Posts Tagged ‘Mark Dacascos’
Tuesday, January 24th, 2023
You know me – I’ve always been fascinated with DTV sequels. One of their endearing qualities is that their modest budgets allow for a different type of crass commercialism than regular Hollywood – they try to cash in on familiar (or even unfamiliar) titles that would never fly on the big screen. That gave us the miracle of the UNDISPUTED sequels, but mostly just stuff where it was funny that it existed – loosely connected followups or branded rehashes of CRUEL INTENTIONS, WILD THINGS, ROAD HOUSE and HOLLOW MAN, for example, many of which I reviewed for The Ain’t It Cool News at the time.
Thanks to Universal’s direct-to-video division, 1440 Entertainment, that tradition is still going strong, and arguably making a comeback. Back in the aughts they brought us SCORPION KING and DEATH RACE sequels, they revived Chucky in the great CURSE OF CHUCKY, they started making JARHEAD sequels for some reason, and brought to life such unlikely part 2s as THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS 2, KINDERGARTEN COP 2 and HARD TARGET 2. In 2018 they even made a DTV sequel to UNBROKEN, that war drama directed by Angelie Jolie, and in 2019 they did BACKDRAFT 2, INSIDE MAN: MOST WANTED, DOOM: ANNIHILATION and UNDERCOVER BROTHER 2. That last one I tried to watch because Michael Jai White is in it, but I gave up when his character went into a coma near the beginning. Still, I appreciate its existence because it keeps me on my toes. It reminds me that any movie, no matter how old, no matter how forgotten, no matter how how-the-fuck-would-you-make-a-sequel-to-that, could suddenly have a DTV sequel. And it would already be filmed and have cover art by the time I found out they were doing it. You gotta be aware at all times. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: A.J. Mendez, Aimee Garcia, Alec Puro, Anna Akana, Chris Pang, Dai Tabuchi, Dan Southworth, DTV, DTV sequels, Dustin Nguyen, Eniko Fulop, Joe Hahn, John Swetnam, Mark Dacascos, Mike Moh, Nino Furuhata, Ron Yuan, Teresa Ting, Yoshi Sudarso
Posted in Reviews, Action, Fantasy/Swords, Martial Arts | 13 Comments »
Friday, October 29th, 2021
Happy Halloween everybody! (Or I suppose Devil’s Night Eve, as of this posting.) I hope you have enjoyed my super-sized 5-day-a-week horror reviewing this month. But if you need even more review content to put into your container or whatever and you happen to be a Patreon contributor (or want to start) I took a look at two episodes of the short-lived 1998 syndicated action series based on THE CROW and starring Mark Dacascos. And if you missed it I still have last year’s Halloween special, a Knight Rider episode featuring an Anthony Perkins impersonator and the Silver Shamrock pumpkin mask, plus the year before’s Walker: Texas Ranger about a satanic cult.
Tags: Bryce Zabel, James Lew, Kari Skogland, Mark Dacascos, Patreon bonus content
Posted in Blog Post (short for weblog) | 3 Comments »
Tuesday, April 6th, 2021
DOUBLE DRAGON (1994), loosely based on the video game series, is a sci-fi fantasy action kids movie from the director of THE RETURN OF BRUNO and the producers of NATURAL BORN KILLERS. I do not personally consider it to be a good movie, but upon this rewatch I found it somewhat enjoyable on the strength of its specific only-in-the-‘90s strain of complete inexplicability.
It stars Mark Dacascos (a year after ONLY THE STRONG, a year before KICKBOXER 5 and CRYING FREEMAN) and Scott Wolf (the same year Party of Five started) as martial artist brothers, Alyssa Milano (in the window between Who’s the Boss? and EMBRACE OF THE VAMPIRE) as the leader of a vigilante group, and Robert Patrick (who had only done FIRE IN THE SKY and two T-1000 cameos since T2) as an evil gang leader/businessman obsessed with obtaining an ancient Chinese medallion that would give him super powers. It takes place in the cyberpunky post-The-Big-Quake New Angeles in the futuristic year of 2007, with all the satirical billboards and colorful street gangs that implies. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Al Leong, Alyssa Milano, Andy Dick, Chiodo Brothers, Don Murphy, George Hamilton, Imperial Entertainment, James Yukich, Jeff Imada, Julia Nickson, Leon Russom, Mark Dacascos, Michael Davis, Neal Shusterman, Nils Allen Stewart, Paul Dini, Peter Gould, Robert Patrick, Roger Yuan, Ron Yuan, Scott Wolf, Vanna White
Posted in Action, Reviews, Videogame | 20 Comments »
Thursday, March 11th, 2021
There’s a new MORTAL KOMBAT movie about to enter our realm, and it’s crazy to think they’ve been developing this thing for over a decade! It made me want to journey back to the beginning of that process and revisit what happened when director Kevin Tancharoen tried to reimagine the fighting tournament game turned movie series.
