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The Badass Cinema Rundown for July 25th, 2013

tn_ninja2I’m always reading the movie news but only every once in a while is there a convergence of action and tough guy related news large enough to make me feel like I gotta line it all up and make sure everybody here knows about them. Right now is one of those times, though. Click through to see a few noteworthy new developments. Out of kindness I’m even gonna start with the biggest one and it’s the one that involves a descendent of a character killed by another character played by Dolph Lundgren.


rip-apollocreedI know some of you have been writing about this in the comments already, but it deserves a post. The most exciting out-of-the-fuckin-blue Badass Cinema news this week is CREED, the newly announced ROCKY spin-off. Indie director Ryan Coogler has managed to channel the festival success and critical acclaim for his drama FRUITVALE STATION into a chance to make his dream project, a story about the grandson of the late Apollo Creed, to be played by FRUITVALE star Michael B. Jordan. He grows up well-off thanks to grandpa’s career, but his family doesn’t want him to box. When he chases after that dream he goes to completely retired Rocky Balboa to be his trainer. And yes, Stallone has agreed to do it.

Sounds awesome, right? Well, I have some concerns about it being a rich kid’s story, since so much of the appeal of Rocky is his rise from nothing. But I’m down for this. Rocky will have to deal with his guilt over not stopping the fight that killed Apollo. And holy shit, what if they got Lundgren in this? Coming to the grandson looking for forgiveness! Well, let’s not overreach I guess. But I’d love to see that.


Keanu Reeves really got into martial arts after THE MATRIX. His directorial debut, a fighting tournament movie called MAN OF TAI CHI, will play Fantastic Fest this year. And here’s a trailer for the remake of THE 47 RONIN that he’s starring in:

Yeah, I know everybody’s gonna be skeptical. It’s Keanu, it’s a remake of a classic, it uses state-of-the-art digital effects, which the Bible said not to do or something. But I tend to enjoy these big stylized samurai epic type deals. I’m open to it.

The director is Carl Erik Rinsch, who was the commercial director who Ridley Scott wanted to direct PROMETHEUS until the studio insisted he had to do it himself to get the greenlight. Rinsch also did a pretty cool short called THE GIFT:

<iframe src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/33025640″ width=”400″ height=”300″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>

Another thing I like: according to realorfake3d.com, 47 RONIN is one of those rare blockbusters where they thought hey, maybe since we’re releasing it in 3D we should take the time to use actual 3D cameras and make it look like it’s actually in 3D.


Deadline reported on new developments in the remake of BLOODSPORT. For a while Philip Noyce was gonna direct it from a script by Luc Besson’s guy Robert Mark Kamen (THE KARATE KID, THE TRANSPORTER, TAKEN, LETHAL WEAPON 3, COLOMBIANA, etc.). Now it’s gonna be directed by former Wachowskis second unit guy James McTeigue, with the script being rewritten by Craig Rosenberg (AFTER THE SUNSET). In the original Van Damme was in the army, and snuck away after being invited to fight in the elite Kumite – this one sounds like it’s gonna be different. Deadline explains, “Relativity’s version will instead focus on the morally-conflicted life of 21st century mercenaries who clash with the underground world of Brazilian Vale Tudo, the martial arts style used by Donald Gibb’s character in the original film.”

Actually I don’t think Vale Tudo is a “style.” It means “anything goes,” it’s guys fighting without many rules, which inspired the Ultimate Fighting Championship and what we now call mixed martial arts. I hope this doesn’t mean there’s a legitimate, certified athletic competition going on here. It’s gotta be underground, dangerous and seedy. And there should be torches.

I think McT is a step up from Noyce for this type of material, but it’s still not in the bag. I enjoyed NINJA ASSASSIN but if he uses the same choreography-wasting post-action style to shoot this it will be a shame.

rip-sloanesThe same article reveals that another company is doing a remake of KICKBOXER, to be directed by Stephen Fung (TAI CHI ZERO and TAI CHI HERO). The script is by Jim McGrath and Dimitri Logothetis, who worked together on the TV show Air America and the Robert Patrick movie BODY SHOT. Radar Pictures, the production company, had something to do with a couple movies I enjoyed like CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, THE BOX and SPRING BREAKERS.

I don’t know if I trust it, but I hope they get somebody to dress up as Tong Po. Obviously Nicolas Cage is always an option.

I wonder if they’ve considered having Jason Statham star in one of these? Not that I want him to necessarily, but he’s remade Charles Bronson, David Carradine, and a character first played by Lee Marvin. Might as well add JCVD to his list.

ninja2NINJA 2

Scott Adkins announced on Twitter that he and Isaac Florentine’s upcoming sequel to NINJA has been retitled NINJA: SHADOW OF A TEAR.

So, uh, I guess we’ll still have to call it NINJA 2, because… come on. Anyway, the good news is he promises a trailer soon.


The video game Street Fighter (known to me from STREET FIGHTER: THE MOVIE and STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN LI) is following the Mortal Kombat route of professionally-produced-fan-film-into-web-series. I don’t know what the fuck this is, but maybe some of you guys do. The original short is below.


Sylvester Stallone continues to make cryptic comments on Twitter about casting for THE EXPENDABLES 3. So far this month he’s implied that he’s cast Mel Gibson as a villain (“Mad Max vs. Barney Ross……”), then started looking for a woman to be in the movie (“Who is the newest , maybe toughest female on the plant? RR vs GC ?”)

