I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Archive for November, 2013

R.I.P. Paul Walker

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

tn_paulwalkerTerrible news about Paul Walker dying today. You guys know how much I love the whole FAST & FURIOUS saga, and most of you share that love, so you know exactly how much it bums me out. But I wanted to write a few words about his career.

I wrote somewhere, maybe in my first review of THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, that I think of Walker as the popular guy on the football team who’s so nice that you can’t hate him for it. I guess he was raised Mormon, which might be part of where that vibe comes from. I know Mormons get a bad rap because of Mitt Romney and the Joseph Smith sphinx and etc. but every one of ’em I ever knew was a little square and alot nice. I bet Paul Walker really was a nice guy but maybe not that square because I bet he really did wear Pumas every day just like Brian O’Conner. (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.

Badass Trailer Roundup

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

tn_sabotageHey everybody, I might not post any new reviews until after Thanksgiving. We’ll see. But I wanted to say thank you everybody for your support and just for reading and commenting and everything. I appreciate it and it inspires me to continuing striving for excellence.

Also I’m thankful that the films of badass cinema are alive and well enough that some of our favorite action movie icons have movies on the way, and some of them recently released trailers. So I have gathered some of them here for us to watch and discuss.

I’ll start with my favorite one…

(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.

Drug War

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

tn_drugwarbtislJohnnie To’s DRUG WAR is a hell of a procedural, a fast-moving, heavily detailed look at a batallion of Chinese narcotics cops flipping a big time meth manufacturer and trying to use him to take out a guy that’s above him. We watch them step-by-step, finding the guy, making him give in, making a plan on the fly, changing things up as the facts on the ground evolve. They gotta worry if they can trust him, is he gonna blow the whole operation, are they gonna get him killed. They’re like high stakes gamblers almost. Seems like stressful work in my opinion.

In the opening scene the squad catches a bus full of drug mules on a toll bridge. They bring them to the hospital and proceed with the unglamorous work of making them shit out the “drug pods” into bowls before they burst inside them and kill them horribly. I’m looking for a HOLY MOUNTAIN Alchemist/shitting in a bowl joke here, but maybe I’ll just let the moment pass. I am nothing if not classy as all fuck. (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 Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Monday, November 25th, 2013

tn_catchingfire(I’m trying to mark the biggest spoilers as usual, but be careful with this one if you don’t want anything given away)

You remember back when THE HUNGER GAMES came out I avoided it. I know this makes me a weirdo, but it wasn’t until Francis Lawrence signed on to direct the sequels that I got interested. The conventional wisdom was that part 1’s Gary Ross (PLEASANTVILLE, SEABISCUIT) was a classy director and this was a step down to replace him with the guy who did CONSTANTINE and I AM LEGEND. But I’m a fan of Mr. Lawrence, I see some genius behind the admittedly large flaws of those movies. As pretty good as THE HUNGER GAMES is I’m way more impressed by Lawrence’s depiction of post-human-New-York-City and Will Smith’s performance as the lonely omega-scientist. Yeah, we all know that there are some problems when the vampires turn out to be leaping computer animated beasts, but shit, they’re better than the animated dogs in HUNGER GAMES. Scarier and with more personality and meaning. Let’s not pretend either of these is flawless, but I know which one I like better.

Now Lawrence’s first HUNGER GAMES chapter has hit, and virtually ever review I’ve seen says what I predicted, that he made a better movie than the first one. See you guys, I know shit.

(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.

Day of the Dead

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

tn_dayofthedeadI think DAWN OF THE DEAD will always be my favorite zombie movie, but DAY OF THE DEAD is the one that’s grown with me the most. When I first saw it I liked it, but my enthusiasm was held back by the obnoxious performances of the guys playing the soldiers. They’re written as total assholes, taunting everybody, dropping weird racial slurs, and the actors (including makeup artist Greg Nicotero, who is now effects head/producer/director/writer/zombie on The Walking Dead) play them as giggling, yelling wackos, more like Rapist #3 in a cheap vigilante movie than like army professionals. The best performance among them is Joe Pilato as their leader, Colonel Rhodes, but he’s so convincing as a detestable prick that I was always convinced he was just being himself.

But I’ve watched the movie many times over the years and it just gets better and better. What once seemed like major flaws have faded away while its successes seem more and more impressive. These days I love to hate Rhodes, who’s such a dick that I can’t even root for him when he pulls off the award worthy badass move of grunting “Choke on ’em!!” at the zombies who’ve torn him in half and are eating his intestines. And the rest of those guys don’t bother me that much anymore. Their undeniable obnoxiousness has been far eclipsed by the aspects of the movie I love: everything else. (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.