Tancharoen was on the mixing stage at Warner Brothers when he heard talk about hopes to restart the series. He thought there was a way to put a new, gritty spin on it, and wanted to try. One problem: the only movie he’d directed was a glossy musical, the 2009 version of FAME. He was much more established as a choreographer for Britney Spears than as a filmmaker. He knew they weren’t gonna fuckin believe he was the guy to bring back MORTAL KOMBAT unless he showed them. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Brian Tee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Casper Van Dien, Dan Southworth, Darren Shahlavi, Eric Steinberg, fighting tournament, Garrett Warren, Harry Shum Jr., Ian Anthony Dale, James Lew, Jeri Ryan, Johnson Phan, Jolene Tran, Kevin Ohtsji, Kevin Tancharoen, Kim DO Nguyen, Larnell Stovall, Lateef Crowder, Mark Dacascos, Matt Mullins, Michael Jai White, Michelle Lee, ninjas, Oren Uziel, Peter Shinkoda, Richard Dorton, Ryan Robbins, Samantha Jo, Shane Warren Jones
Posted in Action, Martial Arts, Reviews, Videogame | 20 Comments »
Thursday, January 28th, 2021
I don’t normally review Batman cartoons (I think the only time I have before is the Suicide Squad one, ASSAULT ON ARKHAM), but I think you will agree that this one falls into my jurisdiction. In fact, it’s so weirdly specific to my particular areas of interest that during the ‘70s-inspired opening credits montage with funky theme song, after seeing the names Mark Dacascos and Michael Jai White, Mrs. Vern turned to me in disbelief and said, “Did they make this only for you?”
Yeah, actually, it seems they did, so thanks, guys!
No joke, this is an animated movie set in the 1970s, based in the DC Comics universe but taking most of its template from kung fu movies. Its spy movie opening and funky, wah-wah heavy score are clearly homaging ENTER THE DRAGON, and there’s definitely some Jim Kelly/Blaxploitation influence in there, but its flashback structure mostly splits between an old school kung fu training movie and a getting-the-band-back-together type story. Two of my favorite plot structures in one. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bruce, David Giuntoli, DC Comics, James Hong, Jamie Chung, Jeremy Adams, Joachim Horsley, Josh Keaton, Mark Dacascos, Michael Jai White, Sam Liu
Posted in Cartoons and Shit, Comic strips/Super heroes, Martial Arts, Reviews | 11 Comments »
Thursday, September 24th, 2020
LUCKY DAY is a 2019 crime movie with death and laughs and colorful characters, including but not limited to Crispin Glover. It’s not retro or a throwback, but definitely has shades of the ‘90s everybody-wants-to-be-Tarantino days and Guy Ritchie and stuff, which is not a pose because this is from writer/director Roger Avary (a.k.a. Oscar-winning co-writer of PULP FICTION), his first directing in more than 15 years.
It’s about a crazy day in the life of a guy named Red (Luke Bracey, GI JOE: RETALIATION, THE NOVEMBER MAN, POINT BREAK remake, HACKSAW RIDGE) when he’s released from a two year prison bid and returns to his French artist wife Chloe (Nina Dobrev, xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE) and daughter Beatrice (Ella Ryan Quinn). I don’t think it’s ever specified what he did time for, but he does go to see his friend Leroy (Clé Bennett, JIGSAW) – who has changed his name to Le Roi – and the fact that they run a lock and key shop with a cool basement hidden inside a safe and inside that is a huge safe that he attempts to crack for fun seems like a hint. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Cle Bennett, Clifton Collins Jr., Crispin Glover, David Hewlett, Luke Bracey, Mark Dacascos, Nadia Fares, Nina Dobrev, Roger Avary, Tomandandy, Tomer Sisley
Posted in Comedy/Laffs, Crime, Reviews | 6 Comments »
Friday, May 17th, 2019
I don’t want to raise anyone’s expectations too high. I know some are saying JOHN WICK CHAPTER 3: PARABELLUM is fun but lesser, and that could very well end up being the conventional wisdom. In my mind, though, it’s more than that. It’s an outstanding achievement, a new action classic that outdoes the excellent CHAPTER 2 in both garish spectacle and elaboration on the strange mythology of this secret world of elite assassins.
Like all JOHN WICK movies, it’s full of things you never knew you needed to see, things that are ludicrous, but treated with knowing seriousness, increasing their level of awesomeness. For example, you know that cliche where a character you like gets shot and drops to the ground and you have to wait and hope for the reveal that they were saved by a bullet proof vest? That happens with a dog.
