"If victory favors me, I will protect your child with my life."

"I ask you not to worry about that possibility. Because my son and I live on the Demon Way in Hell, we're prepared to descend into Hell through the Six Realms and Four Lives."

Drive

Unless you count an IMDb listing for an unreleased movie called SIRENS OF THE DEEP (2000), the final (so far) feature film directed by Steve Wang is the 1997 under-the-radar Mark Dacascos action romp DRIVE. Dacascos (ONLY THE STRONG) plays Toby Wong (a RESERVOIR DOGS reference?), reformed Chinese assassin on the run from a corporation trying to reclaim the advanced strength-and-acrobatics-enhancing implant they put in him. Attacked in a bar, he commandeers lonely divorcee Malik (Kadeem Hardison, DEF BY TEMPTATION) and his car, and the two end up becoming buddies, driving around the L.A. area trying to avoid a team of mercenaries led by redneck Vic Madison (John Pyper-Ferguson, who’s also in the Nicolas Winding-Refn movie called DRIVE) and his personal Bob the Goon, Hedgehog (Tracey Walter, CYBORG 2), who when not shooting at them hang out in a mobile home like Justified villains. Vic has long hair, wears a bolo tie and sunglasses seems too proud of his rock ‘n roll cowboy look. I was so relieved when he switched to pony tail and tactical gear.

There are many fans of DRIVE who have encouraged me to review it over the years. I’ve seen it 2 or 3 times and always enjoyed it, but these days I think it seems better than it used to. It’s full of such energetic action, but with a likable dorkiness to it. In contrast to Dacascos’s good guy assassin in CRYING FREEMAN, Toby doesn’t allow his tragic motivation to turn him completely morose. He has an innocent, almost boyish vibe. In many scenes he stays quiet and we can watch him listen to the others, interested in what they’ll say. One of the most dramatic moments – the unexpected arrival of a more powerful super-fighter (Masaya Kato, BROTHER, GOZU) – interrupts him doing karaoke, but the scene isn’t there just as set up. They give him plenty of time to dance around like a goof and have fun. I think we’re supposed to lose ourselves like he does, not be nervous the whole time.

I’ve seen many people point out that it came before RUSH HOUR, and I’ve probly even said it myself. In truth the dynamic of this interracial buddy duo is very different. There aren’t “ha ha, your culture is different from mine” jokes. There’s a scene where they both groove to hip hop in the car (“Where’s the Party At” by Intellect), but there’s no disagreement preceding it, it’s not a surprise that they can both enjoy it.

One time race does come up is when Vic pulls out a whip to fight Malik with. He doesn’t say anything to verify that he gets the slavemaster connotations, but Malik does.

A more light-hearted part of the movie is the stretch where they hide out at a hotel occupied only by the owner’s teenage daughter Deliverance (Brittany Murphy, who had already been in CLUELESS). It’s kind of an ultimate Brittany Murphy role, spacy and giggly and adorable, flirting and making non-stop sex eyes at Malik, making him stammer.

And instead of going the “innocent person gets killed to show that fun time is over and these guys mean business” route they go the “she turns out to be good with a machine gun and enjoys it a little too much” one.

The bad news for her: the bad guys blow up her entire hotel. There are some good miniature models in this one. Given the cartoonish nature of how well she handles herself, and Malik’s similar lack of previous combat experience, it seems a little paternalistic when he won’t let her go with them to fight the bad guys at Apollo 14, the Pizza Planet of karaoke bars. But it is the correct responsible adult decision, so I can support it.

The action is the most important part. Like GUYVER: DARK HERO, the choreographer is Power Rangers veteran Koichi Sakamoto, and he brings his kinetic style and super hero poses into more of a Hong Kong action style. Martial arts mix with heightened gunplay. In an early fight, Toby leaps from a pool table to hang upside from a light fixture, spinning and firing. I wonder if that inspired the same move in PUNISHER: WAR ZONE?