Dawn of the Dead

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

tn_dotd“WE WHIPPED ‘EM AND WE GOT IT ALL!”

How do you write a review of DAWN OF THE DEAD at this point? I’ve discussed it to death with a million people over the years, and I figure we’ve all gone over it all before, right? It’s kind of presumptuous to think you’ve got something semi-new to say about a movie that’s been discussed this much. In a way I’ve already reviewed it in bits and pieces over the years, talking about it in my review of the remake and probly other places. But this year I sat down and watched it again and I thought it was a shame it’s not in my reviews archive, because it’s one of my very favorite movies. Look – I can prove it by going on about it for a while! Let’s discuss how great this movie is. (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.

Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

tn_notld90I still love the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, a nice, moody little cinematic play about differences of opinion between strangers hiding out in a farm house during the first ever worldwide zombie epidemic. I believe I watched it Halloween night of 2012 and I realized I’d kind of worn it out, it was too burnt into my brain and I’d need to take a break from it for a few years at least so I could appreciate it more next time.

But I was really jonesing to watch DAWN and DAY of the dead before Halloween this year so I decided to do a historically inaccurate color trilogy by substituting the 1990 remake of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, which I hadn’t watched in some 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.

Mud

Monday, November 18th, 2013

tn_mudMUD is the latest from Jeff Nichols, whose SHOTGUN STORIES and TAKE SHELTER I’ve been a big not-get-around-to-er of for years. I hear they’re great from people I trust and then I go watch a BLOODSPORT or something. But some day I’m gonna make you guys proud. For now I’ve just seen MUD.

As you can tell by the title, MUD is one of these historical fiction adventures where Dr. Samuel Mudd, imprisoned for aiding John Wilkes Booth after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, has to redeem himself by solving mysteries from his cell on Shark Island using his forensic knowledge and what not. But then there’s a twist where actually he’s not redeeming himself at all, he’s giving medical attention to various bad guys like Jesse James, Jack the Ripper, Count Dracula, etc. And then it’s a triple twist because actually he’s redeeming himself by giving them medical attention but then trying to influence them to be better people. It’s kind of like an underworld doctor story but also redemption, procedural, action, romance, racism, etc.

Actually that’s not what MUD is about, I tricked you into reading the pitch for my new intellectual property, for sale to Hollywood as a movie or TV series or both. Please buy. I don’t need my name on the credits though if it’s all the same to you guys. As we’ve all heard, the MUD that actually exists is real good, and Matthew McConaughey is real good in it. What I had not heard was anything else, like what it was about. And I’m glad, it’s rare to see a movie completely fresh like that. You won’t get that if you keep reading.

(Why am I always telling you not to read my reviews? This kind of defeatist attitude is why some dude from Lost is not playing Samuel Mudd on tv yet) (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.

Tony Jaa starring in SPL2

Friday, November 15th, 2013

tn_tygTony Jaa must be officially out of the jungle now because after finishing the long awaited TOM YUM GOONG 2 and in the midst of shooting THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 7 and a Dolph Lundgren movie called SKIN TRADE he just announced this on Facebook:

I am really excited to tell you that I will be starring in SPL 2, the sequel to the action thriller SPL (Sha Po Lang). I am equally excited to have Wu Jen the star of Legendary Assassin as my co-star. There are some really neat additional cast members that you will hear about soon and the action will be amazing. SPL 2 will shoot next Spring after I finish the shoot of Skin Trade with my friend Dolph Lundgren. (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.

Terminal Velocity

Friday, November 15th, 2013

tn_terminalvelocityTERMINAL VELOCITY is a pretty funny action mystery full of smartass dialogue and clever action gimmicks. I think it’s an attempt to make up a pulp adventurer type character without the usual treasure hunting or old timey setting. But with the brown leather jacket, the slick hair and the bi-plane.

Charlie Sheen plays Ditch Brody, the womanizing wildman shit-stirrer of the Arizona parachutist community. He’s locally notorious for a string of outrageous skydiving mishaps (or skyhaps), most recently parachuting into a young girl’s birthday party wearing the fake muscles and ass from his standard (probly disappointing) bachelorette party routine. Then one day a beautiful woman (Nastassja Kinski) comes in wanting a lesson from him. She acts like a giggly first-timer but is clearly up to something. He’s too horny to pick up on it, and even touches her ass on the way into the plane. Not professional. (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.