The initials presumably meant UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey and former Strikeforce Middleweight Women’s Champ/FURIOUS 6 co-star Gina Carano. As much as Rousey fits the bill I was hoping she’d turn it down, because she’s in a historic position right now, and retaining a title requires tremendous focus and training. Carano is doing a great job as a movie star but hasn’t fought since 2009 (a comeback fight was scheduled in 2011, but her medical clearance was revoked for unknown reasons).

So then of course Stallone announce “Ronda Rousey will show championship form in Expendables 3! So will multi hampion Victor Ortiz!”

Matthew Sanborn on twitter tells me that the UFC isn’t scheduling more than a fight a year for Rousey and obviously sees her as more valuable promotion than as an athlete. Well, hopefully this doesn’t distract her too much before she does get to fight.

Here’s a primer on Rousey for people who don’t follow MMA. She started in judo, competing in the 2004 Olympics at the age of 17, going on to win gold medals at the Pan American Games and bronze in the 2008 Olympics. By 2011 she was fighting in Showtime’s MMA league, Strikeforce (where Carano used to fight). UFC president Dana White used to insist he’d never have women in the league, but was impressed enough by Rousey to change his mind, signing her in November of 2012 and declaring her the first bantamweight women’s champ, which she seemed hesitant about until she defended the title by defeating Liz Carmouche in February.

rondarouseyHere’s why some of you might like her: she decided to get into MMA after a brawl at a movie theater. She says a group of four obnoxious couples behind her were talking throughout the movie, and one girl kept putting her Ugg boots on the back of her chair, hitting her in the head. After the movie she pulled off one of the girl’s boots and threw it, telling her she needed better manners. The group cornered her in the aisle and tried to get her to go pick up the boot, which she refused. They wouldn’t let her go, so she ended up beating up the two men who were blocking her while her cousin and friend (also martial artists) held the others back. Apparently the other moviegoers, who must’ve been amazed to see a girl in a leopard-print dress and flip-flops shoulder throw a man, applauded when it was over.

My favorite detail: the movie they were watching was JUNO. She didn’t confront them until afterwards because she was really enjoying it.

Obviously Rousey can fight – she is considered the “pound for pound best female fighter” in the world. And outside of the ring she can look like a model, to the point where I bet some people will see her in THE EXPENDABLES 3 and scoff at the idea of her being a badass. And then, if the camera stays still, they’ll be surprised. If she has a good screen presence then she could be a hell of a movie star. I just hope she’s able to get more fights in first.

And by the way, is Stallone trying to make it even harder to cast the two “female EXPENDABLES” movies that are in the works? Or could her character be spinning off into one of those?

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58 Responses to “The Badass Cinema Rundown for July 25th, 2013”

  1. That is a lot of exciting news. Creed sounds like an awes I would also add the recently released trailer to the new JCVD and Peter Hayms joint ENEMIES CLOSER. It looks way more awesome than the title.


  2. That is a lot of exciting news. CREED sounds like an awesome project and the 3X cast keeps getting better and better. I am also excited about the recently released trailer to the new JCVD and Peter Hayms joint ENEMIES CLOSER. It looks way more awesome than the title.


  3. Sorry, for the double post. I am having all kinds of techincal difficulties today. My bad.

  4. I’m not really excited about any of this except Keanu’s directorial debut and NINJA 2, even though I gotta say NINJA is one of my least favorite Florentine joints. Just so phony and bland without much personality or vigor.

    I’m happy to see Stallone playing Rocky again, especially as a mentor (I’m picturing a monologue about the effect Mickey had on him) but I’m with Vern. The story of a rich legacy brat is not very interesting. There’s motherfuckers out there gotta work their way up from nothing in shitty gyms in the inner city, this punk’s gonna get one of the greatest boxers in history in his corner and a big-ticket bout straight off the bat because his name looks good on a marquee. It’s an overdog story.

    But maybe that’s what the movie is about, him earning his right to be there. And I’ll never pass up a chance to see Stallone play Rocky no matter what. That part brings out the very best in him and negates all of the bad habits and ego that have made him so hit-and-miss as an actor. I really do love that character.

  5. I hear ya, Majestyk, but I guess you could argue Rockys 1 and 6 were also about Rocky getting one-in-a-million big ticket bouts because of his name as well. And I think making it where Creed comes from nothing (like if the family lost all their money) would just be too similar to the original Rocky series. Plus I think recent superhero movies have found a way to make rich legacy brats relatable and likable to the rest of us (Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, etc.)

    Having Rocky as his mentor does make him sound like an overdog, but I guess the storyline could bring up that the last time Rocky mentored someone it didn’t go too well for him…Either way, I’m totally looking forward to this.

  6. I hope the Creed movie means we will see The Young Tommy Gunn Chronicles at some point.

  7. I’d actually love to see a spin-off about Uncle Paulie. Maybe he gets busted for DUI and has to serve community service. He volunteers at an orphanage and has to change diapers while hiding his flask in Decepticon toys and running a horse betting racket from the playground. This thing writes itself.

    Or maybe a movie about Paulie’s Robot? In the wake of the events of Rocky V, Paulie’s Robot is sold to the scrap yard during Rocky’s estate auction. There she finds love with Johnny Five and together they escape to the real world, Heartbeeps style. Call me Sly, we’ll do lunch.

