I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

Posts Tagged ‘post-action’

Mad Max: Fury Road

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

tn_furyroadSPOILER WARNING. I mean, I can’t stop you from reading this, but I’m not being careful about spoilers because for crying out loud see this movie IMMEDIATELY. Quit your job if necessary.

Usually if you’re still watching a movie for the first time, it’s kinda premature to start thinking “this is a masterpiece.” Not so with MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. It’s part 4 in an old series, but it truly feels like an entirely new type of movie. It is thrilling, explosive, inventive action at its most pure and relentless, yet it manages to weave a moving and powerful story around and within and through the hundreds of spectacular stunts. As he has in each successive MAD MAX movie, director George Miller re-invents his post-poxyclipstic world with even more ornate detail and flair than before, unfolding a fantasy world as teeming with weird characters and happenings as the whole HOBBIT trilogy without ever dumping a bunch of exposition on us. He explains what we need to know economically, mostly visually, and leaves the rest for us to daydream about.

This is a movie that will transform people’s brains. It just might be the most elaborate action movie ever made, both in the complexity of the stunt sequences and in the meticulous design of the people and things in it. Now the cars aren’t just cool and beat up, they’re built from unlikely combinations of multiple vehicles piled on top of each other, covered in spikes, flame throwers, animal skulls and creepy doll heads, with weapons hidden inside and out and half naked goons climbing all over them firing guns and throwing spears and bombs. Steering wheels are removable, heavily decorated and carry some sort of religious significance. One character pulls his off and holds it aloft during a chase to show that he’s ready to die. (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.

Taken 3

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

tn_taken3Unfortunately TAKEN 3 is an uninspired new sausage from the Besson/Kamen factory. Liam Neeson’s ruthless ex-CIA family man character Bryan Mills returns for his first adventure not related to the endless circle of violence caused by his daughter getting kidnapped on a trip to Europe. This time it’s the go-to action movie bad guys of today, the Russian mafia (see also THE EQUALIZER, JOHN WICK, SAFE, DRIVEN TO KILL) who (SPOILER THAT’S IN THE TRAILER) kill poor Lenore (Famke Janssen), Mills’s ex-wife and mother of Kim (Maggie Grace) and who he sort of still has a thing for. The cops show up and it kinda looks like he did it so he beats them up and goes on the run so that he can prove that he didn’t do what it now really really looks like he did.

Even more than part 1 and part 2, part 3 leans heavily on the non-action movie family stuff. There’s a whole lot of time spent showing that he has a good relationship now with his daughter and ex-wife and gets along with his daughter’s boyfriend and tries to help Lenore with her problems with her second husband Stuart (Dougray Scott). I guess at this point I sort of have to admire that Besson cares so much about these characters, or thinks we do, but it’s not like this is real deep observations about relationships. And besides, UNDER SIEGE 2: DARK TERRITORY will always be the definitive action sequel where an old asskicker gives a giant teddy bear to a female relative and it’s awkward because she’s way too old for 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.

A Good Day To Die Hard

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

tn_diehard5BruceA GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD is directed by John Moore. His previous films are BEHIND ENEMY LINES, FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, THE OMEN REMAKE, and MAX PAYNE. Not great. The screenplay is solely credited to Skip Woods. His entire previous filmography is THURSDAY, SWORDFISH, HITMAN, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE and THE A-TEAM. So… this is what happens.

I love DIE HARD like I love air, and nothing is as good as it. But I’m easier on the sequels than most people. I feel like we made an agreement as soon as we were okay with The Same Shit Happening To the Same Guy Twice that we would accept increasing levels of absurdity in order to continue our relationship with John McClane. I kinda hold the sequels separate from the original in my mind. They’re not untouchable, but I enjoy watching them.

(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.

Taken 2

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

tn_taken2TAKEN 2 is another Liam Neeson post-action thriller where he gets to be smart and tough and wear a leather jacket and then the camera wiggles around while he cracks some bones or whatever. I tend to like these disposable Luc Besson productions for their absurd gimmicks and shameless lowbrowness, but they were more fun when they also had good action sequences. This one’s from Besson’s acolyte of the moment, Olivier Megaton, who did the joyless TRANSPORTER 3 and the more enjoyable COLOMBIANA. Neither of those have action scenes half as good as the ones in previous Besson joints like LEON, TAXI, TRANSPORTER 1-2, UNLEASHED, KISS OF THE DRAGON or DISTRICT B13.