There’s a big set piece with the two handcuffed together, chased around a construction site, climbing scaffolding, sliding down a zipline, etc. Great sequence, but my favorite is what’s gotta be one of the great small hotel room fights. They find so many cool things to do with that limited location. He leaps backwards onto the bed while firing, kicks a chair across the room, throws a lamp, lifts the mattress to block the door, bounces on the bed, steps off the wall. The curtains get ripped down, the phone gets shot.

When he gets into a bordering room with a kitchenette he throws pans at them. He’s getting swarmed by four guys with electrified clubs, so with a knife he slashes at a guy’s boots so he can pull them off, cover his hands with them and summon them, old school kung fu movie style.

Meanwhile Malik is in a garage sneaking around trying to hit guys over the head with a wrench. Sure, there’s that problem of the two characters with uneven fighting skills both having to get some action time. They make up for that by giving Malik one all-timer. He’s crawling behind some shelves and finds a chainsaw. You don’t necessarily expect him to use it as well as he does: he saws off a guys arm as he’s firing a machine gun and the arm flips through the air and shoots its owner.

Of course when Toby shows up he’s knocking over racks, throwing and kicking tires, slamming car doors, doing windmills on top of a car. Carts are sliding around being used as battering rams and shields, Jackie Chan fight team type stuff. (By the way, this might be the only American film that name drops Sammo Hung. (Dacascos later appeared with him on Martial Law.) But I bet even as he stays out of it Malik is pretty fuckin proud of that chainsaw move.

Shit gets even crazier for the climax. They’re gonna fight this super badass and then suddenly a bunch of dudes on motorcycles crash through the windows into the place and start zooming around in circles and shooting things with their machine guns and doing wheelies and shit. But the thing is, these guys are wearing professional dirtbiker type gear with logos and everything. I don’t know about you, but I intend to boycott Auto Sport, MSR, Scott, Axo and System 6 until they stop sponsoring riders who take side gigs as hired gunmen.

Important note: the trucker singing karaoke is R.A. Mihailoff, who played Leatherface in LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III. Also, screenwriter Scott Phillips later wrote and directed a movie called GIMME SKELTER that starred Gunnar Hansen.

Of course I love fights to be peppered with little details and grace notes. One of the ones I like here is when Toby takes some swipes at his “Advanced Model” opponent and steps away and then after a beat the guy’s sunglasses split apart. It’s like when two samurai pass each other and don’t realize at first that a hand or a head or something got sliced and is about to fall off.

The chemistry between Dacascos and Hardison is pretty good. I like the bit where Toby sees Malik’s ex (Sanaa Lathan, right before BLADE!) watching out the window as they leave, and he smiles. He knows she still loves him, but doesn’t say anything until later.

Hardison is obviously there to riff and wisecrack, which can be an issue in some movies. While I don’t find him hilarious like, say, Chris Tucker, he’s more amusing and likable than annoying and forced. To me, though, he’s the supporting player for the biggest laugh in the movie: I love the suppressed embarrassment on Toby’s face after Malik questions his choice of pre-detonating-explosion one-liner.

“‘Time to blow’!?”

It’s such a great vehicle for Dacascos, who gets to do four or five times as much action as the standard American action film of the time (or now). He’s got complex choreography, uses some spinning weapons, lots of acrobatic moves, and generous amount of cool poses. And these abilities contrast with a character who seems more soft and vulnerable than the standard action hero. He’s a total badass, but he’s not proud of it. It’s not important to him for everybody to know.

Notably, this is the only Wang movie without a bunch of monsters in it. The closest thing is a frog puppet on a TV show that various characters keep watching. But maybe without all that to take care of Wang was able to put more focus on the execution of the fights. He really knows how to present them and build to them with alot of cool dramatic shit-is-about-to-go-down zooms in to faces.

Oh shit – that’s The Guyver!

