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

Posts Tagged ‘Richard Roundtree’

Maniac Cop

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

tn_maniaccopMANIAC COP is like an ’80s b-movie dream team. William Lustig (MANIAC) directs, Larry Cohen (IT’S ALIVE!) writes, James Glickenhaus (THE EXECUTIONER, THE PROTECTOR) executive produces. And check out this cast: Tom Atkins (NIGHT OF THE CREEPS) is Frank McCrae, a tough NYC lieutenant investigating a murder spree by a mysterious dude in a police uniform. Bruce Campbell, one year after EVIL DEAD 2, is Jack Forrest, a cop who is implicated in the murders and goes on the run to find out who really did it. Hundra herself, Laurene Landon, plays his crimp-haired mistress Theresa Mallory, a fellow cop who helps him in his quest. Richard Roundtree (SHAFT) and William Smith (HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN) are the hardass commissioner and captain. Sam Raimi has a cameo. And also Jake LaMotta, for some reason. And Robert Z’Dar (TANGO & CASH) plays the maniac cop. He’s mostly in silhouette, so his superhumanly giant chin is not as much of a distraction as in some movies.

(Wait a minute… how did Bruce Campbell title his autobiography “If Chins Could Talk Kill” when he co-starred with Z’Dar? He knows his chin ain’t shit.)

Jack gets involved because his wife (Victoria Catlin, GHOULIES, Twin Peaks) notices him sneaking around and suspects him of being the maniac cop. But of course he’s really going to see Theresa. Whoops. Since his wife gets killed by the maniac and left in his hotel room, now it looks like he’s the guy. (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 Time To Die

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

tn_timetodieI found A TIME TO DIE in the action section, and it looks like an action vehicle for Traci Lords. On the cover she’s holding a gun in front of some burning vehicles and she looks awesome. But that’s not exactly what this is, there’s not alot of action. I’m gonna go ahead and classify it as “crime” to be less misleading. A few people get shot, and there’s a car chase where an unrelated car crashes and blows up. And the one part at the beginning where she crushes a dude’s balls (pictured left). But you’re not gonna see Traci Lords doing karate or anything. It’s more of a suspense-drama I guess.

But I kinda liked it. It has all the hallmarks of a generic and at times amateurish thriller, but it keeps surprising with extra bits of personality. Take for example the opening scene, where an arms deal is going on on the roof of a building, and one of the dealers gets mad ’cause a kid sets off the alarm on his car in the alley below. He yells at the kid, and the kid gets offended and lays on top of the car just to fuck with him. The dealer loses his temper and shoots the kid, fucking up the whole deal.

This is not the introduction of the bad guys, and the kid is not a brother or friend of Jackie (Lords) who needs to get avenged. It’s just a weird incident that she reports to as a crime scene photographer. (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.

Angel III: The Final Chapter

Monday, January 27th, 2014

tn_angel3ANGEL III: THE FINAL CHAPTER, the third and last of the four ANGEL movies, finds Molly “Angel” Stewart far from her roots. She is no longer played by Donna Wilkes or Betsy Russell, now she’s played by Mitzi Kapture (Silk Stalkings, Baywatch, The Young & the Restless). She’s not a prostitute or a lawyer or runner anymore, now she’s a photographer helping out the police (we see her go along on a gambling bust to take pictures of people running away) and in her spare time trying to work on a photography book about street kids. Most drastic of all she doesn’t live in Hollywood anymore, she lives in New York. (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.

City Heat

Monday, January 14th, 2013

tn_cityheatCITY HEAT is a light-hearted gangster movie from 1984 that attempts to combine the powers of two of its era’s biggest icons of manliness: grimacing Clint and wisecracking Burt. They also have Richard Roundtree in there, but he’s playing kind of a weasel, so he’s not able to perform as a representative of blaxploitation swagger.

Burt is a behind-on-his-payments gumshoe, Clint is the Lieutenant who used to be his partner before he quit the force. Now they act like they hate each other, but of course they team up and work pretty well together. Their first scene together is a good one: Clint sits at the counter in a diner, drinking his coffee, staying out of it while two mafia thugs beat the shit out of Burt. He wants nothing to do with it until he gets bumped and spills some of his coffee, then he gets pissed. (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.

Q (aka Q – The Winged Serpent)

Monday, October 31st, 2011

tn_qBruceQ (aka Q – THE WINGED SERPENT) is writer/director Larry Cohen’s version of a giant monster movie, about a small time New York City getaway driver played by Cohen’s DeNiro, Michael Moriarty. He’s recently out of the joint, failing to get a job as a bar pianist, and gets screwed over by some mobsters during a failed diamond heist. He runs straight from the scene of the crime to a (closed, it turns out) law office high up in the Chrysler building, where he ends up having to hide from a security guard in a not-open-to-the-public area beneath the needle. There he finds a dead body and a nest with a giant egg. Huh.
(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.

