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

Posts Tagged ‘stuntsploitation’

Steel Arena

Friday, May 19th, 2017

tn_steelarenaSTEEL ARENA doesn’t seem at first glance like a particularly distinguished b-movie, especially in its current form as a poorly transferred old VHS tape that’s scanned but not panned. Many scenes, including the first one, are conversations in the front seats of vehicles with one or more participants mostly cropped out of frame. I rented it because it’s one of these stuntsploitation movies I find so interesting, but this time it’s about the lives of professional stunt drivers in a road show, not in movies. Most of the stars are real drivers playing themselves and doing their own driving. STEEL ARENA is to stunt drivers as ACT OF VALOR is to Navy SEALs.

It centers on Dusty Russell, a not-all-that-talkative good ol’ boy with a silly mustache that would endear him to the modern hipster. He’s looking for work and a moonshiner has a job opening.

“Can you drive?”

“Sure.”

It doesn’t seem like it’s his passion in life yet, but he turns out to be good at it, leading the cops on a chase that predicts every episode of The Dukes of Hazzard ever made. But the payment plan has some problems so he moves on and finds his way into “the destruction derby” (same as a “demolition derby” as I always knew it), teaming with a guy he meets, Buddy Love, and going on to dominate the circuit. (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.

Hooper

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

tn_hooperThis year’s ActionFest featured a tribute to the legendary stuntman Buddy Joe Hooker, and as part of the celebration they showed this light-hearted dramedy about Burt Reynolds as a stuntman who starts to see he might be getting too old for this shit. Hooker did some of the stunts for both the Hooper character and his younger rival/partner “Ski” Shidski (Jan Michael Vincent). (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 Stunt Man

Friday, May 15th, 2009

tn_railsback1My Steve Railsback double feature concludes with the odd 1980 movie-movie THE STUNT MAN.

I don’t know what I was expecting from THE STUNT MAN, but it wasn’t this. It opens with a shot of a dog licking his balls, which is appropriate because this is another movie about making a movie. Two cops are chasing Steve Railsback for crimes unknown. He gets away but, through a complicated series of events, winds up hiding out on the set of a WWII movie pretending to be a stuntman named Bert who is actually dead due to a stunt gone wrong. The identity-switch is arranged to cover the ass of the eccentric director (Peter O’Toole) and he quickly falls for the female lead (Barbara Hershey), who he considers famous because he recognizes her from a sexy dog food commercial.

The police keep hovering nearby and he continues to work on the movie as a stuntman, comparing his situation to a war buddy who stepped on a landmine and couldn’t step off because that’s how you get blown up. But strangely it never really goes back to the story of him being a fugitive. It’s just this really surreal, inventive story about his possessive love for Hershey, his friendship with O’Toole, and eventually his fear that it’s all a conspiracy to kill him in a re-try of the stunt that killed Bert. (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.

Death Cheaters and Stunt Rock

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Looking into the early works of Brian Trenchard-Smith I found a genre I never knew existed: stuntsploitation. Here are two movies about the world of stuntmen, with flimsy plots (if any) to string together a bunch of cool stunt sequences.

First and best is a goofy comedy called DEATH CHEATERS. The title daredevils are played by the mustached John Hargreaves and the bearded Grant Page. Page seems kind of like the sidekick here, but in reality he was and is one of Australia’s top stuntmen. He was the movie’s stunt coordinator and had already done the same for Trenchard-Smith’s THE MAN FROM HONG KONG. He even did the hang gliding for that one as you can guess when you see him do the same in this one. Later he would be the stunt coordinator for MAD MAX 1 and 3. He seems like a goofy kind of Jim Henson creative countercultural type in this, so it never occurred to me that he’s the crazy bastard stalking Stacy Keach in the excellent ROAD GAMES. (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.

Vern Reviews The DEATH PROOF DVD!

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

Since this showed up at my house, I’ve screened it three times. I hate that they are not putting out GRINDHOUSE together, but I really like the international cut of DEATH PROOF, and I know that sooner or later, I’ll be able to own the same thing I saw in theaters this spring. It’s just not right now, and I guess that’s just the way it fucking goes.

Vern’s got a typically strong write-up of the disc for you today, and it was nearly as much fun to read this as it was to watch the disc:

For me GRINDHOUSE was one of the great theatrical experiences of 2007. A rare modern instance of filmatists trying to put on a real show, and giving you more than your money’s worth. Two movies for the price of one, plus fake trailers – an affordable night or afternoon out. Yeah, I read about how it failed to make money for the Weinsteins, but guess what? That’s what happens when you spend decades buying other people’s movies so you can cut them, dub them, retitle them, sit them on a shelf for years, and then only allow them to be rented at Blockbuster. When you spend that long doing that many cruel and unusual things eventually your bi-yearly good deed will fail for you too. Because you are an asshole. (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.

Grindhouse

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

PLANET TERROR and DEATH PROOF

PREAMBLE

Here in the US these two movies were designed and released as a double feature with trailers for fictional movies in between. They were released under one unifying name that starts with a ‘G’ that is a word used to describe the shitty theaters that used to churn out sleazy horror, sexploitation, kung fu and blaxploitation movies back in the day.

I am not going to be using the g-word in this review, because I am sick and fucking tired of hearing it. It’s a perfectly legitimate title for this concept, but here is the problem. Mr. Tarantino is a huge fan and expert on these types of movies, he is the human IMDb judging from some of those interviews. So I don’t mind seeing him talk about it in every article about KILL BILL VOLUME 1 and then KILL BILL VOLUME 2 and then when they announced this g-word movie, and then while he was filming it and now to promote its release. Tarantino can use the g-word all he wants, he has earned it. So I don’t mind him and the trailers for his movie trying to explain to the kids what the g-word means. (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.