So once again we have survived.

Posts Tagged ‘Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa’

Vampires

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

tn_vampiresVAMPIRES is a cocky asshole of a horror-western strutting into John Carpenter’s filmography late, not giving a shit, rubbing everybody the wrong way. I’ve always dug it, though, and I think these days it’s more widely appreciated than it used to be.

The premise, taken from the novel Vampire$ by John Steakley, is that a team of vampire hunters funded by the Vatican travels the southwest tracking nests of vampires and exterminating them with professional grade equipment. James Woods (THE GETAWAY) plays the leader of the team, Jack Crow, maybe the only time he gets to be the leather-jacket-wearing asskicker. The Kurt Russell. The guy who struts around and shoots crossbows and punches people and never once wears a suit.

We see how their job works as the team raids a boarded up old house somewhere in the sunny desert, busting in like a SWAT team, sweeping it room by room to find the bloodsuckers, using a spear and pulley system to drag them out into the sunlight where they flare up and explode (all practical fire effects, from the looks of it). Montoya (Daniel Baldwin, KING OF THE ANTS, PAPARAZZI) mans the Jeep and winch, using a hunting knife to pull the charred skulls out of their kills and line them up on the hood as trophies. (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.

Black Cobra

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

tn_blackcobraBLACK COBRA was another one of my blind rentals, and I wouldn’t say it’s a surprise gem, but it’s definitely more interesting than I bargained for. The last thing I rented without knowing anything about it was BILLY BOY, which turned out to be a shitty South African movie about white people, filmed during apartheid, so it’s a cool coincidence that this is a competent (if sorta home made) one with a black South African hero after apartheid. And the first fight scene is against a group of white South Africans trying to treat him like it’s the old days.

T.J. Storm sounds like the name of a fictional action hero that a kid in a movie idolizes, but that’s the handle of the martial arts champ and stuntman who plays Sizwe Biko, a guy who “won a couple of titles” and whose father is a jailed hero of the South African revolution. (Whether or not they’re related to Steven Biko is never mentioned.) His father wouldn’t confess his crimes to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, so he was never let out, and now they’re conspiring to kill him in prison. Sizwe learns that he could get him out by bribing a certain judge, so he digs up the family’s secret diamond stash and takes them to L.A. to fence.

(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 With the Iron Fists 2

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

tn_mwtif2My friends, I don’t know about you, but I count myself lucky to live in a world where one of my favorite hip hop producers, the RZA, not only got to write, direct and star in a legit kung fu movie, but got to do a DTV sequel directed by one of the leaders of the form (Roel Reiné, THE MARINE 2, DEATH RACE 23, SCORPION KING 3, 12 ROUNDS 2: RELOADED). If I somehow slipped and fell into an alternate dimension that’s okay. I’m not going back.

Filmed in Thailand with about a third of the first film’s budget, THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS 2 is much more normal and low key than the first one, I want to warn you of that up front. There are fewer colorful gimmicks, no crazy Russell Crowe performance, comparably grounded (both literally and figuratively) martial arts, and no mention of the cliffhanger from the director’s cut where I think he had to team up with the X-Blade to save his wife that got snatched by the Falcon Clan and put in a big nest on top of a mountain or something like that. But for me it’s still a very enjoyable sequel because it maintains the most important ingredient: the complete sincerity of the RZA. (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.

Planet of the Apes (2001 remake)

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
tn_pota2001
chapter 10

logo_summer2001smallreleased July 27, 2001

Well, so far this summer of 2001 we’ve been having hasn’t been too hot. But at least we got that new Tim Burton movie coming out, right? I don’t know why they gotta remake PLANET OF THE APES but it’s a great cast and that guy knows what he’s doing, I’m sure he’ll do something interesting with it.

Nope. 10 years later I’m not sure I need to explain why the PLANET OF THE APES remake is no good. I don’t remember there being an argument about it at the time, or ever encountering anybody that liked it in the decade since. It was a bad idea, it was not good, let’s all pretend it never happened. The end.

But I’m doing this thing so let’s do 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.

Pearl Harbor

Sunday, June 12th, 2011
chapter 4
chapter 4

2001posterreleased May 25th, 2001

WARNING: contains spoilers for PEARL HARBOR and World War II

After three financially successful action movies in a row (BAD BOYS, THE ROCK, ARMAGEDDON), Michael Bay got a once-in-his-career itch to make An Important Movie. He probly had SAVING PRIVATE RYAN on the brain, and definitely TITANIC.

