“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

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Posts Tagged ‘Jesse V. Johnson’

Triple Threat

Friday, March 15th, 2019

TRIPLE THREAT is the long-awaited international co-production that teams Tony Jaa (ONG BAK, THE PROTECTOR, KILL ZONE 2), Iko Uwais (THE RAID, HEADSHOT, THE NIGHT COMES FOR US) and Tiger Chen (MAN OF TAI CHI, KUNG FU TRAVELER). That in itself is an event, but wait until I tell you who plays the villains. Directed by Jesse V. Johnson (THE BUTCHER, SAVAGE DOG), it’s not an envelope-pusher like some of the modern classics each of those three have under their belts, but it’s a solid action romp with tons of clearly shot fighting, taking advantage of all the possible match-ups and varying martial arts styles.

Jaa is first billed and shown first, but Uwais is the protagonist and the one with the best hair*. Jaa and Chen play mercenaries duped into a “humanitarian mission” that’s actually an attack on a village in which Uwais’ character’s (very briefly glimpsed) wife and friends are killed. Seeking revenge, he tracks the two to their day jobs as underground fighters… and gets beat up. But they recognize him from the village, explain themselves and become his on again, off again allies as he uses them to try to lure out the criminal syndicate responsible. Meanwhile those two try not to be killed by the gang for knowing too much, as well as to protect a Chinese heiress (Celina Jade, LEGENDARY ASSASSIN, SKIN TRADE, WOLF WARRIOR 2) they discover is being targeted by them. (read the rest of this shit…)

Get ready to get AVENGEMENTed

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

I must be moving up in the world because I actually got sent a press release about Samuel Goldwyn Films acquiring U.S. rights to “THE ACTION-PACKED FILM ‘AVENGEMENT’ STARRING SCOTT ADKINS.”

The important new information is that it will be released digitally on May 24th. It also says it’ll be in theaters that day, but I don’t know how many of our cities will benefit from that.

The other thing that most impressed me is that Adkins’ character is named CAIN BURGESS. Obviously we were all hoping for John Avengement, but the genre can definitely use more Cains and Kanes. We’ll see if Cain Burgess becomes the next Yuri Boyka.

AVENGEMENT is directed by Jesse V. Johnson, who I have noted is on an incredible role with SAVAGE DOG, ACCIDENT MAN, THE DEBT COLLECTOR and TRIPLE THREAT all in a row. He first directed Adkins way back in 2005’s PIT FIGHTER. The screenplay is by Johnson and Stu Smalls, which bodes well – Johnson wrote the excellent DEBT COLLECTOR, and Smalls is Adkins’ life long friend who co-wrote ACCIDENT MAN and has helped mold his dialogue for other scripts.

Here’s the official plot summary:

“While released on furlough from prison, a lowly criminal evades his guards and returns to his old haunts to take revenge on the people that made him a cold-hearted killer. It’s an epic, bloody battle to search for the soul he lost years ago on the streets of an unforgiving city.”

Johnson’s description of the character and story are intriguing. He calls Cain Burgess “both frightening and sympathetic” and “A man who has tempered his pain and rejection into a carbon steel tool for revenge.” And he claims that said revenge is “a satisfyingly baroque, almost elegant retribution.”

So we’ll find out what that’s all about in a few months, but we only have to wait until next week to see the latest from Johnson and Adkins (as the villain), TRIPLE THREAT. I’ll have a review of that for you tomorrow morning after the embargo lifts.

The Debt Collector

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

“Look, you’re a tough guy, but you’re also a good guy.”
“I ain’t that good, mate. You saw what I did to that lad, didn’t ya?”

Yeah, I know, you’re all aware that Scott Adkins is the reigning king of DTV action. That’s not new information. You’re all well acquainted with UNDISPUTED II and III and 4 and UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING, if not HARD TARGET 2 or EL GRINGO or the other ones.

