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

Posts Tagged ‘James Coburn’

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

tn_magnificentsevenMan, you’re looking for a movie with seven dudes who possess some level of magnificence, you could do worse than John Sturges’ THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960). I wouldn’t personally use the adjective “magnificent” to describe any cowboys, but if I did then Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn would be good candidates. And Robert Vaughn wouldn’t be out of the question. That there is a hell of a cast, and then they’re facing off against Eli Wallach in a more large-and-in-charge character than he usually plays as Calvera, the leader of a gang of bandits terrorizing a small Mexican village. He’s one of these bullies who gets across his true evil by doing a really unconvincing fake nice guy act to your face. He keeps saying how much he loves the village in the process of threatening it. Make Cuernavaca great again!

This is, of course, a remake of SEVEN SAMURAI, so some of these poor farmers go into town looking for gunmen. Brynner plays Chris Adams, the first one they find, who becomes leader and recruiter. That’s funny, ’cause he’s bald just like the impostor monk Kambei, but not for any narrative reason (and he wears a hat anyway). He’s introduced as a bystander who intervenes when the local funeral home director won’t take a rich traveler’s money to bury an Indian on Boot Hill. He says he wouldn’t have any problem with it (some of his best friends are Indians buried in white cemeteries), but he’s scared of the local whites who he knows won’t stand for it.

Chris proposes that he drive the hearse, and then another drifter onlooker, Vin Tanner (Steve McQueen), calls shotgun (oh yeah, that’s where that term comes from). The crowd follows along, watching in awe, as the two drive up the hill while fending off racist snipers. (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.

Hard Times

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

tn_hardtimesrookiesWalter Hill’s HARD TIMES could almost be a western or a samurai movie, but it happens to be a bareknuckle brawler movie instead. In fact I think it’s the template for my beloved sub-genre of the underground fight circuit movie. Charles Bronson as a guy named Chaney wanders into town (New Orleans circa 1933) on the back of a train. He’s so broke he can’t afford a coffee refill, but he sees a bunch of guys going into a warehouse across the street and he decides to follow them in. Turns out they’re there to gamble on a bare knuckle fight.

Did Chaney know that’s what was going on? Did he come here looking for it? Is this his vocation? Or does he just happen to notice this is going on and need the work? That would be pretty lucky for him, since he happens to be really fuckin good at it. But this is Charles Bronson we’re talking about. I’m sure he’d be the best at whatever manly job was available.

We don’t know what his deal is, but he approaches Speed (James Coburn), the manager of the losing fighter, and convinces him to get him a fight. Speed has no faith in him, but he’s got nothing to lose because Chaney has a little wad of life savings to put up the bet himself.  There’s a big buildup as everyone scoffs at him and then, as in so many of this genre later on (BLOOD AND BONE, NEVER BACK DOWN, DIGGSTOWN, ONG-BAK, LIONHEART, UNLEASHED [suggest others in the comments and I will add them to the list, I know there’s a million of ’em]), he K.O.s the guy in one blow. (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.

Eraser

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

When we think of Arnold Schwarzenegger we think of the TERMINATOR movies, PREDATOR, the CONAN movies, COMMANDO… movies that came out in years before, say, 1995. I don’t know if the crazy action/sexism combo of TRUE LIES used up everything he had, or if it was playing a pregnant man in JUNIOR that pushed him over, but by the time he made ERASER in ’96 the salad days were over. There was only some slimy lettuce left.

But I kinda enjoyed watching this one again. I’d say I like it better than THE SIXTH DAY, COLLATERAL DAMAGE and END OF DAYS (although that last one has more distinctive weirdness in 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.

Hudson Hawk

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

tn_hudsonhawkBruceTo celebrate the release of my new review book that’s named after Bruce Willis it’s only appropriate that I review a Bruce movie I never reviewed before. And by far the most requested title in that category is the notorious-flop-turned-minor-cult-movie HUDSON HAWK.

I’ll start by laying out the three basic schools of thought about why HUDSON HAWK crashed and burned. (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.

Deadfall

Friday, January 15th, 2010

tn_deadfallI honestly never knew about this Nic Cage-featuring neo-noir until some of you recommended it to me in the comments. So thanks for that. Since I’d never heard of it and the cover looks like the type of photoshop they do on an uncopyrighted double feature DVD you’d buy for 99 cents at Safeway I assumed this was an early Cage performance. I was shocked when I realized it was 1993, same year he did the much more polished RED ROCK WEST. It’s kind of hilarious that a crime movie this clunky came out after RESERVOIR DOGS. (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.

Duck, You Sucker

Wednesday, January 1st, 2003

You talk about striving for excellence – to a guy like me, Sergio Leone is just about the highest level of excellence any director could aspire to. He took the western genre, which had grown stale and conservative, and injected it full of his Leone brand cinematic steroid and turned it into an unstoppable super soldier version of the old beast, one so powerful it became its own genre that is still worshipped and studied by cult movie watchers to this day. All he did was five westerns bookended by a gladiator picture and a gangster epic. But those westerns contributed so much to the Badass Cinema I worship to this day that they might as well be considered its legal guardians.

Think about it: the stoic Clint Eastwood persona of A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, which he parlayed into an entire brilliant career and which spun off into a hundred bastard sons in the action genre, from Steven Seagal to Daniel Craig. The epic cinemascope wide shots showing the vastness of the desert, cutting to the extreme closeups on some ugly bastard’s squinty eyes, surrounded by wrinkles and lines of sweat. The ingenious use of sound – buzzing flies, some piece of metal somewhere clanging in the wind, the clicking of guns, and of course the legendary Ennio Morricone scores that are forever glued to any memory anybody ever had of these movies. Leone’s style is like a drug, it heightens all your senses. You feel like a blind man whose hearing becomes more powerful to balance out the loss of the eye sight, but then you get the eye sight back for some reason and the super-hearing stays so you go watch some westerns. (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.

Payback

Thursday, December 20th, 2001

Well in late December as I was preparing to face down the ol’ Y2K problem I got to thinking about the old Mad Max and Road Warrior movies I used to like so much, and that got me thinking about Mel Gibson, the young Australian actor who played Mad Max.

Well okay, I admit that Mel hasn’t amounted to as much as we as a society thought he would back in those days, but that doesn’t mean you can Write the man off entirely. I know what you are thinking, this dude hasn’t done shit since Mad Max so just forget about him. But sometimes even after he’s considered washed up by the general public an actor or actress is still putting out high quality type performances with little recognition. (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.