hats off to Patty Jenkins for the writing (story by) and directing. Gal Gadot looked more muscular to me and did a great job selling the action. She IS Wonder Woman to me now and has earned that place (even though I kicked and screamed at first wanting it to be Gina Carano).
Hats off to all the Amazonian "Competitors" (in bold L-R top to bottom):
Nigerian athlete Moe Sasegbon
Lilly Aspell (Young Diana)
the incomparable Dayna Grant
Gwendolyn Smith (her only IMDb credit!)
And the "Amazon Athletes": Mikayla-Jade Barber, Candice Carbinee, Donna Forbes, Karis McCabe, Chantal Nell, SaskiaNeville, Jenny Pacey, Katherine Pickering. And the stunt women listed as "Competitor", "Amazonian", or "Amazon": Betty Adewole, Samaandntha Alleyne, Claire De Boer, Sarah Exall, Camilla Roholm, Ella Walker, and Rosanna Walls.
Surprising Depth in Action Short Film
Officer Down (:18 min) is a taut Action Short that, in the words of Writer/Director Simon Pearce, follows a young British police officer ("Alex Trent"), who finds himself cut off and trapped during civil unrest and has to fight for his survival. In doing so, he also has to overcome his own fears and bias, in order to possibly make it out of the situation alive.
He continues "When I set out to make this film, I was very keen to make something that felt very real and visceral. And to that end, something that wasn't just a typical Action Movie where it was as simple as good guy versus bad guy. I really wanted to ground the film in the world we're in today, and to have some moral complexity within the characters." Mission accomplished, thanks in no small part to the script with co-Writer Tommy Draper.
The lead 'villain's' remark "You're out there now, armored up, hurting, detaining people because they don't share your ideals" particularly resonates given the state of policing in the U.S., which has been exposed as pervasively the white supremacist state-sanctioned killing of black people.#justmyopinion. "Elijah" (played by Ben Turner) pointedly asks Officer Trent if he's prepared to do what is necessary. I often wonder on what side the U.S. military will fight if the level of racism, hatred, and corruption in the police force places the police on the side of neo-Nazi militias who seek to start another Civil War. Am I reading too much into it? Maybe, but it's to the film's credit that these connections were made in my mind. Also, there comes a point where Officer Trent is faced with a choice, and what he chooses to do emphasizes that we all have free will outside of the constraints of society, or our jobs, or belief system, whatever, to do "the right thing" in the moment . . .
As well as Thought, this Short packs a lot of Action into a neat and beautifully shot package. The Director of Photography is Phil Méheux, BSC (Casino Royale, The Saint). We know what the main character (Officer Alex Trent played by Martin Delaney) is there to do, and the overall excellent acting engages us in his efforts to stay alive.
At the start, the plot fast forwards from when Officer Trent enters an abandoned "old sports hall" building with other officers, to the point at which he winds up alone without any help. During the movie, he narrowly escapes death several times. The film's major fight scene, midpoint, is ferocious, and even has what I thought was a Gnarly Kill, but no spoilers. Seriously, the sound effect for that will leave you wondering how they did it. It hurts to watch.
I think Simon Pearce has a brilliant directing career ahead of him, just off this film alone. His bio doesn't include Horizon (2015 TV series) which looks really cool. He's got such an extensive, well-rounded film background with credits in Editing, Producing, Directing, Acting, Camera + Electrical, Cinematographer, etc. Also, with a lot of film experience (Acting, Directing, Writing), is the Producer Emily Haigh who played Georgiana Reed in 2011's Jane Eyre, and has no fewer than 10 projects she's appearing in (as Actress) in the works for 2020-2022.
Everyone in the film was excellent! The main players were:
Hats off to the Stunt Team:
About the Film
"Having recently finished it's run at the Oscar qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival, the film is now available to stream until November 30th at the BAFTA qualifying Aesthetica Film Festival, with currently another two chances to watch coming up in early December, one via the Fighting Spirit Film Festival based in London, and another via the genre festival Another Hole in the Head in San Francisco. There will be more screenings to follow through 2021, too."
The 2020 TAURUS World Stunts Awards . . .
are online for a very limited time! Watch exclusively on their website.
Nominees listed and winners highlighted below:
Best Fight | This award is for fights with or without weapons.
Best High Work
This award is for stunts involving high work of any kind.
Best Stunt Rigging |
This award is for the technical rigging of a stunt.
Best Work with a Vehicle | This award is for driving work involving vehicles of any type
. . .
Best Specialty Stunt | This award is for stunt work not encompassed by the other categories.
This award is for the stunt performed by a stunt man or woman with the hardest hit.
Best Action in a Foreign Film This award goes to the Stunt Coordinator for best stunt coordination throughout an entire foreign motion picture of any genre.
Best Overall Stunt by a Stunt Woman This award is for the best overall stunt performed by a Female in a motion picture of any genre.
