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

Posts Tagged ‘made-for-cable-movies’

Full Eclipse

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

For those of us disappointed that MOONLIGHT, although very good, was not about werewolves, here is a pretty okay wolfman movie to dig up. (You know, like a dog would dig up a bone or something.) It stars Mario Van Peebles, it’s directed by Anthony Hickox right after WARLOCK: THE ARMAGEDDON, and it’s written by Richard Christian Matheson (THREE O’CLOCK HIGH) & Michael Reaves (Super Friends).

I like that it combines werewolves with a straight up cop movie. It’s hard to classify as horror exactly, because the lycanthropy is treated more like super powers than monsters. In fact, they have Wolverine style claws and Magneto type helmets. But they are werewolves in a legit action movie complete with cliches about cops and their partners and one of them saying “I’m too old for this” and everything.

Even better, this came out the year America stole John Woo, and the style seems pretty influenced by him. Lots of leaping through the air to fire guns, slow motion, intense, lingering closeups. For the opening set piece Hickox revisits his HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH idea of terror in a dance club full of big spooky body part sculptures, but with bullets and debris and people flying everywhere, usually with LAPD detective Max Dire (Van Peebles) dropping from above or jumping in the air or laying on the floor while shooting two guns. (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.

Christmas Rush (a.k.a. Breakaway)

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

CHRISTMAS RUSH (or BREAKAWAY on DVD) is a 2002 action movie made for the cable channel then known as TBS Super Station. (Other original TBS movies that year: DEAD IN A HEARTBEAT, DISAPPEARANCE, ATOMIC TWISTER, COUNTERSTRIKE, FIRST SHOT). It’s a DIE-HARD-in-a-mall type setup and I believe the only DIE HARD copycat besides DIE HARD 2 that takes place at Christmas time.

Dean Cain (A CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE …FROM A BOOK CALLED WISELY’S TALES, A CHRISTMAS WEDDING, THE DOG WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS, THE CHRISTMAS GIFT, A NANNY FOR CHRISTMAS, THE DOG WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS VACATION, THE CASE FOR CHRISTMAS, THE DOG WHO SAVED THE HOLIDAYS, DEFENDING SANTA, SMALL TOWN SANTA, A BELLE FOR CHRISTMAS, MERRY EX-MAS, BEVERLY HILLS CHRISTMAS, A DOG FOR CHRISTMAS, BROADCASTING CHRISTMAS) plays Cornelius Morgan, edgy Chicago cop who gets suspended and is being sued for a shooting that happens while arresting Chinese gangsters. On Christmas Eve day he’s handed a subpoena and gets in a small snit with his wife Cat (Erika Eleniak, UNDER SIEGE, an episode of Hunter and a Wet ‘n Wild video). At night he tries to visit her at her work, a jewelry store in Chicago Place Mall, to give her flowers and apologize.

BUT! He sees the supposedly-retired thief Jimmy Scalzetti (Eric Roberts, CHRISTMAS IN COMPTON, SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS, ALL AMERICAN CHRISTMAS CAROL, A HUSBAND FOR CHRISTMAS, SANTA’S BOOT CAMP) strolling in looking all tough and intent on something and clearly not there to shop for holiday gifts or trenchcoats, which they are stocked up on. He follows them into an employees only hallway and sees that they’re there to rob the place. (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.

Cosmic Slop

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

tn_cosmicslopA year before TALES FROM THE HOOD was a black Tales From the Crypt, the Hudlin brothers’ HBO TV movie COSMIC SLOP was “a multi-cultural Twilight Zone.” Even if the VHS cover didn’t have a Chicago Tribune quote calling it that, you’d get the idea from the intro, when a trail of terrible 2D computer animated objects (basketball, rolling pin, chair, bust of Beethoven, electric guitar, bra, asterisk) float in under George Clinton’s familiar “free your mind and your ass will follow” narration and a re-recording of the 1973 Funkadelic song that the title comes from.

