Posts Tagged ‘Action Movie’

Capsule Movie Review: Ip Man

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

Ip Man is a movie with first rate fight choreography (courtesy of Sammo Hung) in a third rate plot so trite and hackneyed (and a lead character so one-dimensionally perfect) that the Shaw Brother would have been slightly embarrassed to put it up on screen.

Here’s the justly famous “10-1” fight scene:

Watch the fight scene highlights and skip the rest…

Deadpool 2 Trailer Channels Bob Ross

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Very silly and very Not Safe For Work (which the word “Deadpool” should imply anyway).

Kung Fury

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Sunday I saw Kung Fury, the crowd-funded parody of every cheesy 80s cop show, science fiction movie, and fighting video game, rolled into one absurdist package.

It has everything you could ever ask for in a short film featuring a kung fu cop traveling back in time to stop Hitler, including dinosaurs, Tron-era grid computer graphics, obviously fake video compositing, and a soundtrack that sounds like it was composed by Giorgio Moroder after a 72-hour Jolt Cola binge.

Rael Bob says check it out…

Of Top 25 Films on IMDB, Most Involve Crime

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Glancing through the top 25 films in the the IMDB Top 250 list, it occurred to me that most involved crime as the central subject, and a few more peripherally:

  1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) (Yes: Central characters are mostly convicted felons in prison.)
  2. The Godfather (1972) (Yes, obviously.)
  3. The Godfather: Part II (1974) (Yes, ditto.)
  4. The Dark Knight (2008) (Yes. What is it Batman dedicated his life to fighting?)
  5. Pulp Fiction (1994) (Yes. Criminals and their associates drive all the action.)
  6. Schindler’s List (1993) (No. Genocide is sort of a separate topic from crime…)
  7. 12 Angry Men (1957) (Yes. Inside jury deliberations in a murder case.)
  8. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) (Yes. Three criminals drive the plot. Then again, crime tends to be a central feature in almost all Westerns…)
  9. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) (No. Lots of killing, but not crime-related per se.)
  10. Fight Club (1999) (Marginal. Protagonist runs a ring of illegal fight clubs, then an international revolutionary organization.))
  11. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (No. See above.)
  12. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (No. Despite the presence of a smuggler as a central character.)
  13. Forrest Gump (1994) (No.)
  14. Inception (2010) (Yes. Central plot involves a criminal gang carrying off a sort of reverse heist.)
  15. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) (Marginal. Protagonist is a criminal who gets himself transferred to the loony bin because he thinks it will be easier than doing time in the joint.)
  16. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) (No. See above.)
  17. Goodfellas (1990) (Yes. Obviously.)
  18. The Matrix (1999) (No. Though the protagonist starts out as a hacker in trouble with the authorities.)
  19. Star Wars (1977) (No. Though again, an illegal smuggler is a central figure.)
  20. Seven Samurai (1954) (Marginal. The entire plot is driven by a village’s desire to protect themselves from criminal marauders.)
  21. City of God (2002) (Yes. Features the rise of a ruthless crime lord as one of the central plots.)
  22. Se7en (1995) (Yes. Tracking a serial killer.)
  23. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) (Yes. Tracking a serial killer with the assistance of another.)
  24. The Usual Suspects (1995) (Yes. All about a gang of criminals and the machinations of a crime lord.)
  25. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (Marginal, given Potter’s opportunistic theft.)

That’s 15 of the top 25 films which involve crime as either a primary or secondary feature.

Surely crime dramas offer plenty of conflict, but so do war movies, but none of them (save the SF/F entries, and Schindler’s List) make the list, nor do any sports films. (Perpetual favorite Casablanca, which would qualify as a war film, comes in at 30, while Saving Private Ryan comes in at 31.)

Anyone care to speculate on why crime dominates the top of the list?

Shoegazer Sunday: Black Hearted Brother’s “(I Don’t Mean to) Wonder”

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Black Hearted Brother is a project featuring Slowdive’s Neal Halstead. Here they are with “(I Don’t Mean to) Wonder”.

Also, evidently the Judge Dredd remake has some impressive slow-motion set-pieces…

William Friedkin’s Sorcerer Finally Out on Blu Ray

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

In the 1970s, director William Friedkin made three great movies, one after the other. The first, The French Connection won the Academy Award for best picture. The second, The Exorcist, was not only one of the greatest horror films of all time, but one of the highest grossing films ever.

