Hey friends, Vern here to update you on the winners of the video-making contest that Titan Books had to promote my new review collection, Yippee Ki Yay, Moviegoer: Writings on Bruce Willis, Badass Cinema and Other Important Topics. (Just to warn you, some of the “other important topics” include Mary Poppins, the movie “Garfield” and a painful medical procedure I once had. But it’s a pretty good book. You should read it.) To be frankly honest it looks like there was a little less elbow grease put into this contest than into the similar one we had for Seagalogy. Most of the videos were obviously things people had already made and decided to enter. Fair enough though, because the book is a collection of pre-existing reviews. (read the rest of this shit…)
Archive for the ‘AICN’ Category
Walter Hill’s original UNDISPUTED was an exaggerated look at the classic concept of the prison boxing league. UNDISPUTED II showed that the same thing is going on in Russia, but with full-on mixed martial arts. Naturally UNDISPUTED III: REDEMPTION takes it to the next level by creating an international tournament for the champions from all different prisons. Part 4 might have to send them into space.
But the true genius of director Isaac Florentine’s two DTV UNDISPUTED sequels is that each one stars the villain of the previous chapter. In UNDISPUTED II: LAST MAN STANDING Michael Jai White took over for Ving Rhames as the asshole accused rapist heavyweight champ George “The Iceman” Chambers. He was the last man standing of the title. Part III, which comes out on DVD Tuesday, is about the next-to-last man standing. Scott Adkins returns as the man whose knee the Iceman crushed, disgraced Russian prison champion and convicted double-murderer Uri Boyka. (read the rest of this shit…)
Attention people who like being creative to try to win some free shit: It’s your ol’ pal Vern here to tell you about an INCREDIBLE OFFER! Like they did a few years ago to promote my acclaimed film studies book Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal, my esteemed publishers Titan Books have put together a video-making contest to promote my new one. They would like to be entertained by your videos and in exchange they will give one of you knuckleheads a free video game machine + video game, and five others the far superior runner up prize of my new book Yippee Ki-Yay Moviegoer!: Writings on Bruce Willis, Badass Cinema and Other Important Topics. To be more specific about the video game machine, it’s a choice between “Xbox Elite” or “PS3 Slim,” whatever the hell that means. You guys remember Asteroids? Anyway who cares, obviously you’re going for the book. (read the rest of this shit…)
I am – Hercules!!
Today we start with “Outlaw Vern”:
Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, Mr. Hercules T. Strong of the Co-axial TV News and DVD Lists invited me to write a few words about STEVEN SEAGAL LAWMAN SEASON 1, an A&E reality series that comes out on DVD this week. I haven’t been posting here on the Ain’t It Cool News as much as I used to, so it’s good to be back. I’m not sure why he thought of me though, since I’m not a television critic and don’t really know very much about reality shows. But I suppose I do know a little bit about Steven Seagal, mainly just because I’ve seen every movie he’s made several times, saw his band perform live, still have a cupboard stocked with his Lightning Bolt energy drink and spent five years writing a book analyzing his entire filmography. So come to think of it I might have something to offer here. Hercules got lucky on that pick. (read the rest of this shit…)
“Why me Lord? What have I ever done / That was worth even one / Of the pleasures I’ve known / Tell me Lord, what did I ever do / That was worth loving you / or [Universal Soldier 3].”
–Kris Kristofferson, “Why Me”
Holy shit fellas, I didn’t see this one coming. I was excited about the idea of Van Damme and Lundgren doing a movie together again, but honestly I assumed they (and everybody else) would be phoning it in. Man, was I wrong. There are no phones used at all. This is a masterpiece of DTV.
I mean seriously, how did this happen? (read the rest of this shit…)
First of all, this one is VERY different from the other WILD THINGS movies, and with virtually no nudity. But easily one of the best of the series. Second, I don’t usually go around reviewing movies made for kids, and I got a reputation to uphold and what not. But this is a movie of ferocious artistic purity. Whether you like it or not you’d have to be a numbnuts not to recognize it as a unique achievement.