  8. Any of you guys actually watch TAI CHI ZERO? Fuck, was it awful. Imagine trying to watch SCOTT PILGRIM and IP MAN simultaneously while someone shakes the screens you’re using and screams in your face.

    Not so fun.

  9. Not sure how I feel about “Creed.” It doesn’t make sense to me as a necessary addition to the Rocky mythos. He had an ending, and it was close to perfect. Why have him pop up in someone else’s story? Obviously there are commercial considerations here, but why can’t this just be the story of some random rich kid who wanted to honor his dead father’s boxing legacy? Or why can’t they do this with Apollo’s kid but NOT have Rocky be involved? I like Jordan, and Coogler made a pretty alright, accidentally super relevant movie in FRUITVALE STATION, so I guess it could be worse, but it feels the opposite of necessary.

    Plus, I’d rather see “Drago.” Sue me.

    Also, can’t agree with McTiegue being a step-up from Noyce, particularly for Bloodsport. McTiegue still seems relatively unproven – V For Vendetta was alright, but I immensely disliked the excessive, borderline disrespectful CGI used in NINJA ASSASSIN, and if rumors are true he ghost-directed the more unwatchable sections of THE INVASION (Of The Body Snatchers) remake a couple of years back. Noyce not only has an action pedigree, but he makes thinking man suspense pictures – he’s made some dodgy ones, but none that were outright bad, and often some that were surprisingly thoughtful. And I don’t think he’s the guy that would cheap out on CG ninjas when he could hire actual brawlers.

    Sidetracking a bit, but guys like Noyce and James Mangold, who just made a pretty cool Wolverine movie, should be the type of guys these blockbuster projects seek. They shouldn’t be hiring dopes like John Moore and Brett Ratner, and they shouldn’t be bothering with SRS BZNZ guys like Aronofsky, but people like Mangold and Noyce – who believe in practical FX, thoughtful storylines, and occasional moments of silence – are perfect for the current blockbuster paradigm.

  10. I forgot that Noyce did BLIND FURY. I’m thinking of the Noyce that did SALT. I enjoyed the movie okay but he did a poor job of shooting the action. Wasn’t that actually the movie that made me coin the term post-action? McT also has his sins but if he could combine the clear action of V FOR VENDETTA with the pulpy ideas of NINJA ASSASSIN that would be the guy to direct BLOODSPORT 2013.

  11. That Creed Jr movie is just plan of the Hollywood conspiracy, to make nepotism look like something positive.

  12. (And yes, I was kidding.)

  13. Enemies closer does look pretty cool.

    I finally saw Universal Soldier regeneration a few weeks ago. I could see the potential but it was pretty bad.

    Plus I can’t turn of my military socialisation autopilot when it comes to ridiculous portrayals on film.

    Not to mention the whole JCVD running through a line of petrol bangs while stuntmen ‘get shot’ from random directions bit…

  14. So will there ever be a movie fight between Ronda Rousey and Gina Carrano? Two good fighters who look beautiful to look at, who wouldn’t want to watch that? Make it so!

  15. I’d like if somebody made a sequel to Rocky IV that was centered on the life of Ivan Danko in present day, the former hero of the Soviet Union now reduce to a sleeze bar bouncer who has to deal with criminal shit every day, and now suffering phyiscal and mental consequences of all those steroids he had to take back in the day.

  16. The Confidential Op

    July 26th, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Enemies Closer looks great, cool to see JCVD as a villain again. He suits playing bad guys the best out of all the old guard.

  17. The Undefeated Gaul

    July 26th, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Enemies Closer looks like the type of film that I would much rather read Vern’s review of than ever watch it myself. From that trailer the most entertaining thing looks to be Van Damme’s haircut.

    Oh, and while I love JCVD, I would say Dolph is best suited for villain roles out of all the old action guys. He just has the face for it, and the voice.

  18. Knox Harrington

    July 26th, 2013 at 8:21 am

    After watching The Raven I’ve lost pretty much all faith in McTeigue. I wouldn’t recommend him for anything. Noyce is kinda hit-and-miss for me (the dude’s horrible to work with, though; a truly unbearable asshole), but I do have a real soft spot for Rabbit-Proof Fence.

    I’d be really surprised if Keanu turns out to be a competent director, but he seems to take this shit quite seriously. He came across as very interested and passionate in that Side by Side documentary.

  19. Knox Harrington

    July 26th, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Oh, and I saw The Place Beyond The Pines today and thought it was fucking great. I really think you’ll like it, Vern.

    Don’t know if that counts as badass news, though.

  20. Vern I really don’t mean to be a pedant, but James McTeigue is not McT. That is and always will be John McTiernan! (I believe that he is actually called that on set).

  21. Also, I posted this in the DREDD 3D comments section, but there’s an official petition put out by the 2000AD to get a sequel greenlit, because Urban and Garland have been saying it’ll take fans showing support:

    Just saw THE WOLVERINE today. A big improvement over origins, it’s a good, character driven bit of badass cinema prevented from being great by the unnecessary inclusion of some silly-ass giant robot final boss battle bullshit. Especially since 20 minutes earlier is a confrontation much more befitting the rest of the movie’s tone and intent. Mid-credits bonus scene teasing the next X-Men movie is cool though.