But like almost all of Wang’s movies, DRIVE got taken away from him, cut into a version he doesn’t like, and not given the intended theatrical release. The villains of this review are the producers, Overseas Filmgroup, which became First Look Studios, whose assets were eventually acquired by Millennium Entertainment. This time I watched a Code 2 import DVD of the director’s cut. The one available in the U.S. is 20 minutes shorter and re-scored with techno music. I can’t remember if the replacement music is terrible, but I do like the original score by Walter Werzowa (ERASER, TAKING LIVES).

I have no idea how a theatrically released DRIVE might’ve been received. Things had changed rapidly in the several years since Dacascos’s movies AMERICAN SAMURAI and ONLY THE STRONG played theaters. CRYING FREEMAN wasn’t even released on video in the U.S. Most people, if they knew him, probly knew him from the widely hated DOUBLE DRAGON. And 1997 was a year of big, expensive studio action with non-action stars: CON AIR, AIR FORCE ONE, SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL, G.I. JANE, METRO.

On the other hand, Seagal had FIRE DOWN BELOW, there were a few mid-level movies like MOST WANTED, and both MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIHILATION and MEAN GUNS managed to play theaters. Maybe more relevant, it was a year when Hollywood’s fascination with Hong Kong cinema was strong. John Woo had his best Hollywood film, FACE/OFF, Michelle Yeoh was in TOMORROW NEVER DIES, Tsui Hark was somehow allowed to make DOUBLE TEAM, and the Sammo Hung directed Jackie Chan movie MR. NICE GUY was given a wide release by New Line Cinema. Maybe DRIVE’s vibe would’ve gone over well.

EXHIBIT: Two screen grabs to show this was made in the inspired-by-Hong-Kong-action era

Barring advances in time travel technology we’ll never know if in an alternate scenario where DRIVE is treated with respect it could be a hit and launch Dacascos and Wang into making more movies like it. That would’ve been great, though. Screenwriter Phillips said in an interview that he wrote a treatment for a sequel “with a super-squad of kung fu cyborgs chasing our heroes,” but he blames Overseas for screwing it up.

Before DRIVE, Wang was set to direct a sequel to FIST OF THE NORTH STAR that got delayed (and I guess cancelled) because of weather. After DRIVE, he and Phillips wrote an “action drama” for Steven Seagal called BLOOD ON THE MOON. As mentioned above, Seagal had just done FIRE DOWN BELOW, so he still had some life left in him. It would’ve been interesting to see how Wang would apply his energetic fight style to the big guy. Instead, Seagal started his journey into DTV with the virtually action-free THE PATRIOT.

Wang said “the project got shelved for reasons that were not made clear to me.” According to Seagal’s former producing partner Julius Nasso in a 2002 lawsuit (as reported by Variety), the reason was that Seagal “came under the influence of Mukara, a spiritual adviser associated with a clandestine and unorthodox Tibetan sect” who “convinced Seagal that he would not attain the level of a reincarnated lama, or Buddhist monk, unless he dissociated himself from Nasso, his movie production companies and his own children.” Seagal also walked away from three other pre-sold films: GENGHIS KHAN, SMASH AND GRAB and PRINCE OF CENTRAL PARK (a drama later made starring Nasso’s son and Harvey Keitel, and reviewed in the back of Seagalogy).

Nasso didn’t just settle for a lawsuit. He also had members of the Gambino crime family extort Seagal. Federal agents recorded numerous conversations about it, and Nasso did 10 months. I think he still denies it, and does a good job of keeping the whole episode scrubbed from his Wikipedia page.

Whatever happened, BLOOD ON THE MOON shows that Wang was on track to continue as a director of martial arts movies after DRIVE, so Seagal’s change of heart may be what truly stopped his momentum. Wang continued to do makeup work, complaining that low budget movies had become harder to get off the ground, and studios only wanted to hire music video directors. He worked for Cinovation Studios, Spectral Motion, Inc., Patrick Tatopoulos Designs, Cannom Creations, Captive Audience Productions and Amalgamated Dynamics. He channeled his gill-man expertise into the design of Abe Sapien for HELLBOY. He put his KUNG FU RASCALS experience to use as second unit director of KUNG POW: ENTER THE FIST.

