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

Posts Tagged ‘Brion James’

Steel Dawn

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

STEEL DAWN takes the post-apocalyptic world of George Miller, pumps up the samurai and western influences, adds a little martial arts, replaces the internal combustion engine with wind power, and invents the Patrick Swayze action vehicle. He’d already made a name for himself in ensembles – THE OUTSIDERS, UNCOMMON VALOR, RED DAWN – but this was released only three months after his breakout role in DIRTY DANCING. It didn’t catch on in the same way, and it doesn’t play on cable nearly as much. But this last time I watched it was a profound experience.

It opens with Swayze balancing on his head in the middle of a desert. That’s how he meditates. But then a bunch of shrieking, masked mutants climb out of the sand to attack him. He uses martial arts to fight them off, pulling a sword out of his bag when he gets too outnumbered.

He’s a nomad. In fact, he’s credited as Nomad. Heading for a tavern, he gets attacked by an old warrior who turns out to be Cord (John Fujioka, AMERICAN NINJA, AMERICAN SAMURAI, AMERICAN YAKUZA), an old war comrade just fucking with him. They catch up over drinks but suddenly a bunch of brutes led by a guy named Sho (Christopher Neame, LUST FOR A VAMPIRE, DRACULA A.D. 1972, SPECIES III) in a ridiculous hair metal wig attack them and kill Cord. (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.

Radioland Murders

Monday, February 8th, 2016

tn_radiolandlucasminusstarwarsRADIOLAND MURDERS is a retro comedy, a madcap murder mystery taking place in 1939 as a Chicago radio station has a gala live broadcast performed in front of an audience and a room full of big shot affiliates waiting to be impressed. There’s a big band and actors doing adventure shows and commercials while the writers, directors and sound engineers scramble to have something on the air after the boss just tossed out all of their scripts. Meanwhile, writer Roger (Brian Benben, I COME IN PEACE) is pathetically trying to woo back his wife Penny (Mary Stuart Masterson, GARDENS OF STONE), who thinks he cheated on her. It was a misunderstanding, but he’s too much of a doofus to make her understand.

And then he becomes the #1 suspect when people in the station start turning up dead. So he has to avoid the police, solve the mystery, convince his wife and finish some scripts. Kind of a rough day for him.

The DVD cover brags about an “All star cast!,” which is stretching it, but the huge ensemble cast does include an impressive lineup of character actors, some of them better known now than they were then. You also got Ned Beatty, Brion James (BLADE RUNNER, 48 HOURS), Michael Lerner (MANIAC COP 2), Michael McKean, Jeffrey Tambor, Stephen Tobolowsky, Christopher Lloyd, Larry Miller (FOODFIGHT!), Corbin Bernsen, Bobcat Goldthwait, Dylan Baker, Robert Klein and Harvey Korman (The Star Wars Holiday Special). Candy Clark and Bo Hopkins of the AMERICAN GRAFFITI saga show up together. Since there’s sort of a variety show going on at the center of it there are appearances by Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, Joey Lawrence (as a dreamy crooner) and even Billy Barty (WILLOW). Also Gary Anthony Williams, the voice of Uncle Ruckus on The Boondocks, made his first movie appearance. (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.

Cherry 2000

Monday, August 11th, 2014

tn_cherryCHERRY 2000 is a quirky post-apocalyptic adventure, one with a cool sci-fi western premise and alot of underlying oddness and satirical observation about life in the ’80s. The action is slightly stilted, and I think director Steve De Jarnatt (who followed this up with the pre-apocalyptic MIRACLE MILE) is more comfortable doing funny twists on the genre than sincerely following its tropes, but I also think there is a good faith effort to deliver the goods. There are lots of machine guns and blowtorches, some explosions, some great stunts involving a car hanging from a crane. When the weinery yuppie protagonist decides to man up he does it by setting fire to a bunch of cars and rigging an explosion that knocks over Tim Thomerson and swarms him with bees. Not bad. (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.

Steel Frontier

Monday, November 29th, 2010

tn_steelfrontierThe Steel Frontier is a post-apocalyptic wasteland, alot like the place in ROAD WARRIOR, but filmed in California. It’s the kind of place where you might find a legless man out in the middle of the desert and have to put the poor guy out of his misery. Or you might find a small town where everybody acts kind of like they’re in a western, and a bunch of asshole bullies on motorcycles and souped up post-apocalypse-mobiles might drive into town and start fucking shit up and laughing about it.