Stunts in all film categories are eligible as long as they fit eligibility criteria and may have been nominated in another category.
Best Stunt Coordination and/or 2nd Unit Direction This award goes to the Stunt Coordinator and/or 2nd Unit Director for best stunt coordination throughout an entire motion picture of any genre.
Congratulations to all the
nominees, and to the WINNERS!
"In this article ["Tom Cruise Net Worth (2020)—How He Made His Fortune"] we're going to be diving into Tom Cruise's net worth, how he made his money, milestone deals, his assets such as property, cars, boats, planes, etc, and how he spends his money.
[Ryan Williams, the article's author, says his] favorite take away from all of this is [Tom's] massive collection of cars, planes, and motorcycles—it's an incredible toy box . . .."
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 14
Covid-19 has us all on Zoom and conference videos, but this one, really hits home because who could have imagined that Scott Adkins and Dolph Lundgren would be 'sitting around' so to speak, and let us in on their video chat?! This one went so fast for me even though it's nearly an hour. Dolph Lundgren is way more calm and down to earth than I imagined he would be. Laid back, I guess is what I mean. Again, Scott shows his appreciation for the body of work by his guest. Will be interesting to see what other giant Action Movie stars he converses with. Wondering too, how long this series will last. It's a little like the Life of Action books come to life. So now we all want to re-watch all of Dolph's movies, right?
Hell yes! I still remember what an impression he left on me the first time I saw him in A View To A Kill. Unforgettable, like when Tom Cruise appeared in Endless Love. Some people just have that thing.
Episode 14 | Dolph Lundgren (58:11)
Which Action Movie are You Waiting For?
Bond 25: "In No Time To Die, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology." I've watched 10 seconds of the trailer but I really don't want to spoil it for myself. SO HARD not to watch. I am so ready to go back to the movies. I did watch the teaser . . . (song by Kully B & Gussy G "Boom Shot Dis")
I stumbled on this . . .
The Rolls Royce Vision is so Bond. I wish it would appear in a Bond movie.
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 13
"Sensei Benny" aka Benny "The Jet" Urquidez has remained undefeated for more than 27 years, and remains the longest reigning World Champion of all professional sports. His kickboxing record is 63 wins, 0 losses (2 draws with 54 knockouts). He is an 8 time/5 weight division world kick-boxing champion. Fun fact: He wrestled professionally at New Japan Pro Wrestling Super Powers Clash in 1989 against Nobuya Azuka (from IMDb, more at Wikipedia).
From what he says, is there any more proof that fighters are born, not made than Benny Urquidez? It ran in his family. So many of these interviewees began martial arts at a very early age. He began at age 5!
Wheels on Meals and Dragons Forever, are, in Scott's opinion, two of the best fight scenes ever. It's so clear that Benny is the real deal. Fighting Jackie Chan would be the top of anyone's career, or vice versa. They also cover Benny's work in Road House, and the fact that he's trained John Cusack for 29 years (who knew?!).
Episode 13 | Benny Urquidez (40:16)
"I took out my axe in the fifth round, I started chopping."
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 12
"You ARE The Blonde Fury!"
Cynthia Rothrock is so down to earth, "one tough son-of-a-gun, and a crazy person as well". Loved listening to her stories. What a life!! I also loved hearing Scott praise her. There's not many women to compare her to. Loved when she said: "I never ever looked at myself like 'You're a woman. You can't compete against the men. I always put myself on their level.' " :-) We got to hear where her power comes from, and her training background and ethic. "I'm about strength, and speed, and power."
"Shooting the first movie in Hong Kong, prepared me for anything else in the world." LOL The culmination of all the previous episodes of Scott and his guests has created such a fun glimpse into the world of Hong Kong martial arts movies. Loved her story about getting kicked in the groin. Also loved hearing that her signature move got named the "Scorpion Kick".
LOL When Scott says "Why am I doing this again?" It's really fascinating to hear them comparing notes, and what it means for them to talk as equals (actually Cynthia did more Hong Kong movies) in what they went through to make these movies. Scott is so in awe of this "white girl from Pennsylvania" and how unusual it is/was. She paid the moviemakers a great compliment in saying that they brought the best out in her. Plus she said she never said no to their ideas.
Episode 12 | Cynthia Rothrock (1:09:24)
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 11
Lifelong Martial Artist
Okinawan weapons came up. I never imagined a group of weapons as varied as this would be grouped. Martial Arts has so many interesting parts and so much history.
"The Golden Age of Martial Arts Films"
On filming Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars (Sammo Kam-Bo Hung directed), it had a 3+ minute fight that took 3 weeks to film. They figured it out as they went ("I know no tougher film schedule than what it was like back then, with the hours, with the contact, with learning choreography in front of camera with not getting a change to rehearse." He said it was "almost full contact" (yikes), and they show him punching Sammo in the mouth!
