I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

My new most anticipated movie: KNOCKOUT

ginacaranoI’m sure most of you have heard about this one by now, but just in case: Variety reports that Steven Soderbergh’s next will be a spy movie starring mixed martial arts star Gina Carano. I never heard of her until I watched BLOOD AND BONE, and her part in that is really small, but I remember a couple of you in the comments were asking about it. Well, don’t worry, you’ll be seeing more of her than that little cameo.

The script is by Lem Dobbs, who wrote THE LIMEY, by far Soderbergh’s most badass movie. The article says it’s about “a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who is given a second chance to use her skills for constructive purposes.” In other words, xXx, but without skateboards, starring a woman and directed by one of our best instead of Rob Cohen. Wouldn’t that be great if it was “the smart xXx”?

I like most of Steve Soderbergh’s movies, even the real inaccessible ones, but I think he’s at his best when taking an artful approach to mainstream, entertainment type of movies (OUT OF SIGHT is his best, OCEAN’S 11 is fun, ERIN BROCKOVICH is way more effective than it ought to be). The article claims he wants to do “a flat out action film in the James Bond mold.” I’m sold.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

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18 Responses to “My new most anticipated movie: KNOCKOUT”

  1. That’s fucking wild! She’s been the highlight of Showtime’s otherwise weak MMA matches. If she managed to survive a fight with a Brazilian android, I don’t think she’ll have any problem holding her own headlining an action film. It’s great to see Soderbergh casting just outside of the mainstream with this and ‘The Girlfriend Experience’.

  2. I agree with you completely Alex. It’s great to see that Soderbergh is not just casting anybody from just outside the mainstream, but he’s casting women from just outside the mainstream. Admittedly both of the women are gorgeous, but it’s still so rare for women who don’t fit the conventional Hollywood “good woman” to be cast in major roles.

  3. Vern: I think that the smart “xXx” has already been made under the title
    “La Femme Nikita.” More accurately, “xXx” could be described as the dumb
    “La Femme Nikita.”

    Would “The Girlfriend Experience” count as one of the inaccessible Soderbergh
    films you are referring to, or are you thinking more of “Schizopolis”?

    Man I love “Schizopolis.”

  4. Soderbergh doing a Bond-style pic? I’m sold.

  5. I was thinking more like Full Frontal and Bubble, but yeah, I love Schizopolis. Soderbergh in a windbreaker is hilarious.

  6. Soderbergh at one point in either the 1990s or 2000s was in talks for 007, but when he demanded creative power to effectively revamp the Bond routine, Eon told him to take a hike. This was before the CASINO ROYALE reboot, I believe.

    Then again, Tony Scott was also supposed to direct DIE ANOTHER DAY until Eon refused Scott’s one unnegotiable demand: That Quentin Tarantino be hired to script it.

    So I guess Soderbergh had been wanting to do this shit for awhile.

  7. I’m not a big fan of talented directors being shoe-horned into longstanding
    franchises, so Soderbergh missing out on James Bond doesn’t bother me.
    I’m sure any ideas he could come up with for a spy film would be better
    realized in his own film.

    Unless his plan was to make Nameless Numberhead Man the villian. That would
    have been cool.

  8. I’m excited about the writer, the director, and the star, but I’m holding out for the announcement of a fight choreographer before I get too excited.

  9. So Rampage is B.A. Baracus, Tim Sylvia may or may not be Jason, now Carano gets to star in a Soderbergh movie… Will the all the action stars of tomorrow come from MMA?

    I’m cool with that, but if this is the case then we better get a Tony Jaa / Anderson Silva team up movie.

  10. Marlow – I didn’t know what you meant about Jason so I looked it up. Turns out there was a mistake and what it was was that guy was one of the stand-ins for Tyler Mane in HALLOWEEN II.

  11. I like this girl. She was awesome as Crush on American Gladiators, can kick ass, and is adorable when she’s giving interviews. She could really be groomed the first real mainstream Female Action Hero. We’ll see if she can act, but even if she can’t she has a distinct enough look and charisma that made Arnold, Van Damme’s and co the perfect “punching props”.

    She’s a lot easier to buy as lovable tough chick than Angelina Jolie or Michelle Rodriguez.

    I’m surprised how excited about this I am. A girl who doesn’t come over as fake when playing a badass? Did cinema truly evolve so much?

  12. Thanks Vern. A lot of folks sure dropped the ball on reporting that story correctly.

  13. Do you think he can also bring back the way they used to make action movies by allowing us to see what’s happening?

  14. Donaghy: I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you about Jolie and Rodriguez – although I have to say, both actors seem to commit to their roles, whatever their other limitations, and I think each would benefit from not choosing such shitty movies – but let me ask you this: did you think Uma Thurman came across as fake in the “Kill Bill” movies? Or do you feel that Tarantino’s vehicles can better accommodate this fakeness?

  15. You know, I’m in the mood for an outright Hollywood exclusive female action star, like Yeoh was back in the day at the HK.

    My problem with the Jolie and Rodriguez* references is…I don’t associate them as action stars or action figures. Sure Jolie did the decent if not worth watching WANTED and those daffy TOMB RAIDER pictures…and Rodriguez well you know.

    But Jolie, I think of her other shit, the drama Oscar stuff and the (many) others where she flashes her tits. Rodriguez, more with LOST or that terrible RESIDENT EVIL or the first FAST & THE FURIOUS. Not exactly Van Damme or Statham, you know?

    So yeah, I want an action gal whose movies I WANT to pay to go see or rent.

    *=Also, she’s such an action star, she’s killed off-screen 15 minutes into the movie. The female Steven Seagal?

  16. Jareth – No, Uma seemed like a genuine “badass” in that world, but her character was intentionally cheesy. We were supposed to laugh at the idea that this little blond girl can cut up a hundred jakuza.

  17. Fair enough, Donaghy. You’re right: Thurman brought a special talent to that particular movie that I can’t see many actors, regardless of gender, getting right. She understood that it isn’t enough to scowl and strike a pose (which, of course, she does very well): she also communicated despair, fear and bewilderment really well.

    I just wonder if Jolie and Rodriguez would fare better in the hands of a better director, or at least if they were applying themselves to a better script. Rodriguez in particular would probably be just fine in a Tarantino picture.

  18. Cynthia Rothrock is the only “pure” female action star to find success in the US that I can think of, and even then that was only after half a dozen HK films.

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