That’s exactly what happens here, this guy General Quantrell (Brion James) rolls in with his “desert scum,” goes into the barber shop and gets a nice warm shave while his boys terrorize the place. (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.

Flesh + Blood

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

tn_fleshandbloodPaul Verhoeven’s first American-produced (and English language) movie was this knights and swords movie about a group of amoral mercenaries in Europe circa 1501. It’s not a fantasy because there’s no sorcery or dragons and Mako does not narrate. It does have Susan Tyrrell, but she doesn’t narrate either.

Rutger Hauer plays Martin, the sort of leader of a rowdy group of soldiers who, betrayed by their captain, set out for revenge and riches. While burying a stillborn baby they find a buried statue of Saint Martin, so they take it as a sign from God and carry the statue around with them, travelling in whatever direction his sword ends up pointing. (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.

Tango & Cash

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

tn_tangoandcashI don’t know if you can sense it in the air or anything. It doesn’t really come until the end of the year, but this is the 20th anniversary of TANGO & CASH. To be honest I don’t think I ever saw this one before, but I wanted to see it and review it a little ahead of all the hoopla. As much as people like you and I are will to talk about TANGO & CASH all the time I’m sure eventually we’re gonna get a little worn out by all the retrospectives and parades and everything that I’m sure they’ve been planning.

So now I’ve seen it and I know TANGO & CASH is a fun but not all that great 1989 action movie that personifies (moviefies?) the excess of the ’80s, and not just because it has a monster truck in 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.

Red Scorpion

Sunday, November 27th, 2005

The other day I was reading an article about Jack Abramoff, the notorious republican lobbyist at the middle of a bribery scandal that’s dragging down Tom Delay and supposedly ties in to at least 30 other DC ho’s. The whole thing is real complicated and the charge right now is for wire fraud but the investigation has brought to light all kinds of payoffs, exploitation of Native Americans, embarassing racist emails and a supposedly coincidental death that anybody with at least one eye will notice appears to be a mafia style hit. We’re talking more corruption than even Senator Billy Jack probaly knew about.

Anyway, the particular article I read referred to Abramoff as a “former b-movie producer.” Holy shit! I thought. I guess I hadn’t been following this closely enough because I hadn’t heard that before. The trusty ol’ internet movie database explained that Abramoff had produced and wrote the story for the Dolph Lundgren picture RED SCORPION, not to be confused with RED SONJA, RED DAWN, RED SUN, RED EYE, THE RED VIOLIN, THE RED BALLOON, or Krysztof Kieslowski’s THREE COLORS: RED. He’s also credited as executive producer on RED SCORPION 2. That’s it although his brother Robert went on to produce a bunch of other movies I never heard of. (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.

Southern Comfort

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Okay, this group of National Guardsmen (Peter Coyote, Powers Boothe, Keith Carradine, Fred Ward, others) are on one of them training exercises, right? Basically, they gotta go out into the Louisiana swamp with a map, try to locate this one particular place. To practice their navigation skills. Most of them aren’t taking the job too seriously, paying more attention to their plans to hook up with some whores when they’re done. I mean they’re carrying guns, but with blanks, because who are they gonna shoot at anyway. There’s no enemy in this exercise.

And then they get to some water, and they realize either they’re reading the map wrong or the water has shifted and the chunk of land they’re supposed to find is now a chunk of underwater. (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 Fifth Element

Tuesday, January 1st, 2002

The Fifth Element is your usual Bruce Willis movie that starts out in Egypt in 1934 and ends up in some fancy space hotel in 2334 with this blue skinned space opera lady singing opera and then busting off dance moves. Bruce is introduced down on his luck, pretty much like in the Die Hards – his wife left him, he’s trying to quit smoking, his mom won’t stop hassling him and he’s “5 points away” from losing his job as a flying cab driver in space age New York.

In fact this is a lot like a Die Hard movie except in a cartoony comic book space world instead of a building. Instead of talking to a cop on a walkie talkie, he just talks to his mom on the phone, and instead of terrorists there’s this big ball of fire hurtling toward the earth that turns light to dark, life to death, sometimes has a giant skull for a face, eats missiles and sattelites, and calls himself Mr. Shadow during phone calls. (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.