I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

Archive for July, 2010

Salt

Friday, July 30th, 2010

tn_saltHey, have you guys ever noticed how alot of these so-called action movies they do now days make no effort to show any action in their action scenes? I think I might’ve mentioned something about that before, not sure.

Okay, it’s getting old for me to write about, and I’m sure it’s even worse for you to read about. But I feel like if we stop mentioning it it’s like we’re saying it’s okay. Whether it’s Michael Bay’s ridiculous edits or Paul Greengrass’s wobblecams that opened the floodgates, something happened, and old fashioned notions like geography, coherency, and visual storytelling got buried. The language and standards of action cinema that have evolved and developed over generations have been thrown out the window and it’s become acceptable to just have a quick smear of photography that sort of loosely implies the fights and chases that audiences used to pay money to actually see with their own eyes. I think there’s gonna be a backlash against this type of movie pretty soon, and it’s bubbling up in this new wave of DTV action we’ve all been enjoying. But still, you can’t just let it go. You gotta say something. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Best of the Best 4: Without Warning

Friday, July 30th, 2010

tn_bestofthebest4BEST OF THE BEST 4: WITHOUT WARNING finds our hero Tommy Lee (still Phillip Rhee, also directing again) wandering into yet another action movie subgenre – this time he’s the reluctant badass who gets stuck trying to stop a plot by heavily armed, highly organized commandos. So it’s DIE HARD in a BEST OF THE BEST. In the three years since part 3 Tommy’s had a daughter and had a wife pass away. All he wants to do is bake his daughter a cake for her birthday, but coincidentally his friend at the mini-mart who he asks for baking advice has a computer expert daughter who’s fleeing from Russian counterfeiters with a disc they just stole. And of course Tommy ends up stuck with the disc and everybody trying to kill him. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

tn_bestofthebest3BEST OF THE BEST 2 was an unexpected classic. The only slight hesitation I had was that he SPOILER killed the bad guy MORE SPECIFICS OF SPOILER at the end. I mean it was an evil guy, but the typical “he forced me to kill him” conclusion seems like kind of a cop out after part 1’s unorthodox peace and brotherhood ending.

Well, it turns out Tommy Lee (Phillip Rhee) agrees. Killing Brakus “went against everything I believe,” so he quit teaching, left Eric Roberts behind and seems to be driving across the country visiting his sister to rediscover himself, just like Seagal did at the beginning of MARKED FOR DEATH. Actually it’s weird because Tommy gets sideswiped and his car gets fucked up, which is a classic way of stranding an action hero drifter in the middle of nowhere to have an adventure. But then it turns out he was headed there anyway because that’s where his sister lives. This might be because it was originally written as a standalone movie but director/star Rhee had it modified to somewhat fit his BEST OF THE BEST character. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Best of the Best 2

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

tn_bestofthebest2americanyakuzaawardI almost didn’t bother trying out the sequel, but I’m so glad I did. It turns out 1993’s BEST OF THE BEST 2 is an unheralded gem of the ’80s style American b-action movies. It’s such a huge leap in entertainment value from BEST OF THE BEST that I couldn’t even believe it. I guess this is a spoiler for the next couple reviews, but not only does BEST OF THE BEST 2 best BEST OF THE BEST, but BEST OF THE BEST 2 is the best of the BEST OF THE BESTs, too. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Best of the Best

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

tn_bestofthebestcountdownlogoBEST OF THE BEST is a watchable movie, but not the best of any genre, except possibly Eric Roberts non-sequel karate tournament movies. So I’m not sure about using the word “best” two times in the title. Seems a little presumptuous, unless one is supposed to cancel out the other. They were definitely set on that title, though. It’s spoken out loud in the movie and appears in one of those ’80s inspiration-rock montage songs.

