"I got news for 'em. There's gonna be hell to pay. 'Cause I ain't daddy's little boy no more."

Posts Tagged ‘DTV’

The Art of War III: Retribution

Monday, August 10th, 2009

tn_artofwariiiWhen you get to part 3 in a trilogy there’s a big risk of blowing everything. You have to continue with what people loved about the first two but with more risk than before of feeling like we’ve been there, done that. You might need to introduce something fresh, but then you risk the audience rejecting the new shit. But more importantly you just have to make a solid movie, you can’t get lazy or arrogant or lose sight of what your series is about. If you slip up a little bit moviegoers will want your head – it happened with SPIDER-MAN 3, X-MEN 3, GODFATHER 3, BLADE 3, HELLRAISER 3, CHILD’S PLAY 3. It’s alot of pressure, but it’s not impossible. Every once in a while you get a part 3 that really delivers or even improves on the ones before it, like RETURN OF THE KING or REVENGE OF THE SITH in my opinion or HARRY POTTER 3 which is still the best of the series.

None of this is relevant here though because this is part 3 in the ART OF WAR series. (read the rest of this shit…)

Command Performance

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

tn_commandperformanceNote: I sent this in to Ain’t It Cool last night but they didn’t post it, so what the hell, outlawvern.com exclusive. I’d kind of feel bad posting it there anyway because it’s not a very positive review and I don’t want to bum everybody out. But a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do I guess.

In COMMAND PERFORMANCE, director/co-writer Mr. Dolph Lundgren also steps out from behind the camera to star as the hero Joe. He’s just a regular guy, your usual American biker who hates guns and lives in Moscow and plays drums for a band called CMF who are opening for an American pop singer performing for the Russian president and his daughters when they’re taken hostage by vengeful terrorists and has to save the day. In other words, DIE HARD in a rock concert, with Dolph Lundgren on drums.

I know there are a contingent of you out there who are as excited for this one as I was. It’s the most anticipated DTV movie of the year besides the Scott Adkins/Isaac Florentine joint NINJA. So it kills me to say this but I don’t think COMMAND PERFORMANCE is one of Dolph’s better efforts. (read the rest of this shit…)

Men of War

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

tn_menofwarMEN OF WAR is a Dolph Lundgren mercenaries-on-a-mission movie. In the surprisingly atmospheric opening Lundgren’s ex-Special Forces character Gunar is hanging out on the streets of Chicago, wearing a hat he could wear if the movie was set during the Depression, his breath showing in the cold air. Some tough guy rudely tells him to talk to somebody, gesturing to a limo. “In the back seat?” Gunar asks and when the answer is yes he bashes the guy’s head through the backseat window and leans in to talk to the passenger. So you don’t have to wait too long for the movie’s declaration of badass intent. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern makes DIRECT CONTACT with Dolph Lundgren!

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

tn_directcontactDIRECT CONTACT is the new Dolph Lundgren DTV movie directed by Danny Lerner (SHARKS IN VENICE) and written by Les Weldon (RAGING SHARKS). It comes out in the US on Tuesday and has already been released in Thailand, Kuwait, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden.When we first meet Dolph as Mike Riggins, life is not the best. #1, he lives in a Balkan prison. #2, he owes a bunch of gangsters money, and some guy spits in his food, so he has to fight everybody and stab a dude in the eyeball. #3, the screws come in and club him like a baby seal. #4, he gets put in solitary. #5, when he pukes up blood a rat comes over and starts eating it.

On the other hand, it’s kind of a cute rat eating the blood he puked up. Not RATATOUILLE cute, but he doesn’t look like he has fleas. Well-groomed. So it could be worse. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern Has Seen The New Seagal, DRIVEN TO KILL!

Monday, May 18th, 2009

First of all, let’s be honest: no Steven Seagal character really has to be “driven” into killing. He’s never gonna play a peaceful guy living an uneventful life as a librarian or a computer consultant who one day is forced by circumstances to tap into a savage side of himself he never knew existed. That’s just not a Seagal character type. True, in MARKED FOR DEATH he states an explicit isolationist philosophy to Keith David and only starts killing a few minutes later when his sister’s house gets shot up by gangsters. But even in that one he’s already done a whole bunch of killing earlier in life without necessarily being driven into it. He’s never just an ordinary non-violent guy at the beginning of a movie.

And especially in this one, because although he is a very successful crime writer under the name Jim Vincent, everybody knows he’s actually Ruslan (no last name, like Prince, McG or Vern), former Russian gangster. In a rare visual change to the iconic persona, Seagal sports MARK OF CAIN style tattoos on his forearms. There’s a nice badass moment when some young guys are pushing him around, he breaks a glass on one guy’s head and then pulls up his sleeves. The other guy just about shits his pants before he starts apologizing. (read the rest of this shit…)

Mission of Justice

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

tn_missionofjusticeHey, it’s another one from the VHS pile. Recently some of my fellow Seattle-based action fans asked me if I’d do an interview for their podcast, “Stack of Dimes.” I don’t really like to be interviewed so I weaseled out of it, but I still listened to some of their episodes to see what it was all about.

