new article

I wrote a new piece, The State of Action Filmmaking, 2017, sort of a 2016 in review. I thought it was for The Village Voice actually but it has surfaced on the L.A. Weekly. So check it out. I am proud to get a big picture of Michael Jai White in the L.A. Weekly, I don’t know how often that happens.



This entry was posted on Saturday, January 7th, 2017 at 12:08 pm and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

33 Responses to “new article”

  1. Too bad that you still have to complain about that kind of action film making.

  2. This is fantastic. I’m glad to see you out there preaching to the nonbelievers, Vern.

  3. Every time KILL ZONE 2 gets brought up around here as one of the year’s best, I feel bad for remembering literally nothing about it. Not the plot, not any cool fights, not even the cast. I had to read Vern’s article to remember that Tony Jaa was even in it. I remember liking it okay. I guess I should watch it again soon.

  4. I loved KILL ZONE 2. I thought the plot, even though it was a bit shoddy, worked for some emotional beats which is not usual for these martial arts vehicles. The last half hour is pretty crazy. Had it not been for that, I may not have given its praise though, because the rest of the films action was well executed but fairly average, even the prison fight.

  5. I very well might have loved it, too. I just don’t know!

  6. Congrats on getting published in another big publication like this.

  7. Same here. Congrats, Vern!

  8. Solid article, with one glaring omission (and I did a search on the site to see if you reviewed it; you didn’t)…The Accountant, 2016’s other Ben Affleck movie. It’ll be out on video this coming week, and I would love to read your thoughts on it, Vern. I thought it was surprisingly solid. An interesting plot/central gimmick, some decent hand-to-hand combat, a hilariously telegraphed “twist”…it’s not great, but it’s definitely worth seeing.

  9. I liked THE ACCOUNTANT. It was surprisingly adorable for a “mental illness = superpowers” movie that devotes a surprising amount of screen time to the use of dry erase markers.

  10. Keep your expectations in the red.

  11. Don’t hate me but I don’t like Tony Jaa movies. Kill Zone 2 was a good movie but I didn’t love it like Vern did. For me I can’t get into Tony Jaa movies because I don’t like the fighting style. It’s not that interesting to me. I’d rather take an Iko or a Jackie Chan or somebody with a faster fighting style. I know those elbows and knees have to fucking hurt but that’s not as cinematic to me.

  12. Well, it is amatter of taste I guess, but are you telling me this isn´t cinematic enough for you?

    Ong Bak, Knee Drop, Final fight!

    Ong Bak, Knee Drop, Final fight!

  13. No offense, but is this site run from a failed state?

  14. No, we still have 12 days left.

  15. Shoot, just a preference in style really. Not cinematic wasn’t really the right choice of words.

  16. So Chris Nahon, director of Jet Li’s Kiss of the Dragon, has made a Bloodsport “remake” starring stunt woman Amy Johnston, written by Bey Logan.

    Lady Bloodfight - Trailer

    In Legend Cinemas from November 2, 2016.

  17. Mr. Majestyk – *ba dum tish* *studio audience laughter*

  18. burningambulance – I am dying to see it and did not manage to. I had to leave out some other things for the sake of brevity but I would’ve liked to have seen that and HACKSAW RIDGE. I actually bought some DTV movies that were not mentioned in the article as research (including I AM WRATH).

  19. Sternshein, i believe Amy Johnston could be an upcoming and coming Action star with the right vehicle.

    Saw FEMALE FIGHT CLUB that starred her and Dolph Lundgren last week. She has potential.

  20. Griff- with recorded audience laughter from people who has been dead for twenty five years

  21. The Undefeated Gaul

    January 9th, 2017 at 5:43 am

    Nice article, congrats on the publication!

    I also wanted to voice agreement with burningambulance that THE ACCOUNTANT is indeed a very enjoyable film and am looking forward to that review as well. I wouldn’t call it an action film per se (although it certainly has a couple of decent action beats and I would definitely place it in the “badass cinema” category) but it seems like a type of story that’s right up your alley, with all kinds of elements that should make it worth your time. I think Affleck is great in it and I also particularly enjoyed Jon Bernthal’s main villain henchman performance.