  22. A news item worth mentioning is Arrow Videos recently announced insanely stacked upcoming blu-ray of Tobe Hooper’s TEXAS CHAINSAW: PART DEUX, which among other things, includes Hooper’s debut EGGSHELLS, as well as early short THE HEISTERS, and a 100 page book with essays and stuff. Don’t know if it qualifies as “Badass Cinema news”, but I know the movie has it’s fans here. I actually haven’t seen it yet, so I’ve already pre-ordered it from the distributor, along with their similarly impressive upcoming release of De Palma’s THE FURY. Both are coming out in october. Details on Texas: http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk/index.php?tle_id=810&art_id=44

  23. Stu – yeah I signed that DREDD 2 petition yesterday. Fingers crossed, Lawmakers loaded.

    And I agree with your basic opinion on THE WOLVERINE. If you told me 3 months ago I would’ve liked it more than MOS, I wouldn’t believe you. Here is a controversial thought that many locals will definately disagree with me on: I thought TW had more sprinkles of humanity.

    SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER “You put me here!” was more devastating of a gut punch than Zod’s neck getting broken. A powerful moment actually earned to be effective. I know, what a shocking concept right? Hell even in that mid-credits scene, I liked how Hugh Jackman gives a complex performance out of a simple reaction. Not just stunned that Professor X is alive again, but nearly tearing up from happyness. Genuinely glad to see an old friend again. He doesn’t cry because god forbid he doesn’t want to give Magneto the fucking satisfaction of seeing the Wolverine blubber. Good subtle acting there by Mr. Jackman. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

  24. The original Paul

    July 26th, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I’m down for “The Wolverine” as long as it doesn’t get too many negative reviews. So far most people seem to like it though. The X-Men franchise is just about the only “superhero” franchise I find interesting anyway, unless you count the first two Nolan B—— movies as “superhero” movies (I don’t). I keep putting off “Pacific Rim” (sorry… I just don’t have that much interest in giant robot fights any more. Sad, I know.)

    As for Rousey, I’ve just watched her fight with Carmouche a couple of days ago (by complete coincidence). If she does get a starring role in a movie, I foresee much arm-snapping action. Let’s hope it’s as well-directed as “Haywire”. A fight between Rousey and Carano would absolutely freakin’ rock – a proper grappler-vs-striker match-up – but the thing about Carano is that she had lots of smaller roles or cameos before she got to star in “Haywire”. (Didn’t she play the streetfighter girl who offers Michael Jai White her phone number in “Blood and Bone”?) It might be best for Rousey to get that kind of experience under her belt first.

  25. The Undefeated Gaul

    July 26th, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Stu – completely agree on The Wolverine. Why the fuck did there need to be a giant ass lame CGI robot? I swear, Aronofsky would never have gone for that. The film’s enjoyable though, just has a shit climax that does not fit the tone of the rest of the film at all.

  26. asimov: Danko was Schwarzenegger’s character in RED HEAT, so unless you were hoping for Arnold to hunt Dolph’s disgraced boxer across the Russian countryside, I think you mean Drago.

  27. Saw FRUITVALE STATION earlier today and really enjoyed the filmatism. So I’m all for this CREED thing even if the thought of the inevitable “THE ONLY REASON GRANDPA’S NOT HERE IS CAUSE YOU DIDN’T THROW IN THE TOWEL!” scene makes me cringe. Rocky is such a great character I wouldn’t mind seeing him again despite ROCKY BALBOA being a great bookend.

    I love how it will show that he still has something to offer to boxing by now becoming what Mickey and eventually Duke and Apollo in ROCKY III were to him with Apollo’s grandson. I just hope he learned a good lesson from the Tommy Gunn mess and that it’s at least addressed somehow. Maybe have him reluctant to train the kid at first because of the clusterfuck that was Rocky The Mentor in ROCKY V. That would be cliche too sure but it’s the type of cliche that would still ring true with the character.

    Still haven’t seen DREDD yet. Have to get on that. Hopefully they pull through and get the sequel rolling. Still so much untapped potential with the property on the big screen. I still won’t see WOLVERINE 5 those X-MEN movies are just cheap feeling and bland as hell to me. I wasn’t an AVENGERS fan but the scope of that film is what I’ve always expected X-MEN movies to be like.

    Instead we get movies that have costumes that looked like they were bought at Party City and the sets always look like the movies were shot in abandoned factories and warehouse lots. I even tried to watch that X-MEN movie Matthew Vaughn did because according to some geeks “it finally got close” or whatever. But it had the same issues I had with WOLVERINE 1 – 3. Lots of forced character development, cheesy and cheap looking production values, dumb supervillain plot and bland acting from actors I generally enjoy in other movies. I was so bored I turned it off halfway through and just proceeded with re-reading the first 13 issues of the excellent (no pun) ALL-NEW X-MEN series.

  28. It’s actually kinda neat too and full circle like of a new ROCKY series starring with a cocky, spoiled and rich arrogant amateur boxer who becomes humble as he goes along. Nice juxtaposition with Balboa’s story there and the cockiness is something that is true to the name Creed.

    Ronda Rousey’s story sounds like it would make a great movie short. I like her even more than I already did now that I read that. Thanks for that piece of insight Vern.