And what about John Wick walking through a desert, but dressed like John Wick? If James Bond goes out into the desert – hell, even if Batman does – he wears different gear. But there is no Desert Action John Wick. When he treks through Moroccan sand dunes he wears the same suit and tie we just saw him wearing in a New York downpour. I suppose maybe he cancelled his debit card when he came back and doesn’t know how to buy new clothes without access to his usual services. But I think it’s more because he’s an icon. That’s his uniform. That’s John Wick. And because director Chad Stahelski knows it’s surreal to see this guy in drastically different settings across the world without changing his blood-stained clothes. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Anjelica Huston, Asia Kate Dillon, Boban Marjanovic, Cecep Arif Rahman, Chad Stahelski, Halle Berry, Ian McShane, Keanu Reeves, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Randall Duk Kim, Said Taghmaoui, Tiger Hu Chen, Yayan Ruhian
Posted in Action, Martial Arts, Reviews | 130 Comments »
Thursday, May 16th, 2019
ALIEN AGENT is a 2007 made-for-Sy-Fy collaboration between Mark Dacascos and director Jesse V. Johnson. For Dacascos it might’ve been the type of quickie affair he could do for fun and profit between hosting Iron Chef America and appearing in occasional higher profile movies like CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE* and CODE NAME: THE CLEANER. For Johnson it was definitely a gig for hire, his fifth movie as a director but still a learning experience a decade before he started dominating the low budget action world with SAVAGE DOG, ACCIDENT MAN, THE DEBT COLLECTOR and TRIPLE THREAT. So it’s not a career best for either, but it’s a scrappy, entertaining little cheapie with some pleasingly odd touches stirred through the humble sparseness of its production.
Dacascos plays Rykker, a guy who drives around acting like a fed, even flashing a badge, but then steals a police car and sleeps with his tie on in a closed church. He seems to be in an ongoing one-man guerrilla war against a gang of leather-jacket-wearing thugs led by a hot tattooed badass lady named Isis (Amelia Cooke, SPECIES III). In truth they’re all aliens from the same dying planet, and Rykker is sort of a conscientious objector trying to stop Isis’s group from enslaving the human race. Apparently they used to date, and they seem to still kind of like each other, but he believes their people can find an uninhabited world to colonize, and she thinks that’s not enough of a sure thing, so they fight. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Amelia Cooke, Billy Zane, Darren Shahlavi, Dominiquie Vandenberg, Emma Lahana, Jesse V. Johnson, Mark Dacascos, SyFy
Posted in Action, Martial Arts, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 5 Comments »
Wednesday, May 15th, 2019
Some of the great western martial artists have a Hong Kong movie or two under their belts. Cynthia Rothrock did YES MADAM, ABOVE THE LAW, etc. For Brandon Lee it was LEGACY OF RAGE. Darren Shahlavi had TAI CHI II and IP MAN 2. Gary Daniels had CITY HUNTER. Scott Adkins was in that movie EXTREME CHALLENGE. Michael Jai White was in SILVERHAWK. And of course Paul Rudd stars in GEN-X COPS 2: METAL MAYHEM.
I’ve already noted the heavy Hong Kong cinema influence on Mark Dacascos movies including CRYING FREEMAN and DRIVE, but in this Hong Kong production filmed in Shanghai for the international market he actually got to be for-real directed and choreographed by the legendary Stanley Tong (SWORDSMAN 2, SUPERCOP, SUPERCOP 2, RUMBLE IN THE BRONX, FIRST STRIKE).
It was filmed in both English and Cantonese, so most of the characters don’t seem dubbed. Dacascos plays the lead villain, Tony Lau, a young gangster who’s trying to get his mentor Uncle Ma (Lau Siu-Ming, ABOVE THE LAW, A BETTER TOMORROW II, POLICE STORY 2) to add drug imports to his criminal portfolio. Uncle Ma is dead set against it – he’s able to pay off the police partly because he stays away from drugs – but he agrees to meet with Tony’s American friend (Coolio, BATMAN & ROBIN, DAREDEVIL) about it out of politeness. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Aaron Kwok, Coolio, international co-productions, Lau Siu-Ming, Leehom Wang, Mark Dacascos, Norika Fujiwara, Ruby Lin, Stanley Tong
Posted in Action, Reviews | 19 Comments »
Tuesday, May 14th, 2019
SANCTUARY (1998) is not The Great American Mark Dacascos Vehicle, but it’s pretty enjoyable classical DTV (or in this case straight-to-cable, I believe) action, the kind that made me fall in love with the format in the first place. Yes, it’s messy, at times confusing or befuddling. It’s kinda gloomy looking, sometimes there are iffy line deliveries, and there are definitely parts that I laugh at that I’m not supposed to. But also there’s some showcasing of a cool actor I like, pulpy traditions of the genre are exercised, and when something really cool happens there’s a sense of underdog achievement. You’re really pulling for it to be good.
It has a convoluted chronology: it starts with our Catholic priest hero Luke Kovak (Dacascos a year after DRIVE) in a Vatican interrogation room being questioned in Italian about what happened six days ago when he got attacked by some killers from his secret past. From the story of six days ago it keeps flashing back to the larger backstory of his former career doing dirty deeds for the government and why he went into hiding to get away from it. A few times he even remembers his childhood, when a priest was his role model until Dyson (Alan Scarfe, CATHY’S CURSE, IRON EAGLE II, LETHAL WEAPON 3) took him and some other orphans and raised them to be experts in martial arts, guns and spycraft. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alan Scarfe, Brian Irving, Elisabeth Rosen, Jaimz Woolvett, Kylie Travis, Mark Dacascos, Michael Stokes, Monika Schnarre, Nigel Bennett, Tibor Takacs
Posted in Action, Reviews, Thriller | 12 Comments »