However, his third film, Sorcerer, a remake of the French film The Wages of Fear, sank like a stone at the box office, despite having one of tensest action sequences ever filmed:

It also doesn’t help that the film was later butchered for the international market.

The film has long been champion by many (including Roger Ebert) as a lost classic. But the film was never released on Blu-Ray.

Until now:

The Blu-Ray version is the full film, restored and remastered with Friedkin’s oversight, and is reportedly “stunning”.

I’ll definitely pick this up, because even on VHS (kids, ask your parents what a VHS was), it was an extremely well-made and gripping film (and one I prefer to the original Wages of Fear).

Warning: Don’t pick up the DVD released the same day as the Blu-Ray, which is reportedly a “botched” full-screen transfer, as the restored version of the DVD isn’t available yet.

Movie Review: The Raid: Redemption

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

The Raid: Redemption
Director: Gareth Evans
Writer: Gareth Evans
Stars: Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapy

This movie came up on the list of movie possibilities over at a friend’s house, when somebody mentioned that it was supposed to feature “non-stop action.”

Boy howdy.

The Raid: Redemption is sort of like John Woo’s Hard Boiled without all the subtlety and restraint. It’s hyper-violent, hyper-kinetic, utterly gripping, and a bit more realistic than usual for the genre. It’s so well-executed that it jumps right to the top of the Asian Action Cinema heap, which is no mean feat.

An Indonesian SWAT team of 20 or so is in sent in to clear out a drug lord’s shithole high-rise tenement in Jakarta and take him into custody. It soon becomes apparent that they’ve bitten off far more than they can chew when an entire building full of his gang (plus affiliated scumbags) come after them, with the drug lord watching all on his security camera array. About half the team dies in the first fullisade, and the rest are soon running for their lives through corridors, rooms, and even floors (tactical ax for the win!). It’s not quite non-stop carnage from that point on, but it’s pretty close. The survivors can’t escape because gangs in the surrounding tenements have whacked their drivers and cut off their escape routes. Worse, the police department doesn’t know they’re there because their lieutenant has gone rogue for reasons of his own.

The template movies here are not only Hard Boiled, but also Black Hawk Down, The Warriors and Elite Squad. The mood of brutal violence is set early on when the drug lord executes three bound, kneeling men with gunshots to the back of the head, clicks on an empty chamber on the fourth, leaves the revolver on his victim’s shoulder (“Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back.”), then extracts a hammer from a desk drawer and dispatches him with that. (I expect to see a similar scene in a Tarantino film in about, oh, five years or so.) If the violence in Django Unchained made you flinch, you might develop a nervous tick watching this. To use the Joe Bob Briggs nomenclature, there’s gun-fu, machete-fu, knife-fu, kung-fu (or, more specifically, the Indonesian martial art of pencak silat), ax-fu, hammer-fu, exploding-propane-canister-in-a-refrigerator-fu, filing-cabinet-fu, and probably a few fus I’ve forgotten. The fight choreography is superbly executed and extremely realistic. When our hero slams a scumbag’s head into three different parts of the same wall on the way down, you flinch every time.

Eventually you start to see some of the genre’s cliches rear their head (like “the traditional Asian one-at-a-time martial arts attacking style” and the old “I’m going to put the gun down so I can kill you with my bare hands” bit), but you’re pretty far in before that happens. And you wonder why no one among the survivors has a cell-phone.

But those are quibbles. It may not be as good a film overall as Hard Boiled simply because the characters aren’t as memorable, but the action scenes are actually better choreographed and more gripping. If that appeals to you, it should jump to the top of your To Watch list.

Here’s the trailer:

The Man With the Iron Fists

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Well, how did I miss this?

Swords, guns, hot Asian women, ridiculous quantities of blood, a steampunk (golem? robot?) antagonist, and completely over-the-top Kung Fu violence? Produced by Quentin Tarantino?

Yeah, I’m there.

I could do without the hip-hop soundtrack, but it’s become something of a tradition in the post-grindhouse blaxplotation kung-fu crossover, and what did you expect for the first movie directed by RZA?

Opens November 2.