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

Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Willis’

Die Hard

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

tn_diehardBI don’t like to say I have a favorite movie. There are too many great ones that I love for too many equally meaningful-to-me reasons. But if I had to choose one, like if you had to register your favorite movie with the government or something, maybe it would be DIE HARD. I wrote a piece about it before, but that was 16 years ago, I was a different person then, and it’s embarrassing to me. So let me try again.

Many of the reasons I love DIE HARD are self evident. By now most people have caught on to the fact that it’s an extremely well made, ridiculously entertaining popcorn masterwork. The story is so perfect and elemental that it became a template, a name for a reliably entertaining subgenre of action movies. This is a testament to the genius of the setup by Roderick Thorp in his novel Nothing Lasts Forever, its remolding by screenwriters Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza, and its precise cinematic execution by director John McTiernan, cinematographer Jan de Bont, editors John F. Link and Frank J. Urioste, composer Michael Kamen, etc. They crafted a pitch perfect introduction of this character (based around the charm and humor of Bruce Willis) and unrolling of the sinister plot he’s about to crash head first into. And then it escalates into spectacular crescendos – the explosion in the elevator shaft, the desperate leap from the roof and bare-foot-kicking-through of the window – that, in their somewhat grounded context, continue to feel enormous even after movies (including its four sequels) have gotten bigger and bigger for nearly three decades. In retrospect it wasn’t the amount of C-4 but the placement of it that caused the ads to vow it “WILL BLOW YOU THROUGH THE BACK WALL OF THE THEATRE.”
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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.

Die Hard With a Vengeance

Monday, June 1st, 2015

tn_dhwav

RELEASE DATE: May 19
RELEASE DATE: May 19

“But I thought this was a currency exchange!”

In kicking off my summer of 1995 retrospective I made the grave error of skipping a May 19th release that very likely is the movie of that summer, one that is widely loved (especially around here) but sometimes forgotten in the lists of great films of the ’90s. Of course I don’t have to remind you guys about DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE, you know about it. But I neglected to remember that my reviews of the original DIE HARD trilogy were written 15 years ago when I was taking the first steps on my journey to cinematic enlightenment. In other words I was kind of a dummy. So I owe it to myself and to society to try again.

The main thing that makes WITH A VENGEANCE stand out from the other DIE HARD sequels is the strong filmatism of director John McTiernan at his peak. The opening two minutes is a perfect sample, like when the one guy in the coke deal lets the other guy dip his finger in and taste the product. We see the Brooklyn Bridge on a summer day. Then the words “DIE HARD” whoosh onto the screen. This is DIE HARD but it’s a new location, new time of year, new time of day. Then the words fly away and are replaced by a much larger” WITH A VENGEANCE,” slamming across the screen, then shooting right at us. This is a sequel that’s aware of the power of it’s title, so it’s unashamed to smash it into our eyes with a sound effect, to cockily fill the whole screen with it.

Then we get a beautiful montage of New York City set to “Summer in the City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful. The sun glimmering on reflective buildings. Sidewalks filled with people walking to work. Cars and buses and delivery trucks. These look like real commuters. Documentary footage. An accurate representation of regular people starting their day. A nice day, too. But abruptly, mid-lyric, a department store explodes, sending clouds of dust and wreckage into the street, flipping over cars and trucks parked in front. (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.

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

Monday, December 1st, 2014

tn_sincity2BruceI’m not saying I liked SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR exactly, but it wasn’t as bad as reported. Considering that its two directors’ last films were THE SPIRIT and MACHETE KILLS, which I would consider among the worst things I’ve ever paid to see in theaters, this almost seems like a real movie.

It has all the same problems as the first SIN CITY without the novelty of being a weird new approach to a comic book adaptation, and with very little technological or stylistic advancement considering it was done 9 years later. But I think maybe things bugged me about the first one that people overlooked at the time and now are having a problem with, so they’re being harder on it than me. I don’t know. (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.

Color of Night

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

tn_colorofnightBruceI know Valentine’s Day is a made-up greeting card company holiday, but that doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate by watching the notoriously bad Bruce Willis sex movie that you guys voted #1 in the outlawvern.com “Review Suggestions” feature. If my movie watching happens to match up with the agendas of Hershey’s Chocolate and the local florists then so be it. It seemed right anyway.

I never saw this before. Of course I knew its reputation. It won “Worst Picture” from those Razzies assholes but also Best Sex Scenes of All Time from those Maxim assholes. So I was surprised when I watched the opening scene. A woman is getting dressed and putting on makeup. She’s very manic and keeps freaking out and having a fit. She messily smears lipstick all over her mouth. She gets her purse and starts to put a handgun in it, for protection I assume. But then she hesitates, thinks about it, puts it in her mouth instead. Real suddenly, as if on a whim.

But then she decides not to blow her brains out. She decides to give the gun a blowjob. And that’s where director Richard Rush (THE STUNT MAN) decided to put his director’s credit. If I had known it was gonna be nuts like this I would’ve watched this a long time ago. (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.

A Good Day To Die Hard

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

tn_diehard5BruceA GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD is directed by John Moore. His previous films are BEHIND ENEMY LINES, FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, THE OMEN REMAKE, and MAX PAYNE. Not great. The screenplay is solely credited to Skip Woods. His entire previous filmography is THURSDAY, SWORDFISH, HITMAN, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE and THE A-TEAM. So… this is what happens.

I love DIE HARD like I love air, and nothing is as good as it. But I’m easier on the sequels than most people. I feel like we made an agreement as soon as we were okay with The Same Shit Happening To the Same Guy Twice that we would accept increasing levels of absurdity in order to continue our relationship with John McClane. I kinda hold the sequels separate from the original in my mind. They’re not untouchable, but I enjoy watching them.

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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.

Looper

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

LOOPER is the new time travel related science fictional picture by Bruce Willis. But due to scheduling conflicts Bruce is only in part of the movie, most of the time he’s played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (SHADOWBOXER) with a fake nose. This one is written and directed by Rian Johnson, the guy that did BRICK.

“Looper” is a made up futuristic word similar to how “Rian” is a made up spelling of a real name. I’m not buying either one. But I did like the movie. (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.

Moonrise Kingdom

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Now that GI JOE: RETALIATION has become GI JOE: PROCRASTINATION that means the big Bruce Willis movie of the summer to hold us off until EXPENDABLES 2 will have to be Wes Anderson’s MOONRISE KINGDOM. Bruce plays Captain Sharp, head of the Island Police, New Penzance Township, charged with the task of capturing a fugitive – Sam (Jared Gilman), a disturbed young orphan gone AWOL from the Khaki Scouts of North America, Troop 55, to run away with his also disturbed pen pal/girlfriend Suzy (Kara Hayward).
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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.