It’s even lower budget than TALES and much cheesier, with crude, video toaster style digital effects. It’s clearly a pilot for a show they decided not to make, but it’s another admirable attempt to bring a different perspective to the tradition of short genre stories that explore social issues.

Clinton’s disembodied head floats in, on fire, a blinking animatronic third eye on his forehead, and morphs between different hairstyles as he cryptically Rod Serlings a trio of stories with his cryptic afro-futurist catch phrases. (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.

A Huey P. Newton Story

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

tn_hueypnewtonPANTHER reminded me of one of the few Spike Lee movies I hadn’t seen, the 2001 made-for-cable A HUEY P. NEWTON STORY. When it comes to the Spike Lee Jointography there are three categories. There’s the main ones you think about – DO THE RIGHT THING, MALCOLM X, all the way through his recent OLDBOY remake. And sprinkled in between are the documentaries, often made for cable. They’re less widely seen, of course, but really good, movies like FOUR LITTLE GIRLS and WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE. But even rarer than that there’s the performance films. I gotta admit I haven’t gotten to most of these. PASSING STRANGE was one, that’s a Broadway musical. I did see ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY. That was pretty good.

A HUEY P. NEWTON STORY, A SPIKE LEE JOINT is a filmed version of a one-man show that Roger Guenveur Smith did starting in 1996 at the New York theater where Hair started.

I don’t know if you know who Smith is. He’s gotta be best known for playing Smiley in DO THE RIGHT THING, so I’m sure people walk up to him on the street every day and say “M-M-M-Martin. M-M-M-Malcolm.” He’s actually been in several Spike Lee movies, he was on Oz I guess, he was one of the stars of Steven Soderbergh’s improvised lobbyist drama K-Street on HBO. But also he was the bad guy in Seagal’s MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE.

He’s an actor I’ve always liked, but I could understand if you didn’t. He has a very theatrical style. He’s a character actor but he likes to show off. He always carries around a little stick of scenery in his pocket to chew on. MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE is an example of him getting a little loosey goosey with the accents. (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.

Motorcycle Gang

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

tn_motorcyclegangI found this DVD called MOTORCYCLE GANG, starring Carla Gugino and Jake Busey, directed by John Milius. That’s gotta be a TV movie, right? Yes, upon closer inspection I figured out it was part of the Rebel Highway series that Showtime did in 1994.

Rebel Highway was what happened when producers Lou Arkoff (son of Samuel Z.) and Debra Hill (one-time producing partner of John Carpenter) put together a group of ten directors and let them choose titles from the American International Pictures library of ’50s drive-in movies. They could remake it or just use the title if they wanted. They got low budgets and short shooting schedules, but apparently they were given final cut and encouraged to make them sleazy. So it was alot like the original AIP. Some of the directors included John McNaughton, Joe Dante and William Friedkin. The only one I’d seen before this was ROADRACERS, which was Robert Rodriguez’s practice movie between EL MARIACHI and DESPERADO. (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.

In Her Line of Fire

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

tn_inherlineoffireThis is another one of these random movies I came across in the action section at the video store. It stars Mariel Hemingway as a Secret Service agent who has to rescue the Vice President from guerillas after Air Force 2 crash lands on a remote island. You don’t usually see a woman playing that type of action hero, but what really caught my eye was a logo from the Here! cable network, which I believe is all gay-themed programming.

A gay action movie? That’s something I’ve never come across before, and I like coming across things I’ve never come across before. But it’s a made-for-cable movie, so I hesitated. My instincts to give it a shot only won out because the director is Brian Trenchard-Smith, the sometimes-great director of DEAD END DRIVE-IN, THE MAN FROM HONG KONG and DEATH CHEATERS. And, uh, LEPRECHAUN 4: IN SPACE.
(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 Last Outlaw

Friday, July 16th, 2010

tn_lastoutlawcountdownlogoI meant to do this back when I reviewed POINT BLANK (Mickey Rourke vs. mall terrorists version), but I forgot, so here’s another Mickey Rourke picture to kick things off on a new thing I’ll try called COUNTDOWN TO THE EXPENDABLES. Not sure if I got enough time before the movie comes out next month, but I’m gonna try to go down the list of all the main EXPENDABLES cast members and review one of their movies that I haven’t seen before. (See, it’s a good thing Seagal turned the movie down, because there’s not anything by him that I haven’t seen. Maybe I’d have to review the cameo on the episode of Roseanne that I didn’t find out about until after Seagalogy went to print.)

