I could re-post paraphrases of every news story that comes along, but I don’t got time for that shit so instead I give you the most important shit condensed into one post.
Today we got plenty of current headlines to discuss involving JCVD, Scott Adkins, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kim Je-woon, John Hyams, Parker, others, plus a special treat for you comics con attenders.
VAN DAMME AND ADKINS ON THE BIG SCREEN?
I didn’t believe it when I read it on The Ain’t It Cool News, but I’m being told that the JCVD-Scott Adkins team up ASSASSINATION GAMES will receive a limited theatrical release this month in the U.S. Maybe it’s true – this trailer here does say “IN THEATERS THIS JULY,” which seems pretty unambiguous in my opinion.
Yeah, looks pretty DTV, but if it plays around here I’ll definitely pay to see it. It’s an interesting experiment that could maybe work if they advertise it well enough, but I don’t know. It makes me nervous that if it doesn’t do well it could hurt the chances for the more promising Adkins-Van Damme UNIVERSAL SOLDIER movie to be released theatrically.
ASSASSINATION GAMES, by the way, is the one formerly titled WEAPON. The director is Ernie Barbarash (CUBE ZERO, STIR OF ECHOES: THE HOMECOMING).
SCHWARZENEGGER’S GONNA DO THAT KIM JE-WOON MOVIE
Yes, after a brief media humiliation break, the Arnoldator (I’m trying to make up a new nickname for him but this might not be the winner yet) is gonna go ahead and do the one I was most hoping he would, LAST STAND, directed by the excellent South Korean director Kim Je-woon (I SAW THE DEVIL). I still think that Je-woon, who has topnotch filmatistic chops and has excelled at making a quiet pretty boy seem like the baddest motherfucker in the world, has a good shot at bringing Former Governor The Barbarian back to his full iconic potential.
There’s a new wrinkle, though. It turns out it’s a western now? That’s what they’re saying, anyway.
I’m a little confused. When I read about this in April the story I saw said it was about “the exploits of a drug cartel leader who blasts his way out of a courtroom, steals a car, and heads towards the Mexican border. [The Predinator] will play a sheriff with an inexperienced staff who becomes involved with trying to stop the cartel leader from entering Mexico after the two parties inadvertently cross paths.”
The L.A. Times story that broke this latest round of news refers to the movie as a western, which might just mean it’s a modern western like THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA or something like that. But “a Lionsgate exec” told Nikki Finke at Deadline that “It’s an old-fashioned Western specifically designed for a 63-year-old broken-down guy with a moral decision whether Arnold decides to stand up for his town. We always needed an iconic figure for it.”
Oh well, I’m gonna assume that he means “old fashioned western” in the sense of “a modern movie that is similar to a western, the type of thing that would be really weird to describe as an old fashioned western, but we ‘execs’ say weird things like that.” That seems more likely than that they saw TRUE GRIT and decided to rewrite it so the drug cartel leader is a bandit and the car he steals is a horse. I like westerns, but I don’t know about the Schwarzematrix doing an old west type accent. Or wearing a cowboy hat.
Well, The Govermando’s potential performance aside, the story should be great for Je-woon. He seems to talk about the emotional substance of his movies more than the surface details, which is kinda cool. Back when this was gonna star Liam Neeson this is how he described it to ShockTillYouDrop:
“My concept for ‘The Last Stand’ is that it’s kind of a combination of ‘Die Hard’ and ‘High Noon’ where (the latter) was about protecting something very important that needs to be protected, while ‘Die Hard’ is a very drawn-out, long process that almost kills someone in the process, so my film will be something that has to be very well protected and in the process, we almost die protecting it in a way.”
“So if ‘I Saw the Devil’ was about a person’s extreme remorse about having lost something that they couldn’t protect,” he continued, “‘The Last Stand’ would be where someone puts their lives on the line to protect something that’s very important and it will be a bit more optimistic film in that regard.”
7/13 UPDATE: Okay don’t worry, it’s not an old fashioned western, it’s definitely a new fashioned one. Here’s the official plot summary from Lionsgate:
Schwarzenegger will be starring as Sheriff Owens, a man who has resigned himself to a life of fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction after leaving his LAPD post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with failure and defeat after his partner was crippled. After a spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy, the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the hemisphere is hurtling toward the border at 200 mph in a specially outfitted car with a hostage and a fierce army of gang members. He is headed, it turns out, straight for Summerton Junction, where the whole of U.S. law enforcement will have their last opportunity to make a stand and intercept him before he slips across the border forever. At first reluctant to become involved, and then counted out because of the perceived ineptitude of his small town force, Owens ultimately accepts responsibility for one of the most daring face offs in cinema history.