"Sammo can punch like a mule and he's got an amazing spinning back kick."
On Acting "You can't teach that shit, mate." LOL (-Richard)
On Cynthia Rothrock "I can't think of another female martial arts film actor that moves like she does. I mean, she's absolutely phenomenal." (-Scott) "I don't know anybody else that's come close to her." "She was very skilled. She could place a kick exactly where you wanted it to go. She was very strong, very powerful, you know, with her technique. I don't know anybody else that's come close to her." (-Richard) "You don't get many girls that can kick with the power that she kicks with. Such force! You can see the speed and the power behind the way she does it." (-Scott) High praise indeed.
Wow! 6 and half weeks to film the main fight scene with Jackie Chan in The City Hunter. "I was just beating the daylights out of him. Richard's take on the humor in Mr. Nice Guy is a lot to his credit.
On Yojimbo and Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune "A fight scene is as much about what you're not doing, as what's you are doing." "Fights are not just action, they're a continuation of drama." (Says A Fistful of Dollars as a Western copy.)
Episode 11 | Richard Norton (59:25)
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 10
Action Freaks are thrilled with this choice. Mark Dacascos is a true talent. What an impressive body of work! Scott praises Mark's inspiration. It's fun to see all these Action Movies heroes giving each other some love. They have never met in person! Things to watch/re-watch: Crying Freeman, the butterfly twist in Only The Strong, Drive . . .
"There Will Be Pain"
Episode 10 | Mark Dacascos (51:16)
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 9
What an fascinating inside look at how Chad Stahelski works. John Wick, Matrix, and Rain/Ninja Assassin fans will be fascinated to hear the praise for what went into the skillset that makes these movies so great. The level of commitment really shows in the finished product! "If you're not doing dress rehearsals in real stuff, with the real props, you're not rehearsing."
Gunjitsu | The John Wick Way
SMH in spite of the success of the John Wick guys, Chad Stahelski says he still has to explain it. This video REALLY drives home how 'they' work and how someone who really knows Action works. He recognizes what's important and puts the money where it needs to be to make it look as good as it does. Not many people are anywhere close to his level. It really makes you want to rewatch all the John Wicks. He says he did all the John Wicks in under 55 days. That's a testament to his prep ethic.
Even Halle Berry trained 5 months. 5 days a week, even with the dogs. He says he plays around at his Jiu-Jitsu gym with his own (smaller) dogs for fun. They even committed to adopting the dogs after (!).
Influences and the Real Deal
"You just have to believe in it . . ."
Episode 9 | Chad Stahelski (1:02:32)
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 8
The "real kinetic impact" of this interview with JJ. Perry comes from his over-the-top enthusiasm, love of the genre, and praise for all his fellow collaborators. His personal history is super interesting. It was funny that he said when he realized he'd love to do stuntwork, he realized he was stuck in the Army. He has 147 films in his Stunts credits (for a frame of reference stunt legend Henry Kingi Sr. has 207 and he's 77, J.J. is only 55), that's a tremendous body of work! How many people can say they joined the Army as part of the "Elite Athlete Program"?! He didn't mention it (he's nothing if not humble), but he got a black belt at age 12.
OMG the clip they showed of Chad Stahelski with long (I mean LONG) black hair LOL. It does make him look sinister/tough. I particularly enjoyed the story of when J.J. met Tony Jaa and how Tony got the name "Hollywood". It's because it was so clear he's gonna be a star! Of Tony Jaa, Scott said "He's made of different atoms, that guy!" And J.J. said that both Tony and Scott are "genetically and physically on a different level", which anyone with eyes can see. SUCH talent!
I'm so loving this series. It really celebrates the work that goes into making Action Movies so good. Now I know who took the tumble for The Rock and Seann William Scott in The Rundown (LOVE that movie). It was Tanoai Reed and J.J. Perry. J.J. called Tanoai a "super, genetic freak of nature, big Samoan, cool, hard-as-nails cat".
"I didn't know that I could do these things until you forced me to do it." LOL
He's hilarious taking
is a force of nature in that. To me, nobody
keeps up with her in that movie. It's funny that Scott says how
much he loves J.J. Perry's style (and Larnell Stovall) because
the action is so "vicious". Gotta love that! Learned the lingo "Trickers".
I also found the discussion of Keanu's gun training super
Episode 8 | J.J. Perry (1:00:20)
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 7
Daniel Bernhardt is a towering figure (literally 6' 3"—IMDB says 6' 2 3/4"—and figuratively) in Action Movies. I didn't realize that was him in The Matrix Reloaded (2003)! Maybe it was the sunglasses, but now it's clear . . . And how cool is that?! His first movie was Bloodsport 2 (1996), where he played Alex Cardo (as in wasn't only doing stunts). Since I didn't see Bloodsport: The Dark Kumite, The Matrix Reloaded would have been the first movie I saw him in. So, looking at this movies between 2003 and Parker in 2013, I'm not sure just how I came to worship his skills so much, but as Chad Stahelski told him "You're an Action Actor". Maybe it was these direct-to-video Action Movies: Future War (1997) opposite Robert Z'Dar, Black Sea Raid (1997), True Vengance (1997) with Miles O'Keeffe and Beverly Johnson, and Perfect Target (1997) with Robert Englund and Brian Thompson.