Whether or not Stallone’s movie ends up being any good I think we can all agree that he did a good job of casting a wide range of tough guys from different movements, generations and disciplines. So through this journey I think we will all learn a few things and expand our knowledge of the Badass Arts in its many forms. I know I’ve already seen one unexpected gem in preparation for this series, so this could be a great time.

THE LAST OUTLAW is not that unexpected gem. Sorry. It’s not too bad, though. (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 Late Shift

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

tn_lateshiftTHE LATE SHIFT was the HBO movie based on the book based on the time when Jay Leno and David Letterman were fighting over taking over The Tonight Show. It seeks to put you backstage and in the board rooms and Emmy parties to see with your own simulated eyes what happened. But at the same time it can’t help but distance you because that’s not Leno or Letterman, in my opinion it’s actually a couple of actors doing impressions. They also have legendary unfunny impressionist Rich Little playing Johnny Carson. He does a good impression but looks nothing like him, so in his scenes you just have to look away from the screen and then it seems like it’s Johnny.

The guy that plays Leno is Daniel Roebuck, who also plays talk show host Morris Green in the Rob Zombie pictures. And he was in BUBBA HO-TEP. Letterman is played by John Michael Higgins (BLADE: TRINITY). It’s also populated with character actors like Bob Balaban and Ed Begley Jr. playing executives whose names you used to hear all the time in the ’80s and ’90s but never really paid attention to who they were. Treat Williams plays Letterman’s super agent Michael Ovitz, so it’s the guy from the SUBSTITUTE sequels playing the guy who got Seagal into movies. The director is Betty Thomas, a fairly respected filmatist at the time because THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE and then PRIVATE PARTS were better than anybody expected. But I just looked it up and it turns out her most recent directorial work is ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS THE SQUEAKQUEL, so I guess that’s how that story ended. (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.

Blackjack

Monday, December 5th, 2005

Recently I reviewed RED SCORPION and I talked about The Enigma of Dolph Lundgren. The enigma is that this guy who I’m betting is fascinating in real life (he’s a big muscleman martial artist who does dumb action movies, but he’s highly educated) has almost no presence in movies. Well after seeing this topnotch John Woo TV movie I take it back. It turns out when he’s not pretending to be Russian he’s got all kinds of charisma.

I know this is made for TV, not video, but it’s exactly the kind of gem I’m looking for when a dig through all this crap. A ridiculous, enjoyable and unusual action movie. The main reason it’s unusual is that Dolph Lundgren’s character is afraid of the color 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.

Vern has a threesome with Sarah Silverman and Spike Lee!!!

Thursday, December 1st, 2005

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here to present Vern, who is taking on Sarah Silverman in Jesus Is Magic and Spike Lee’s SUCKER FREE CITY in the way only Vern can. No more intro is needed. Have at it!!!

Sarah Silverman’s JESUS IS MAGIC vs. Spike Lee’s SUCKER FREE CITY

Howdy boys. I got basically two reviews for you here. One is a standup movie by some female comedian, or comedienne, that readers of this sight are familiar with from jerking off. Er, I mean, from Comedy Central. The other one is a Spike Lee Joint made for Showtime as a pilot for a TV series but then turned into a full blown straight to cable feature. So it’s not a big screen movie but yes, it is still officially classified as a ‘Joint’ according to the box art. Anyway, I’m not sure what connection there is between these two other than that I watched them both yesterday. But that’s really the important thing here, isn’t it? Me. (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.