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

Posts Tagged ‘Tommy Lee Jones’

The Mechanic: Resurrection

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

tn_mechanicrJason Statham returns as Arthur Bishop, his character from the 2011 Simon West film THE MECHANIC. He is not the type of mechanic who might help out his driving characters in THE TRANSPORTER, THE ITALIAN JOB, DEATH RACE and FURIOUS 7. He’s the type that is a euphemism for an assassin-for-hire, as seen in the original THE MECHANIC starring Charles Bronson and Jan Michael Vincent.

Having faked his death at the end of the first one, we find Bishop living an appealing lifestyle in Rio de Janeiro. (Do the people of Rio ever get tired of Hollywood helicopters swooping around that Jesus statue?) He’s now known as Otto Santos and he lives on a nice houseboat where he sits and enjoys his espresso and reconstituted vinyl collection.

But one day a woman comes up to him, knows who he is, says her employer wants him to kill three people. Arthur “Otto ‘The Mechanic’ Santos” Bishop is no chump, though, so he fights her and her henchmen, escapes in spectacular (though blatantly green-screeny) fashion, and gets ready for a fight. There’s almost a running joke about how many stashes he has around. When he self destructs his boat he goes right to a shipping container with guns and passports. When he resurfaces at his old hut on a picturesque beach in Thailand there’s another stash under the floorboards. I bet if you dropped him off at any random spot in the North Pole it would turn out he hid some guns under the ice there years ago. (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.

Jason Bourne

Monday, August 15th, 2016

tn_jasonbourneJASON BOURNE opens with clips from the original Doug Liman/Paul Greengrass/Matt Damon BOURNE trilogy of 2002-2007. Those movies came to reinvent the spy thriller for a new age, even influencing the subsequent 007 movies and unfortunately inspiring an age of impressionistic action sequences. But the last time Damon played the character was almost a decade ago.

THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM doesn’t seem like very long ago to me, but think about how much has changed in our world. When it came out Obama was still a senator, Heath Ledger and Paul Walker were still alive, Margot Robbie was 17 years old, only serious fantasy nerds had ever heard of Game of Thrones, movies were projected from 35 mm prints, there was growing excitement about a comeback for 3D, and Vin Diesel had not yet returned to starring in the FAST AND FURIOUS series. Along with FASTs 4-7, action movies we’ve had in the interim include the entire IP MAN series, the entire EXPENDABLES series, THE RAID 1 and 2, JACK REACHER, the John Hyams UNIVERSAL SOLDIER movies, JOHN WICK and MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. So one could argue that the genre has changed.

And when JASON BOURNE cuts from blue-tinted, baby-faced everyman flashback Damon to the 2016 model – chiseled features, convincing grimace, gray hairs, a wider color palette – it’s a thrilling leap. He just looks so much cooler now. Having done, you know, whatever the stuff was in the other movies, Bourne is now living the way of the dragon, bare knuckle brawling for cash in Greece. That tells us he’ll probly never stop killing, because he’s clearly some kind of genius who could change his name and get all kinds of high paying jobs, and still he chooses to be a human cockfighter. I wish he lived in a Buddhist temple to complete the RAMBO III homage. (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.

Criminal

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

tn_criminalCRIMINAL is way too generic a title for this distinctive Kevin Costner action thriller, another enjoyable under-the-radar, higher-minded-than-advertised b-movie to put on the shelf next to 3 DAYS TO KILL. Costner would be the criminal of the title, a gruff, uneducated death row inmate with the strong action movie name of Jericho Stewart. He’s said to have some kind of condition that leaves him no capacity for empathy, like that creepy kid in MALEVOLENCE and BEREAVEMENT, so he experiences what the internet calls “the feels” for the first time when he’s the subject of an experimental surgery that implants another man’s memories into his brain.

I couldn’t help but think of FACE/OFF. Not that it has any of John Woo’s heightened filmatism or outlandish action – the tone, grounded world and love of intelligence agency war rooms are closer to a BOURNE movie – but that’s the only other movie I can think of that uses a sci-fi gimmick in a non-futuristic world and then puts an emphasis on exploring its emotional consequences.