His career really took off after Parker. And these are just highlights: He did The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (same year), Knock 'em Dead, and who wasn't 'knocked out' by him in John Wick (2014)? He was in Logan and Atomic Blonde (2017), Escape Plan: The Extractors (2019), Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbes & Shaw (2019), Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (2020), and did 5 episodes of Altered Carbon (2018-2020). Super impressive!
And I didn't know he was Swiss. His accent came out just a little here and there (sounds a little like the Canadian accent). He heavily downplayed his martial arts training, but his work speaks for itself. Modeling led him to a TV commercial he did where he fought Jean-Claude Van Damme. This attracted the attention of Producer Marc Di Salle who cast as the lead in Bloodsport 2. And the rest is history, as they say. One really cool pattern in this series is how much praise these "action actors" have for their victims lol. The people they fight against, who help sell it and make it look real . . .
I really enjoyed his story about working on Parker. Don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't watched, but, owch!
Episode 7 | Daniel Bernhardt (57:32)
This series is amazing, and next up is J.J. Perry who I first heard of (saw) at ActionFest 2012 where he won the Stunt Coordinator of the Year award (he was on hand to accept, and was there the whole festival chatting with fans). They showed a video from Chuck Norris who said "nobody deserves it more". J.J. Perry seemed like a really gracious and truly nice person, and he thanked Mickey Gilbert for paving the way.
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 6
Really living for this
series! So enjoyable to hear them talk about what it's like to
make an Action Movie. Someone asked me on the
Freak Facebook page which martial art I liked. I think I was
expected to say Muay Thai, but I like kickboxing and taekwondo,
and it surprises me how often they come up when these
are asked what they studied and what their
Episode 6 | Loren Avedon (53:47)
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 5 Gareth Evans
This was really enjoyable, especially for his passion for Action Movies. There were many things I had to look up:
• Eggy (Eggy is when something annoys you, but not to the point of anger more just slightly frustrating -source)
• Previz (Previsualization is the visualizing of complex scenes in a movie before filming. It is also a concept in still photography. Previsualization is used to describe techniques such as storyboarding, either in the form of charcoal sketches or in digital technology, in the planning and conceptualization of movie scenes. -Wikipedia)
• Dit Guy (Digital Imaging Technicians support the camera team with technical and creative tasks with the digital camera. Their purpose is to ensure the best technical quality possible, as well as production safety. DITs are responsible for tasks during preparation, on-set time and post production. -Wikipedia)
• Jib/Jimmy Jib (The jib is an extension arm with a camera mounted on the tip. -video)
• Fig / Fig Rig Not sure this word . . .
• Panasonic 2 Camera (Merantau), Panasonic AF100 Camera (The Raid), Red Camera (Red Digital Cinema is the camera company that figured out how to make a digital camera feasible for Hollywood productions. -Wikipedia)
• M.I.A. Born Free "amazing music video" his influence for The Raid handheld feel. He makes a great point that the whole film should have the same style and not have just the action sequences be 'shaky'.
• Fig / Fig Rig (A handheld stabilization device for smaller film cameras/video cameras designed by film director Mike Figgis. The Fig Rig is made commercially by the Manfrotto Group. -Wikipedia)
• Dutch Tilt (The Dutch angle, aka Dutch tilt, canted angle, or oblique angle, sets the camera so the horizon line of the shot is not parallel with the bottom of the camera frame. This produces a viewpoint of tilting one's head to the side. -Wikipedia)
• "Punchlines" He came up with this term for those moments of 'impact' in a fight scene that gets a rise out of the audience. You know, it's how you know you're an Action Movie Freak—those moments of levity at the extreme violence.
This was also a fascinating look at Action Design. "[We try] to maintain that sense of geographical space so that you're not lost in the movement of something. You're not, sort of, trying to figure out where are we in the room right now? You always want to know exactly where you are,and you know where the attack's coming from, and you know the relationship of that action with that space that you're in. THIS IS HUGELY IMPORTANT and too often lacking in action sequences (super annoying too).
Episode 5 | Gareth Evans (54:19)
LOVE the big finish where Gareth STANDS UP FOR STUNTS. #StandUpForStunts Sign the Petition!
