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

Archive for the ‘Documentary’ Category

Elvis Presley Gladiators: The 1974 Elvis Karate Legacy Project

Monday, January 11th, 2010

tn_elvisgladiatorsI know Elvis never meant shit to Chuck D, but I kind of like him. I’m not a huge fan or follower, never been to Graceland (yet), but he’s kind of interesting to me. I’m mostly fascinated by his earlier music and his later persona. And I’m especially interested in the fact that he did karate. Maybe if this portion of his life had been made more public it wouldn’t seem that cool, but as it is it’s kind of a mystery. Here’s this iconic part of pop culture, now more of a character than a human being, and you associate him with certain things, but kicking ass is not usually one of them. The juxtaposition of The King and karate is kind of hilarious and awesome to me. (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.

Facing Ali

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

tn_facingaliFACING ALI is a great new documentary about Muhammad Ali (out on DVD last week) that tells his story through the eyes of 10 of his opponents. You still get clips of the champ talking, training, fighting, but you hear about these legendary fights from new interviews with the other guys.

Each of them tell a little about their backgrounds, so they have their own interesting stories. Then they tell about the lead up to the fight, what happened, how they felt about it. Some have nothing but respect for Ali, they admire him, even idolize him. Some are still bitter about the way he insulted them, thought he was too mean. But more than one cries when talking about Ali’s Parkinson’s. (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.

Steven Seagal: Lawman – Episode 7

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

tn_lawman3To Live or Die

This episode begins with the Squad responding to a call about two men shot in an armed robbery. They go to a Hispanic neighborhood where two Latino men are laying on the ground bleeding from gunshot wounds. Seagal and friends ask the wounded men and witnesses about who shot them (two black men with dreads who robbed them and then shot them anyway) but otherwise all they can do is assure them an ambulance is coming. This is the biggest incident we’ve seen in this series so far, but it’s not exciting, it’s just upsetting to see these poor guys moaning in pain.

“Believe me,” Seagal says. “That really pisses me off bad.” After all the people Seagal has left behind in movies, screaming about which body parts of theirs he injured, and after seeing him abandon the body of a colleague and love interest in a wrecked car in EXIT WOUNDS, it’s weird to see him standing around frustrated that two people are hurt and he can’t do anything. Later we learn that one of the men died. (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.

Steven Seagal: Lawman – Episodes 5-6

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

tn_lawman2Episode 5: Firearms of Fury

There’s a 911 call about a disturbance with a gun, so the Squad is called in and get the suspect out of his car. Seagal keeps asking where the gun is and eventually the guy admits that it’s in the back of the car – a .44 with the hammer pulled back so it could’ve easily gone off and hit somebody. Seagal instructs another officer on how to pick it up safely.

It’s unclear what happened exactly – apparently an argument between cousins, the guy claimed he’d never point a gun at his cousin, but then why did his cousin call the cops? Seagal says afterwards, “I’m not happy that this happened, but at least we got one more gun off the street.” Sometimes LAWMAN gives me an impression of police work like it’s an old school video game. You gotta keep going around a maze grabbing all the guns you can find but they keep piling up faster and faster until you can’t keep up and then the game is over. (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.

Steven Seagal: Lawman – episodes 3-4

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

tn_lawmanNote: I’m numbering these by the order the air, although the official numbering is totally different on their websight.

Apology: Sorry this is so late. I need time to study these things.
Episode 4: Killer Canines

The Seagal Squad rush to the scene of a burglary. This time they don’t seem as annoyed by his navigating. When they get to the house an alarm is blaring and there’s damage to a door and a window. It seems obvious that the intruder is long gone, but for some reason Seagal and the Squad are convinced he’s still inside. They call in a canine and put him in through the window, and Seagal says, “I hope he didn’t cut his feet on that glass,” seeming to maybe even choke up a little. They don’t find the burglar (he “somehow faded into the shadows”) but they have demonstrated Seagal’s legendary love of animals. (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 Cove

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

tn_thecoveI didn’t know much about THE COVE (out on DVD today) except that it wasn’t the type of movie I go out of my way to see. Sorry, I’ll do it for ninjas, I’ll do it for bad lieutenants, but for some reason not for dolphins. That doesn’t speak well for my humanity or my enlightenment, I guess. But I’m a pretty nice guy in my opinion. Not to brag or nothin. I would be nice to dolphins if I met any. I’m sure we would get along because we’re both pretty laid back.

