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

Good omens for Badass Cinema?

tn_hurtlocker

Okay, I know Golden Globe nominations aren’t something to take too seriously, but I couldn’t help but notice some of the greatest talents of action and badass cinema are getting some attention this year. I mean look at the nominees for best director:
Kathryn Bigelow
James Cameron
Clint Eastwood
Quentin Tarantino.

And, yeah, Jason Reitman’s on there, but ignore that. The names you see above have got to be the biggest collection of Man’s Man directors nominated for this award in a long time. And yes, Kathryn Bigelow is a woman, but she’s a Man’s Man’s Woman. (And I kind of hope she wins.)

As a bonus, Martin Scorsese gets a special award, and Thomas Jane of STANDER, Chiwetel Ejiofor of REDBELT, Alec Baldwin of MIAMI BLUES and Sigourney Weaver and Bill Paxton of ALIENS all got nominations for their TV work. I’d like to see Dolph on there somehow, but this is a good start. I think the signs are pointing in our direction, fellas. Maybe an Emmy nomination for LAWMAN next, and then ten straight years of asskicking movies.

Steven Seagal: Lawman – episodes 3-4

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…)

Titanic

tn_titanicHey, any of you guys ever seen TITANIC? It’s one of the later movies from the guy who did TERMINATOR. Bill Paxton stars as Brock Lovett, a deep sea explorer using THE ABYSS-style equipment to search the wreckage of the Titanic for a lost diamond. Along the way he meets Rose (Gloria Stuart), a 101 year old survivor of the famous shipwreck who teaches him valuable life lessons and what not. Also there are some flashbacks featuring Kate Winslet (HEAVENLY CREATURES ) as the younger Rose and Leonardo Dicaprio (THE QUICK AND THE DEAD), but don’t worry, he’s not supposed to be young Bill Paxton, he’s a different character.

Really, I’m surprised you guys haven’t heard of this. It was a pretty big deal at the time from what I remember. (read the rest of this shit…)

No Retreat, No Surrender

tn_noretreatnosurrenderNO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER is easily one of the best “bad” martial arts movies I know of. In the U.S. it’s only on VHS, and the import DVD cover shows a shirtless Jean-Claude Van Damme, like it’s KICKBOXER or BLOODSPORT. Actually, Van Damme only appears in the beginning and at the end as “Ivan the Russian,” the Ivan Drago of kickboxing, the villain who the hero has to beat. He doesn’t talk, but does a good robotic bad guy performance. He even wears a white suit, and if you wear a white suit you’re either a rapper, a Love Boat captain or a villain. In this case he’s mostly the latter.

The actual star of the movie is Kurt McKinney as Jason Stillwell, a dorky white guy but an actual martial artist at least. Something about his squareness kind of reminds me of Brandon Lee for some reason. His dad runs an L.A. karate school, but shuts it down and flees to Seattle after organized crime figures (with Van Damme as henchman) threaten him. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Killers (1964)

tn_thekillers64The ’64 version of THE KILLERS doesn’t have much to do with the original and even less to do with the Hemingway story. And maybe it’s not quite the solid punch to the nose you’d hope for from the combination of Lee Marvin, Don Siegel and that title. But on the other hand it might be some kind of subtle dim mak punch because it stuck with me and seemed better and better the more I thought about it. Anyway, it’s damn good.

After I wrote about the ’46 version I listened to the extra on the DVD where Stacy Keach reads the Hemingway story, and it explained alot. That movie was a good mystery, but nothing in the main story approaches the perfection of that opening, the tense scene with the two strangers coming into the diner, talking shit, then taking everybody hostage and saying, “I’ll tell you what’s gonna happen. We’re gonna kill the Swede.” I know now that’s because the Hemingway story is only the opening, the rest is all extrapolated from there. In the story you don’t find out what the Swede did to get killed. Adding a whole story to explain the short story really goes against the spirit of the thing, because to quote Jack Skeleton about Christmas presents, “That’s the point of the thing, not to know.” (read the rest of this shit…)

The Cove

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…)

World’s Greatest Dad

tn_worldsgreatestdadI’ve been excited to see this movie ever since I heard about it, because it has what sounds like a hilariously fucked up premise. I really thought it was gonna be a pitch black, ulcer-causingly uncomfortable comedy, and starring Robin Williams (RV, OLD DOGS) just to make it even more upsetting. The director is Bobcat Goldthwait, the subject is (SPOILER) auto-erotic asphyxiation. In fact the reason I didn’t see it until now was because I was planning to see it at the Seattle International Film Festival and then it screened a couple days after David Carradine died.

That spoiler was the first thing I heard about the movie, but it happens maybe halfway through, so I probly shouldn’t have known about it. Anyway, it’s not what it sounds like. Considering that’s what it’s about it’s pretty upbeat. (read the rest of this shit…)

Ninja Assassin

tn_ninjaassassinI’ve finally seen NINJA ASSASSIN, produced by the Wachowskis, directed by James McTeigue, their second unit director and the director of V FOR VENDETTA. The bad news is it’s not the instant classic or genre reviver I figured it would be when I first heard they were making it, the good news is it’s not the unwatchable trash most of the reviews have told me it was. The Scott Adkins movie NINJA could top it (I just ordered a Thai DVD of it) but that’s okay, I still had a fun time at the movies. Here is the ticket stub:

ninja_ass

Get it? Ass. (read the rest of this shit…)

Steven Seagal: Lawman episodes 1 and 2

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…)

Steven Seagal: Lawman premieres tonight

tn_lawmanSeagal’s new reality cop show begins on A&E tonight. I haven’t seen it yet. I’ll have my analysis for you when it’s ready – these things take time. But feel free to discuss the episode here.

(And man, I have no idea how I’m gonna handle this if I update Seagalogy some day. Complete episode guide might turn it into a phone book.)