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 4 Michael Jai White
Love listening to these Action Figures talk about Action Movies! Super entertaining to see their take on shared experiences and their interaction/friendship. Love that Michael Jai White thinks the fight between Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee in The Way of the Dragon according to MJW is the best fight scene. It has the most narrative that he's ever scene in a fight (about honor). Love, too, that this is such an insightful choice. Really shows what he knows about fighting. It was so enjoyable that I hated for it to end. It seems they cut it a bit short, but probably, they could have talked all day and Scott just want to keep it under 50 minutes. Hope this series continues!
Episode 4 | Michael Jai White (48:32)
Scott Adkins' Exciting "The Art of Action" Series
Just discovered this series (already on episode 3) on YouTube. Scott's respect and admiration for fellow stars is great to watch and their love of the genre shines through. Now that I'm caught up, can't wait to see who's in the next episode. Loved how Enter The Dragon, Yuen Woo-Ping ("he is he best" "Master"), and Sammo Hung kept coming up.
It starts off with what Scott Adkins calls his "the best fight I've ever done" against Marko Zaror in the always enjoyable Undisputed III: Redemption (2010), which is an amazing Fight Movie showcasing the talents of Larnell Stovall and Isaac Florentine, with a nod to J.J. Perry (it must be this stunt reel he mentions?). So cool to hear how they pulled off so many real-looking moves and what really connected! lol
Episodes 1, 2, and 3 . . .
Episode 1 | Marko Zaror (37:19)
In Episode 2, Scott talks to his Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear co-star Kane Kosugi about his training and his martial arts background and influences—they both love kicking things lol. (Kane Kosugi's father is the legendary Shō Kusugi.) They talk about other famous action stars (Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Jackie Chan) that they got to work with who impressed them. There is more praise in this episode for Isaac Florentine and his directorial style, and for Fight Choreographer and Stunt Coordinator Tim Man. This was the first time Scott worked with Tim but he says "Tim's become my go-to fight coordinator". Kane agrees "I don't think you can find anybody better." They breakdown the final fight in Ninja 2. Scott says it was his hardest film ever (he did 11 fight scenes with a back injury).
Scott talks with Thai International martial arts phenomenon Tony "Hollywood" Jaa about his martial arts background, revealing how much Tony looked up to Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. He trained 8 hours a day in the beginning and ran 12 miles a day. Tony speaks about Panna Rittikrai ("the man behind" Tony Jaa) and about how he got into movie making. Tony breaks down some of his most famous moves and reveals the inspiration for some of them. No wires, one take, it's all just as incredible in review as it was the first time you saw it. His timing and reflexes are astounding, and his vision because he comes up with these incredible moves himself. Makes me want to watch all the Ong Baks and Triple Threat again.
Episode 3 | Tony Jaa (54:32)
Predicting MGM Studios Facebook page ROCKY Watch Party with Sylvester Stallone will ABSOLUTELY break the internet. Tomorrow, Thursday 5/21 7:00 Miami time . . . See you there!
Bad Guys: Vile City
Heavy on the Action!
It's been a while since I liked anything this much right off the bat, but Netflix's 나쁜 녀석들: 악의 도시 Nappeun Nyeoseokduel: Akui Doshi, literally Bad Guys: City of Evil aka Bad Guys: Vile City makes Training Day look like kindergarten. If you're not big on Korean movies or dramas, maybe this will make you a fan. It's a spin off of Bad Guys, which was also made into a movie of the same title, and like in the first show the cast is excellent!
Starring . . .
Park Joong-Hoon (박중훈 Bak Jung Hun) as Prosecutor Woo Je-Moon (reaching for the bat, below right) is ordered to take down a villainous business leader "Chairman Jo" Jo Yeong-Guk (played by 김홍파 Kim Hong Pa above at right) who controls Seowon City. Woo gathers a team of men (key players below) who may not be so clean themselves. Men who are emotionally invested in the outcome. If you really want to get the most out of this series, use the cheat sheet at the bottom and get to know the names. There are about 15 key players.
Next is heartthrob 주진모 Ju Jin-mo (known for 사랑하는 은동아 Saranghaneun Eundong-a aka My Love Eun-dong—just my favorite) in the group photo above at bottom left, who has beefed up for this role of the total badass, Heo Il-hu aka "Mr. Heo." In real life, Joo Jin-mo is also know for, though his popularity appears untouched by, some scandalous text message conversations with another old-er famous Korean actor Jang Dong-gun (Jang Dong-gun was the lead in The Warrior's Way, and I loved him in A Gentleman's Dignity—oh, the irony . . . ) that were published by hackers at the time of the JJY group chat scandal involving mainly Seungri (of kpop group Big Bang). Ju Jin-mo apologized publicly: "Even though his apology statement was released, people say that Ju humiliating and sexually objectifying women with his acquaintances has to be clarified as a separate issue from his hacked [text] messages." That quote is from this YouTuber's take (watch the video below) on what happened: "It looks like a conversation between two old men trying to look young and hip by using all these squiggly lines and LOLs." Ah, even though he's younger, I think the YouTuber's a little jealous. Ju Jin-mo and Jang Dong-gun are pretty much the shit for their age group in Korea (IMO), and maybe also So Ji-sub, but this is a big tangent. Anyhow, Ju Jin-mo makes the fighting look legit as his athleticism shows in all his moves (he does Taekwondo in real life). He's the guy that takes on the room full of men The Wild Wild Westt style (rest in peace Robert Conrad). There are many "Oh Shit!" moments that satisfy.
