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

Posts Tagged ‘DTV sequels better than theatrical originals’

Never Back Down: No Surrender

Monday, July 4th, 2016

tn_nbd3The world needs the NEVER BACK DOWN series. Why? Because we don’t have a currently running NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER series, or a BLOODSPORT series, or a BLOODFIST series. We will soon have more KICKBOXER, but that’s not enough.

If I had to guess I’d say your average citizen on or off the street doesn’t know what the fuck a NEVER BACK DOWN is, so I’m gonna explain it to everybody now. Part 1 was a slick theatrical release, a dumb movie with the admirably ridiculous premise of combining a teen romance type of story with an underground fighting tournament. They’re supposed to be these legendary illegal pitfighters but also they go to the same high school. The hero was Tom Cruise lookalike Sean Faris (STASH HOUSE), the villain was Cam Gigandet (IN THE BLOOD), the mentor was Academy Award nominee Djimon Honsou (ELEPHANT WHITE). Afterwards they all went their separate ways: director Jeff Wadlow went on to do KICK-ASS 2, comic relief nerd Evan Peters went on to become Quicksilver in the X-MEN pictures, love interest Amber Heard went on to become Amber Heard. And that could’ve been the end of never backing down. (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.

early review: Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

tn_nbd2Two years ago give or take a couple days I wrote about NEVER BACK DOWN as part of some back-to-school themed reviews. To commemorate the historic second anniversary of that review they have decided to make a part 2.

If you never saw the first one I forgive you. And I think you’re gonna be okay without it. Of the many mixed martial arts/underground fighting movies of the last few years it’s the slickest and most Hollywood. It’s the standard teen subculture movie but with MMA instead of breakdancing or BMX bikes or whatever. Troubled new kid in town wants girl, she belongs to popular rich bully who also is the king of a notorious underground fighting tournament. I can’t recommend it when BLOOD AND BONE, DAMAGE, UNDISPUTED II-III and FIGHTING have all come out in recent years, but I did sort of enjoy the absurdity of these allegedly high school age dudes having their own Kumite Lite.

NEVER BACK DOWN 2 is the DTV sequel and it happens to be directed by the star of two of the above-mentioned better underground fight movies, Mr. Michael Jai White. (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 Marine 2

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

tn_marine2Lately alot of us have been noticing the decrease in high quality action movies on the big screen and the increase of them in the direct-to-DVD world. Some of us are starting to suspect that there’s been a switcheroo, that the DTV format – once designated as a 100% crap zone – has become the more reliable place to find good action movies. At least for English language movies it seems like most of the best ones (the UNDISPUTEDs, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER REGENERATION, BLOOD AND BONE) go straight to video, and anything on the big screen, even the ones I end up enjoying (THE EXPENDABLES, THE MECHANIC, NINJA ASSASSIN) you can pretty much 100% assume is gonna be compromised by some blurry, muddy, sloppy, close-up, confusing, de-thrillified action scenes.

Well, I’m not sure if we’ve reached that milestone yet, I might be cherrypicking my examples there. But add this to the evidence file: we got another DTV sequel that is clearly superior to the theatrical original. (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.

Vern recommends the shit out of UNDISPUTED III: REDEMPTION!!!

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

tn_undisputed3Walter Hill’s original UNDISPUTED was an exaggerated look at the classic concept of the prison boxing league. UNDISPUTED II showed that the same thing is going on in Russia, but with full-on mixed martial arts. Naturally UNDISPUTED III: REDEMPTION takes it to the next level by creating an international tournament for the champions from all different prisons. Part 4 might have to send them into space.

But the true genius of director Isaac Florentine’s two DTV UNDISPUTED sequels is that each one stars the villain of the previous chapter. In UNDISPUTED II: LAST MAN STANDING Michael Jai White took over for Ving Rhames as the asshole accused rapist heavyweight champ George “The Iceman” Chambers. He was the last man standing of the title. Part III, which comes out on DVD Tuesday, is about the next-to-last man standing. Scott Adkins returns as the man whose knee the Iceman crushed, disgraced Russian prison champion and convicted double-murderer Uri Boyka. (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.

Vern is shocked how good UNIVERSAL SOLDIER REGENERATION is!!!

Monday, January 25th, 2010

tn_usregeneration

“Why me Lord? What have I ever done / That was worth even one / Of the pleasures I’ve known / Tell me Lord, what did I ever do / That was worth loving you / or [Universal Soldier 3].”

–Kris Kristofferson, “Why Me”

Holy shit fellas, I didn’t see this one coming. I was excited about the idea of Van Damme and Lundgren doing a movie together again, but honestly I assumed they (and everybody else) would be phoning it in. Man, was I wrong. There are no phones used at all. This is a masterpiece of DTV.

I mean seriously, how did this happen? (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.

Undisputed II: Last Man Standing

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

First of all I gotta note that it’s weird this movie exists at all. Walter Hill’s prison/boxing movie UNDISPUTED is not exactly a title that appears in everyone’s home library. It was not a box office hit, it did not catch on huge on video, it does not hold a nostalgic place in anyone’s heart, it did not inspire other movies or hip hop videos or launch a catch phrase. I think I know one guy besides me who saw it, he liked it, I didn’t. He hasn’t seen part 2. I never saw it until now. There’s your audience.

The original got a brief theatrical release, the sequel was straight-to-video. Maybe they could’ve gotten Wesley Snipes to return, since he’s stuck in straight-to-video lately. Instead it stars Michael Jai White – you know, the guy who was cut out of KILL BILL who everybody on the internet thought should’ve replaced Wesley in BLADE: THE SERIES. So that’s cool. Except Wesley’s character is not mentioned – White is playing Ving Rhames’s villain character George “The Iceman” Chambers. (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.