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

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Archive for August, 2012

Tougher Than Leather

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

TOUGHER THAN LEATHER is a unique specimen – a time capsule movie vehicle for a musical act at their height, but a legit act with street credibility that they did not lose by being in a movie. This is not the Fat Boys or Meth and Red making a comedy. It’s Run DMC in a gritty action movie made independently by the same people they made their records with. Maybe a good comparison would be Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER or Jimmy Cliff in THE HARDER THEY COME, except they weren’t playing themselves.
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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.

Starship Troopers: Invasion

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Remember how they made two DTV sequels to STARSHIP TROOPERS? Now there’s a new one, but I think the world will be sharply divided over whether we consider this part 4 or not. It does continue the futuristic bug war star trooping of Captain Carmen Ibanez (originally Denise Richards, now Luci Christian), master psychic Carl “It’s afraid!” Jenkins (originally Neil Patrick Harris, now Justin Doran) and Johnny Rico (now promoted to General). But one thing they did different, they gave it to the Japanese animation director Shinji Aramaki (APPLESEED) to computer it up. Now instead of deliberately white bread humans it’s creepy Real Doll type animated characters sort of along the lines of FINAL FANTASY and those types of computer animated pictures.
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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.

Dragon From Russia

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Researching my review for CRYING FREEMAN I found out there was this five-years-older adaptation of the same comic. This one’s actually a Hong Kong action movie for real, but it’s not the moody John Woo type that influenced the 1995 version. This is the frenetic wire-fu style that was also big at that time.
(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.

NEW! The Viva Val Verde t-shirt

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Even if you’ve never adventured in the fictional South American country of Val Verde yourself, you may be familiar with its history from such films as COMMANDO, PREDATOR and DIE HARD 2. I know I am. And with my keen sense of observation and the power of high definition blu-ray technology I have spotted the Val Verde flag on the side of two planes in DIE HARD 2 and had it re-created by my crack team of t-shirt artisans.

click here to shirt up

VIVA VAL VERDE is not only an obscure reference and slogan of fictional national pride, but a rallying cry for fans of the larger-than-life movies of the Joel Silver/Arnold/Bruce era. Long live Val Verde and long live Old School Action.

This extraordinary t-shirt (also available in mug) is the inaugural product for my new project Vern’s Flea Market. This is probly classier than most of the other ones I’m gonna do, though. I want to take us all back to the late ’80s, early ’90s when you could go to the parking lot outside the 99 Cent store and young entrepreneurs would sell you such great t-shirts as Black Bart Simpson and Batman Symbol Except It Has Eyes. My designs will be even better. Collect ’em all, like pokeymans or whatever.

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.

Crying Freeman

Monday, August 27th, 2012

CRYING FREEMAN (1995) is a pretty cool movie that I went back to hoping it would be better than I realized before. I did a brief write-up of it in a column years ago, but I’m not gonna link to it right now because most of the column is angry rants about what was going on in the news at the time and it makes me cringe. Based on a Japanese comic book (or “Japomic Book”) by the same writer as Lone Wolf and Cub, CRYING FREEMAN is a moody, serious assassin movie with Yakuza, mind control, a witch, romance and tragedy. It takes place in 4 different countries (U.S., Canada, China, Japan) with the most convincing, of course, being the part that takes place in Vancouver, B.C.
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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 internet’s only discussion of who should be in Expendables 3 and Expendables: The Women

Friday, August 24th, 2012

I mean, who am I trying to fool? Of course we’re gonna discuss this. We already started, so let’s make it the official exploratory committee. We have been through 2 (two) Expendastallments, we know how it works. Knowing what we know now, who do we want to see in part 3? Any new ideas of who should direct?

Furthermore, there is this producer of THE GREY who is working on what is described as “a female riff on THE EXPENDABLES” – let’s figure out who they should put in that.

(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.

Past Midnight

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Do you guys know about this one? How come I never knew about it? Not that PAST MIDNIGHT – a 1991 thriller starring Natasha Richardson, Rutger Hauer and Clancy Brown that went straight to video in ’93 – is very good, but it holds an important enough place in cinematic history that I figure I should’ve heard of it before.

On his commentary track for TRUE ROMANCE, Quentin Tarantino talks about the time before he sold that script and directed RESERVOIR DOGS. He mentions a job at the production company CineTel, where he says he would do punch ups on scripts “which were really page 1 rewrites.” I don’t know if he’s exaggerating that part or not, but I’m sure it’s true that he rewrote a line here or there. So did any of those ever end up getting produced?

Yes, at least one did, and it is PAST MIDNIGHT, Tarantino’s first film credit besides production assistant on Dolph Lundgren’s MAXIMUM POTENTIAL workout video. Associate producer Catalaine Knell thought his contributions to the script were important enough that she shared her credit with him.
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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 Tall Man

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Remember the excitement we had when we came across MARTYRS, written and directed by Pascal Laugier? A genuinely unpredictable, unformulaic horror movie. One that was brutal and unpleasant enough that I was hesitant about recommending it to people, but great enough that it’s become pretty much universally respected as the must-see horror movie of recent years. Probly of the decade. The pinnacle of modern euro-horror, the most respectable extreme-horror.

When there’s somebody who made something that unusual, that pure, obviously Hollywood knows what to do: string ‘im up. Bring him to the U.S., make him speak English, put him on a HELLRAISER remake. Waste his time in idiotic meetings, showing him that he’s not allowed to do whatever he wants. He must compromise. Show him who’s boss.

So he quit HELLRAISER. But he still made an English language movie starring Jessica Biel. I heard a long time ago that it wasn’t that good, I forget if it was at a film festival or somebody saw a test screening or what. But I believed it. It sounded about right. He was making HARD BOILED, we don’t want to see his BROKEN ARROW.

But the reports were wrong! This is more like his FACE/OFF. (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.

Village Voice piece

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

I wrote a piece for this week’s Village Voice, it’s about (hold onto your butts) the current state of action movies. Of course I wasn’t able to be as long-winded as I usually like to, but I think I managed to give a good explanation of my concept of Post-Action (with specific examples), the importance of action geography, how THE EXPENDABLES could be better, the renaissance in DTV (mentioning Florentine and Hyams), and favorite topics like that.

Thank you to film editor Alan Scherstuhl for giving me the opportunity to spread the word to a new audience, and printed on paper I believe. I like paper.

If you’re joining us here after reading the piece please say hi in the comments and stick around or dig through the archives for more detailed discussion of Badass Cinema and other topics.

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.

Breathless (1983)

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

I gotta confess coming to this one from a place of cinematic ignorance. I’ve seen the original Godard movie, but I don’t remember jack shit about it. I thought it was pretty good, I believe. That’s about all I got. Still, I’m sure less people could tell you anything about the remake than everything about the original. So this makes me smart.
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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.