Anyway, Ju Jin-Mo is jacked, kickin' ass, and taking names. But, don't leave out 'the little guy'. Part of what I love so much about KDrama is the backstories on the characters. Just when you think you know what kind of person they are, you find out there's a really good reason for why they are the way they are. Take this character, for example, the mad dog Jang Seong-cheol (played by 양익준 Yang Ik-Jun): "He's a real psycho. He has no goal in life. He lives because he's alive." When he's introduced, he comes off as a lowlife dick, but you soon learn to respect him. In real life, he starred in, wrote, directed, and won several awards for his movie Breathless. And just like it says in the trailer for Breathless, "A vicious man, but he will make you cry."
Next is Kim Ji-soo, internationally known as just 지수 Ji Soo. He starred in JTBC's Strong Woman Do Bong-soon, which you should watch (he's so adorable it's hard to explain #swoonworthy), and, another Netflix K-Drama series I really liked: My First First Love). In BG:VC his rage fuels his fighting, and he's always showing up at clutch moments. Plus, he's indestrucible!
One of Korea's best actors has to be 죄귀ㅘ Choi Gwi-Hwa. His range is amazing. Loved him in Netflix's excellent Korean version of Suits, which contrasts greatly to this bad ass bad guy as he plays the #2 man to the villain "Chairman Jo" Ha Sang-Mo. Gwi-Hwa's character's strength also contrasts greatly to the character he played in Train to Busan (yes, that's him on the left, below with his head bowed). As Ha Sang-Mo, Choi Gwi-Hwa's character may be the most complex, least predictable. Like all his roles, it's a nuanced, deep, and enjoyable performance.
Here's the Train to Busan trailer, although if you've never seen it, I would recommend it as the best zombie movie ever, and a great movie overall. Just skip the trailer and do yourself a favor. You can watch the trailer after, and then watch the trailer for Train to Busan 2, called Peninsulaa (below). Think The Raid or The Raid: Redemption with zombies.
Each of the actors is memorable in his/her own way. I couldn't recommend this so highly if the performances weren't stellar, plus if you're a fan of KDrama, you will know many of these faces. Hats off to the writer as well, 한정훈 Han Jung-Hoon (Han Jeong-Hun). He also wrote Bad Guys and 2019's The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos (can't wait to see that). I could go on and on, but I don't want to get into spoilers. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If you're a fan of 김민재 Kim Min Jae, he's in Peninsula.
Here is your cheat sheet (characters by last name alphabetically—I made this version), and below this, the cast courtesy of AsianWiki.com . . .
Wars IX: The Rise of
I was very late to see Star Wars, but so glad I did! It was a full circle kind of thing, and very emotional. You realize just how long you've been watching these movies because Harrison Ford is old now, and Carrie Fisher is gone. I tried not to have expectations, but I was in no way disappointed. Quite a bit of it was predictable, but I just tried to enjoy the ride. It delivered everything we like Star Wars movies for. I would say the wrecked Death Star was worth the whole movie. Even though we've gotten really spoiled with amazing CGI, it still took your breath away. I know mega fans will nitpick, but it's still a buffet. Shut up and eat your awesome (<--love that phrase, use it every chance I get and never get sick of it).
The best Bad Boys yet! We waited so long for it, I was afraid it would not be worth the wait, but it so was. An extremely enjoyable movie; love it when I want to watch it again right away. Also love that they set it up for more with a new team. Never can get over how beautiful Miami is in movies. It's even more stunning in real life. I thought the most impressive shot was the one they opened with here (and at 1:21):
The glamorous pool deck scene at night was shot at the spectacular Bentley Bay South Condominiums (Penthouse Villa B), which sits on the right hand side at the point when Alton Road meets 5th Street on South Beach as you turn right to leave the Beach and drive across the MacArthur Causeway toward Miami. (daytime photo from Lucas Lechuga's website Miami Condo Investmentss | he is still using the logo I bought/made for him, which was the first logo commission I ever got paid for as a graphic designer—nobody cares, right? LOL)
It was once the site of the Biscaya Hotel (also initially called The Floridian) where Al Capone stayed, and had a beautiful patio along the water that you approached by boat. When it fell into disrepair, it was a time when all anyone seemed to care about was Art Deco and it was Mediterranean style, so they couldn't see past the disrepair to appreciate the architecture. What a loss of history and an elegant landmark property. I was on the bridge the morning they imploded it as captured in this video. Many people were sad to see it go.
