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

Posts Tagged ‘Mark Dacascos’

Angel Town

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

tn_angeltown“Jacques, as long as I’ve known you you’ve been in deep shit. I expect this.”

Even though I have this weird feeling that French kickboxing champion turned VHS-era action icon Olivier Gruner doesn’t like me, I’m open to watching his movies. I actually didn’t realize while watching it that ANGEL TOWN was his debut, but it makes sense. This is his L.A. gang movie, which came out after COLORS but before BOYZ N THE HOOD or MENACE II SOCIETY (or New York movies like NEW JACK CITY and JUICE). And I’m not saying it’s as good as any of those, but it’s a fun b-action take on the subject, and it makes a decent argument for why Gruner should be in movies.

He plays Jacques, a Frenchman renting a room in a gang neighborhood while attending graduate school in East L.A. He ends up there because he gets into town late and all the student housing is filled up, but also we learn he was born in a French ghetto and lived in one in Hong Kong too. It’s not relevant, but I want to mention why he’s late to school: when he was about to leave he went to visit his father’s grave and then his girlfriend showed up distraught that he was leaving and she took off her fur coat and she was naked so he fucked her right there on his father’s grave. And that must’ve taken a couple days, I don’t know. (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.

American Samurai

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

tn_americansamuraiHow the fuck does a guy become an American samurai? Well, in the case of Drew Collins (David Bradley, AMERICAN NINJA 3-V) when he was a baby he and his parents were traveling in a small plane that crashed into a tree, only he survived, and then he was raised by an old Japanese guy named Tatsuya (John Fujioka, ZATOICHI IN DESPERATION, AMERICAN NINJA, AMERICAN YAKUZA). Finders keepers, you know?

Basically it’s exactly like Superman, except being a white man in Asia doesn’t give him super powers. But he does really good in his sword training anyway. I’m not clear why his adopted father was a samurai swordsman in the 1980s, I suppose it’s kind of along the lines of being a civil war buff. In related news I would like to see a Cannon movie called JAPANESE BLUEBELLY. (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.

Crying Freeman

Monday, August 27th, 2012

CRYING FREEMAN (1995) is a pretty cool movie that I went back to hoping it would be better than I realized before. I did a brief write-up of it in a column years ago, but I’m not gonna link to it right now because most of the column is angry rants about what was going on in the news at the time and it makes me cringe. Based on a Japanese comic book (or “Japomic Book”) by the same writer as Lone Wolf and Cub, CRYING FREEMAN is a moody, serious assassin movie with Yakuza, mind control, a witch, romance and tragedy. It takes place in 4 different countries (U.S., Canada, China, Japan) with the most convincing, of course, being the part that takes place in Vancouver, B.C.
(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.

Boogie Boy

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

I always root for Mark Dacascos to be in something really good. I love ONLY THE STRONG, and he’s in some other fun ones, like the ridiculous CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE. I’ve watched his movie DRIVE a couple times, not the one with Ryan Gosling but the one with Mark Dacascos. And Kadeem Hardison and Britney Murphy. People used to always try to push that one on me and I never really got into it, but he’s pretty good. He’s a good martial artist. I was always curious about this little known one from 1998 ’cause it’s him starring in some kind of crime movie executive produced by Roger Avary. Could be interesting, right?

Could’ve been. Wasn’t really. But here are a few words about it for the historic record.
(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.

Only the Strong

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

tn_onlythestrongLadies and gentlemen, I present to you the best find of my Back To School Special. Maybe THE SUBSTITUTE is better, but I’d already seen that one before so I knew what to expect. This is a surprisingly natural hybrid of the inspirational teacher movie with the American martial arts star vehicle. It embraces the necessary corniness of both genres and seems a little more sincere about the turning kids around aspect than THE SUBSTITUTE does. And it came out in ’93, three years earlier.

