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Posts Tagged ‘Martin Campbell’

The Protege

Thursday, September 23rd, 2021

I don’t know if Maggie Q thinks of herself as an action star. She’s a good actress, and in recent years she’s been in horror movies and thrillers and on Designated Survivor, and she has a new sitcom coming soon. Maybe one of her best known roles was the title character in Nikita, where I assume she kicked a multitude of asses every week, but it’s not like anybody puts the original TV Nikita Peta Wilson or the original movie Nikita Anne Parillaud or the second movie version Bridget Fonda in a category with Jean-Claude Van Damme and those guys. They’re just actors without much association to the genre.

But I respect that Q specifically came out of Hong Kong martial arts films. She’s American, but as a young woman she worked as a model in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, where she was discovered and trained by Jackie Chan. Some of her Hong Kong films were Benny Chan’s GEN-X COPS 2, Ching Siu Tung’s NAKED WEAPON and Daniel Lee’s Seagal-produced DRAGON SQUAD, before coming to Hollywood for cool supporting parts in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III and LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD. She’s been in a bunch of stuff since then, including the DIVERGENT series. A lesser known one I thought she was cool in was PRIEST. But I kinda thought she’d moved on from that, so as an action fan I was so thrilled when I first saw the trailer for THE PROTÉGÉ and realized she not only had a legit starring role action vehicle, but one that was made to be released in theaters! And it really happened! I saw it in one!

This was a few weeks ago, many of the reviews I saw were negative, and it’s probly pretty much gone already, but it’s on VOD now and on disc soon. So I want to put in a good word for it. (read the rest of this shit…)

Dead Again / Defenseless

Monday, August 23rd, 2021

August 23, 1991 saw the release of two American suspense thrillers by notable overseas directors. Best reviewed, highest grossing and first alphabetically was Kenneth Branagh’s DEAD AGAIN, starring Kenneth Branagh and his then-wife Emma Thompson, written by Scott Frank (PLAIN CLOTHES).

Under the opening credits are an old timey montage of 1940s newspaper headlines detailing the story of a singer named Margaret Strauss (Thompson), who was stabbed to death with scissors, and then her husband Roman “The Maestro” Strauss (Branagh) was convicted of murdering her. The opening is done in black and white, with The Maestro getting a weird haircut and posing with evil smiles in the shadows as he tells reporter Gray Baker (Andy Garcia in his followup to THE GODFATHER PART III) that he loves his wife. When Baker asks if he killed her, he leans over and whispers to him and you’re supposed to wonder what he said I guess. But, like, what would he say? Definitely no? Arguably yes?

Anyway the main story is 40 years later when private detective Mike Church (also Branagh), who specializes in finding lost heirs and speaks in a shifting series of dorky American accents that I don’t think is intended to be funny, reluctantly agrees to do a favor for a priest he knows (Richard Easton, YOUNG WARRIORS). A mysterious amnesiac woman who does not speak (Thompson again) showed up at the orphanage where he grew up, and he agrees to drop her off at the hospital, but when he sees all the scary mentally ill people she’d be with he feels bad and lets her sleep at his apartment. No, he doesn’t do anything untoward, but yes, he quickly falls in love with her and acts like a weirdo. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Foreigner

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

I’m more of an action guy than a thriller guy. But I can appreciate different stuff. Martin Campbell’s THE FOREIGNER (2017 – not a remake of the Seagal film) is definitely more on the thriller side, mostly seeking its excitement in a complex web of police, compromised politicians and terrorist groups all dealing with the aftermath of the bombing of a London clothing boutique.

At the center of it is Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan, FINAL SCORE). He’s a former IRA member and seems to be pretty fucked over by this incident because he’s built a reputation as a moderating force, but behind the scenes still has relationships and understandings with the IRA. This bombing was done by some young upstarts calling themselves “The Authentic IRA,” and there’s alot of pressure, including from police captain Richard Bromley (Ray Fearon, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST), to find out who’s responsible. If another bomb goes off it’ll be the end of his political career, so he spends most of the movie desperately asking around and trying to set up traps to out the culprits and stuff like that. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Mask of Zorro

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

You know me, I love these modern (like, 1990s or later) takes on old timey adventure heroes. For example I enjoyed THE SHADOW, THE PHANTOM, THE LONE RANGER and THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, all of which were considered flops. I suspect the generation that was greenlighting these kinds of pictures is gone, and the tradition will die out, but I appreciate their contributions to my entertainment.

