Thomas Jane plays Malone, a fedora-wearing, ’52 Buick driving, ten thousand bullet firing, fake film noir style opening scene narrating, badass private eye motherfucker in a mostly empty city portrayed by Spokane, Washington. The movie takes place in the modern day (email is mentioned once) but obviously takes most of its cues from the cliches of detective stories/film noir, including the femme fatale client, the fast, back-and-forth quipping and, you know, his hat. He’s old fashioned enough that he keeps calling women “sister.” Also, alot of the score is that cheesy type of saxophone they always use in modern movies and TV as a code for “it’s like an old private eye movie.” (read the rest of this shit…)
Posts Tagged ‘DTV’
“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…)
SMOKIN’ ACES 2: ASSASSIN’S BALL is the rare DTV sequel that leaves 2 (two) obvious openings for porn parody titles, not to mention having the word “ass” in it twice. In that sense it is absolutely groundbreaking. The idea of a DTV sequel to a movie that not one single person in the world is passionate about is not as unusual (see: THE MARINE 2, BEHIND ENEMY LINES 2-3, THE ART OF WAR trilogy, etc.), but I guess technically this one is a prequel (it refers to a dead character as if alive). So this might actually be a historic milestone, I’m not sure.
I remember seeing a preview screening of SMOKIN’ ACES, and even those I-will-stand-in-line-for-several-hours-to-see-literally-any-piece-of-garbage-movie-as-long-as-it-is-free passholes seemed to hate it. But I have to admit I mostly enjoyed it because it had so many funny and audacious moments peeking out from beneath the big mess of a so-called story. The movie really doesn’t work, but I wanted it to because there were some real good parts. That’s what I think. And in the ensuing years I honestly haven’t met one single person who would give it that much. (read the rest of this shit…)
“Viggo Mortensen is… AMERICAN YAKUZA.” That’s what it says on the trailer. This is a rare early Viggo lead role and it’s pretty much a straight up action/crime movie. In the tradition of AMERICAN NINJA, AMERICAN KICKBOXER, AMERICAN SAMURAI and AMERICAN BEAUTY, Viggo is an American white guy who earns the trust and acceptance of the Yakuza, complementing their traditions and rituals with his own American spirit. When they drink sake he drinks Bud Light or Wild Turkey. But don’t worry man, he’s cool. I’ll explain. (read the rest of this shit…)
All I wanted for Christmas was NINJ*. But it doesn’t come out in the US until March, so I ordered it from Thailand. It’s a Christmas miracle!
Over the last year or so, while sci-fi nerds all over the world were dreaming of the possibilities of AVATAR, a much smaller, more specialized band of connoisseurs – DTV action fans – were dreaming of NINJ*. It showed promise because of three reasons:
1. Isaac Florentine. The Israeli martial artist turned filmatist is the only reliable DTV auteur I know of. His movies usually have a fun tone and always have great, well-staged fights with energetic camera movements (and sound effects whenever somebody moves their arm or turns their head). He’s made distinctive vehicles for Dolph (BRIDGE OF DRAGONS), Michael Jai White (UNDISPUTED II) and Van Damme (THE SHEPHERD: BORDER PATROL – although he disowned that one. But I liked it.). (read the rest of this shit…)
Once every 7 years, in a different town each time, high stakes gamblers run a secret competition where the world’s greatest assassins all try to kill each other and the last one standing gets ten million dollars. With that premise and generic title this doesn’t sound like the kind of DTV I would like. And with Ving Rhames and Robert Carlyle starring I have to wonder if this was intended for theatrical release, which could also be a bad sign. We don’t want another EDISON FORCE on our hands. But the great Scott Adkins (UNDISPUTED II, SPECIAL FORCES, etc.) is in this so I’d been keeping my eye out ever since I spotted it on his IMDb page. It was released by the fucking Weinsteins with their pain in the ass exclusive deals (how the fuck do I get my friend to watch MARTYRS if he can’t find it anywhere?) so I didn’t know it came out until I got some emails about it. Two different people said it was even better than BLOOD AND BONE, which I’d pre-emptively declared best DTV action movie of the year. (read the rest of this shit…)
By part 4 the SUBSTITUTE series is almost entirely divorced from the theatrical original. It’s the only one not written by Rocco Simonelli and Roy Frumkes – this time it’s Dan Gurskis, who apparently did an uncredited rewrite on part 3. It’s Treat Williams as Karl Thomasson again, but he’s not even really an undercover substitute. He discusses it that way, but really he’s given the job of history teacher at a military academy under slightly sneaky but not really clandestine circumstances. He’s not THE SUBSTITUTE anymore, he’s THE NEW TEACHER.
For once he’s not on a mission on behalf of a teacher – this time an old general friend is worried about his nephew at this academy, and is sending in a team to check things out. He was right to be worried because the head of the academy, Colonel Brack (Patrick Kilpatrick), is an open white supremacist maniac who’s training an elite corp of neo-nazis called “The Werewolves” and sending them on terrorist bombings of minority owned power plants (?). (read the rest of this shit…)
THE SUBSTITUTE 3 is much shittier than the previous ones, but still fun because I like the Thomasson character and because of the goofy way returning writers Frumke & Simonelli and new director Robert Radler (BEST OF THE BEST 1-2, various POWER RANGERS episodes) decided to mix things up (hint: more white people). It opens with Thomasson (still Treat Williams) a prisoner in Kosovo. His partner (David Jensen) is tortured nearly to death, but still jokes that he tipped them for their troubles. Before escaping captivity Thomasson has to put the poor guy out of his misery and make a promise to deliver a message to his daughter (Rebecca Staab). (read the rest of this shit…)
I was concerned about THE SUBSTITUE 2: SCHOOL’S OUT because it substitutes Treat Williams for Tom Berenger. What kind of a trade is that? And when will Tom Berenger get healthy enough to come back? That’s why despite being Mr. DTV Sequel I avoided this movie for years.
Don’t get me wrong – Treat Williams has his place. But it’s not behind Tom Berenger’s desk. Berenger was so good in the first one with his gruff voice and scarred face. Williams is more of a pretty boy nerd with a squeaky, whiny voice. I couldn’t see how it would work.
Well, duh – by having him play a different character. That was a relief to find out. Not a relief on the level of “phew, the MRI shows I don’t have M.S.,” but still a relief My pre-judgment of Treat Williams was off-base. I really like him in this movie.
It turns out Shale and Jane joined the Peace Corps and went to teach in Costa Rica. (I guess he was just fucking around at the end of part 1 when he said he wanted to go to L.A. to teach. Or maybe this is a tribute to the way DEATH WISH 2 refuses to follow the sequel setup from the end of part 1.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Ladies and gentlemen (although, let’s be honest, mostly gentlemen around here), Michael Jai White has arrived. He has officially gone from “promising” to fully formed action icon. He has earned the right to just be referred to as MJW and have everybody know what it means. It doesn’t matter that Hollywood hasn’t figured out to build movies around him like they do with Jason Statham, that Sly didn’t think to make him an Expendable, that Marvel Comics hasn’t lined up some super hero for him to play. He’s sick of waiting so he’s just taking it.
I believe come this Fall many of you will agree with me on this, and even for those already on board his status in your internal action hero rankings will be elevated. In October you’ll get to see him in the very entertaining blaxploitation homage BLACK DYNAMITE, where he gets to show both his badass presence and his previously untapped comedy chops. That’s a long time from now but you’ll only have to wait until September 15th to see him in a serious DTV action vehicle called BLOOD AND BONE. (read the rest of this shit…)