“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Archive for July, 2012

Step Up Revolution

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

What was the STEP UP saga missing before? Bikinis. The series began in Baltimore and in part 3 it continued into breakdancing’s birthplace, New York. Part 4 here is Assignment Miami Beach. We take up with a new set of characters, a group called The Mob, who stage ridiculous “flash mob” dance numbers as part of a Youtube competition to be the first dance crew to get 10 million hits. But when an out of town developer (Peter Gallagher, CENTER STAGE) plans to demolish their predominantly Latino neighborhood and replace it with a resort, they decide it’s “Enough performance art, time for protest art.”

(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.

Battle of the Year 3D trailer

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

This is a blog (short for web-log) post about the trailer for BATTLE OF THE YEAR 3D. The movie is not about the type of battles that are in the movies I normally write about here, but bear with me.

Whether you know it or not, you are anxiously awaiting my review of STEP UP REVOLUTION. I’m working on it, but I saw this trailer before the movie and I had to share it with you guys right away. At first I was just laughing because it’s a dance movie following a sports movie formula, so the characters keep talking about “the sport” of breakdancing. That is a very anti-STEP UP attitude. Dancing is an art, right? W the F.

But as I kept watching I realized something else. See if you pick up on it 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.

The Loose Canon: LONE WOLF AND CUB: SWORD OF VENGEANCE & BABYCART AT THE RIVER STYX vs. SHOGUN ASSASSIN

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Every now and then I write a more-in-depth-than-usual study of a movie I consider important and influential in the evolution of Badass Cinema, a movie I believe most fans of the genre would love and all should see and have an opinion on. I call this series THE LOOSE CANON.

* * *

In 1980, a violent samurai movie called SHOGUN ASSASSIN hit American shores. It is the story of Lone Wolf, an assassin trying to avenge the murder of his wife by the Shogun he used to work for. He travels Japan by foot pushing a babycart that  carries a number of weapons and his son Daigoro – who also narrates the movie – and eventually kills the Shogun’s brother. With its weird tone and garish violence, and coming right at the beginning of the decade when Americans became obsessed with Japanese traditions like karate and ninjas, the movie took on a legendary status in pop culture that lasts to this day. Its dialogue and primitive synthesizer score were heavily sampled on the seminal 1995 hip hop album Liquid Swords by GZA, and also heard in KILL BILL VOLUME 2 as little Bebe’s chosen bed time movie.

The one problem with SHOGUN ASSASSIN: it’s an insultingly dumbed down bastardization of two excellent 1972 Japanese films, LONE WOLF AND CUB: SWORD OF VENGEANCE and LONE WOLF AND CUB: BABYCART AT THE RIVER STYX (the first two installments in a six movie series). (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.

MAXIMUM CONVICTION trailer

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Well, I’m not gonna pretend this looks good. It seems to have all the most joyless aspects of DTV action. It happens to star two of my favorites, but both of them look bored, and it makes it look like they might only have one scene together. Director Keoni Waxman did THE KEEPER, A DANGEROUS MAN and many True Justice episodes with Seagal, plus the pretty-good-not-great HUNT TO KILL with Stone Cold. Writer Richard Beattie wrote PROM NIGHT IV, NO CONTEST II and episodes of True Justice. I’ll try to keep an open mind, obviously. If anybody’s gonna figure out a way to like this one it should be me, right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yosoQ8HkmLQ

 

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.

Above the Law (not the Seagal one)

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

ABOVE THE LAW (1986) really is about the law. It begins with Yuen Biao after graduating from law school. A group of conspirators, including one with a gun tucked behind an accordion, try to assassinate his professor. The shit goes down just as he’s saying his goodbyes and the prof is giving him a law book as a gift. In the chaos the book goes flying in the air, is shot through with holes, and then is stepped on by panicking witnesses. I don’t know why but I almost feel like that could symbolize something. Probly not. (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.

Get the Gringo

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Well, I don’t want to start up the ol’ Mel Gibson debate again. We all know how that goes. At some point somebody’s gonna point out that he didn’t kill anybody, so why is he persona non grata in Hollywood? Well, because of multiple crazed incidents where he threw raging tirades about Jews, blacks, rape and cutting off his girlfriend’s head. Yep, he pretty much hit all of them except gays. And him being a movie star we still start to forget about it after a while and want to forgive him, but then every time he seems to be almost in the clear he does another one. Like he wants to be caught.