They’re really into Van Damme and mixed martial arts and stuff like that. They make fun of Seagal a little, but you can tell that’s one of their favorite types of movies. “JD” was the guy who contacted me, but his co-host “Thunder” keeps mentioning this DTV kickboxer guy called Jeff Wincott, and in the latest episode they actually scored an interview with him. I really wasn’t familiar with this guy and of course I’m always trying to expand my horizons and enjoy the vast spectrum of everything available, all the way from Van Damme to Jeff Wincott. The movie they talked about most in the interview is called MISSION OF JUSTICE, so I decided that would be a good one to start with.

Man, how did I miss this one before? I mean I’m not sure it’s rocketing to the top of my list, but it’s probaly gonna be scribbled somewhere in the margins of the list at the very least. It’s kind of like a really good Dudikoff movie that occasionally reaches for STONE COLD level awesome. It’s got quite a collection of the great action movie tropes: stumbling across a liquor store robbery, cop who gives up his badge, partner who risks her job to help him continue his investigation, undercover infiltration of a mysterious organization, evil person pretending to be good to run for mayor (Brigitte Nielsen!), best friend murdered, chop shop, nice grandma who you just know is gonna get murdered, incriminating video tape… (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern reviews S.DARKO direct to video…

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

To H. Knowles, M. Beaks, Q. Vespe and A. It Cool News:

Hey everybody,

Vern here. I have been known to review a DTV sequel or two, so somebody requested I report on the quality of S. DARKO: A DONNIE DARKO TALE, available on the DVD as of today. So don’t ever say I didn’t give back to the community.

It’s been a while, but if I remember my DONNIE DARKO right, a bunch of weird shit was going down with a bunny man and hallucinations and mysteries and what not, so there was time travel and apocalyptical type shit, turned out the bunny was a dude in a Halloween costume that got hit by a car, Donnie was killed by a plane engine landing on his house, trippiness, etc. (read the rest of this shit…)

Darkman III: Die Darkman Die

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Darkman’s still trying to fix that liquid skin problem, and this time he forms a partnership with one of the doctors who did the experimental surgery on him in the first place. She wants to try out a new technique to rewire his nerves so he has feeling again, and he agrees to be her guinea pig on the condition that he can borrow her top of the line DNA sequencer for his skin project. Both end up getting what they want: the equipment helps him “break the 99 minute barrier” (again – they seem to have forgotten he already did it in part 2) and she rewires his nerves to a remote control device because actually she works for a crazy steroid dealer (Jeff Fahey) who’s pissed off because Darkman stole a bunch of his money and now he wants to study him to find out how he gets his super darkstrength.

DIE DARKMAN, DIE has the same director as part 2 but this time it’s written by Colleary and Werb, the guys who wrote DEATH WISH V: THE FACE OF DEATH and FACE/OFF. Come to think of it these guys are obsessed with faces and masks. Colleary even wrote an episode of the new Alfred Hitchcock Presents about a woman who has plastic surgery to look like someone else and Werb was a writer on THE MASK. Weird. But the point is they are pretty good writers and went beyond the DTV call of duty on this one. (read the rest of this shit…)

Darkman II: The Return of Durant

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

We thought Larry Drake’s sadistic, finger-collecting crime lord Robert G. Durant was killed when Darkman caused his helicopter to explode, but actually he survived, in a coma, his gang secretly keeping him on life support in his mansion. Also we thought Darkman was a big screen hero played by Liam Neeson, turns out he’s on video and played by Arnold Vosloo.

THE RETURN OF DURANT is a pioneering DTV sequel, one of the earliest examples of the artform, and also the beginning of Sam Raimi expanding his Renaissance Pictures empire by executive producing a bunch of other people’s shit instead of just making EVIL DEAD movies. If nothing else this movie was a training ground for sidekicks in future Raimi productions – Vosloo would be Lance Henriksen’s in HARD TARGET and female lead Renee O’Connor would be Xena’s. (read the rest of this shit…)

Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

The concept of THE GINGERDEAD MAN is basically “Chucky, but a gingerbread man instead of a doll.” It takes part 2 about three minutes worth of recapping and rhyming narration to explain that in the sequel. But to be fair the goal is not so much to catch the audience up to speed as to pad it out to be longer than an hour so it seems like a real movie almost.

With an ingeniously stupid premise like this, there are a million hilarious ways to do a sequel. Instead they chose to do the old “monster attacks people making a horror movie” route already done much better in SEED OF CHUCKY. If you got the same premise for part 2 as another series had for part 5 then you should probaly do it better, right? Well, that wouldn’t be the Full Moon way. (read the rest of this shit…)