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

Posts Tagged ‘Mel Gibson’

Lethal Weapon 3

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

tn_lethalweapon3LETHAL WEAPON 3 is the third one in the series in my opinion so it brings with it certain baggage, but also certain strengths. On the negative side, it feels more concerned with satisfying sequel expectations than with actually telling a good story. Even more than the other two it feels more like a list of ideas strung together than a story. Oh, we gotta bring Leo back, he should be bleach blond and act all Hollywood and stuff, that would be funny. And Murtaugh should be trying to sell his house and they try to not mention to prospective buyers that a bunch of deadly battles took place there! Oh yeah, Leo could be the real estate agent. That’s it! And Murtaugh should be retiring soon so he’s all worried he’s gonna get shot, ’cause he realizes how it works in movies! But then it’s Leo that gets shot, he’s okay but he gets all high and mighty about it, saying he got shot in the line of duty. You know how Leo is. Murtaugh should bond with a son this time, not just Rianne. Something about guns in the black community. Oh, and explosions. Bigger than before. One of those “the red wire or the green wire?” scenes could be fun. Who should be Riggs’s new girl? How ’bout a girl cop? You think she’s uptight, ’cause she’s internal affairs, but then she knows how to kickbox!
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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.

Lethal Weapon 2

Monday, January 6th, 2014

tn_lethalweapon2“I’m really too old for this shit.”

Is it wrong that I almost like LETHAL WEAPON 2 better than part 1? I know it’s kinda formulaic and Shane Black left part way through and everything but to me it’s a really enjoyable follow-up with some great gimmicks.

It states its action-with-a-comedic-edge intent from the opening logo when it plays the Looney Tunes music with the dramatic metal title lettering. Credits forged in steel. Then it opens mid-high-speed car chase with Riggs cackling like a madman, i.e. like Riggs. We get to have our cake and eat our cake also because he hasn’t wanted to commit suicide since the end of part 1, but he’s still a nut. To underline that point we get to see him wearing a straitjacket at the police station. He takes a bet that he can’t escape from one, and is crazy enough to intentionally dislocate his shoulder to pull it off. (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.

Lethal Weapon

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

tn_lethalweaponFirst of all, I would like to extend my deepest and most profound apologies for the first time I wrote about LETHAL WEAPON and fixated on Mel Gibson’s Swayze-esque hair and David Sanborn’s Smooth Cop Jazz saxophone. I know my comments hurt alot of people and put alot of negativity into the world, and that is something I simply never wish to do. I would especially like to apologize to Gibson’s hair stylist Paul Abascal, who not only did hair on many Swayze, Stallone and Willis (?) classics, but also went on to direct PAPARAZZI and the reshoots of PAYBACK. I know now it was a different time and place that cannot be held to a newer era’s standards of taste and style. In the years since that review I have changed alot, I have learned, I have grown as a man, as a critic and as a spiritual being. I have looked at pictures of JCVD in HARD TARGET and realized Mel’s mullet coulda been worse. So to get ready for Christmas I decided I was ready to try LETHAL WEAPON again.

It’s hard to separate LETHAL WEAPON from the litter of movies it spawned. In the sequels Murtaugh (Danny Glover, PREDATOR 2) and Riggs (Mel Gibson, MAD god damn MAX) are great buddies and there’s wisecracking and everything and I mix it up in my mind with the cliches of interracial buddy movies. But really the first LETHAL WEAPON is not about race and it’s pre-buddy. It’s about the formation of their buddyship. It’s about this regular working family man cop who, on the day after his 50th birthday, is forced to be partners with a younger crazy guy. Like, not just a loose cannon, a guy that we’ve actually seen wake up in his trailer, put a gun in his mouth and start crying and almost pull the trigger. While watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. He’s been suicidal since the death of his wife in a car accident, even has a special hollow point set aside for the job. (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.

Machete Kills

Monday, October 14th, 2013

tn_machetekillsThere are lots of funny things in MACHETE KILLS. For a while it coasts on enjoyably stupid jokes, like the ridiculous trailer for part 3 of the series that it opens with. Early on it has a little faux-serious melodrama, playing it almost straight when a clash with rogue soldiers, a Mexican drug cartel and an army in lucha libre masks leads to the death of Machete (Danny Trejo, DEATH WISH 4: THE CRACKDOWN, MARKED FOR DEATH)’s partner. I like the setup, with a redneck Arizona sheriff (William Sadler, DIE HARD 2) failing to hang Machete before he gets called in by the president (Charlie Sheen, NAVY SEALS, credited as Carlos Estevez) who offers him citizenship in exchange for doing a dangerous mission. I thought the joke of casting him was to have a guy as crazy as Sheen as the president, like wasn’t Mickey Rourke the president in MASKED AND ANONYMOUS? It honestly didn’t occur to me until seeing him on a White House set that his dad played the president in The West Wing (not to mention playing Kennedy). Anyway, the best part is the idea that this unsavory slasher/wife-and-daughter-fucker/assassin gets to sit in the White House and hear his offer.