Fittingly, his directorial career eventually led him back to the Japanese TV shows that inspired so much of his work. In 1999 he directed “The Rescue Mission,” an episode of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy that he describes as an ALIENS rip-off. It’s obviously a natural fit for his skills, but seemed politically unlikely, as he had previously backed out of directing MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS: THE MOVIE after 3 months of feeling he “was treated like garbage by people who knew nothing about Power Rangers or cared to” and that he “seemed to be the only one who wanted to make a good film.” Having seen the finished film I feel his story checks out, and I can imagine his version being much more fun.

In 2008, Wang and his brother Michael developed Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight for the CW Network. An update of the famous tokusatsu show about a bug-masked hero on a motorcycle, it lasted for 40 episodes and won a Daytime Emmy for outstanding stunt coordination. Dacascos appeared in ten episodes as “Eubulon,” creator of the Kamen Riders. Wang is credited as co-executive producer, he provided the story for six episodes, and directed sixteen.

Dacascos will be seen soon as a (the?) villain in JOHN WICK CHAPTER 3: PARABELLUM.

 

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019 at 11:43 am and is filed under Action, Martial Arts, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

28 Responses to “Drive”

  1. A couple of things.

    1. Entertainment Tonight did a story on Drive so this was clearly earmarked to go theatrical at some point. It’s how I found out about the movie to begin with.
    2. This move had to have inspired Costmatos for Mandy because the chedder goblin seems very similar to the fake TV show that they keep cutting to that Tracey Walters is watching.

  2. It’s too bad the number of times Steve Wang got screwed. Because of my love for The Guyver 2 and Drive, I checked out his Kamen Rider series. It had a pretty big push at the time; toys, video games, and Power Rangers was pretty much done at that point. Giving it a big chance to grab an audience that might want that type of show. But nope.

    From what I read they ran out of money on the show, and The CW didn’t really believe in it. With the finale not even airing on tv, and only on their website.

    It’s too bad that his take on Ultraman never happened either.

  3. The only one this week that I’ve seen – on a post-BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF Dacascos binge – and I can only endorse the suggestion that we would live in a better world now, if this had been a hit, although I couldn’t say which cut I saw.

    But Vern, surely James Shigeta (PARADISE, HAWAIIAN STYLE) deserves a mention.

  4. I saw this movie in bits and pieces on HBO for the last 20 years but finally sat down to watch the whole thing a few weeks ago (the 99 minute version on Amazon Prime) – and I have to say it’s easily in the DTV Hall of Fame. Exciting, inventive action, likable leads, decent story – it’s everything I miss in most studio action movies today. I know this is already a cult hit, but this deserves to have a huge following. It’s better than any of the fucking Rush Hours, that’s for sure.

    Now time for me to make a totally sincere, non-hyperbolic statement that makes me sound like a crazy person – Brittany Murphy kinda should have won an Oscar for this. She absolutely owns the screen every second she’s on it, doing weird facial tics and expressions and always doing strange shit with her hands. She conveys nervousness and giddiness and bored-ness and puppy love-sickness all at once, while simultaneously trying to portray herself as a confident sex bomb to Hardison. It’s a joke role made multi-layered and complex; this is a part that shouldn’t even be in a DTV martial arts actioner, that very well could have been left on the cutting room floor, and Murphy makes it sing and Wang deserves credit for letting the movie suddenly shift gears to spend more time with this outrageous character. It’s a true masterclass in comedic acting and she’s the best reason to see this already excellent movie.

  5. This is a better Rush Hour movie than any of the Rush Hour films.

    I miss Brittany Murphy, She had such promise as an actress. Read an article on her final days and it was heartbreaking.

  6. I love DRIVE. I remember renting and then copying it (don’t tell anyone). Later bought the UK directors cut. I’m not sure which of the soundtrack I like the best. The US version has Juno Reactor playing in the final fight, which predates THE MATRIX films doing the same (but still after Mortal Kombat did it).