I knew that lefties and environmentalists and stuff were interested in this documentary, what I didn’t know until I saw it was that it really is fascinating. This is a great story and document of people setting their mind on achieving a difficult task and then doing it. It opened my eyes to some gruesome shit I never heard of before, but instead of preaching to me it kept me on the edge of my seat with a crazy suspense story. Sonofabitch, they entertained me into caring about dolphins. (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.

Steven Seagal: Lawman episodes 1 and 2

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

tn_lawman2For 20 years we have known the legend of Steven Seagal. He was the aikido teacher, the white man who ran a dojo in Japan and later impressed people in Hollywood so much they made him a movie star. He wrote and produced many of his movies, directed one of them, created a unique persona. He got more and more into Buddhism and Zen, sometimes working them into his movies, eventually being declared by somebody as a reincarnated Tulku.

During this decade, suddenly, we learned that he was a bluesman too. It seemed ridiculous at first, but it was true. It seemed so out of the blue that you could assume it was just a new phase he was going through, but looking back over old articles I found references to him playing guitar even back in his youth in Japan. And I heard and saw him with my own ears and eyes, and he could play, and his band was tight.

So we got used to that, now all the sudden you’re telling me he’s been a cop for 20 years? In his spare time, like in between the 37 movies he’s filmed? Man, I have trouble working a day job and writing movie reviews, this guy is filming several movies a year, recording albums, going on tour and chasing carjackers? (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.

Love the Beast

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

tn_lovethebeastFrom the cover, LOVE THE BEAST looks like some indie movie starring Eric Bana, Jay Leno and Dr. Phil. What the hell? When did Bana enter Dolph’s co-starring-with-daytime-talk-show-hosts period? Well it’s not that, and it’s not THE COLLISION COURSE: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS. It’s actually a documentary about Bana’s love for the Ford Falcoln Coupe he’s had since he was young, and for the 4-day Targa race across the scenic roads of Tasmania. He directed it and it’s so clearly a labor of love that the enthusiasm is contagious.

Heavily narrated by Bana, but admirably low on talking head interviews, it shows Bana’s dedication over the years to his “beast” (nickname for the car) and his “mates” (Australian for “homeys” or “doggs”). One of his friends thinks it’s hilarious that he still works on that same damn car even though he has money to buy new ones. And it’s true – he might be the only Marvel super hero still driving his high school car. In ’05 though he decided to sink his money into rebuilding the whole thing into a top of the line race car, then raced it in the Targa for the first time since before he was Chopper. (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.

This Is It

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

tn_thisisitAs a Michael Jackson fan who stuck with him in the later years, I was always dreaming about the comeback he could have some day. I never really believed in my heart that I’d get a chance to see him live, but maybe on DVD. I was so excited for those 50 shows he was gonna do in London, and nervous about what would happen if he wasn’t feeling up to it. There are still a million lingering frustrations about all the possibilities that were cut off when Michael died four months ago. But one of the more dramatic ones was this series of shows he called This Is It. He was so close. And we’ll never get to see the exclamation point on the end of that sentence.

So as a fan it’s a comfort and a blessing to see this almost-concert movie made up of footage taken during his rehearsals in Los Angeles. I mean, I would’ve loved to have seen this even if he hadn’t died, but as the rough draft to his last ambition it takes on extra importance. (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.

Not Quite Hollywood + Hurricane Smith

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

tn_notquitehollywoodNOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD is a pretty good documentary with a really good subject: the history of exploitation movies in Australia. Of course, this is a talking heads and film clips movie, that’s about the only way they could do it. And it tries to cover a broad range of movies over many years, so it doesn’t get real deep into anything. It’s more like a real good TV special than a great movie. It’s a primer, an overview, a sampler to get you started. It gives you a taste of a whole bunch of strange movies you might not have heard of before, points you in some interesting directions, tells you a few good stories. And for that sort of thing it’s very good. (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.