  29. KICKBOXER was the first movie I ever saw at the cinema. It will always have a special place in my heart. Seeing Adkins up there though and how he has a sort of protoge relationship with JCVD I wouldn’t mind seeing him become the new school Kurt Sloane over someone like Statham. Maybe have Statham as the new Tong Po complete with make up and lifts in his boots?

  30. Knox Harrington – THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES > ONLY GOD FORGIVES. If Refn’s new one has a place in the relm of badassery I’d certainly say PLACE BEYOND THE PINES could qualify as a badass subject as well.

  31. The Undefeated Gaul

    July 26th, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Broddie – Fassbender hunting Nazis bored you? Wow. As for The Wolverine, I wouldn’t say it’s cheap looking (although the effects in the train sequence aren’t much improved compared to Spider-Man 2 or even the first Mission: Impossible), but the scale of things is dialed back and I think that’s a good thing. No overload of useless mutants here, just good ol Logan and one poison spewing chick. The poison spewing chick sucks though.

  32. The Undefeated Gaul – You have to understand where I come from. I’ve been reading these comic books since the late 80’s. Granted I never expect direct translations but damn give me something as compelling as what I’ve seen in the comic books at least. I’ve seen much better and more interesting uses of Sebastian Shaw and Magneto that are far more compelling than “you tortured me during the holocaust and now I’ll get my revenge”.

    Even if we look at something like Burton’s version of [REDACTED] we have The Joker using giant balloons to poison Gotham City and running around killing people with quails to the neck and frying them up with joybuzzers. It’s as crazy and loony as anything the character does in the comic books. Sebastian Shaw is a master of manipulation and physical combat. To see him reduced to a sneering mad scientist was kinda painful in it’s blandness.

    Wolverine as presented in these movies is way too neutered for me to ever find interesting. I’ll take the alcoholic loner who has no problem with chopping off a limb or two during a fight over this amalgamation of Wolverine’s most shallow elements with some of comic book Cyclops’ demeanor, relationships (with Jean and Xavier especially) and leadership skils. Jackman’s Cyclerine has never impressed me. Especially since he always ends up getting his ass handed to him by everybody he fights. “The best at what he does” he certainly is not. It will always be wishful thinking on my part because there will be no stopping Fox with exploiting this property but the day Marvel Studios gets the movie rights to X-Men back is the day the general public will finally see an X-Men movie that really lives up to the concept’s potential.

  33. The Undefeated Gaul

    July 26th, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Shit, that last thing that you mention about Wolverine always getting his ass handed to him is actually exactly true for the new movie. It ruins the flow of action scenes on more than one occasion, everything always ending with him getting knocked out or being overpowered.

    I do understand you by the way. It’s always hard liking films for what they are if you’re familiar with the source material and know how much better they could have done. I was never an X-Men comics fan though but have a great big hard-on for Fassbender, so First Class hit the spot for me. It seemed more interesting than anything seen before in the film franchise.

  34. The Undefeated Gaul – Fassbender is one of my favorite actors but I couldn’t get over how dull his Magneto came across. Not really his fault though it had to fall in line with McKellen’s boring Magneto. I was very disappointed when I walked out of the theater after watching X-Men in back in 2000. I never thought it was even “alright” I just felt the ball was severely dropped and reading other early scripts from before Singer came on board just made that reality even more painful.

    If any of you guys like to read scripts and are X-Men fans even if it’s just through the Animated series I compell you to read Andrew Kevin Walker’s X-Men script.

    Here’s a link http://www.moviescriptsource.com/movie-script.php?id=1

    In the first page you have a Wolverine characterization way more faithful to the character than anything we’ve seen from Jackman in 4 freaking movies. The script in general overall is more faithful to the tone of the comic books than the actual movies we got. We even have the original 5 X-Men as the only team of X-Men with Wolverine being the only new recruit. Giving the characters more room to breathe since the narrative isn’t overcrowded with over 13 X-Men in Xavier’s school. With a couple of revisions could’ve made an excellent introduction movie to the X-Men. Especially with James Cameron as it’s director as it was intended the time.

    Too bad. Maybe if Fox decides to reboot one day they could polish off some concepts from that draft.

  35. The Undefeated Gaul

    July 26th, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I wouldn’t get my hopes up for a reboot if I were you. Wolverine seems like an R rated character to me that can never truly be done justice in a PG 13 film. The Wolverine actually gets pretty dark and violent, but it’s not enough, you always feel the character is being held back. I guess you just take what you can get with these things. Nothing will likely ever match the comics, it’s all too formulaic with the controversial stuff ironed out to make it palatable to the masses.

    Since I do not feel to strongly about the X-Men source material, I am able to enjoy what we’re given in movie form. But for The Punisher for example (the Garth Ennis Punisher Max run in particular), I’m having a way harder time doing that.

  36. I dunno. Comics have always had unbeatable characters. I always thought of Wolverine as unstoppable, but not unbeatable – you could out-think him, you could out-wit him, he’s susceptible to tricks and such. He owns a whole bunch of fools in the new one too, but his approach feels accurate to me, just jumping in and slashing everything, knowing he’ll heal. The only difference is that the other movies were DEATHLY afraid of having him actually hack and slash anyone.

  37. The Undefeated Gaul – I don’t know. I mean I wanted to see a Spider-Man reboot as soon as the 2nd movie had hit and Sony actually went ahead and did it after the third one. So you never know. Ironically I tried to watch THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and found it too dull to make it through as a whole. But at least they tried.