The story starts with Bill Pope, not the cinematographer of THE MATRIX, but a CIA agent on the run in London, played by an uncredited Ryan Reynolds (BLADE TRINITY). He’s in the middle of a mission gone south – something about Spanish anarchists and a hacker and a buy, and people chasing him around town trying to trap him. When he ends up dead, CIA director Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman sporting another action movie name that’s not messing around) is desperate to find out what Pope was working on, because he was the only one getting close to a hacker (blackhat?) who may be able to remotely control military weapons. So Wells – actually, can I call him Quaker? – Quaker turns to this guy Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones, UNDER SIEGE) who has been developing this memory-implanting theory for years. (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.

Batman Forever

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

tn_batmanforever

RELEASE DATE: May 19
RELEASE DATE: June 16

“Those who cannot remember [BATMAN FOREVER] are condemned to repeat it.” –George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905

You guys wanna see a hit summer blockbuster that was well received at the time, but has since been disavowed like a discredited ideology? The summer of 1995 gives you BATMAN FOREVER.

Just six years earlier Tim Burton had smashed open the zeitgeist with BATMAN, which had been used as somewhat of a reference point for would-be blockbusters since, clearly influencing at least the scoring and marketing of DICK TRACY, DARKMAN, THE ROCKETEER and THE SHADOW, for example. But Burton’s second one, BATMAN RETURNS (1992) was weirder, more personal, and therefore less enthusiastically received by the public. That made the studio weary about plans for a Burton-directed part 3, and they parted ways. Burton is credited as an executive producer on FOREVER, but apparently his only role was to give the new director his blessing and meet with screenwriters Lee & Janet Scott Batchler once to discuss the importance of duality in Batman characters.

Joel Schumacher was a weird but not controversial choice for a replacement. People remembered THE LOST BOYS, FALLING DOWN and maybe FLATLINERS as good movies. And he did THE CLIENT – you know, those John Grisham court room thrillers were a big deal in the ’90s, for some reason. I wonder what happened to that whole genre. Anyway, a 1993 Entertainment Weekly article said “Hiring Schumacher to direct the summer-of-’95 release is seen by insiders as an attempt by Warner Bros. to get the Batman movies back on track” because “Warner doesn’t want a repeat of the macabre 1992 sequel, BATMAN RETURNS, which frightened small children and angered many parents.” It goes on to quote an anonymous “source close to the project” as saying they didn’t want Burton to direct because “he’s too dark and odd for them.”

Yeah, because Schumacher made a real normal movie. No oddness to see here. Just a couple of bros in shiny plastic muscles driving a car up the side of a building. Don’t worry about it, fellas. (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.

Inspirational artwork for the day

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Carsten P. Dietrich, who is a regular poster here, sent me a great Seagal picture he did that I thought needed to be shared. He described it as a scene from “that animated prequel to UNDER SIEGE, where we see Ryback going on various black-ops missions whilst regularly flashing back to his youth on the streets of Japan etc.” It kind of reminds me of those Hungarian comic book adaptations we were talking about a little while ago. And there’s a cameo in the picture relating to an implied back story from the movie.

seagalCPD

Click on the clipping to see the whole picture on Carsten’s tumbler.

He also shared with me his cartoon portraits of Mad Max and Snake Plissken, and going through his archives I saw a couple Riddick and a John McClane (specifically from A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD, but that makes it more unique).

This might open the floodgates to write this but maybe that’s not a bad thing: I know alot of you are great artists who have sent me badass cinema related links like this, should I start posting some of them from time to time?

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.

Lincoln

Monday, November 12th, 2012

After the election on Tuesday, which brought us 4 historic gay rights ballot victories, the first openly gay Senator and the most women in the Senate ever, it was a no-brainer to spend Friday night watching Spielberg’s movie about Abraham Lincoln and his people’s fight to eke together a coalition to pass the 13th amendment to the Constitution, ending 400 years of slavery. Also, SKYFALL was sold out.
(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.