This guy (Miles Fisher) is awesome. tomcruise2020.com
Netflix is 'On the Nose' with
"With loneliness comes freedom to go where you please, do what you want."
Disney had good reason to be worried that Netflix got Michael Bay! Michael Bay delivers a stunning Action Movie with an unparalleled opening 20 minutes. Within the space of that first 20 minutes, I had said "Holy shit!", "Oh my God!", "How did they do that?!" (twice), "Jesus!", and another two "Oh my Gods!". The killcount was at least 23 at that point and rated "R";, and that is awesome!
I love when Action Movies introduce a team like players in, for example, The Rundown. I also liked the numbers-instead-of-names thing too.
The movie begins like a Redbull Commercial in a Mission-Impossible-II-cliff-climber opening setting. The Netflix logline reads "After faking his death, a tech billionaire recruits a team of international operatives for a bold and bloody mission to take down a brutal dictator." The movie introduces them and later gives us a little more on each. [SPOILER] One of them dies so they have to replace him.
The premise is all of them would rather be "dead" to the world so they can do good. As "One" puts it: "Our job as ghosts is to do the dirty work the living can't, or won't." The group has a target hit board of 9 men. Target number one is the "first mission" (this movie). Does that mean we get 8 more movies?! I hope so.
Some things I loved about this movie were . . .
In the opening sequence, when One has to bail out of his aircraft to fake his death, in true Michael Bay fashion, the plane circles around him as he falls (must be seen to be appreciated).
The "glorious clusterfuck" first chase scene in a 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (IMCDb.org) in "day-glow green" is something that not only showcases the skills of the team, but how they work, plan ahead for contingencies, get along. It's Michael Bay mayhem at its finest.
Right after a car full of bad guys gets T-boned by a (rig/oil truck?) and they bounce a pedestrian off the hood of the car, the second how-did-they-do-that sequence was this motorcyclist who takes a headshot and winds up on the hood of their car..
The third unbelievable stunt was this death-by-pipes impaling:
Then there was this guy who got caught between cars in the chase. Photos don't do it justice since it happens so quickly, the cyclist's body is just flung against the Maserati. Seriously, HOW do they do that?!
The next gnarly kill was also hard to imagine how they did it..
The guy gets dragged. That part looks real/possible/incredible.
Once you see the excavator in the distance, you know what's going to happen. As the bad guy (whose leg is stuck somehow in the car) gets swung all over the road, he is headed straight for the bucket.
How he flails about and moves his arms looks real, and this looks so painful but in this screencap, it shows it's a dummy.
He hits and gets thrown back 90 degrees (owch) . . .
And then there's the shoe . . .
Gnarly kills are best when it hurts to watch! On the heels of this death is another incredible scene. This is one hell of a chase sequence. We can see it coming, but Michael Bay really puts his mark on it. It's like the worst imaginable car crash movie that they show you in traffic school (yes, someone's been to traffic school more than once).
Here we see the car breaks in half.
And, of course, the passengers come flying out.
Somehow the driver's still inside and (it's hard to see here) gets something through his neck! Sweet! LOL
It's all Final-Destination-2 good, or maybe I should say Transformers-Dark-of-the-Moon good, because nothing I've seen since has topped the last 45 minutes of the eye-popping 3D of that movie!
Another how-did-they-do-that scene was this 'on the nose' shot through the window at high speed. It looked like tit took half his nose off in real time, but in these pictures, it just gets smooshed to the side.
In this crash, they 2 men in the car come crashing through the windshield. Then, the green car sideswipes them as they try to move. They are knocked into the air and thrown into the wooden slat wall below. Again, timing makes it look so real. I really think 2 stuntmen did this, just don't know how. Looked so real.
There's so many more incredible moments in this movie, but that first 20 minutes is packed!!!! The soundtrack is great and there is plenty of humor. This is BY NO MEANS all the crashes or kills, it's just my favorites.
Some critics complained there wasn't enough story. I think that just translates to they wanted more. You want more. Watch it yourself. The rest is just as good.
And "Two" is a total bad ass! #grrrlpower
I thought for a while it wasn't going to get made, that they had given up. But, here's the trailer. Sounds like an excuse for her to kick ass. Super excited for the female stunt work on this. Don't even care if it's a good movie, it's MARVEL!
Won't Be Back"
Terminator: Dark Fate
So, YES, you need Arnold Schwarzenegger if it's a Terminator movie, BUT they don't get what made it cool in the first place: MUSCLE. I saw it in theatres when Arnold was a phenomenon. It was like "What's the big guy gonna do next?" "Oh, they turned him into a robotic killing machine—cool!". We were afraid of him BEFORE we found out he was a killing machine, but none of the Terminators have been scary since. Yes, they've been relentless and indestructible, but still ordinary-looking men/woman—meh!
