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 September, 2013

Empire State

Monday, September 30th, 2013

tn_empirestateDito Montiel is a director I’ve kept an eye on since I saw his underground fighting movie FIGHTING. That one’s not good for action filmatism, but it’s really enjoyable as a more realistically textured take on the LIONHEART type of movie, and it has alot of personality. The example I always give when I try to convince somebody to see it is that the ultimate goal of the fight manager character played by Terence Howard is to get enough money to franchise an IHoP. So see that one, everybody. Totally underrated.

EMPIRE STATE is Montiel’s first movie that doesn’t have Channing Tatum in it, instead it stars an occasionally Tatum-esque Liam Hemsworth, a.k.a. the only expended Expendable as of part 2 (spoiler). There’s something odd about an Australian doing a New York meathead character, but Thor’s little brother has more range than I knew. Maybe Tatum was Montiel’s DeNiro, and Hemsworth will be his DiCaprio. I guess we’ll know that’s what’s up if Tatum starts doing a bunch of DTV cop movies with 50 Cent. (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.

Pain & Gain

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

tn_painandgain“Well, I didn’t think it was terrible or anything.”

–Vern, outlawvern.com

For the most part PAIN & GAIN is not that bad in the usual ways that Michael Bay movies are bad. Check this shit out: I honestly had no major stylistic problems with this one, other than some late-in-the-game freeze frame/on screen graphic things that are supposed to be funny (listing the side effects of cocaine use, saying “this is still a true story” during a crazy part, etc.) Even the action scenes are fine and have a good energy to them. I think maybe when Bay is limited to what he considers a low budget ($26 million) he has to do more planning and less shooting everything from a hundred different angles to slap together later.

What I really expected to be deadly in this movie was the jokes. Of course I hold a grudge against Bay for the way his and Simon West’s editing and framing began the crumbling of the visual language of action cinema that led to the current state of things where only a very small percentage of American action movies are worth watching if you are hoping for there to be action scenes in them. That’s what he’s gonna have to answer for when he gets to the Pearly Gates, but it’s definitely not the worst thing about his movies – that would have to be his terrible sense of humor. BAD BOYS 2 and the TRANSFORMERSes especially can’t go a minute without some unfunny ad-libbed jibber jabber, or a cut away to a dog fucking something, or a sassy black lady swearing at somebody (or vice versa), or a cartoonish service person or government stooge being an asshole for no reason other than to reflect Bay’s world view. So when this joker said his next movie was gonna be a comedy I heard the JAWS music.

(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.

Scott Adkins Interview on NINJA 2 by david j. moore

Friday, September 27th, 2013

tn_adkinsextendedoutlawcontentOur NINJA: SHADOW OF A TEAR early coverage concludes with david’s interview with the ninja himself, the world’s most complete fighter, El Gringo, a man who has had bit parts in both the remake of THE PINK PANTHER and ZERO DARK THIRTY, an icon of modern action, Mr. Scott Adkins.

It’s weird meeting action stars in person. I’ve met more than I can count now, and every one of them is different, but I knew Scott Adkins would be cool. We’d previously met face to face when I did an hour-long Skype interview with him in 2012 after I saw him in Expendables 2, and he was incredibly gracious and generous with his time. In that interview, I was shocked at how well versed he was in B-action movies, and we talked about not only his movies and career, but the careers of guys like Jeff Speakman and Michael Dudikoff. He joked to me how upset he was when he saw Jeff Speakman’s second or third movie and that Speakman wasn’t delivering on the martial arts front like he did on his first movie. “Fuck you, Jeff Speakman!” he joked, which I thought was hilarious.

(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.

Summer Movie Flashback epilogue

Friday, September 27th, 2013

tn_speedracerThanks for indulging me with this Summer Movie Flashback series. Now that I’ve gone through 20 summer movies from the last decade I figured I should have a brief post-game huddle or whatever.

Shit, me starting writing this series almost seems like longer ago than PROMETHEUS, the most recent movie I reviewed in it. So it deserves a wrapup.

 

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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.

Summer Movie Flashback the Final Chapter: Prometheus

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

tn_prometheus

2012
2012

This is the third time I’ve seen PROMETHEUS. I saw it twice in the theater. It’s one of the most divisive movies in the history of outlawvern.com comments, and I wanted to see how it played after sleeping on it for a while. I still like it and think that its great filmatism overcomes its underlying stupidity. But I’ve got a few new thoughts on it.

We’ve discussed alot of unscientific things these scientists on the Prometheus do, but one I don’t remember thinking about before is that they’re totally jumping to this conclusion that humans were engineered. All they’re going on is the “DNA match,” that “their genetic material predates ours,”  but doesn’t that seem more like we evolved from them than they purposely created us? I guess they’re going on the cave paintings, which they assume were made by the Engineers and did in fact lead them to this planet. But I don’t know, I don’t feel like this Engineer theory has been adequately proven. (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.

Summer Movie Flashback: The Amazing Spider-man

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

tn_amazingspiderman

2011
2012

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, eh? More like THE YOU KNOW TO BE HONEST I KINDA LIKED THIS ONE SPIDER-MAN if you ask me.

Over the years I’ve gained a rep as an anti-Nerdite, due to some of my challenging of online conventional wisdom and use of insensitive terminology (some people get mad when I use “nerd” instead of “geek”). But the truth is I rarely miss a comic book movie, and I even like some that you all hate (SPIDER-MAN 3, X-MEN 3, MAN OF STEEL it seems, probly something else I’m forgetting). Not to mention the whole issue with STAR WARS prequels and CRYSTAL SKULLs. Face it, geeks – I like this shit more than the people who like it do!