It stars American IRON CHEF host Mark Dacascos and it’s directed by long-time Van Damme collaborator Sheldon Lettich. This is his third directational work after LIONHEART and DOUBLE IMPACT. Dacascos plays Louis Stevens, a peace time Green Beret who fell in love with the martial art capoeira while stationed in Brazil. He was apparently some kind of troublemaking kid until a good teacher named Mr. Kerrigan (EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE sidekick Geoffrey Lewis) turned him around and convinced him to join the military. Once he gets out he returns to the school to see if there’s any way he can work there and try to make a difference in other young people’s lives. The school is a hellhole and he pretty much gets tossed out on his ass. (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.

Cradle 2 the Grave

Friday, July 23rd, 2004

From the same director, producer and cast as Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds comes another exciting pile of disparate elements squooshed together into the same basic shape as an action movie. It’s really more of a booger sculpture than a movie, but for a booger sculpture, it’s not that bad, I guess.

Joel Silver originally announced this as Untitled DMX Project, supposedly a remake of Fritz Lang’s M. If that was the case, then I guess Tom Arnold (our generation’s Peter Lorre) would’ve been playing a perverted child killer whose killing spree had caused the police to clamp down so hard that organized crime would be pretty much put out of business. So the leaders of rival gangs (DMX, Jet Li, Mark Dacascos) would pool their resources to catch Tom Arnold so everything could go back to normal. (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 Island of Dr. Moreau

Friday, July 2nd, 2004

The disappointment of that Planet of the Apes remake nonsense got me thinking about the old days. How you used to be able to make movies about talking gorillas that were still intelligent type pictures. You got all the rubber makeup and the spaceships and the fighting and what not that the nerds love but you also got some social commentary in there or some politics or some insights about our world and what not. You got vietnam and the civil rights movement going on in the real world and the apes really strikes a ball or whatever with people because of the obvious parallels. These were expensive studio movies but they were willing to give something back instead of just selling a product and then running like hell.

Then out of the blue I got an anonymous tip, telling me Vern, there was a movie in the mid-’90s which attempted this same thing. You got the rubber makeup and you got the sci-fi nonsense. It’s even a remake of an old movie based on a classic book, just like the apes picture. The one catch is that everyone in the world claims this movie is a worthless piece of utter garbage. but you should still watch it, Vern. (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.

Brotherhood of the Wolf

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2002

The box’ll get you expecting some weird french version of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, but I say it’s a 2000s Hammer movie. So you got a period piece with a mysterious beast eating people in a village, and the townspeople are trying to hunt it but they’re on the wrong track, and some colorful experts come to town to get the job done FOR REAL.

All that, but it’s the 2000s so they all do karate. Just like Charlie’s Angels, Mission: Impossible, X-Men, Superman, Charles In Charge, anybody that’s resurrected in the 2000s, they’re gonna do karate. Why? The Matrix. When? The 2000s. Where? A big screen near you. This includes not just americans, but also the French. The Musketeer did karate and Vidocq did detective style kung fu, and this movie introduces until-now-unknown traditions of French and Native American martial arts. Those scenes are kind of tossed in there, but it’s not quite as crazy as it sounds. If you like the movie like I did, it will probaly be due to the classic story of the monster eating the villagers, and the dudes trying to track the monster. Not the karate. (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.

Military tribunals, Bush would have lost 6 out of 9 recounts, Ethnic profiling, + Amelie, Crying Freeman, Bones & The Wash

Friday, November 16th, 2001

Well, it looks like I’m doin these columns once a month now, and I guess that’s better than nothin. This time I’ll be reviewing a handful of movies that have NOTHING to do with politics. I haven’t seen this Henry Porter witchcraft movie that everybody has a boner about but I have seen some other current pictures and some older ones that I will be discussing.

There’s a catch though. First I’m gonna hafta talk politics some more. I’ll keep it shorter, but this is more important than ever.

There is a grave threat to America right now. Well, another one. In addition to Islamic extremists crashing planes into our buildings, and right wing extremists sending anthrax to us in the mail, and turbulence symbolically knocking the tails and engines off of our American Airlines planes on Veteran’s Day as an accidental commentary on our foreign policy, now we have to worry about our acting president completely and blatantly abandoning the supposed ideals of America, and no one caring. (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.