And this was yet another Terminator movie that gave us only a glimpse of the battle we are all still waiting to see . . . How do they still not get that we want to see THAT movie?!
Terminator: Dark Fate answered a question you didn't want answered: "What would your Dad look like as The Terminator?" Not only did the robot 'become' human, but so did Arnold Schwarzenegger. And yet, he's the still best thing in it. Schwarzenegger humanizes the "Cyberdyne Systems Model 101" in the best/worst way possible. If just his exterior 'skin' aged but his physique was the same, it would be different, but we are all too painfully aware our heroes are aging. You can't escape reality there and that knowledge/baggage made it suck for me. As he finally says, he won't be back . . . (I'm not crying, you are!)
There were amazing moments but they were just other versions of things we've seen before. Not original, like the "unscathed" moment the liquid metal Terminator stomps out of the burning semi wreckage, but another level version of that. It's the coolest moment in the film (what happens with the—I call him the "tar" version; tar is not scary—REV 9) when he explodes out of burning wreckage, but . . . it's still like this. This photo cold be high school, guess who's the nerd and who's the bully?
As for the women, Linda Hamilton's character is made fun of IMO. The new Sarah Connor character doesn't have a son that will save the world, SHE will save the world. It feels like they just wanted to cast a Latina to attract a demographic (like the choice of Diego Luna). That's great, I'm all for diversity, but this girl is tiny. Again, where's the MUSCLE?! If you're going to have two other average women, bring on a super-bad-ass-beefy-augmented Super Soldier! But "Grace" is just tall. She would look more at home on the runway. I like her androgynous look, but I just don't get why another opportunity for a muscular Vasquez-from-Aliens type was lost.
Here's a character poster of the tiny and skinny chicks. ACTION MOVIE!!!! <--screaming in Gary Oldman as Stansfield in "Léon: The Professional" way. Where's the muscle? Women are fighting MMA and UFC! Isn't that proof enough, women want to see truly strong women?
Action Movie Trailers
Maybe just new to me, but, here we go, here we go . . . As we all countdown to Terminator: Dark Fate (11/1), these look like the-real-deal Action Movies:
Primal (8 November 2019)
First, let's start with Primal (of course) #becauseNicolasCage, but Kevin Durand might steal the show as the walking wall of villain. Famke Janssen plays (Army) Dr. Ellen Taylor. "A big-game hunter for zoos who has booked passage on a Greek shipping freighter with a fresh haul of exotic and deadly animals from the Amazon, including a rare white jaguar - along with a political assassin being extradited to the U.S in secret. Two days into the journey, the assassin escapes and releases the captive animals, throwing the ship into chaos." And I don't give a damn how fake the white jaguar looks. Rated "R" and it looks like it will have a High Killcount, lots of Gnarly Kills, and because Nicolas Cage, lots of Trash Talking.
Line of Duty (No Release Date Yet)
This looks exciting (love when they "put a clock on it")! Aaron Eckhart in Line of Duty—"A disgraced cop finds himself in a race against time to find a kidnap victim whose abductor he accidently killed."—succinct. I see explosions, stunt driving, and in the vein of Heat (1995), a gun battle in the streets. Director Steven C. Miller's career speaks volumes for his passion for filmmaking as he hit the ground running (10 years to 'the big time'). He directed Escape Plan 2: Hades, First Kill (Bruce Willis, Hayden Christensen), Arsenal (Nicolas Cage, John Cusack), Marauders (Bruce Willis, Christopher Meloni, Dave Bautista), and Extraction (Bruce Willis, Gina Carano, Kellan Lutz). No release date listed yett.
Bad Boys For Life (17 January 2020)
And #becauseMIAMI (the Magic City always looks so pretty in
movies, but it's even cooler in real life) Bad Boys For Life
brings back the dynamic duo of
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, in theatres
January 17, 2020.
Joe Pantoliano plays that stereotypical police captain (love
that). He's been a favorite of mine since Midnight Run
(1988) and The Fugitive (1993).
Bloodshot (21 February 2020)
If you're a Vin Diesel fan, you're excited about this, if not, you're missing out as it looks like Vin does his version of RoboCop. For good or bad, two words: Man's man. Go see it. Bloodshot. And P.S. Riddick fans, Furya has been announced.
Bay on Netflix!
AdWeek ran a story that "Disney Will No Longer Run TV Ads From Rival Netflix on Its Entertainment Networks". I guess you must be #winning if you have Disney worried. And so they should be! Netflix has Michael Bay. His new Action Thriller 6 Underground starring Ryan Reynolds comes to Netflix on 12/13/2019, and true to Michael Bay's #shutupandeatyourawesome ways, the trailer looks FANTASTIC!
87Eleven Action Design
| Chad Stahelski + David Leitch