“NEW LOW BUDGET ACTION LABEL” UPDATE
Back in April I posted about the guy who did the After Dark Horror Fest starting a similar thing for action movies, saying “we’re developing a new generation of action movies and looking for the next Jean-Claude Van Damme, the next Wesley Snipes.”
Well, now they’ve announced their first two releases (in collaboration with Joel Silver’s Dark Castle Entertainment) and it turns out that at least one of them is exactly what we were hoping for: DRAGON EYES by John Hyams. That’s the one he shot before the new UNISOL. It stars Cung Le, a mixed martial artist I’m not familiar with, but it turns out I’ve seen him because he’s in TRUE LEGEND and I think he was the guy in FIGHTING that some of you complained that there was no way Channing Tatum could beat.
Hyams also got Van Damme to appear as a guy who teaches Cung Le how to fight in prison, so of course the press release I got mentions his name first. But I forgive it.
The other movie they’re doing is TRANSIT starring Jim Caviezel. That one’s about a family on a road trip being chased by criminals who stashed money in their car. I hate it when that happens. Caviezel has some interesting tastes, so this might be good. Also he is obviously the “the next Jean-Claude Van Damme” they were looking for.
The press release only has “later in 2011” as a release date, but hopefully they’ll be sending more information.
Michael Chiklis (the silly orange guy from FANTASTIC FOUR, John Belushi in WIRED) has signed on to play the bad guy in PARKER, director Taylor (AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN) Hackford’s movie that is supposedly based on Richard Stark’s character, even though the press releases describe a thief with a moral compass. No word on what character Chiklis is playing, but he joins Jason Statham as sort-of-Parker, possibly Jennifer Lopez as some sort of female lead, and Clifton Collins Jr.
SPIKE LEE’S SUPPOSEDLY REMAKING OLDBOY
It’s weird, we Americans have been trying to remake OLDBOY since the original came out. I believe Justin Lin was attached for a while before doing three good FAST AND FURIOUS movies in a row finally turned him into Hollywood’s Golden Boy. So he couldn’t get it off the ground before.
Then it came real close to Steven Spielberg directing it with Will Smith as the star. That never happened, in my opinion, but now they’ve officially signed on Spike Lee. They’re acting like that means it’s really gonna happen for real, but we’ll see.
If he does it’s a weird choice, in a good way. I can’t really picture how he would do it – maybe sort of like INSIDE MAN where it’s mostly a mainstream studio drama for adults but does have some weird touches thrown in (that thing about Bush Sr. being connected to Nazis?).
One thing is for sure, if you’re the type of person who is fanatically protective of OLDBOY you better go outside and have a yell and try to let this one go. I foresee no way of this being made in a way that’s not gonna give you ulcers. I don’t believe there’s any way in hell that an American version will have the same conclusion as the original. I don’t mean that in the sense of “Hollywood doesn’t have the balls to do it,” more in the sense of “American audiences would think that was a little too fuckin ridiculous.”
What you will have is a story with the same basic premise of a guy locked up for years, getting out and trying to figure out why and get revenge. I don’t think he’s gonna be tricked into (SPOILER IF I REMEMBER THIS CORRECTLY) fucking his daughter or whatever it was. It will be totally different, but maybe cool, who knows?
In even more unexpected news, Lee just started shooting something called REDHOOK SUMMER, where he will apparently reprise his role as Mookie from DO THE RIGHT THING.
SPECIAL BADASS RUNDOWN/NERD SHIT CROSSOVER:
stuff you fellas might consider attending if you’re at the Comics Con
I was hoping you guys would report to me about the HAYWIRE panel and I heard about another good one so I decided to be your pal and pore through the schedule for other suggestions. Here are the ones that I would probly go to if for some reason I got drugged and woke up in San Diego on July 21st and if the zoo was closed.
11:30-12:30, room 24ABC
Triple H, Rey Mysterio and “a surprise WWE Legend” will be there. To talk about action figures. Hopefully the surprise legend is Batista with his lunchbox collection.
12:15-1:00, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront (they seriously got room names this complicated?)
Rick Baker will be talking about his career as one of the all time best makeup artists. Unfortunately the focus is gonna be on the MEN IN BLACK movies because they’re trying to make people think somebody wants to see the MEN IN BLACK 3D movie they’ve already sunk ten billion dollars into without a script.
