I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

Posts Tagged ‘Brian Trenchard-Smith’

Drive Hard

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

tn_drivehardDRIVE HARD joins DEATH RACE and GETAWAY in the new action subgenre of “former car racing superstar is forced to drive for bad people.” In this one the driver in question is Peter Roberts (Tom Jane, STANDER), a flaky doofus who left racing to get married and raise a daughter in Australia, but now is running out of money and having trouble paying the mortgage, let alone achieving his dream of opening a racing school. Instead he has a driver’s ed school.

Then one day mysterious troublemaker Simon Keller (John Cusack from THE PAPERBOY), a grown man who seems to already know how to drive, takes a lesson from him. After an uncomfortably horrible drive and awkward coffee break in which the stranger admits to being a fan and knowing all about his career, he convinces Peter to drive him to the bank. So he can get some cash to pay for the lesson, he says. But then he comes out holding a brief case and exchanging gunfire with security guards.
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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.

In Her Line of Fire

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

tn_inherlineoffireThis is another one of these random movies I came across in the action section at the video store. It stars Mariel Hemingway as a Secret Service agent who has to rescue the Vice President from guerillas after Air Force 2 crash lands on a remote island. You don’t usually see a woman playing that type of action hero, but what really caught my eye was a logo from the Here! cable network, which I believe is all gay-themed programming.

A gay action movie? That’s something I’ve never come across before, and I like coming across things I’ve never come across before. But it’s a made-for-cable movie, so I hesitated. My instincts to give it a shot only won out because the director is Brian Trenchard-Smith, the sometimes-great director of DEAD END DRIVE-IN, THE MAN FROM HONG KONG and DEATH CHEATERS. And, uh, LEPRECHAUN 4: IN SPACE.
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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.

Turkey Shoot

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

tn_railsbackTime to get back to my ongoing study of the works of Brian Trenchard-Smith. This one will also be part 1 in a Steve Railsback double feature.

TURKEY SHOOT is one of the Brian Trenchard-Smith pictures I had heard of before I started going through his filmography, although I knew it under the American title ESCAPE 2000 (which is what it’s called on the Anchor Bay DVD). It takes place in a dystopian future where “deviants” have been locked up in camps to be brainwashed and abused. Not sure if this happens at all of them but at this particular one, Camp 42 I believe, they also let the inmates run around in some wilderness to be hunted by rich people. Hence the title “TURKEY SHOOT.” It’s kind of like in the U.S. a couple years ago what we would’ve called “DICK CHENEY PHEASANT HUNT.” Means the same thing.

Our heroes are naive Olivia Hussey, sexy Lynda Stoner, and defiant Steve Railsback. Railsback gets a pretty badass setup because the headmaster, Thatcher, lists all the different camps he’s escaped from, and you know he’ll be adding Camp 42 to the list soon. I love Railsback from ED GEIN, LIFEFORCE, etc. but to be honest he doesn’t have that great of a character in this one. He mostly just runs around. Not that he’s not good at running around, it’s just not that memorable a part. (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 Assassin

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

tn_dayoftheassassinsMy Brian Trenchard-Smith studies continue with this 1979 picture, not an Australian one but a USA-Spain-Mexico co-production. And you know with that many countries cooperating that it’s gotta be amazing. It stars Chuck Connors as a jovial freelance agent hired to retrieve a mysterious document from a South American dictator’s blown up yacht. There also might’ve been some money on that thing so the world’s best agents and assassins, including Richard Roundtree, are all in the area competing with him. Also Henry Silva is the head of police who has jurisdiction over the area, but he’s just in a couple scenes doing press conferences. He doesn’t reveal himself to be evil, but I don’t buy it.

It seems like everybody involved in this movie is just doing it for a quick paycheck, but that’s okay. It’s still cool to see them all together in this weird little movie. Glenn Ford plays the guy who hires Connors, and he looks like he’s either retired or on vacation. He’s wearing shades and a white Adidas track jacket, and he’s only in a few scenes, sitting next to the swimming pool. I bet whenever Trenchard-Smith called “cut” he jumped in. (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.