    I think this might be the best Mark Dacascos film. This or BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF. Haven’t seen any of them in a while. His other good films are of course ONLY THE STRONG and CRYING FREEMAN, and to make it top 5 I have a soft spot for SABOTAGE with Tony Todd as an evil sniper, Graham Green as Dacascos former boss, and Carrie Anne Moss as an FBI agent who kills several bad guys in cold blood (to say more will spoil it).

    I rented probably every Dacascos film I could find in the ’90s. Every one of this could be considered a disappointment You got BOOGIE BOY, which I think he played a drummer, it was more of a crime film with very little fighting. It stars Jaimz Woolvett from the UNFORGIVEN, Joan Jett, John Hawks (I think you maybe need to watch this Vern) and Michael Pena (yeah you probably should watch this).

    Woolvett reunited with Dacascos in SANCTUARY also directed by Tibor Tackas (SABOTAGE). I don’t remember much about this except that Dacascos played an assassin for a secret organization, and it wasn’t as cool as I hoped it should be. Dacascos did another film with Tackas that was made between SABOTAGE and SANCTUARY called REDLINE (or the SYNDICATE or ARMAGEDDON depending on which country you find the film). He plays the bad guy and Rutger Hauer plays the good guy. It takes place in Russia, there some hard violence and some nudity/sex, and at one point Hauger fights two naked female boxers. That’s kinda all I remember from it. I think I still own this on VHS.

    Dacascos did a PREDATOR rip-off called DNA. Jürgen Prochnow is in it, and it was directed by William Mesa who has done visual effects for some big films like DEEP BLUE SEA, THE FUGITIVE, THE LAST SAMURAI and GEOSTORM. It’s really bad. It doesn’t have any of the fun a Dacascos film should have.

    Dacascos did a military crime film called THE BASE, I only remember this film because it stars Paula Tricky, and when it came out PACIFIC BLUE was all over the tv in Norway. It has kinda a tv quality. If it was an episode of a 90’s tv-show it would be an okay time. Don’t remember any of the action. I think that says everything.

    He did a film with Charlie Sheen and Martin Sheen called NO CODE OF CONDUCT. I never saw this on video, and just saw it one night on tv. This was the period after THE ARRIVAL and before SPIN CITY that Charlie Sheen did a lot of bad DTV films. At least this has some decent action. Dacascos plays Sheens partner. Is it weird that Martin Sheen also was in DTV hell at the same time? Thank god for the West Wing.

    CHINA STRIKE FORCE is the last one of his DTV films I have watched. I don’t remember anything. Coolio has a role in it. I can’t remember if this was a big role for Mark Dacascos or just a bad guy role. Is it weird when you remember renting a film, but not watch it?

    Of course, I have watched CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE. Too bad the Jet Li vs Dacascos fight is too short. But at least it’s kinda a high point to be the villain in a theatrical action film.

    I do actually own NOMAD the WARRIOR on Blu-ray. It has Kuno Becker, Jay Hernandez, and Jason Scott Lee in the cast. And it all takes place in Kazakhstan.

    Alien Agent was a film that was in develope hell for a long time with Dolph Lundgren attached, I discovered years later that they made it with Dacascos, but I never got around to it. Doesn’t look good.

    Hopefully, Vern, you will find some newer Dacascos films that are actually worth watching, but I’m afraid most of his better work has been on TV in the last few years.

  7. You should check out the “Sensei Ping” ep of The Middleman.

  8. Thank you Vern for dedicating so much time to Steve Wang’s films. Sirens of the Deep was a TV presentation pilot with Fergie and her earlier singing group as martial arts mermaids for I guess an attempt at Buffy for a younger audience. It is on YouTube along with clips in his director reel which is also there. Speaking of aquatic action, Steve might have been able to make something out of the recent Empires of the Deep trainwreck production, or maybe some other current better managed Chinese production.