There’s only one I can think of that was a genuine hit. THE MASK OF ZORRO opened at #1, made $250 million worldwide, even got a sequel. One of its biggest marks was making Catherine Zeta-Jones into a movie star. Obviously you and I already knew her as a villain who switches to the good guy side in THE PHANTOM, but executive producer Steven Spielberg (DEEP IMPACT) recommended her after seeing her in a Titanic mini-series. MASK OF ZORRO was the thing most people knew her from before ENTRAPMENT, THE HAUNTING, HIGH FIDELITY, TRAFFIC, CHICAGO, etc. For screenwriters Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio (SMALL SOLDIERS), who are credited alongside John Eskow (PINK CADILLAC, AIR AMERICA) and Randall Jahnson (DUDES, THE DOORS) it was the prototype epic-period-adventure-movie template they would use for four PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies and THE LONE RANGER.

As far as I know nobody ever talks about THE MASK OF ZORRO anymore. But they should. It’s fucking great. (read the rest of this shit…)

Green Lantern

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

tn_greenlanternGREEN LANTERN stands out among comic book movies for its combination of crappiness and expensive-looking-ness. The details that flesh out the classical super hero arc are dumb and juvenile, and the effects often look ridiculous, but it never seems like it’s due to a lack of resources. Just a lack of taste.

Very sophisticated, expensive animation of weird aliens who only ever stand on dark, rocky spacescapes. Motion capture used to create a corny green glow from the sinews of Ryan Reynolds’s muscles. I guess it’s hard to get around with this character, but some day filmatists gotta learn that green glowing energy is not really that cool looking. Call it the METEOR MAN rule. (read the rest of this shit…)

Thunderball and GoldenEye

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

It wasn’t my idea to be here. I don’t belong here. I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m gonna get eaten alive. But Tom Zielinski and Paul Baack thought it would be funny to get me – a Bond-ignorant action movie fan who once called 007 “a fucking baby” — to review Thunderball and GoldenEye. So here goes nothing.

First, the backstory. My disparaging comments about Mr. Bond came in the form of a review for Die Hard 2. In the review I called Bruce Willis’s character John McClane “the working man’s James Bond” and compared and contrasted him to 007. My argument was that Bond was a spoiled rich boy among action heroes. Bond gets an Astin Martin that shoots missiles, McClane has to borrow his mother-in-law’s beater, and it gets impounded. That kind of thing. Tom and Paul had written me a lot of nice emails, and I felt bad that I had been so harsh to their favorite fictional character. So when I was putting together a collection of my reviews, I thought it would be a nice addition to the book if they would write a rebuttal to the review. They graciously did me that favor, which brings us to today, when I owe them one. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern hearts Daniel Craig and CASINO ROYALE… read his love letter here!!!

Friday, November 17th, 2006

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here to quickly introduce Vern’s review of CASINO ROYALE… and his admission of the huge mancrush he has for Daniel Craig. I saw the movie last night myself and you can add my name onto the “loved it” lists… Eva Green is the pretty and Daniel Craig could kill Cancer. Good stuff… but you didn’t click on this headline to hear me talk. Here’s the main man, Vern!

Fellas –

I liked CASINO ROYALE too. (review ends here if you’re one of those dicks who always complains that my reviews are too long) (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern Claims Zorro Fight Californian Neocon Christian Terrorists in LEGEND OF ZORRO and he digs it!

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

SPOILER ALERT !!

Hey folks, Harry here… A couple of days ago, crazy Massawyrm began yapping about how much he liked LEGEND OF ZORRO and I pretty much wrote the film off, cuz… well Massa is a bit goofy in the head. He’s rooting for John McCain to be President in 2008 – so he’s not always to be trusted. But then I get this review from man-god Vern that says Zorro is essentially fighting Californian Neocon Christian Terrorist (C.N.C.T for short) and well, that’s the kind of goofy ass fantasy that I might be able to sign up for. Here ya go…

Legend of Zorro is an old fashioned cornball type of movie, just like the first one. It’s all about sword fights and horse chases and the need for California statehood. You got your swashbuckling, your derring-do, your flips, etc. Zorro is the type of guy who will add a flip into any plan whether it’s needed or not. In the opening scene he is chasing an ugly bad guy with wooden teeth, and at one point he does a flip that is actually counter-productive, it causes him to lag behind. But he still catches up. He’s fuckin Zorro, man, what did you think was gonna happen? (read the rest of this shit…)