This is the movie Spike Jonze has been working on for years, based on the famous Maurice Sendak picture book. You probly read about how Sendak asked him to do it, at first he turned it down, then he thought of an idea for it, they started making it, one studio dropped them, they moved to a different studio, continued making it, that studio freaked out when they started snooping around and found out there was no farting or Smash Mouth songs in it. Rumors circulated that they were gonna fire Jonze and start over or redo some of his scenes with CGI or who knows what. But he kept on going and they must’ve either got distracted by something on TV or decided he knew what he was doing. Somehow he got to the end and looked down and in his hands he was holding the movie he set out to make at the beginning. Except transferred into Imax. Nobody knows how it got there. (read the rest of this shit…)
Man, anybody notice they do alot of remakes these days? Seems like it anyway. I’d have to research it a little more to be sure. This is the remake of Larry Cohen’s 1974 killer baby picture. I thought it was supposed to play in theaters, but that’s because I didn’t know it was from the DTV kings at Millennium Pictures and Josef Rusnak, director of ART OF WAR II: BETRAYAL and THE CONTRACTOR. This one unfortunately doesn’t star Wesley Snipes, but instead Bijou Phillips as the mother of the killer baby.In this version she’s a graduate student under some pressure to not have the baby so that she doesn’t screw up her education and throw away a career she’s been working toward. But she makes the decision to leave school to give birth and live with her boyfriend and the disabled younger brother he’s raising. The baby grows unusually fast so she has to have a forced birth. (read the rest of this shit…)
DIRECT CONTACT is the new Dolph Lundgren DTV movie directed by Danny Lerner (SHARKS IN VENICE) and written by Les Weldon (RAGING SHARKS). It comes out in the US on Tuesday and has already been released in Thailand, Kuwait, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden.When we first meet Dolph as Mike Riggins, life is not the best. #1, he lives in a Balkan prison. #2, he owes a bunch of gangsters money, and some guy spits in his food, so he has to fight everybody and stab a dude in the eyeball. #3, the screws come in and club him like a baby seal. #4, he gets put in solitary. #5, when he pukes up blood a rat comes over and starts eating it.
On the other hand, it’s kind of a cute rat eating the blood he puked up. Not RATATOUILLE cute, but he doesn’t look like he has fleas. Well-groomed. So it could be worse. (read the rest of this shit…)
I’ve missed some potential good ones at this year’s Seattle International Film Festival, but I was not about to miss the midnight show of BLACK DYNAMITE. If you don’t know what this is, it’s a retro blaxploitation movie where Michael Jai White (also co-writer) plays the title character, an ex-CIA, Vietnam vet, kung fu practicing, five-women-at-a-time-fucking badass motherfucker trying to find out who killed his brother.
Doing a blaxploitation homage in 2009 sounds good on paper, because there are a finite amount of authentic movies of this genre. At a certain point you run out of blaxploitation to watch, and you need more. It never hurts to have backups. But when you think about it there are a million ways for a movie like this to be disappointing or worse. BLACK DYNAMITE has great posters and trailers, but that doesn’t prove anything. For my tastes it’s a fine line to walk. I didn’t want to see something too jokey or spoofy, something that was mocking these movies more than paying tribute to them. And there’s no reason to assume an independent film out of nowhere from filmatists without that much of a track record will capture a vintage blaxploitation feel. (read the rest of this shit…)
First of all, let’s be honest: no Steven Seagal character really has to be “driven” into killing. He’s never gonna play a peaceful guy living an uneventful life as a librarian or a computer consultant who one day is forced by circumstances to tap into a savage side of himself he never knew existed. That’s just not a Seagal character type. True, in MARKED FOR DEATH he states an explicit isolationist philosophy to Keith David and only starts killing a few minutes later when his sister’s house gets shot up by gangsters. But even in that one he’s already done a whole bunch of killing earlier in life without necessarily being driven into it. He’s never just an ordinary non-violent guy at the beginning of a movie.
And especially in this one, because although he is a very successful crime writer under the name Jim Vincent, everybody knows he’s actually Ruslan (no last name, like Prince, McG or Vern), former Russian gangster. In a rare visual change to the iconic persona, Seagal sports MARK OF CAIN style tattoos on his forearms. There’s a nice badass moment when some young guys are pushing him around, he breaks a glass on one guy’s head and then pulls up his sleeves. The other guy just about shits his pants before he starts apologizing. (read the rest of this shit…)