That’s why it surprises me that I never got around to seeing THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN until now. I mean I had intended to see it in the theater in 3D and everything. But everybody said it was bland and they confirmed that they really were re-doing the original story already so I lost the urgency and never got to 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.

Why I give a shit about this NEED FOR SPEED

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Here’s a trailer for NEED FOR SPEED, a movie coming out next March, apparently based on some video game. They’re smart to make it look all serious and not use any hip hop on the trailer so less people will compare it to THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS.

Of course with that one TV show being so popular, everybody’s focusing on this being an attempt to use Aaron Paul as a leading man. But the reason I’m drawing your attention to this is because it’s from Scott Waugh, the co-director of ACT OF VALOR. He was a stuntman on many fine (SPARTAN, SPEED, LAST OF THE MOHICANS) and not-so-fine (BATMAN FOREVER, SPY HARD) movies. He worked on both BIKER BOYZ and TORQUE. Then he was second unit director, producer and editor of the documentaries STEP INTO LIQUID and DUST TO GLORY, which led him to the weird stunt/reality/fiction/military recruiting film combo of ACT OF VALOR. I hope he can carry through some of the qualities I liked in ACT OF VALOR, this time 100% free of any guilt of enjoying military propaganda. Of course he’s working with actors now, so he won’t have that interesting “this is a real interrogator guy demonstrating how he does his job” thing going, but I’m sure there will be some good stunts.

The script is by George and John Gatins (FLIGHT, REAL STEEL) and George Nolfi (OCEAN’S TWELVE, BOURNE ULTIMATUM, THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU). Michael Keaton is in the cast. My man “Professional” Shane Hurlbut is the cinematographer. Stunt coordinator is Lance Gilbert (TORQUE, STEALTH, VACANCY, PRIEST).

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.

Interview with Tim Man, stunt choreographer on NINJA 2 by david j. moore

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

tn_timman

extendedoutlawcontent

This next-to-last interview in david j. moore’s series of NINJA: SHADOW OF A TEAR interviews is a name I wasn’t familiar with, but it’s important to learn shit. That’s why we’re here. Fight choreographer Tim Man – remember, I heard it here first. Here’s david:

When I met Tim Man, the stunt and fight choreographer on the Bangkok, Thailand set of Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, my first thought is, “Wow, this guy’s short!” He has a distinct look about him, and he speaks with an unusual accent. He is of Chinese and Swedish descent. Man, trained in Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Tae Kwan Do, Viet Vo Dao, boxing, and Wushu, has worked on several Thai martial arts productions including Ong Bak 2 (2008) and Kill ’em All (2012). He was tasked with not only creating all the fights for Ninja II, but he also handled all the stunts, and he co-stars in the film as well as a villain named Myat. As I tried to get to know him over the course of several days, I found him to be immensely knowledgeable in action movie terms, and we’d quiz each other over action stars we like and their movies. We discussed the merits of guys like Keith Cooke, Tony Jaa, Gary Daniels, Billy Blanks, and all sorts of other guys, and it was obvious that he was a hardcore fan of B-action and martial arts movies. He was always in good humor, and in between takes, he’d sit down next to me and carry on our conversation.

  (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.

Summer Movie Flashback of the Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

tn_rotpotaB

2011
2011

I like doing these re-reviews. Alot of times I feel differently about a movie as I get older, or I notice new things after seeing it more than once, or I benefit from being removed from the context of the hype and the reactions I’d been hearing when it came out. But it’s a challenge too because it’s so easy to be redundant. More than once I wrote a draft of one of these and then read my old review and found out I unknowingly repeated an idea or even an exact phrase. Shit. Like I was doing I, ROBOT and I was real proud of this joke where I rewrote the 3 Laws of Robotics in my own way. Then it turned out I already did that years ago.

And as the gap narrows here at the end of the series it’s getting pretty ridiculous. This was only 2 years ago, and I haven’t gone off to live a quiet life in a monastery and stick fight in a remote village or anything like that. A man can only gain so much wisdom in that period of time, so my views haven’t really changed on the movie of THE RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES of the starring James Franco. It’s still a very enjoyable dumb man’s thinking man’s sci-fi. (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.

Isaac Florentine Interview on NINJA 2 by david j. moore

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

extendedoutlawcontenttn_isaacflorentineShit, NINJA 2 is getting some pretty serious raves out of Fantastic Fest. I almost wish I didn’t hear that, it’s like when I was patiently anticipating THE RAID because of MERANTAU and then all the sudden a bunch of people flipped out for it and the wait became excruciating. Oh well, as long as that’s the case let’s read david j. moore’s interview with action hall of famer Isaac Florentine.

On the set of Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, director Isaac Florentine is completely in his element while making his latest martial arts action film, starring Scott Adkins and Kane Kosugi. I’ve been invited to observe several days of filming on the Bangkok, Thailand set, and my first day consists of watching an intense dialogue scene between Adkins’ character and his mentor, played by Kosugi. Both of them are dressed in Japanese robes during their scenes together, and the dojo set is decked with traditional Japanese tapestries and artifacts. I interact with the crew, as they move lights around, and in between takes I chitchat with Adkins, Kosugi, and Florentine, who all take time out to address my questions, comments, and attempts at humor. Florentine, whom I’ve interviewed before, is incredibly gracious to me, and he thanks me several times for visiting the set. We both agree on the fact that movies like the ones he makes aren’t given the attention or the fair criticism that they deserve, and I’ve made it my prerogative to give him and his peer filmmakers like Jesse Johnson, Ben Ramsey, and Ernie Barbarash, the attention that they should be getting. I interviewed Florentine for a few minutes about Ninja: Shadow of a Tear on set, and while this is not a comprehensive interview on his career, it does shed some light on what his intentions are with making this particular film. (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.