This isn’t a full-on martial arts movie or even on par with a JCVD. This is one of those mainstream-trying-to-come-to-grips-with-something-they-don’t-understand pictures, like a breakdancing movie. While it was written and co-starring the Korean-American martial artist Phillip Rhee, everybody else is a white American (Eric Roberts, Chris Penn), or a respected actor (James Earl Jones). Jones plays the coach and the rest play the five elite martial artists recruited for the U.S. National Karate Team to compete against The Koreans in Tae Kwan Do. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

The Karate Kid (1984)

Monday, July 26th, 2010

tn_karatekidTHE KARATE KID was such a phenomenon, man. It mainstream-popularized karate in the U.S. and was heavily imitated in everything from kid’s movies to sports movies to actual action movies. It was sequeled, next generationed, cartooned, action figured, parodied in REVENGE OF THE NERDS, postmodernly referenced and recently remade. It’s hard to remember what the context was then. I can’t really watch it without comparing it to martial arts themed movies made since then. But I’ll try to be nice. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Inception

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

tn_inceptionWow, I must’ve really misread the ol’ zeitgeist. I thought for sure with that depressing new Ben Stiller indie drama having come out on DVD last Tuesday GREENBERG was gonna be all anybody had on their minds for weeks. But the comments thread there almost makes it seem like you guys are more interested in this “Inception” business.

Director Christopher Nolan first made his mark on cinema with the black and white (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Greenberg

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

tn_greenbergGREENBERG (Ben Stiller from NEXT OF KIN) is a 40 year old sometimes-carpenter who, after some kind of breakdown and stint in a mental hospital, comes to house sit (crash at) his banker brother’s place in L.A. while the family’s on a business vacation to Vietnam. His plan is to “do nothing,” but he’s a huge fucking baby so he starts getting the family’s nice assistant Florence (Greta Gerwig, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL) to shop for him, have a relationship with the dog for him, etc. Through horrendously awkward maneuvers he gets sloppily into her pants and makes things weird. Then he starts being a dick until she doesn’t want to see him again, but the dog gets sick and he doesn’t have a car so she has to bring him to the vet, etc. Romance does not ensue, just awkwardness. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

The Last Outlaw

Friday, July 16th, 2010

tn_lastoutlawcountdownlogoI meant to do this back when I reviewed POINT BLANK (Mickey Rourke vs. mall terrorists version), but I forgot, so here’s another Mickey Rourke picture to kick things off on a new thing I’ll try called COUNTDOWN TO THE EXPENDABLES. Not sure if I got enough time before the movie comes out next month, but I’m gonna try to go down the list of all the main EXPENDABLES cast members and review one of their movies that I haven’t seen before. (See, it’s a good thing Seagal turned the movie down, because there’s not anything by him that I haven’t seen. Maybe I’d have to review the cameo on the episode of Roseanne that I didn’t find out about until after Seagalogy went to print.)

Whether or not Stallone’s movie ends up being any good I think we can all agree that he did a good job of casting a wide range of tough guys from different movements, generations and disciplines. So through this journey I think we will all learn a few things and expand our knowledge of the Badass Arts in its many forms. I know I’ve already seen one unexpected gem in preparation for this series, so this could be a great time.

THE LAST OUTLAW is not that unexpected gem. Sorry. It’s not too bad, though. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

quick “blog post” for individuals of the hip hop persuasion

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

tn_icecubeOkay, let’s say that hypothetically you went to the Paramount Theater in Seattle last night for the Ice Cube/Snoop Dogg “How The West Was One” tour, and were about ready to jump off a bridge after Ice Cube’s set. And we’ll assume that the reasons for this severe disappointment have to do with Mr. Cube not performing a single song from his classic solo albums ‘Amerikkka’s Most Wanted’ and ‘Death Certificate’, and only two obvious ones from ‘The Predator.’ This after playing a bunch of bullshit songs from his most recent album and then declaring “okay, that’s the new shit, now we’re gonna play the old shit.” To make matters worse he played a Westside Connection song, then said “But there was another group I was in…” and after a big build up performed… a song about N.W.A. Nothing by them.

I can’t imagine who this would be who would be in this hypothetical situation, but I have a remedy for him or her and it’s called waxpoetics #41, May/June 2010, The Hip-Hop Issue.

(read the rest of this shit…)

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.