I didn’t love the first TAKEN. Of course it’s funny to see Neeson as a wrist-snapping black-ops know-it-all, and I love a simple plot about a guy like this saving his daughter from kidnappers, and it was funny how his overprotective father paranoia seemed to become a reality, with her getting kidnapped by white slavers about 5 minutes into her European vacation. But then there’s the wobbly action scenes (a shame coming from the director of DISTRICT B13) and it doesn’t exactly have the momentum that makes this type of premise sing. It’s fun, but should be better.
(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.

Village Voice piece

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

I wrote a piece for this week’s Village Voice, it’s about (hold onto your butts) the current state of action movies. Of course I wasn’t able to be as long-winded as I usually like to, but I think I managed to give a good explanation of my concept of Post-Action (with specific examples), the importance of action geography, how THE EXPENDABLES could be better, the renaissance in DTV (mentioning Florentine and Hyams), and favorite topics like that.

Thank you to film editor Alan Scherstuhl for giving me the opportunity to spread the word to a new audience, and printed on paper I believe. I like paper.

If you’re joining us here after reading the piece please say hi in the comments and stick around or dig through the archives for more detailed discussion of Badass Cinema and other topics.

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 Grey

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

thegreyOkay, the first thing you’re gonna have to do is completely forget the trailer for THE GREY. It deliberately tricks you into believing something cool is gonna happen in the movie that is not gonna happen in the movie, and it gives away most of the major events, including the very end. It’s a mean trailer. (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.

Warrior

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

tn_warriorI’m surprised it took this long for somebody to make a straight drama about mixed martial artists. It seems so obvious. It would inherently have all the same dramatic elements as a boxing movie (underdog reaching for the top, wife tired of seeing him beat up, society treating him as a dumb brute, then the fear of losing it all by a loss or an injury, all that) plus the novelty of an expanded repertoire of moves (kicks, chokes, armbars, throws, flying knees) and of being a popular newer sport that hasn’t been done to death in movies. (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.

Required reading: David Bordwell’s Bond vs. Chan essay

Friday, September 24th, 2010

tn_bordwellMouth and several others have sent me the link to this blog post by the film academician David Bordwell. (Unfortunately he never mentions Seagal in there, so I can’t call him ‘fellow Seagalogist’ or ‘my esteemed colleague.’ And I’m not familiar enough with his work to call him ‘Dave.’)

It’s a good one and I figure it oughta be on the reading list. Basically he does a shot-by-shot analysis (with screen grabs) of a fight scene from the Pierce Brosnan James Bond movie TOMORROW NEVER DIES and one from the Jackie Chan movie RIGHTING WRONGS. He shows how in the Bond scene the hits or even the enemies are often off screen, and shows how the Chan scene is designed to show fluid and clear movement. He also makes a good point about how the Chan scene is able to use very quick shots and still be understandable, which proves that the problem with that Michael Bay style is more than just the editing.

(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.

Salt

Friday, July 30th, 2010

tn_saltHey, have you guys ever noticed how alot of these so-called action movies they do now days make no effort to show any action in their action scenes? I think I might’ve mentioned something about that before, not sure.

Okay, it’s getting old for me to write about, and I’m sure it’s even worse for you to read about. But I feel like if we stop mentioning it it’s like we’re saying it’s okay. Whether it’s Michael Bay’s ridiculous edits or Paul Greengrass’s wobblecams that opened the floodgates, something happened, and old fashioned notions like geography, coherency, and visual storytelling got buried. The language and standards of action cinema that have evolved and developed over generations have been thrown out the window and it’s become acceptable to just have a quick smear of photography that sort of loosely implies the fights and chases that audiences used to pay money to actually see with their own eyes. I think there’s gonna be a backlash against this type of movie pretty soon, and it’s bubbling up in this new wave of DTV action we’ve all been enjoying. But still, you can’t just let it go. You gotta say something. (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 Horseman

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

tn_horsemanTHE HORSEMAN is an Australian revenge picture out on DVD in the U.S. today. At the start this guy’s daughter has already died of a heroin overdose just after filming a porno. It’s a low budget deal shot in a boxing gym – she’s not a Vivid girl or nothing. He doesn’t really know what happened but he blames the porn people for her death, so he’s tracking down everybody involved, burning them alive, 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.