Ever since James Cameron’s movie broke all box office records studios had been threatening to make asses of themselves by blatantly trying to catch more lightning in that same melodramatic-love-story-during-historic-disaster bottle. Jan de Bont almost did a love-story-on-the-Hindenburg movie, for example. PEARL HARBOR wasn’t as obvious of a copycat as that because 1) it was a love story set against a war movie as much as a disaster and 2) the love song on the end credits was by Faith Hill instead of Celine Dion. Totally different.
(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 Phantom

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

tn_phantomYou know what movie gets a bad rap, or unfairly ignored? Well, you probly already guessed it’s gonna be the one I wrote the title of above and then there’s a picture of it to the left. Maybe this is not the best format for a guessing game of this type, now that I think about it. If that’s your answer then you are correct, THE PHANTOM from 1996 starring Billy Zane gets a bad rap or is unfairly ignored.

I’m sure in its darkest moments THE PHANTOM believes that nobody understands it, but it doesn’t care. It knows what it is. It’s comfortable with itself. I mean, I don’t know how you guys feel about slamming evil, but THE PHANTOM is all about slamming evil according to the American poster, and I think it does a good job of making the slamming of evil entertaining. (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.

Mortal Kombat

Friday, July 9th, 2010

tn_mortalkombatI know MORTAL KOMBAT is not exactly a high kwality movie. It has one or more leads who are completely unconvincing as fighters. Linden Ashby as Johnny Cage can maybe get by on arrogance, but the teacher from BILLY MADISON as Sonya Blade just comes off as a grouchy aroebics student in a black painter’s cap that’s supposed to make her a supercop. This movie is a pioneer in bad computer generation imaginations, possibly the first movie to prove that CGI not good enough for a feature film is in fact good enough for a feature film. (Say thank you, SPAWN).

But I gotta admit, I kind of like this stupid fucking movie. It has, as we Americans say that the French say, a certain… I don’t know how to spell it in French. It invented a completely new style of cheesy stupid fun. And it keeps a straight face the whole time. I mean, look at Scorpion there. Does he look like he’s gonna wink at you? Fuck no. The man is serious. (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.

Kickboxer 2

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

tn_kickboxer2When Van Damme got his chance to play twins for the first time of course he took it. But while he was out double impacting the saga of the Sloane brothers had to continue, so they invented a third brother besides Van Damme or the champ older brother whose death in the ring with Tong Po he had had to avenge. They say this new one, David Sloane, is not as strong or fast as his brothers, but has “more heart.” And the movie actually backs that up.

The first half is actually kind of like REDBELT. He’s struggling to keep the family gym/dojo in the black, but still refuses offers to fight professionally. Instead of Ricky Jay you have Peter Boyle as the sleazy sports entertainment business man (but he kind of has a conscience – the guy you really gotta look out for is his partner Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). When they try to recruit Sloan and he refuses he tells his confused student, “He’s gonna take a sport that we both love, that we would die for, and destroy 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.

Showdown in Little Tokyo and Bridge of Dragons

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

The Dolph Lundgren vs. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Saga
SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (1991) and BRIDGE OF DRAGONS (1999)

As I continue to learn about the works of Dolph Lundgren (no, sorry, I’m not writing LUNDGRENICS, I’m just trying to become a more well-rounded individual) it’s refreshing to find that he has many movies where he is a charismatic action hero and not just some grunting oaf. SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO is one people have been recommending to me for years because it has him teamed with Brandon Lee, which is a pretty big deal for somebody whose most notable co-stars are often talk show hosts like Jerry Springer or Montel Williams.

Basically this one is a cop buddy picture with Dolph as the line-crossing, bushido practicing white cop on the Little Tokyo beat who by the way is out to avenge the deaths of his parents by a samurai, but that’s neither here nor there. We know Dolph is a bad motherfucker right away because he single-handedly busts up an illegal underground fighting circuit by rappelling in from the ceiling in the middle of a match and then taking on those who disagree with his decision. Later he’s in a cafe when he happens to see some of the same Yakuzas bullying the old lady owner for protection money. In the middle of the brawl that ensues he’s introduced to his new partner, Brandon Lee. (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 Perfect Weapon

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

This review is by special request of several individuals on the STONE COLD DVD talkback and other people over the years who have tried to get me to watch this movie. The Perfect Weapon of the title in this 1991 white martial arts movie is Jeff Speakman, an American Kenpo Karate sixth degree black belt who I guess is playing himself, since they just call him Jeff. The movie opens with Jeff shirtless and oiled up, in a living room doing karate moves to that horrible song “I Got the Power (It’s Gettin It’s Gettin It’s Gettin Kinda Hectic It’s Gettin It’s Gettin It’s Getting Kinda Hectic I Got the Power!)” by the group Snap!. It’s funny because this movie is only 85 minutes long but they still felt they had time for him to do moves to that entire song. As it ends he puffs his chest out like he just won a medal.

Then Jeff goes for a ride in his convertible and as he soaks in the open road he thinks about his past. So we learn that after his mom died he was a troublemaking kid, and his cop dad wanted to send him to military school. Fortunately Pops’s Korean war buddy Kim (the great Mako) convinced him to send Jeff to Kenpo Karate Dojo instead. To learn self discipline. (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.