Young Warriors

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

tn_youngwarriorsbacktoschoolYOUNG WARRIORS is a crazy fuckin movie released by Cannon in 1983. The description on the back of the VHS box begins like this:

“What do you get if you cross ‘Animal House’ with ‘Death Wish’? Young Warriors– a unique combination of fraternity hijinks, high-speed action, wildly imaginative animation, and hard-drivin’ rock!” (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.

Day of the Assassin

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

tn_dayoftheassassinsMy Brian Trenchard-Smith studies continue with this 1979 picture, not an Australian one but a USA-Spain-Mexico co-production. And you know with that many countries cooperating that it’s gotta be amazing. It stars Chuck Connors as a jovial freelance agent hired to retrieve a mysterious document from a South American dictator’s blown up yacht. There also might’ve been some money on that thing so the world’s best agents and assassins, including Richard Roundtree, are all in the area competing with him. Also Henry Silva is the head of police who has jurisdiction over the area, but he’s just in a couple scenes doing press conferences. He doesn’t reveal himself to be evil, but I don’t buy it.

It seems like everybody involved in this movie is just doing it for a quick paycheck, but that’s okay. It’s still cool to see them all together in this weird little movie. Glenn Ford plays the guy who hires Connors, and he looks like he’s either retired or on vacation. He’s wearing shades and a white Adidas track jacket, and he’s only in a few scenes, sitting next to the swimming pool. I bet whenever Trenchard-Smith called “cut” he jumped in. (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.

Shaft in Africa

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

The third and final episode of the original Shaft trilogy is a little less classy without the direction of Gordon Parks, but it’s a hell of a fun sequel. After you’ve done one chapter that’s a good variation on the first one, might as well get crazy and fly off to another continent for part 3. You know Shaft has really earned his black James Bond stripes when he gets to go on an international adventure.

Early in the movie Shaft comes home to his building and somebody tells him some Africans are looking for him. He sees a guy in an African robe and ducks out of the elevator and seems proud of himself as he goes unmolested into his apartment. He hits his punching bag once and struts in but before he can relax the door is kicked down and there’s that huge African dude ready to beat 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.

Shaft’s Big Score

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

The first Shaft sequel has a very similar feel to the original, except that it turns more action packed in the last act. Once again it’s more of a straight detective story than the crazy blaxploitation movie Shaft’s reputation might imply. It all begins with a distressed phone call from an old friend. Next thing Shaft knows his buddy is dead and he’s caught protecting a lady in the middle of a fight to find 200 grand gone missing from a numbers racket.

Of course, Shaft is still a bad mother et al and, proving that he really is the black James Bond, he really starts to show his skills as a womanizer in this one. When he gets that call for example it just so happens that he’s in bed with that guy’s sister! At first that seems like a hell of a coincidence, but then when you consider Shaft’s lifestyle you realize that the chances of it happening are actually pretty high. In fact, here’s an even better example of how much Shaft gets around: In the theme song for this one there’s kind of a “shut yo mouth” moment where you hear a woman say, “He’s trouble, he’s been to my house!” Can you believe that? Even within his own theme song you can find at least one backup singer whose heart he’s broken. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a gal on percussion who just didn’t want to say anything. (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.

Shaft

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

SHAFT was never one of my favorite blaxploitation pictures. Despite the reputation and legendary theme song I always thought it was kind of boring. But revisiting it in 2008 I feel like I finally get it – I really enjoyed it this time. The lyrics to the theme song are so over the top and have been goofed on so much that maybe you expect something bigger than what the movie actually is: one part detective story, one part straight up BADASS. The music by Isaac Hayes, the shots set up by director Gordon Parks, everything is designed to pay tribute to Richard Roundtree and his character of John Shaft and document what a Bad Motherfucker he is as he navigates the underbelly of 1971 New York. And it’s really not what we think of as a blaxploitation story, it’s a P.I. story. A detective hired by a gangster to rescue his daughter from the mob.

Have you seen AMERICAN GANGSTER? At the beginning of that movie the kingpin of the black mafia, Bumpy Johnson, dies. Denzel’s character Frank Lucas takes over the empire. Well, that’s who hires Shaft in this movie. He’s called Bumpy Jonas instead of Johnson, but he’s based on the same real life underworld figure. And that’s one of the many ways the movie backs up the claims made in the theme song. He makes an appointment with Bumpy, then shows up late, deliberately keeps him waiting. Then he’s rude to him. Then he makes prima dona demands for his hiring. And before Bumpy leaves he threatens him. You might think he’s just trying to act tough, but when Bumpy leaves the room he just laughs. Clearly not scared at all. That Shaft is one bad mutha shut yo 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.