Natural Born Killers

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Years ago I saw NATURAL BORN KILLERS, and I hated it. But that was years ago. Like Woody Harrelson says in the opening scene about the last time he ate key lime pie, I was a different person then. I’ve mellowed over the years. I’m more open to crazy shit and mega-acting. I’m not as strident about certain things. I’m ready to appreciate it as a weird crime movie, maybe, even if it still comes off as a ridiculously heavy-handed message movie about the most obvious fucking message in the world (have you noticed how the media exploits violence?). So let’s give it the same respect we give the pie. Let’s give it its day in court.

Of course, I got no clue why somebody would be skeptical about key lime pie. Maybe that’s the best clue into Mickey Knox’s derangement. Quentin Tarantino sure liked writing about pie when he was young. He wrote the original script this was based on but would only accept a “story by” credit after it was heavily re-written by Oliver Stone, Stone’s buddy Richard Rutowski and David PERMANENT MIDNIGHT Veloz.
(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.

Captain America: The First Avenger

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

tn_captainamericaCAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER is the last of the Marvel Comics soda can labels before next year when all the separate labels will be united into one all-star label called THE AVENGERS (the comics one, not the one with Sean Connery in the teddy bear costume). The IRON MANs, THOR and INCREDIBLE HULK were all on Dr. Pepper I believe, though, and this one’s on 7-UP. So it’s a whole new ball game. I think it dips a bit into the cheesy side visually and filmatism-wise, but it’s an enjoyable story that’s a little different from the other super hero guys and stands on its own better than THOR. In fact the way it leads up to this AVENGERS movie allows it to end on an odd emotional note that it wouldn’t have otherwise.
(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.

Space Cowboys

Friday, December 10th, 2010

tn_spacecowboysI always try to stay up to date on my favorite action movie guys. I accept them as human beings who age and deteriorate like all of us do (not including Prince), and I am very interested in their later works. But alot of people don’t, they turn on their stars if the oxygen ever hits their skin or if their metabolism betrays their bellies. That Australian beer commercial with Steven Seagal that came out recently, I saw comments on other sights it was posted and everybody fixated on his weight, obviously not having seen any of the 26 movies or two seasons of reality TV he’s done in the past 10 years. Same thing with Stallone, every time he comes out with a new one people start gagging about him being old, like it’s the most appalling thing they’ve ever seen. This is just the people reinforcing Hollywood’s obsession with young pretty people, but look at Clint. He’s older, greyer, more withered and hoarse than either of those guys, and I don’t think I’ve heard anybody feelin lucky enough to make fun of him 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.

The Hunted (2003)

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

Not to be confused with THE HUNTED (starring Christopher Lambert) or BENJI THE HUNTED (starring Benji)

Early in William Friedkin’s THE HUNTED we are introduced to its hero, L.T. Bonham (Steven Seagal), an expert in tracking, knife fighting and wilderness survival who used to train special ops soldiers in these skills. As he learned that the guys he was training were being sent to assassinate people for purely political purposes he grew disillusioned and quit. So now he’s in the BC wilderness where we see him track an injured wolf through the snowy woods, get the trap off of his paw, chew up a root and rub it on the wound as a homeopathic healing agent. Then he tracks the responsible poacher down at a tavern, bangs his head against a table and tells him never to do it again.

Oh wait, did I say Steven Seagal? Actually L.T. Bonham is played by Tommy Lee Jones. I was surprised how much of this movie reminded me of Seagal, though. The story is about a special ops badass (Seagal– er, I mean Benicio Del Toro) who comes back from Kosovo totally wacked out and kills some guys, and Tommy Lee Jones (UNDER SIEGE) is the guy who trained him so he has to help catch him. So I thought it was gonna be like FIRST BLOOD meets THE FUGITIVE. Not Steven Seagal meets Steven Seagal. (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.