  38. Broddie – I can’t wait for you to see DREDD. So you can shit on it for not having enough satire and not being the 1980s movie directed by Paul Verhoeven that it should’ve been.

    As for X-Men, reading your script. Interesting so far. But to hold any of the (decent) X-Men movies that we did against it for that script not happening is odd. You do remember though that Bigelow would’ve directed X-Men with Cameron producing, right? That was before Spider-Man entered the picture and Cameron wet his pants.

    So yeah I liked THE WOLVERINE. Of course I appreciate it for what it is and what works about it. In contrast, I saw through R.I.P.D. last week. Boy that was shitty. It has the fatal disease that all bad buddy movies have: Zero chemistry between the leads. Pacing is horrible, it’s rather boring. I thought THE WOLVERINE had good pacing.

    It wanted to be MEN IN BLACK meets GHOSTBUSTERS, more like MEN IN BLACK 2 meets GHOSTBUSTERS 2.

  39. Finished reading that AKW script and honestly Broddie…..I don’t think its any better or worse than the movie that we did get. Perhaps a tad blander overall. I guess you loved it because it had Angel and Juggernaut and Iceman being Iceman and Beast? That scene of Blob crashing down into the house was hilarious, and I like the idea of crazy Magneto seizing Manhattan and turning it into a Mutant haven. Hell Juggernaut being Juggernaut is fun. But otherwise, it suffers from a problem many scripts of these properties have of being too busy. (Take that Sentinels sequence. That probably would’ve been saved for the hypothetical sequel.) I think the script suffers also from the fact that honestly, I don’t see why Logan would ultimately join the team behind his selfish reasons. Or for that matter, why he and Ms. Jean Grey would be that close to hooking up that soon.

    X-MEN has flaws*, but I liked the humanity put in there. That Holocaust opening pretty much gave Magneto all the motivation in the world. There is heat behind his words beyond broad themes. He is a villain, but he’s right to a degree. Who knows, his doomsday prophecy could actually come true in that world. I could see why he would try to initiate his own little 9/11 attack. (I always liked that scene when Magneto lectures the trapped X-Men, as if they were the fools for trying to stop his lunatic scheme.) I liked that Logan started out an indifferent nomad but was made to care because of that kid, which is why he goes to fight. (In fact I suppose he doesn’t really join the team and their crusade until the sequel’s ending.) Even the Logan/Jean Grey stuff, its slow burn in the first film which pays off in #2.

    *=That AKW script also has some lame one-liners. Not as bad as that lightning line in the movie, but…bleh.

  40. Guys. Seriously.


    Check out page 258. The gun Tony uses at the end of SCARFACE is the same weapon rented out to PREDATOR for Arnold to use. Fuck THE EXPENDABLES, even the props were action legends in PREDATOR.

    It now shows signs of production wear and can be purchased for $30,000 – $50,000. Think we have time to get a Kickstarter going?

  41. RRA – I don’t know if you remember but when DREDD was in theaters I had no interest in seeing it despite being a 2000 A.D. fan because the trailers didn’t engage me in anyway. So when I do eventually see it know that my expectations will be beyond low because I was never expecting anything from it anyway. I’ll take it for what it is.

    I even enjoyed elements of Danny Canon’s movie which I also had no expectations for back then and also avoided in theaters despite reading 2000 AD magazines since 1993. So I don’t see how I won’t be able to enjoy something on the opposite end of the spectrum if I just sit there and soak it all in for what it is and not what I hoped it could be. Enough people who’s opinions on movies I greatly respect including Vern himself and many other of the regulars here have said enough good about it that I think I owe it at least one watch. Yes ROBOCOP is still THE definitive Dredd movie but I came to grips with the fact that we’ll never see another ROBOCOP quite a long time ago.

    The funny thing about Walker’s script is that I never even read it until AFTER I had seen the first X-MEN movie. I still remember walking out of that movie and wondering what the hell people like Howard Stern who said it was “a must see” were raving about. I had wondered if peoples standards in blockbusters had really sunk that low. I watched it and was just awestruck at the fact that nothing about it moved me. Maybe my expectations were too high but it wasn’t even something “decent” in my eyes. Just a bunch of forced pathos and rushed character development. Nothing about it felt organic in anyway.

    The movie was a glorified TV movie at best and felt so generic I couldn’t even get into it by the third act and believe me I was trying. As both an X-Men fan and a fan of blockbuster cinema it kinda broke my heart going through that. It was as awful an experience as when I saw TRANSFORMERS on the big screen and couldn’t believe how bad the ball was dropped there.

    Funny thing is even my friend was like “damn did that movie sucked” and he was pretty much the audience for it because the only X-Men story I ever saw him read when we were growing up was AGE OF APOCALYPSE. All he knew about X-Men was mostly from the cartoon and he didn’t even watch the cartoon all that much. Suffice it to say like TRANSFORMERS I never bothered to see X-MEN ever again after that initial viewing even on free TV.

    Then years later when I read that draft from 1994 of all periods that’s what made me go “my god the movie was even lamer than I had already thought”. How do you go from something that cool to something so lame in a period of about 4 to 5 years? shouldn’t the scripts and premises have gotten even better & more creative with the years passing? at least in terms of characters and narrative structure.