What hasn’t been discussed as much is that our favorite English martial artist has hit a new stride in his string of collaborations with director Jesse V. Johnson. Last year they did SAVAGE DOG, a weird and brutal period piece, followed a few months ago by the smart-ass assassin tale ACCIDENT MAN. Adkins gives honestly great performances in stoic roles like Boyka, who grunt almost as much as they speak, and I love those types of characters. But as co-writer and producer of ACCIDENT MAN, he not only gave himself a ton of great fight scenes, but all kinds of witty dialogue and first person narration that no other onscreen kicker could handle. And his latest continues the trend of retaining his Englishness and showing great charisma and verbal dexterity while still living up to the action expectations of a marquee-name martial arts star. (read the rest of this shit…)

Accident Man

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

For those who came in late… The English actor and martial artist Scott Adkins is the reigning champ of low budget action. After catching our eye as the villain-turned-anti-hero Boyka in three UNDISPUTED sequels (2, 3, 4), as well as starring in two NINJA movies (1, 2) and the incredible UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING, he was clearly the era’s strongest answer to the iconic action stars of the ’90s like Jean-Claude Van Damme – who he co-starred with in THE SHEPHERD: BORDER PATROL, ASSASSINATION GAMES and EXPENDABLES 2. The latter was one of the many times we got hyped up for impending mainstream recognition only to find him playing Knife Guy Who Has Short Fight With Jason Statham. For years people hoped he’d be cast as Iron Fist or somebody in the Marvel Universe, until finally he was in DOCTOR STRANGE – and got beat up by a magic cape.

Little did we know that there was a comic book he’d been wanting to make into a movie since the age of 15, and this didn’t require a big special effects budget or a subduing of his talents. ACCIDENT MAN – starring, produced and co-written by Adkins – is an action-packed, darkly humorous hitman saga based on stories that appeared in the British comics anthology Toxic! in 1991, written by Pat Mills (Judge Dredd, etc.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Savage Dog

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

SAVAGE DOG is an impressively weird new Scott Adkins joint written and directed by Jesse V. Johnson, the veteran stuntman and director of PIT FIGHTER, GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS 2, THE BUTCHER, THE PACKAGE and the upcoming TRIPLE THREAT and ACCIDENT MAN. This one is a period piece, taking place in Indochina circa 1959, portrayed as sort of a CASABLANCA-esque scoundrel zone, or “a melting pot of post-war villainy,” as the titles put it. And some of this villainy will piss off Adkins, setting off a straight up bloodbath.

Adkins plays Martin Tillman, who enters the film in mythical fashion, climbing out of a muddy grave during a lightning storm as narration from the great Keith David (THEY LIVE) promises us a story about the time he “faced down an army and spilled a river of blood.” David will show up on camera later as a bar owner named Valentine, but since the man has more narrating credits to his name than Morgan Freeman they must’ve followed the Morgan Freeman rule with him: if he’s in your movie, get him to narrate. (read the rest of this shit…)

Self indulgent THE GOOD THE TOUGH AND THE DEADLY journal

Monday, June 27th, 2016

tn_gdtBwarning: I had to write this down as a time capsule of my book signing experience. Read at own risk.

 

Today, like the mighty sasquatch, I live as a recluse somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Yesterday, in the name of transparency, I was out in the open in Burbank, California, joining lower-cased author david j. moore as one of the many guests signing his gigantic coffee table book THE GOOD, THE TOUGH AND THE DEADLY: ACTION MOVIES & STARS 1960s-PRESENT.

“It’s about action stars, not action movies,” david kept telling people as he signed their books. He’d wanted a different subtitle that made that more clear. Rather than trying to catalog everything that could technically qualify as an action movie – which could end up being half super heroes and transformerses and shit – he chose to zero in on the dying art of the action star vehicle. I remember him calling me for counsel on this issue a few years ago. I don’t think I was much help, but I agreed with his eventual decision to limit it to actors who primarily or exclusively do action, and (with a few exceptions) started as martial artists or athletes. That means no to my boys Bruce and Clint, sorry to say, but yes to JCVD, Cynthia Rothrock, Jerry Trimble, Michael Dudikoff, Olivier Gruner, ex-diver Jason Statham, and plenty of people I’m not even familiar with. People who never had books about them before, who you never thought would have books about them. (He does include Bronson, Stallone and Schwarzenegger, if you’re worried.)
(read the rest of this shit…)