  9. China Strike Force has a really cool fight at the end.

  10. Like RASCALS, this was another blind rental from Blockbuster back in the day. I’ll be honest: I was bummed when I saw this was a Steve Wang joint, and Masaya Kato didn’t go all rubbery and monstery after James Shigeta orders the Asian woman at the computer to max out all of Kato’s “bio-engines.” I vaguely remember Wang teasing a possible reunion with Dacascos for a film project a few years back, but maybe he was talking about Kamen Rider.

  11. Dacascos also played a recurring villain on HAWAII 5-0 for a few seasons, which was basically my mother’s introduction to him. (Not meant to be a “Ha ha, only old people watch CBS shows” diss. For a supposed senior demographic show, that shit gets often extremely dark, violent and action packed!)

    I remember DRIVE getting hyped by certain magazines when it came out on VHS here, but for some reason I never rented it. To this day I regret it. Hopefully the German DVD is of good quality.

  12. I remember taping this off of HBO back in the day and watching it A LOT. Never realized there was an uncut version. Anyone by chance have a link to where to purchase that from?

  13. I had no idea Bearded Redneck from the other DRIVE was John Pyper-Ferguson. Maybe NWR is a fan of this movie.

  14. Did anyone see ONLY THE BRAVE (2006)? It has an interesting background story – how a unit of 2nd generation Japanese immigrants – became the most decorated in US military history, and a fine cast, including Dacascos, but I can never get past the cheesy and over-worthy trailer. I think maybe THE KARATE KID movies covered the issue better, but I’d be glad to hear that it’s worth a look.

  15. Thank you guys for these Dacascos suggestions – I’ve always been a huge fan of Brotherhood of the Wolf and Only the Strong, but I’ve never even heard of most of these. Btw, I sorta have mixed feelings about Dacascos hosting Iron Chef America. On one hand, it’s kinda like “What the hell are you doing here?” and it seems like they just hired him so he can do a flip during the opening credits. Then again, I’m glad this is probably the biggest exposure he’s going to get and plus he gets to eat fancy food nobody else gets to.

  16. Oh hey, what a coincidence:

    Toei Adds Kamen Rider Dragon Knight to Official YouTube Channel - The Tokusatsu Network

    Kamen Rider Dragon Knight is set to premiere on Toei's official Tokusatsu YouTube channel.

    Yup, DRIVE is great, even better in its director-approved form. I never thought of it before but Dacascos’ and Wang’s careers are pretty similar: both should have blown up and been huge or at least well-known by genre fans, and they just kept coming up to the edge for it to be taken away from them. I guess Dacascos has done way better than Wang but still should be doing better than hosting IRON CHEF AMERICA and appearing in Wang’s children TV show as a special guest.

    Here’s hoping JOHN WICK 3 does Dacascos good and more discover GUYVER II and DRIVE and there is a big re-evaluation where we all feel bad for not supporting Wang when it counts. Or he somehow he gets to direct something new and cool again.

  17. I’d like to follow up Ghost by reminding you all that Dacascos did two movies with Tibor Takács (SANCTUARY, REDLINE), and while neither one is quite a classic, they’re both pretty entertaining and you should watch them both. REDLINE is way crazier but SANCTUARY has more Dacascos.

    Here’s an old review I did of SANCTUARY I did sometime in the early 2000s:
    “This is a surprisingly enjoyable little action thriller. I watched it without a lot of high expectations given its cheapie 90’s cable pedigree, but you gotta give credit to everyone involved here for trying harder than they had to. The movie looks cheap, but it has a fairly involving plot with some pleasing twists and turns, a solid lead in Dacascos and a fine villain in Alan Scarfe. The real MVP here, though, is director Tibor Takacs, a veteran of low-budget better-than-they-should-be fare like THE GATE and I, MADMAN. He shoots his cheap sets with a gothic flair, bathing everything in hard lighting and a dramatic orchestral score. Some of the acting isn’t the best, and the obviously tiny budget unfortunately means there’s a shortage of big action setpieces. But if you’re looking for a solid off-the-beaten-path thriller, this one really goes the extra mile to be involving and unique. Bonus points for a great little coda right at the very end which really makes you want to see a sequel. — Sanctuary, 1998”

  18. I want to follow up Ghost’s post by reminding you all that there are TWO Tibor Takács / Mark Dacascos teamups (SANCTUARY and REDLINE). Neither one is exactly a lost classic but they’re both entertaining and obviously you should watch them both. REDLINE is crazier, but SANCTUARY has more Dacascos.

