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

Posts Tagged ‘Vernon Wells’

The Road Warrior (accidental second review)

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Note: Like most people of the planet Earth, I re-watched the whole MAD MAX trilogy during this last week of a decade of waiting for FURY ROAD. And I knew I’d never done a write-up of MAD MAX before, so I did one. I followed that up by writing about ROAD WARRIOR. And then I realized that I already wrote a review of it 8 years ago. And sometimes that’s fine because I think my old review is sucky and I can do better now, but actually I kinda like that review, I made some good points, and I called Wez’s bitch his “desert life partner,” which was pretty good.

But let’s be honest, we’re not gonna think about a god damn thing besides Mad Max between now and 7 pm tonight and whenever we see the new one, so what the hell. Here is my alternate dimension review of THE ROAD WARRIOR where I still love it in the same way but say it in different words.

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tn_roadwarriorYeah, I always liked MAD MAX, but THE ROAD WARRIOR (or MAD MAX 2 as most of the world calls it) is more my speed. Get it? Speed. ‘Cause that’s one of the things George Miller knows how to capture on screen. Even the mythically narrated opening montage establishing Max (née Rockatansky) as a legendary hero seems to be moving fast, then the screen opens up wide, we pull out of the blower on Max’s car and the movie just launches us down the highway. The insane car stunts of the first one are multiplied, now we have even more cars flyiing through the air, rolling, flipping, smashing through each other, dragging broken pieces (or people) behind them, scraping across the pavement, spraying sparks, shooting pieces of rusty debris in all directions.

Wherever Max was before, where there were bars and homes and children and stuff, he ditched that fuckin place and now he scours “the wasteland” with all the other thirsty leather-clad psychos. And I kinda doubt the Halls of Justice are still standing anyway, it seems like shit has gotten worse in general, and we know from the montage that some forgotten factions of humans went to war and dropped the bomb on each other (in old black and white stock footage). Whatever the current socio-political situation is, we know that guys like Max travel the desert roads looking for crashed cars, or causing crashed cars, and trying to steal any leaking or unused gas, or “juice.” It’s a snake eating its tail, really. (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.

Fortress

Monday, April 20th, 2015

tn_fortressFORTRESS is one of those rare b-movie (or B+ movie?) gems that you come across every once in a while that has everything: good cast, great gimmicks, unexpected emotion and substance, cyborgs. It’s a 1993 sci-fi action movie, but clearly without a summer blockbuster budget, so it feels somewhere between Paul Verhoeven and ROBOT JOX. And that makes sense, because it’s the same director. Man, why did I never see this before? Didn’t I know it was a Christopher Lambert movie directed by Stuart Gordon? Don’t I believe in the auteur theory?

Lambert plays Brennick, an ex-soldier (“the most decorated captain of the Black Berets, yet you quit in disgrace…”) busted with his pregnant wife Karen (Loryn Locklin) trying to sneak out of the country because it’s illegal to give birth twice. They both end up at the Fortress, a giant underground, privately owned prison. The convicts become property of the Men-Tel Corporation and used for prison labor. Their job: to keep building further into the ground, making more room for more convicts to build even further. That’s my favorite concept in the movie because it so deviously illustrates the problem of the prison industrial complex. Zed-10, the computer program that runs the place (voice of the director’s wife Carolyn Purdy-Gordon), keeps saying the Men-Tel slogan “Crime does not pay.” But of course for them it does. (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.

Green Street Hooligans 2

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

tn_greenstreet2GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS 2: STAND YOUR GROUND opens with another BRAVEHEART style two-crowds-running-at-each brawl set to an upbeat punk anthem. But the ground they have to stand in this one is fenced in – they’re in the joint. It’s about exactly what you dreamed the DTV sequel to GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS would be about: one of the supporting characters from part 1 is in prison for the big fight they  got into at the end and continues to feud with the guy that killed Petey, now played by a different actor.

Ross McCall (SUBMERGED) triumphantly returns to his role of Dave, he was the guy who was the airline pilot, he called them up and warned them there were a bunch of guys that were gonna beat them up at the game or whatever. I don’t remember him being that important of a figure but prison is one of those small ponds that makes his fish parts look bigger or whatever. It’s just him and two oafs we never saw before from the GSE (Green Street Enthusiastic Soccer Fans Club dot org) and all the sudden he’s the brains of the operation, he acts like the leader and they follow him around and stuff. McCall is good actually, I had to look him up to make sure he was in the first one because he has a much stronger presence here, he seems like a different 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.

Stranglehold

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

tn_strangleholdThis week in my Daily Grindhouse column I check out STRANGLEHOLD, another Cirio H. Santiago picture. This one is from 1994 and stars Jerry Trimble, who you may know as the guy who fights Dolph in front of the welders in THE PACKAGE. It’s an UNDER SIEGE type scenario where delighted-with-himself terrorist Vernon Wells has taken over a chemical plant while Trimble was doing security for a visiting congresswoman.

Take a look.

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 Losers vs. Nam Angels

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

tn_namanglesBIKER GANGS SAVING P.O.W.s IN VIETNAM DOUBLE FEATURE: THE LOSERS and NAM ANGELS

In THE LOSERS a Vietnam era biker gang is recruited by the American military for a dangerous mission to recover a CIA agent being held in Cambodia. I guess it’s a mission that has to be done off the books, plus it requires high speed transportation. Biker gang it is. So they build some modified combat bikes, figure out a plan, practice it on a miniature model, then go for it.

But not until the last 25 minutes or so. That’s what’s unique and (I admit) disappointing. Most of the running time is spent fucking around, getting into trouble at bars or visiting their Vietnamese girlfriends. Very little of the backstory is explained – it seems like most or all were soldiers before, but it’s not clear how or why they came back. They don’t show them being tracked down in the U.S. and pressured to join. They’re already on board at the beginning. (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.

SIFF: Vern attends the world premiere of Stuart Gordon’s KING OF THE ANTS and goes nuts for it!

Saturday, June 14th, 2003

Hey folks, Harry here… Stuart Gordon is one of those directors that I just keep waiting on to break a film into orbit. When you look at what he’s done on no money, and just how incredibly entertaining his movies consistently are. From RE-ANIMATOR to SPACE TRUCKERS to THE WONDERFUL ICE CREAM SUIT to DAGON… Here’s a guy making low-budget indies that I demand to own on DVD – even if it means seeking them out in other regions. On top of that, he’s just a great guy. Humble, friendly and eager to tell you about all of his stories and dreams. So it is with great glee that I read Vern’s review of KING OF THE ANTS… This is a brutal crime film that Stuart has had his eye on for a while now, and from Vern’s review… It’ll be one of those movies we seek out all year long, and I’m instantly going to contact Stuart about doing a screening here in Austin with the Drafthouse! Here’s VERN –

Boys –

No really guys, I really did it this time. A 100% genuine scoop. This time it really truly is not a movie you guys have reviewed the shit out of. You’ve never even seen it because this was the world premiere. But I’m positive you’ll be covering this movie alot as soon as people start seeing it. Stuart Gordon has made his best movie in years, in my opinion his best ever. It is definitely one that stands out from the others because there’s no supernatural business or science fiction or HP Lovecraft references. What it is is a very dark (in tone, not in lighting) neo-noir adapted by brit Writer Charlie Higson from his own novel, about a regular dude in his mid ’20s who’s not sure what he wants to do with his life. And then somebody offers him $13,000 to kill an innocent man. So he figures, you know, why not? (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.