Green Street Hooligans 2

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

tn_greenstreet2GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS 2: STAND YOUR GROUND opens with another BRAVEHEART style two-crowds-running-at-each brawl set to an upbeat punk anthem. But the ground they have to stand in this one is fenced in – they’re in the joint. It’s about exactly what you dreamed the DTV sequel to GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS would be about: one of the supporting characters from part 1 is in prison for the big fight they  got into at the end and continues to feud with the guy that killed Petey, now played by a different actor.

Ross McCall (SUBMERGED) triumphantly returns to his role of Dave, he was the guy who was the airline pilot, he called them up and warned them there were a bunch of guys that were gonna beat them up at the game or whatever. I don’t remember him being that important of a figure but prison is one of those small ponds that makes his fish parts look bigger or whatever. It’s just him and two oafs we never saw before from the GSE (Green Street Enthusiastic Soccer Fans Club dot org) and all the sudden he’s the brains of the operation, he acts like the leader and they follow him around and stuff. McCall is good actually, I had to look him up to make sure he was in the first one because he has a much stronger presence here, he seems like a different guy. (read the rest of this shit…)

An interview with Jesse V. Johnson

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

tn_packageI don’t think I’ve ever posted something from another writer before, and I don’t plan to do much of that, but when david j. moore (all lower case, like e.e. cummings) asked if I wanted to run an interview he did with stuntman/director Jesse V. Johnson I thought it sounded good to me. Johnson is on my short list of DTV-directors-to-keep-an-eye-on, and I’ve written about his movies PIT FIGHTER, THE BUTCHER and THE PACKAGE.

Moore is a contributor to many websights and magazines, most importantly Fangoria (because I subscribe to that) and he has an awesome-sounding book coming out next year called WORLD GONE WILD: A SURVIVOR’S GUIDE TO POST-APOCALYPTIC MOVIES, where he reviews more than 800 post-apocalypse movies and interviews many of their creators. His second book will be even more up our alley because it’s all about action stars. And I know he’s going all out for that because he told me he interviewed Lorenzo Lamas and asked him about NIGHT OF THE WARRIOR.

Here he talks Jesse V. Johnson, who discusses working with everyone from Steve Austin to Steven Spielberg. It’s a nice talk that’s very frank about what it’s like making low budget movies for video or the SyFy channel.

Thank you David for the interview and the rest of you I hope you enjoy it.

(read the rest of this shit…)

The Package (2013)

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

tn_packageTHE PACKAGE continues two DTV trends that I enjoy:

1. Stone Cold Steve Austin, possible heir to the DTV throne, co-starring with all the other icons of the DTV Action Era. This is his Dolph Lundgren movie. Previously he did his Michael Jai White movie TACTICAL FORCE, his Danny Trejo movie RECOIL and his Steven Seagal movie MAXIMUM CONVICTION. He’s still got to do a Van Damme, an Adkins and a Cuba Gooding Jr.

2. Dolph doing colorful supporting roles where he gets to goof around more. He also stole the show in ONE IN THE CHAMBER and THE EXPENDABLESes and I haven’t seen STASH HOUSE or SMALL APARTMENTS but I bet it’s true of those too. Maybe all these roles where he gets to experiment more will bring something new to him next time he’s the leading man again. (read the rest of this shit…)

Pit Fighter

Friday, September 17th, 2010

tn_pitfighterI’m starting to think the underground fighting movie is to modern DTV what the western was to b-movies in the ’50s. They just never stop coming and yet somehow they’re not all terrible, in fact a few of them are great. You got BLOOD AND BONE of course, you got UNDISPUTED II-III (unless you consider prison fighting a separate genre), DAMAGE with Stone Cold Steve Austin was surprisingly good, and there’s even a good theatrically released one, FIGHTING. I’d recommend all of those above PIT FIGHTER, but I’ll be damned, here’s another pretty enjoyable and distinctively different take on this same type of storyline. (read the rest of this shit…)