    Sure that script would’ve been impossible to film without a 200 million dollar budget. But things like having a much better grip on the characterizations & tones of the property and having a better pace than what we ended up seeing it made Singer and his teams effort seem even more unimaginative and even sadder by comparison. That that bland shit was really the best they could do speaks volumes about their competence with this property.

    I know people that actually did like X2 and X3 and when they saw the character pics of FIRST CLASS 2: X4 even they were like “who’s the dude with the crew cut” referring to Colossus. A guy who was in both those previous movies. That’s how unmemorable and rushed through the characters are within the current X-Men movie formula Singer and his crew developed in 2000. That even the one movie they didn’t have any hand in still adhered to.

    When I used to work at Tower Records back in the early 00’s we used to get free movie rentals as a perk. When so many people told me X2 was much better than the first I gave it a shot because I kept an open mind. You know what? back then in 2003 to my 19 year old eyes it still wasn’t the X-Men movie I had hoped for but they were right it was a better movie than the mediocre original.

    I’ll give credit where it’s due the Nightcrawler opening and the invasion of the Xavier school invasion were far more memorable moments than anything in the original. They felt more imaginative and X-Men like. Seeing Wolverine on the run with some students & Halle Berry gave it more of a team feel than anything the original could ever hope to achieve and overall the movie had a tighter script even if it had a lot of parts that dragged.

    But that’s the thing the moments that did drag dragged pretty hard. It was still pretty unbalanced, despite some good points. It still felt like a school play set in an industrial environment. It still felt “small” and generic & when I tried to see it again recently with my 29 year old eyes I realized that it also aged pretty bad and seems pretty dated only 10 years later. Yet that’s still the best the series has had to offer to date and that’s pretty sad.

    That’s pretty much why I’ve just given up on this franchise as it exists today. It really is a case of the emperor not having any clothes. These movies just aren’t made for people like me who expect something a lot more grander and can’t just settle for whatever Singer and his team consider to be “epic”. Because his definition of “epic” is pretty much the definition of “boring” to me for the most part.

  42. Oh and I don’t know how anybody would feel compelled to ever give R.I.P.D. a chance. The trailers themselves screamed MEN IN BLACK ripoff. That was enough for me to go “no thanks” despite Bridges seemingly rechanneling Rooster Cogburn within a supernatural setting.

    The truth is I don’t trust Ryan Reynold’s judgement in screenplays. Everything he picks to do ends up being generic and boring. How you could make a Freaky Friday movie with a straight man as funny as Batemen come across as so freaking dull is beyond me. The reason the guy has become box office poison pretty much is cause his movies are DOA. He wouldn’t know at least a decent script with potential for great polishes during production like the AKW X-Men script if it slapped him square across the head. Just the name Ryan Reynolds on the marquee alone tells me “stay the hell away”.

  43. Mr. Majestyk – Holy shit that’s a cool piece of trivia. I would never be able to watch PREDATOR without automatically thinking of Tony Montana quotes when Arnold is shooting shit up now.

  44. Broddie – eh I gave R.I.P.D. a chance because (1) I was bored, (2) had some passes to burn, and (3) earlier this year I liked HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS, which also has an abysmal RT score, dumb looking ads, and delayed countless times. That was actually funny.

    Sometimes in life, you have to dig through potential shit to find a gem. Usually you’re stuck with a handful of shit, but the winners you do find makes it all worthwhile. (Think of Vern and his slasher movie reviews. Most are terrible, but hey this searching got him that Ironside slasher. VISITING HOURS wasn’t it? That was actually a good one if I remember right.)

    As for the AKW script which you applaud for “characterizations & tones,”….in what regard? Care to give examples to back up your claim? I’m sorry but the same bitchings you have at X-MEN can be found in that script. (Putting the budget scale aside.)

    Mr. Majestyk – that fact just blows my mind.

  45. RRA – It’s been years since I last read that script. I do remember Cyclops and Jean Grey (arguably the central characters of the X-Men lore) for example being more than just props unlike their uses in the trilogy. I’ll see if I give it a read sometime this weekend but I have a big pile of comics (including the latest issues of Superior Spider-Man, Justice League Dark, The Flash and some Valiant comics) & a best of the NBA DVD set to make it through first.

  46. Sorry Broddie, but Cyclops in that script kinda at times comes off as a pussy. After that first confrontation at the obstacle course, he votes against himself as leader. Pfft.

    BTW, Bleeding Cool mentioned something recently about John Constantine getting Shazam into his book. How is that going?

  47. RRA – Haven’t been reading the new Constantine ongoing so I’m unfamiliar with any Shazam appearances there. Admittedly I’m still kinda sour about the cancellation of his long running and excellent Vertigo series. I get my Constantine fix with JLD.

    However the Curse of Shazam back up story by Geoff Johns’ and Gary Frank from the current volume of Justice League is the best Captain Marvel story I’ve read in years. Very imaginative and engaging. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Shazam movie adaptation followed it’s lead. Some great new twists there with the new Black Adam and the new Marvel Family concept. I highly recommend checking that out when the eventual trade paperback hits. It was the best part of the JL book for all the months that it ran in that book and is now a lead in to a brand new Shazam ongoing.

  48. Would love to see a Vern R.I.P.D. review. That movie is one of those amazing terrible movies that feels like it transports you to another dimension of awful. It’s stupefying at every level, and I spent the whole ninety minutes wondering how it existed.

