THE HARDER THEY FALL (no relation to THE HARDER THEY COME) is one of the better movies I’ve seen this year, and definitely one of the better made-for-Netflix ones. It’s a western with an all-Black, all-star cast, and the opening title card says, “While the events in this story are fictional… These. People. Existed.”
That hand clap emoji type cadence makes me think they’re talking to doofuses who don’t know basic history and/or Mario Van Peebles’ POSSE and think there weren’t Black people in the Old West. But also They. Existed. in the sense that most of the main characters are based on – or at least named after – actual historical figures. But writer/director Jeymes Samuel and co-writer Boaz Yakin (THE PUNISHER , THE ROOKIE, FRESH, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 2, PRINCE OF PERSIA, SAFE) have no qualms about putting together people who never would’ve crossed paths, giving them totally new origin stories, killing them young in a gunfight even if they died of old age. But think of it as a LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN type team-up fantasy. It’s a good western story.
Jonathan Majors (HOSTILES, DA 5 BLOODS) ably stars as Nat Love, the legendary outlaw whose tragic backstory opens the film. He’s a kid (Chase Dillon from The Underground Railroad) at the dinner table with his parents when Rufus Buck (Idris Elba, PROM NIGHT) and another guy come in, blast them away with golden pistols for some unexplained debt, and carve a cross into little Nat’s forehead. So, like Harmonica in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST or Ellen in THE QUICK AND THE DEAD, this kid’s got a pretty good revenge mission to get to when he grows up. (read the rest of this shit…)
This is another one I never would’ve watched without painting myself into a corner with this review series. It falls into the small percentage of big summer movies that I just had no interest in seeing at all. Alot of the ones I miss, like, say, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4, I didn’t get around to seeing them, and I heard they were bad, but yeah, sure, I’d watch ’em. Probly will some day. But not this one. I wouldn’t have.
I think SAFE is easily one of Jason Statham’s best starring vehicles so far. It’s a less cartoonish tone than the TRANSPORTERs (and obviously the fuckin CRANKs) but still firmly planted in the world of action movies, where one guy if he’s tough enough can use his brains, fists and guns to take on two warring gangs and a corrupt police force. So it’s probly somewhere in between THE MECHANIC and BLITZ on the seriousness charts, but a little more fun than either of them.
I don’t know if it’s clear – I’m not talking about the Julianne Moore one, I’m talking about the Jason Statham one.
FRESH (1994) is a real underseen gem of the 1990s, a low budget crime drama about a 12 year old drug courier (Sean Nelson). His aunt calls him Michael, everybody else calls him Fresh. It opens with him going to an apartment where a lady tries to talk up her daughter Marisol to him like she wants to hook them up because she thinks he’s such a smart kid. It seems like he could be there for innocent kid business like meeting a friend to walk to school or getting paid for his paper route, but you quickly realize he’s picking up a brick of heroin and she’s trying to rip him off. He’s smarter than she assumes and he doesn’t take any of her shit, and this is the key to the character throughout the whole movie.
THE ROOKIE is a 1990 cop movie starring and directed by Mr. Clint Eastwood, that seems intent on passing the action movie torch to a new generation represented by… wait a minute, did I read this– yes, it says here represented by Charlie Sheen. From YOUNG GUNS. Huh.
But you know what, it only adds to Clint’s mystique that he so humbly shares the movie with this rookie and even allows the spotlight to shift over to him for a while while the old man is tied up in a warehouse getting raped by Sonia Braga (SPOILER). This is also the most DIRTY HARRY of Clint’s non-DIRTY HARRY pictures. In fact, it probly feels a little more DIRTY HARRY than SUDDEN IMPACT, the one actual DIRTY HARRY that he directed. (read the rest of this shit…)
Two years ago, I saw and accidentally enjoyed the 2004 movie THE PUNISHER starring Thomas Jane. It was another attempt at a movie version of some Marvel Comics Book which had once been made by none other than Dolph Lundgren. After I saw that movie, I wrote a review (see below), then I looked into the eyes of the universe and I made a solemn vow that one day maybe I would see the Dolph Lundgren version, who knows.
Well today I saw Dolph’s version and I’m here to report that it’s okay. I liked Thomas’s version the best but this one definitely has its moments. Like the 2004 one, this is definitely more in the action movie/vigilante style than some kind of Batman or Superman deal. The main comic book element is that Punisher lives in the sewers and has tunnels to bring him everywhere. Also he has a wacky sidekick who is some kind of homeless guy who always claims to be a theater actor, and who always rhymes. (read the rest of this shit…)
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