    Here’s a mini-review I apparently wrote for SANCTUARY in like the mid-2000s:
    “This is a surprisingly enjoyable little action thriller. I watched it without a lot of high expectations given its cheapie 90s cable pedigree, but you gotta give credit to everyone involved here for trying harder than they had to. The movie looks cheap, but it has a fairly involving plot with some pleasing twists and turns, a solid lead in Dacascos and a fine villain in Alan Scarfe. The real MVP here, though, is director Tibor Takacs, a veteran of low-budget better-than-they-should-be fare like THE GATE and I, MADMAN. He shoots his budget sets with a gothic flair, bathing everything in hard lighting and a dramatic orchestral score. Some of the acting isn’t the best, and the obviously tiny budget unfortunately means there’s a shortage of big action setpieces. But if you’re looking for a solid off-the-beaten-path thriller, this one really goes the extra mile to be involving and unique. Bonus points for a great little coda right at the very end which really makes you want to see a sequel. — Sanctuary, 1998”

  19. Man, Tibor Takacs. That’s another guy who should’ve been huge but for some reason never took off.

  20. Ronuru – The Amazon link I put at the bottom of the review goes to what appears to be the uncut DVD. It has the correct running time and the cover of the version I rented, and it says it’s all region if that matters to you.

  21. Mr. Subtlety, I think I mentioned there are THREE Tibor Takàcs/Mark Dascsos teamups. The best one is SABOTAGE which has Tony Todd, Graham Green, and Tony Todd. REDLINE is trashy fun but with some questionable material (Hauer fighting naked female boxers). SABOTAGE is mostly a sniper/bodyguard film with a few martial arts scenes.

  22. I just bought SABOTAGE on itunes. I will watch it again and see if it delivers on my 20-year-old memories.

  23. You did indeed, and I stand corrected. I’d only seen the two and my mind didn’t register that SABOTAGE and SANCTUARY were different. As penance I will have to watch SABOTAGE in May.

    I have yet to see a Takàcs movie that wasn’t at least a little fun, though to be fair I haven’t seen the really dire-looking ones like ICE SPIDERS or MEGA SNAKE (yet). Looks like he’s really gotten into Christmas movies in recent years?

  24. If I recall correctly, isn’t REDLINE sort of a sci-fi/dark comedy version of THE HUNTER/POINT BLANK/PAYBACK?

  25. Kinda, except he got murdered and brought back to life with experimental bionic research (I don’t remember this but imdb says it). But I do remember that Hauer and Dacascos was partner in crime (smuggling I think of microchips or something like that), and Dacascos betrayes him. Of course, he needs to get his revenge and his money back.

  26. About Hawaii 5.0, the pilot was directed by Len Wisemen who I still contend is underrated as fuck as an action director. I wouldn’t let him touch my script with a ten foot pole but I he sure can direct clear and exciting action scenes.

  27. Len Wiseman seems to have relegated himself to TV. Since doing TOTAL RECALL in 2012 he has only done tv, mostly pilots. He is Executive Producer on most of them (I guess he has done a reverse JJ Abrahams). I heard some good things about Sleepy Hollow and Lucifer. His next show is Swamp Thing for DC. He also has announced a Sin City tv-series he is producing and Underworld. With the exception of having MCCLANE in development, he doesn’t really seem to have much interest in doing more films.

    I’m not sure if I miss having Len Wiseman doing films. I do like the second UNDERWORLD film and LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD isn’t bad, it just isn’t DIE HARD enough.

  28. So longer nobody makes DIE HARD YEAR ONE.

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