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

Posts Tagged ‘old timey super heroes’

The Shadow

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

a survey of summer movies that just didn’t catch on

(NOTE: I’ve decided to go back to cover two Summer Flings that I regret having skipped.)

July 1, 1994

Look, I can’t say for sure what audiences were yearning for in the summer of ’94, but it might have been a cartoon about lions and it might not have been a super hero movie set in the 1930s, based on a character from serialized radio dramas. Here is yet another entry in my beloved genre of old-timey-super-hero-movie-that-totally-failed-at-the-box-office-but-I-thought-it-was-pretty-good. I suppose THE SHADOW seemed like a more sensible bet than some of them, because it was at least a character with vague name recognition and noir influences like BATMAN (in fact some believe the first Batman story was a rip-off of a Shadow story called “Partners of Peril”).

At first glance The Shadow (Alec Baldwin, THE GETAWAY) does seem like kind of a Batman-esque character. He’s a rich handsome guy named Lamont Cranston who lives a secret life, going out at night as a scary figure, fighting criminals. He doesn’t have a cape, but a black cloak that serves the same purpose, plus a hat and a mask over the mouth and two guns. And hidden in an alley is the entrance to his Batcave-like secret base. (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 Rocketeer

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017
a survey of summer movies that just didn’t catch on

June 19, 1991

THE ROCKETEER has all the right ingredients for an aw schucks old timey circa-1938 super hero yarn. The hero, Cliff (Billy Campbell, FAT KID RULES THE WORLD), is a pilot for air shows – small time enough to be an underdog, but cool enough to strut around in his brown leather pilot’s jacket and clock a guy when necessary.

The setting is Los Angeles, so his girlfriend Jenny (Jennifer Connelly, CREEPERS, LABYRINTH) is an aspiring ingenue, the villain is suave, swashbuckling “#3 box office star” Neville Sinclair (Timothy Dalton, BRENDA STARR), and the experimental technology they’re fighting over was originated by Howard Hughes (Terry O’Quinn, THE STEPFATHER). Also involved are mobsters (because Sinclair hired them), Nazis (because he is one), G-men (led by Ed Lauter, DEATH WISH 3, THE ARTIST) and a giant named Lothar (former Austrian basketball pro Tiny Ron Taylor [ROAD HOUSE, SASQUATCH MOUNTAIN] made up by Rick Baker to look like Rondo Hatton).

The random way Cliff becomes a jet-packing hero is pretty cool. During a test flight of the craft he and his mechanic/mentor Peevy (Alan Arkin, FREEBIE AND THE BEAN) have been working on for years, he flies over a chase between the mobsters and the FBI. The mobsters think he’s with the feds and turn their tommy guns on him! Some kind of mixup causes the gangsters to get away without the jetpack they stole from Howard Hughes, but Cliff accidentally finds where they stashed 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.

The Phantom

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

tn_phantomYou know what movie gets a bad rap, or unfairly ignored? Well, you probly already guessed it’s gonna be the one I wrote the title of above and then there’s a picture of it to the left. Maybe this is not the best format for a guessing game of this type, now that I think about it. If that’s your answer then you are correct, THE PHANTOM from 1996 starring Billy Zane gets a bad rap or is unfairly ignored.

I’m sure in its darkest moments THE PHANTOM believes that nobody understands it, but it doesn’t care. It knows what it is. It’s comfortable with itself. I mean, I don’t know how you guys feel about slamming evil, but THE PHANTOM is all about slamming evil according to the American poster, and I think it does a good job of making the slamming of evil entertaining. (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 Spirit

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Yes, as you’ve heard by now, THE SPIRIT is a terrible movie. But don’t fall into the trap I did. Just because almost everyone agrees that it’s terrible doesn’t mean it’s funny or interesting to watch. I thought it looked bad from the trailers and really had no interest until I started seeing some of these reviews comparing it to various landmarks in bad movie history. The more vicious the reviews got the more I started to think shit, I kind of want to see that. People acted like it was some bizarre Ed Wood type shit that they couldn’t believe they were seeing.

Well, there are a couple weird touches. For some reason Samuel L. Jackson’s villain character, The Octopus, talks about eggs all the time. Seriously, he just keeps bringing them up – “I beat you like an egg,” “I don’t have egg on my face,” etc. etc. It’s worse than Tarantino’s obsession with feet. Also there’s a part where SPY KIDS style home computer effects depict a little tiny head attached to a foot that hops around on a table in front of him and he keeps saying it’s “plain damn weird.” I kind of wish writer/director Frank Miller was in the theater to experience the uncomfortable silence as the scene milked the “joke” over and over again for a couple minutes, clearly convinced it was hilarious. (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.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Friday, September 17th, 2004

Sometimes it almost seems like there’s a whole genre of “INDIANA JONES-TYPE” pictures – movies that look back nostalgically to those golden days when George Lucas looked back nostalgically to those other golden days. THE MUMMY is one example of this horrible type of picture.

I bet some individuals consider SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW to be in that same category, but I think it’s different. It doesn’t have that same third generation xerox feel, because this movie actually feels alot more like the old serials and pulp novels and crap that influenced the genre than the STAR WARS pictures and what not do. The technology used is very modern (apparently it was all shot with actors in front of blue screens and everything else is computered in there) but there’s not a whole lot of modernizing going on here. It takes place in some alternate 1930s where THE WIZARD OF OZ exists but the Hindenburg never blew up and some British fighter jet hot shot named Joseph Sky Captain defends America and the world from evil science with his “army for hire” and wacky inventor sidekick. (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.