  49. Gabe T. – I liked that Slate review which said R.I.P.D. played like a movie that got translated into another language and then translated back into English. I don’t know why, but that really is the one critical blurb for that film so far that seems spot on.

    Personally I’m impressed by how creatively bland just about every element was in that film.

    Also, I’ve noticed more than one person compare this to DEAD HEAT. Having never seen DH (which I do know Vern reviewed), is that an apt comparison?

  50. Knox Harrington

    July 28th, 2013 at 7:40 am

    I was just looking at last weekend’s numbers on boxofficemojo, and it struck me what a terrible release slot they chose for R.I.P.D.
    Going up against a new animated movie, a new supernatural horror movie and a new Bruce Willis movie all on the same weekend? Never stood a chance. $130 million down the drain.

    It fascinates me which summer movies fail at the box office and which don’t. Last year it was John Carter and Battleship; this year it’s The Lone Ranger and Pacific Rim. Guess that means we’ll be seeing less Disney movies based on classic pulp characters and also less Transformers “rip-offs”. Sad, since I like that kinda thing.

    If I was the king of Hollywood, I’d greenlight a $150 million Phantom movie.

  51. The original Paul

    July 28th, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Gabe T on RIPD: “I spent the whole ninety minutes wondering how it existed.”

    You’ve actually perked my interest there… the last (and one of the very few) movie I ever said that about was the original Bay “Transformers” (haven’t seen the sequels, I’m not insane). I’ve definitely seen worse movies but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie as pointless as “Transformers” is… just about every decision made about it sucks.

    Broddie: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… the marketing to “Dredd” did it a HUGE disservice. For example it made the lead female character look like the most irritating, cliche’d movie character ever, when in the actual movie she was really well-acted and well-written. Honestly if it hadn’t have been for the many positive reviews on this site, there’s no way in hell I would’ve ever spent money on that film, let alone see it in 3D (actually, given how bad the 3D was for me, the fact that it didn’t completely spoil the movie was a testament to how good it was).

    If anybody cares, I recently saw “The World’s End” with my friend, who hated it. Apparently I’m the only guy in the world who actually liked that movie. It’s nowhere near as good as “Hot Fuzz” or “Shaun of the Dead” are to people who actually like them (my friend loves both, I like “Hot Fuzz” but find “Shaun of the Dead” unpleasantly indulgent and hate the characters in it). If it wasn’t for the almost universally poor fan reaction I’d give it a cautious recommendation, but given the kind of negative reviews it’s been getting, I’d probably have to direct that opinion to people who AREN’T fans of Pegg’s and Frost’s stuff.

    There’s already another version of “Kickboxer”. It’s called “Bloodsport”. Personally I feel that the latter is by far the better movie – the addition of Bolo Yeung can’t hurt – but I know others disagree here. Question is, do we really need a “Kickboxer” remake? Look, it was very far from perfect IMO, but it was the best movie called “Kickboxer” that we’re likely to get.

  52. Knox Harrington – I agree with what somebody online said that this summer seemed like a ton of big movies scheduled against each other, expecting the other to chicken out before they drive off the cliff. Neither side blinked.

    Plus you obviously got the impression that the studio knew this was a loser DOA. On the weekend RIPD came out, I noticed more ads 2 GUNS (released several weeks later) than RIPD, both produced by Unviersal.

  53. I remember that RIPD got lots of positive buzz when it was still in the script stage. Makes you wonder what happened. But actually, that’s just another reason, why I wanna watch it.

    Reason #1 is actually that I’m interested in director Robert Schwentke’s career. He first was a writer for TATORT, one of Germany’s longest running, but also squarest crime shows, then directed TATTOO, Germany’s official entry to the SESEVENEN rip-off subgenre, followed by EIERDIEBE, a seriously good dramedy about testicular cancer and starting with FLIGHTPLAN he became a Hollywood studio hack.

  54. One of the games I play when watching a really bad movie is to try and put myself into the mindset of the director. I ask myself, what would possess him or her to make all of these potentially awful decisions. I remember reading Vern’s Beverly Hills Cop II review, and he points out the scene where Axel Foley is just driving around Beverly Hills listening to music, and in the middle of this montage he sees two dogs having sex. And of course the next shot is Foley laughing at this. If I remember correctly, Vern kind of breaks down the logic, or lack thereof, of this scene. It stuck with me because just a few weeks before reading Vern’s review, I had a very similar conversation with my brother about that movie, and, of course, we had to talk about why in the world the director thought it was necessary to show two dogs banging. RIPD only sounds interesting if it makes similarly bizarre choices. If that’s the case, then it might be worth watching, even if it’s terrible. But the previews make it look like a bland MIB knock off.

  55. I think all these executives who greenlight 3D movies need to think about how the 3D is utilized. R.I.P.D.’s standout 3D moment is when Jeff Bridges lets Indian food fall out of his mouth onto the audience. Amazing. I think we need Vern’s viewpoint on that one.

  56. You guys are now making me want to check out R.I.P.D. lmao sounds like a glorious mess of MAC AND ME proportions.

  57. Knox Harrington

    July 29th, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Don’t you dare disrespect Mac and Me, Broddie.

    Oh wait, I’m thinking of Flight of the Navigator… Don’t you dare disrespect Flight of the Navigator, Broddie.

    And Short Circuit, for that matter. Short Circuit’s a classic.

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