Trejo’s face is even more rugged than ever, if possible, and he doesn’t have to joke around. He’s fun to watch just being that same character, but now equipped with various high-tech variations on machetes to chop people up with. Robert Rodriguez (credited as sole director this time, and also with his name above the title, but only a co-story credit) once again fills the movie with a huge, unlikely cast, mostly playing colorful gimmicky characters: Mel Gibson (PAPARAZZI) as a weapon inventor/space cultist planning to blow up the world, Demian Bichir (2012 best actor nominee for A BETTER LIFE) as a revolutionary/terrorist/something, Amber Heard (DRIVE ANGRY) as a government agent undercover as a beauty queen, Walton Goggins/Cuba Gooding Jr./Lady Gaga/Antonio Banderas all playing the same assassin called El Camaleon, Vanessa Hudgens (SPRING BREAKERS) as a girl that’s in one part, Sofia Vergara allowing Salma Hayek some dignity by stepping in to play the deadly Madam character with army of killer prostitutes (see also Lucy Liu in THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, Zoe Bell in BAYTOWN OUTLAWS, etc.) (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.

Get the Gringo

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Well, I don’t want to start up the ol’ Mel Gibson debate again. We all know how that goes. At some point somebody’s gonna point out that he didn’t kill anybody, so why is he persona non grata in Hollywood? Well, because of multiple crazed incidents where he threw raging tirades about Jews, blacks, rape and cutting off his girlfriend’s head. Yep, he pretty much hit all of them except gays. And him being a movie star we still start to forget about it after a while and want to forgive him, but then every time he seems to be almost in the clear he does another one. Like he wants to be caught.

So I can understand why some people might not want to work with him. Don’t pretend like you don’t. If he was just a guy and not the star (and director) of movies we love you wouldn’t want to share a shift with him or invite him over for the family barbecue, and you fuckin know it.
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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.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

BEYOND THUNDERDOME has always been the red-headed stepchild of the MAD MAX series. Everybody loves ROAD WARRIOR, on account of it being one of the best movies everybody has ever seen. So if Miller just rehashed it but added a new Joe Pesci character or something then everybody probaly woulda been happy. Instead he expanded on the universe, he took the story in another entirely new direction and alot of people still aren’t ready to follow.

I haven’t seen this movie in years and I actually remembered it being more different than it really is. In fact, I was thinking there weren’t even cars in this one. I just remembered planes and pig shit and that song by Tina Turner. I thought it wasn’t as good as the other two but that it got a bum rap. Seeing it again – well, okay, it’s my third favorite, and there is a section in the middle that I had a problem with, but it needs to be said that this is a great fucking movie. (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 Road Warrior

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

(or MAD MAX 2)

Man, I love MAD MAX. So raw with its low budget, so fierce with its ridiculous car stunts and harsh view of humanity. There’s something about that one that nobody has really captured again. Still, in a way this amazing sequel takes it to a new level.

The world is further down the shitter now. Society is not just crumbling, it’s in crumbs. Max is still hauling ass down Australia’s highways in his Interceptor (the last one left), battling high speed maniacs and stealing any gas he can find. The opening scene is the most reminiscent of the first movie, a classic chase scene. It also introduces the gang that will be the villains in this one. Vernon Wells plays Wez, the dude with the mowhawk and shoulder pads, riding a motorcycle with his blond punk (or bitch, or desert life partner) on his back. On the other side a dude in a car tries to shoot Max with a crossbow, but Max hits the brakes and the arrow hits Wez in the arm. (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: Straight Up – The Director’s Cut

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

I don’t know how familiar any of you are with Payback, the 1999 Mel Gibson-starring adaptation of Richard Stark’s The Hunter. That’s the same book that inspired one of the all time canonical works of Badass Cinema, Point Blank.

Well, Mel Gibson is no Lee Marvin and writer/director Brian Helgeland (A Knight’s Tale) is no John Boorman. But I think Payback is an underrated movie. It’s a good balance of vicious and funny. It’s got a bit of a ’70s throwback feel and lots of weird touches to make it an indistinct time period. There are rotary phones, and primitive credit card technology that makes fraud more convenient, and the film is washed out with bleach making everything have a pale blue tint to it. You’re not sure when this is supposed to be taking place, which in a weird way reminds me of the experience of reading the books. Most of it reads pretty modern but obviously you are dealing with armed robbers, there is money, communication and security technology that would make some of the stories impossible today. So I sometimes have to check the copyright dates to be sure when this would’ve happened. (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.

Apocalypto

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

MEL GIBSON’S APOCALYPTO
by Mel Gibson
not anti-semitic

APOCALYPTO opens with a wild pig being chased through the jungle. Eventually the group of hunters on his ass lure him into a trap that impales him on a set of wooden spikes. Victorious, the hunters step through the leaves and reveal themselves to the camera. They’re Mayan so they’re half naked, covered in ritualistic scars and tattoos, piercings through their noses and chins. We’ve seen guys like this in movies before, they’re called “savages.” I just saw a more fantastical version in the “300” trailer before this movie. You see these type of guys, they might as well be bloodthirsty aliens, you just can’t relate. (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.

Lethal Weapon

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

I meant to see APOCALYPTO this week but I was too god damn sick to haul my ass to the theater. So I figured what the hell, it’s December, I’m Vern – might as well revisit LETHAL WEAPON. Haven’t seen that one since the ’80s. One of my buddies swears by it.

Well, it was interesting to watch this movie again, and I had fun, but I can’t say it has aged too well. I know it’s not fair to compare everything to DIE HARD, but LETHAL WEAPON is no DIE HARD. Bruce knew to keep the hair conservative, it will be timeless, no problem. His hair in that movie is so not dated that today, when the LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD teaser debuted online, everybody was pissed that he didn’t have the old hair do. (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.