    Personally I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel, Affleck’s character is perfect for it. Just have him travel the world doing what he loves most, which is accounting, until inevitably he again finds himself having to do what he does best, which is killing.

  22. Crushinator Jones

    January 9th, 2017 at 10:08 am


    Loved the article but I wanted to voice my opinion re: the Shaky Cam Enigma. IMO it’s directly traceable to Saving Private Ryan’s use of shaking camera during battle scenes. It wasn’t yet ShakyCam but it was getting there. This was followed up by Ridley Scott’s Gladiator which WAS the first use, IMO, of honest-to-goodness shaky cam. And then from there it “evolved” into Greengrassian garbage.

    But it definitely started with Saving Private Ryan -> Gladiator IMO.

  23. Crush,

    I agree, but I think it was THE BOURNE SUPREMACY that made it the standard style for all American action movies. Before that you would see it used in parts and think “oh, they’re trying to do a SAVING PRIVATE RYAN thing here.” After SUPREMACY it quickly got to where you had to assume action scenes would not necessarily contain any clearly visible action. QUANTUM OF SOLACE, for example, seemed to be taking a cue from Greengrass specifically – “this will make Bond more modern if we do it like Bourne” – and in fact used 2nd unit director Dan Bradley, of BOURNEs SUPREMACY and ULTIMATUM (and later GREEN ZONE).

    I also think the SAVING PRIVATE RYAN style is a little different, imitating bumpy combat photography but showing explosions and people flying through the air and stuff. BOURNE led to movies like TAKEN where it was more of a trick to obscure that the actor is not great at martial arts.

  24. Thanks for reminding me about Gladiator. I actually hate that movie and think it’s terribly directed.

  25. So I watched Skiptrace last night. I also just watched the trailer for Kung-Fu Yoga. Call me stupid but I feel like we’re getting some weird “golden age comback” of Jackie Chan. I mean, Skiptrace felt like a lot of his movies from back in the day but he’s just slower at it. The Kung-Fu Yoga has a lot of weirdness to it that looks fun. I’m pretty excited about the nonsense he’s releasing right now.

    Kung-Fu Yoga Official Trailer #1 (2017) Jackie Chan, Disha Patani Action Comedy Movie HD

    Kung-Fu Yoga Trailer 1 (2017) Jackie Chan, Disha Patani Action Comedy Movie HD [Official Trailer]

  26. Great article Vern! I actually started reading before I realized you wrote it. I got to the “post action” phrase and thought, “funny that’s just what Vern calls it.” D’oh!

  27. Seems we have some more common ground. It gets lonely feeling like the only one who thinks GLADIATOR is not a good movie. I’ve also been enjoying Jackie’s recent output. That said I find it hard to recommend them to non-hardcore Jackie fans. I’ve long since accepted that the days of PROJECT A, POLICE STORY, YOUNG MASTER, etc are in a distant past and I’ll take reasonably entertaining in this late period.

  28. I kept remarking how slow he looked but how I thought his choreography was as fun as he’s done in the past.

  29. awesome article. ps – you really gotta see Yue Song’s The Bodyguard :)

  30. Congrats on the article, Vern! Did they provide you with a print copy of the LA Weekly with it in there? If not, let me know if you want me to pick up one (or 12, since they literally have piles of them at the place on the corner) and send it to a PO Box or something so that you can have it for your box of memories or whatever. New issues come out on Thursdays so let me know.

  31. RTJ3 is amazing, I’ve never heard 1 or 2, but I’m picking them off the strength of 3. How about some full length reviews?

  32. This is not a full length review but I will say that all three are good, 2 and 3 being my favorite. The Zack de la Rocha songs are my favorite on both.

  33. One of the best musical surprises of last year for me was when Zack de la Rocha came out of nowhere and murdered his verse on the last RTJ3 track, right at the point when I was feeling a little bummed out that there wouldn’t be a Zack de la Rocha appearance on the album this time around. I think I like 2 better than 3, but that probably has more to do with me feeling that RTJ3 is maybe three or four songs too long and it’s the first time I’ve felt an RTJ album has seemed somewhat slack and unfocused in parts, but it’s still a great fucking album regardless. I think the short sample that EL-P’s wife provides on LEGEND HAS IT might be my favourite moment on the album. Her delivery is just perfect.

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