2:00-3:00, Hall H
They’re gonna be showing footage from that DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK remake, but also DRIVE, the Nicolas Winding Refn getaway driver movie that’s supposed to be great. Doesn’t sound like they got any special guests or anything though.
also 2:00-3:00, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
After sitting through some shit about something called “H+” they will have a panel on the MORTAL KOMBAT web-series with Michael Jai White, the director and other cast members, then show the last episode.
4:45-5:45, Hall H
Robert Rodriguez will “show exclusive material from his latest top-secret project,” which, you know, who the fuck knows? If it’s the ZIGGY movie I’ve been dreaming of then keep me updated. He’d probly go with Bruce Willis instead of Vin Diesel.
6:00-7:00, Hall H
Jon Favreau and Guillermo of the Toro talk about shit with a guy from Entertainment Weekly. I was also interviewed by Entertainment Weekly once.
holy shit it’s still Thursday, I don’t know if I can get through this thing
7:45-10:45, Room 6A
Some kind of kung fu thing. Actually it sounds kinda stupid, but if you’re not doing anything and you like kung fu I mean, why not? Or, remember, San Diego does have that zoo. Check the hours on that.
8:30-10:00, Room 6BCF
“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog – Sing along with your fellow fans at this screening of the original three acts of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog hosted by the California Browncoats, complete with callbacks!” I am thinking about killing myself just from reading that
11:15am-12:15, Ballroom 20
They’ll be doing a thing on season 2 of The Walking Dead. That was a pretty good show I thought. Alot of excitement for this one I’m sure but since it’s in a ballroom and nerds are afraid of dancing you could probly just show up 5 minutes after it starts and get a good seat. Norman Reedus will be there so try to ask him why he thought he could pull one over on Blade in BLADE II. Tell him what some motherfuckers are always tryin to do. I guess he probly knows though.
12:15-1:15, Hall H
Gina Carano and Steven Soderbergh are gonna be there to talk about HAYWIRE. Seriously, I am dying for some fucking information on this movie. I bet you they show a fight scene and knock you on your ass. If you guys are going you gotta report to me on this, I want to know all about it. (NOTE: this panel will also have people talking about a James McTeigue joint called RAVEN where John Cusack plays Edgar Allan Poe tracking a serial killer.)
12:45-1:45, Room 6BCF
Obviously you should be at the HAYWIRE thing, but if you got kicked out for stabbing somebody or whatever there is this “Legendary Pictures Preproduction Preview” with some pretty cool panel members including Jeff Bridges, Guillermo del Toro, Idris Elba and Alex Proyas. Weird.
2:30-3:15, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
The BLACK DYNAMITE cartoon! Scott Sanders, Michael Jai Fucking White, Tommy Davidson, Kym Whitley and Byron “Bullhorn” Minns will all be there because they were in the movie and in the cartoon.
2:45-3:45, Hall H
The remake of FRIGHT NIGHT actually looks kinda good I think. Somehow they got Colin Farrell coming to this thing. I worry that he might show up in costume as Deadly Peanut Flicker, his character from the movie DAREDEVIL.
11:45-12:45, Hall H
Holy shit, Francis Ford Coppola is gonna be there showing scenes from his new movie TWIXT with (it sounds like) live music.
1:00-2:00, Hall H
A thing about that movie IMMORTALS. Tarsem Singh and Mickey Rourke aren’t listed as being there, but there’s some other people, like the guy that’s gonna play Superman.
6:30-7:30, Room 24ABC
Seagalogy intro writer David Gordon Green will be with a bunch of voice actors from a cartoon he created called Good Vibes. Or you could go over to Room 8 if you want to see Thomas Jane, but he’s there to talk about “the rapidly emerging digital distribution platform of comics!” so unless he shows up drunk I don’t see much of interest there.
Saturday, 7:30-8:30, Room 8
A bunch of awesome movie poster painters including the guy who did the original NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREETs.
Saturday, 9:00-10:00, Room 9
Some Lloyd Kaufman DIY Filmmaking deal, but Lance Henriksen is supposed to be there.
Go to church. Unless you’d rather attend the panel on “Ball-Jointed Dolls,” or “BJDs”.
God damn, my eyes hurt from reading all that shit. I don’t know what the people were complaining about Hollywood taking over, there is like ten thousand pretentiously titled comics related panels to choose from. I’m surprised how many there are just on the topic of gays and lesbians in comics. That looks like a pretty elaborate event you guys got going over there. Not enough HAYWIRE in my opinion but at least there’s some.
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.