Death Cheaters and Stunt Rock

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Looking into the early works of Brian Trenchard-Smith I found a genre I never knew existed: stuntsploitation. Here are two movies about the world of stuntmen, with flimsy plots (if any) to string together a bunch of cool stunt sequences.

First and best is a goofy comedy called DEATH CHEATERS. The title daredevils are played by the mustached John Hargreaves and the bearded Grant Page. Page seems kind of like the sidekick here, but in reality he was and is one of Australia’s top stuntmen. He was the movie’s stunt coordinator and had already done the same for Trenchard-Smith’s THE MAN FROM HONG KONG. He even did the hang gliding for that one as you can guess when you see him do the same in this one. Later he would be the stunt coordinator for MAD MAX 1 and 3. He seems like a goofy kind of Jim Henson creative countercultural type in this, so it never occurred to me that he’s the crazy bastard stalking Stacy Keach in the excellent ROAD GAMES. (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 Man From Hong Kong

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Two years after ENTER THE DRAGON, Brian Trenchard-Smith brought Australia their own Hong Kong co-production of a martial arts extravaganza. Jimmy Wang Yu (the One-Armed Swordsman himself) plays Inspector Fang, the man of the title, and he is a hell of a man. You wouldn’t know it by looking at him actually, he looks like kind of a dweeb, but throughout the course of the movie he will prove it. He is The Man from Hong Kong.

An Australian cop undercover as a tourist busts 22-year-old Sammo Hung (also the fight choreographer) during a drug deal. Inspector Hung is called in from Hong Kong to extradite Sammo. The two cops in charge of the case (including Hugh Keays-Byrne, Toecutter from MAD MAX) want Fang following Australian law, not trying to pull any shit, but they make the mistake of leaving him alone in the interrogation room with Sammo. This leads to a full-on close quarters kung fu battle. Not cool. But he gets a lead out of it. (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.

Dead End Drive-In

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Most Americans, when they think of Australia they think of kangaroos and koalas and shit. Me, I think of high speed car chases and vicious (but wise) giant crocodiles. And I guess maybe occasionally I think of 6’5″ Seattle Storm center Lauren Jackson. But usually it’s the cars and crocodiles, because as you maybe noticed I’ve been watching the Australian films this last year or so – ROGUE, DARK AGE, ROAD GAMES, RAZORBACK, etc. I’ve never been there, but something about that place really appeals to me, and so do their movies, I’m not sure why. They seem to have an untapped (by me) reservoir of really good filmatists there who work in a style that appeals to me. Energetic but not frantic, stylish but still raw, serious but not pretentious, lots of car flips.

australia

I was kind of embarrassed though when I found out there was a documentary going around called NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD that lumps these movies together under the silly name “Ozploitation.” It was real popular down there in Austin where my Ain’t It Cool colleagues are and Tarantino’s interviewed in it and everything so it got them all interested. I swear it’s a coincidence, I had no idea this was a big thing right now. If anything, the documentary probaly copied the idea from 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.

Leprechaun, Leprechaun 4: In Space, Leprechaun in the Hood, Leprechaun Back 2 Tha Hood

Monday, March 19th, 2007

I don’t know why, but I never saw a LEPRECHAUN picture before. You guys know I got a taste for straight to video trash, as well as little bastard killers. Nobody is as good as Chucky, but I had fun writing about THE GINGERDEAD MAN. Plus, the Leprechaun made it into space 4 years before Jason did, and I loved JASON X. (HELLRAISER won the space race, after false starts from HALLOWEEN, give credit where credit is due. But Leprechaun was there second.)

More importantly, it was St. Patrick’s Day, and I’m not Irish, and I can’t drink, so what the fuck else am I supposed to do on St. Patrick’s Day besides watch some Leprechaun pictures. (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.