So I can understand why some people might not want to work with him. Don’t pretend like you don’t. If he was just a guy and not the star (and director) of movies we love you wouldn’t want to share a shift with him or invite him over for the family barbecue, and you fuckin know it.
(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 Dark Knight Rises

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Well, shit. I had been staying offline working on this review for a couple hours before I had to check a detail on IMDb and found out about the massacre in Colorado last night. Fucking horrible, man. Be safe everybody.

We had a fucked up tragedy in Seattle a few months ago, and even though that was on a smaller scale you see how many people it affects. For those of us blessed enough to be unscathed it still has a psychological effect, it forces you to think about yourself and your loved ones having to go through that. Because I walk by the place where it happened, I know people who went there all the time, I’ve dealt with mentally ill people that could’ve been that guy. Or in this case I love movies too, I went to a midnight showing too, alot of my friends did, alot of you guys did. It’s just as bad as all the other things we read about on the news but it seems more personal.

But I’ve also seen how the community has come together, has celebrated the lives and the art of the people who died, are continuing to hold benefit shows and fundraisers for the families and for the little cafe where it happened. You see that people really do care about their neighbors. And I hope we will also try to learn from these horrible things and figure out how to improve the system to identify the root causes and fix things, get sick people help or whatever needs to be done long before it comes to this.

Warner Brothers is pulling advertising for the weekend, canceled a premiere in France and all TV appearances for the stars, because it seems tacky to promote a movie during this. But instead this sick asshole gets to pretend he’s a super villain, he gets to be on TV, the whole world has to pay attention to him. He gets to stand in for the big summer event movie.

Is it wrong to let one psychopath intentionally take away this source of joy, this thing we’ve been looking forward to so long, that we we want to discuss and (possibly) celebrate? Or is it superficial to still want to do that in the face of this sickening loss of human life? I don’t think Batman movies are the most important thing in the world but shit, I want to talk about Batman movies!

I don’t know what the right thing to do is. Maybe it’s too depressing to think about right now, but when you’re ready for my review of the new Batman movie here it is.

THIS IS AN ALL SPOILERS, I’M-ASSUMING-YOU’VE-ALREADY-SEEN-IT REVIEW. If there’s anybody out there still deciding whether to see it or not this is not gonna help, don’t read it. (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.

Gremlins

Friday, July 20th, 2012

GREMLINS is a weird only-in-the-’80s mix. Like POLTERGEIST it’s a Spielberg production of a PG-rated horror movie directed by a legit horror director, Joe Dante. I mean, we can’t pretend THE HOWLING is on the level of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, but I think it’s a minor classic at least, genuinely creepy horror only overshadowed by that other even better werewolf movie that came out the same year.

But the other important factor at play here is that while Dante came up under Roger Corman he’s more of a goofball and cartoon nerd than a horror master. So his monsters are vicious bastards but also funny. Like the martians in MARS ATTACKS! they seem to live more to fuck with us than to kill us. And they plan to do both.
(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.

Heroes Shed No Tears

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

HEROES SHED NO TEARS is not just a great phrase to tattoo on your back or use as an adult recreational softball team name, it’s also a messy pre-A BETTER TOMORROW John Woo picture. We always talk about how the Hong Kong film scene that Woo thrived in was the Wild West compared to the Hollywood that ruined him. Well, then this was Rome or something. This is Woo when he was a straight up exploitation director. He was filming in Thailand, and shit must’ve been even crazier then than in the Tony Jaa era, ’cause they say they were using live rounds in some of these shootouts. Just shoot at stuff behind the actors. Squibs are too much trouble.
(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.

Vern Predicts: Bane vs. Bain Capital

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Don’t worry, no Batman spoilers here. In today’s episode of VERN PREDICTS I will brag about the time I sort of foresaw a stupid little thing that happened. Also let’s lay down a few rules about discussion in case a new Batman movie comes out this week.

(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.