"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Posts Tagged ‘Netflix’

Day Shift

Friday, September 2nd, 2022

DAY SHIFT was a highly anticipated Netflix production that I watched right before leaving for my vacation-turned-sick-leave. I know plenty of other people enjoyed and discussed it upon release a couple weeks ago, now they’re mostly done with it and have moved on to other topics, but here I am to remind everyone that it still exists on a server somewhere and can be accessed at the click of a button if somebody remembers to. Which I recommend.

It’s a heartily enjoyable horror-action comedy that’s kind of like John Carpenter’s VAMPIRES but in L.A., and with more of a ZOMBIELAND sense of humor. I guess you could say it takes kind of a MEN IN BLACK approach to the profession of vampire hunting, but I can take it more seriously than that because it’s pretty raunchy and gory and especially delivers on outstanding action sequences.

And that was the main thing I was looking for, because this is the directorial debut of stunt legend J.J. Perry. I first became aware of him as the fight choreographer of UNDISPUTED II, followed by THE TOURNAMENT, WARRIOR, and HAYWIRE. But he’d been around since the ‘80s, a true blue veteran of the type of movies I love most. He played fighter J.J. Tucker in BLOODSPORT III and Cyrax, Scorpion and Noob Saibot in MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIHILATION. He did stunts in all the BEST OF THE BEST sequels, DRIVE, BLADE, and a bunch of Seagal movies (THE GLIMMER MAN, TODAY YOU DIE, BLACK DAWN, URBAN JUSTICE, PISTOL WHIPPED). He was the stunt coordinator and second unit director on productions ranging from ROAD HOUSE 2 to BLOOD AND BONE to FATE OF THE FURIOUS and F9. And there’s more justice in the world than I previously thought because now he’s directing a $100 million production starring an Academy Award winner! And Snoop Dogg. (read the rest of this shit…)

Carter

Friday, August 5th, 2022

CARTER is a new South Korean action spectacular just released on Netflix today. It’s a real runaway roller coaster, bowling ball rolling down a steep hill, adrenaline jolt type of movie, so in that spirit I’m gonna try to plow through a review and get it up real fast, like in the old days.

I’m not always on top of the South Korean cinema, but this one is from director Jung Byung-gil, whose THE VILLAINESS (2017) ranks high for me in the list of the best action movies in the last decade. CARTER is in some ways not as good, but it’s even more action-packed and technically awe-inspiring, so I absolutely recommend it.*

*To most people. Some restrictions apply, see later in review for details, ask your doctor if CARTER is right for you.

Joo Won (FATAL INTUITION) stars as Carter Lee, a guy who wakes up face down in a hotel room surrounded by gun-pointing CIA agents. He has a freshly stitched-up, cross-shaped wound on the back of his head, and there’s a trail of blood leading from under the covers across the floor. He doesn’t remember who he is or what the fuck is going on, but the agents show a video of him holding one Dr. Jung Byung-ho (Jung Jae-young, SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE) hostage and saying to come get him in that hotel room. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Gray Man

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

THE GRAY MAN is the new Netflix movie that they put so much into they’re actually doing promotion for it. Showed it to critics a week early, had the directors do interviews and stuff, as if they want people to know it’s there and maybe watch it. Almost like they’re in the movie business. Crazy.

It stars Ryan Gosling (ONLY GOD FORGIVES) as “Six,” a guy who was doing time for murder until a spook named Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton, ON DEADLY GROUND) got him released in exchange for dedicating his life to being a secret government assassin, or “Sierra.” One day on a mission in Bangkok he takes out a target (Callan Mulvey, BEYOND SKYLINE) who, before dying, gives him an encrypted drive he says has the dirt on Carmichael (Regé-Jean Page, MORTAL ENGINES), his new boss at the CIA who pushed Fitzroy out. When Carmichael acts suspicious about it on the phone Six decides to mail the drive to a retired handler he trusts (Alfre Woodard, CROOKLYN) and go on the run. (read the rest of this shit…)

Interceptor

Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

INTERCEPTOR is a new straight-to-Netflix action movie with a story in the tradition of an UNDER SIEGE, but a feel more like a (good) DTV movie. You know – you don’t have the scope or production value of those ‘90s studio action programmers that warm our hearts, and you don’t have an army of veteran character actors in the supporting cast, but the trade off is you get fewer explosions and vehicle crashes and more care put into choreographing and executing exciting hand-to-hand duels between the heroine and her various opponents. Less spectacle, but more intimate.

The thing that piqued my curiosity is that this is an action vehicle for Elsa Pataky, who apparently was in BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR and SNAKES ON A PLANE, but I know her as Brazilian police officer Elena in FAST FIVE. Elena falls in love with Dom, but steps aside when Letty turns out to be alive in FAST & FURIOUS 6, and by the time of FATE OF THE FURIOUS she gives birth to Dom’s son and dies. I like her in the FAST movies but she’s not exactly a standout character, so it’s cool to see a movie all about letting her show off. (read the rest of this shit…)

Fistful of Vengeance

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022

FISTFUL OF VENGEANCE is a new Netflix movie that’s a sequel to the show Wu Assassins. I think I watched two episodes of the show. It stars and is produced and choreographed by the great Iko Uwais, so it had good fights, and it was cool seeing him have a good lead role even speaking English. I also liked the idea of this kind of fantasy in a modern urban world of Triads and stuff. But I spend so much time reviewing movies I have a hard time watching whole shows, and the complicated mythology kinda lost me. Still, I decided to give the movie a shot, and thankfully the references to events from the show are not confusing. It works as a stand alone.

Uwais plays Kai, who on the show was a chef who found out he was a supernatural chosen one called a Wu Assassin who has to kill some magic warlords or whatever. I remember that he would turn into Mark Dacascos sometimes at the beginning of the show, but that doesn’t happen here. He works with a non-supernatural badass named Lu Xin (Lewis Tan, TRUE VENGEANCE, DEADPOOL 2, Into the Badlands, MORTAL KOMBAT) and a smartass former Triad guy named Tommy (Lawrence Kao, MAX STEEL, HONEY: RISE UP AND DANCE) to, I guess fight supernatural threats or something. In the opening scene Kai and Lu Xin are strutting into a cool dance club while Tommy is on a rooftop having champagne with a woman and boasting about himself and his friends, providing us the exposition that they’re trying to find out who killed his sister Jenny. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Babysitter: Killer Queen

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

I had heard some not very good things about THE BABYSITTER, so I was surprised when I, a person who’s generally pretty picky about horror comedies, liked it more than my friends. And then as soon as I said that everybody told me “I liked the first one, but the sequel is terrible.”

And it’s true – the tight construction and sincere sweetness that I found so appealing in THE BABYSITTER are not as present in the sequel. It’s more scattershot, maybe in part because rather than the one original writer Brian Duffield they have a team of Dan Lagana (Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous) and Brad Morris & Jimmy Warden (co-producer of the first one) and McG. But it doesn’t feel crazy enough to say it’s McG going Full Throttle again. For the most part it stays true to the spirit of the first one, but the circumstances of sequelization corner it into being more far-fetched and having to stretch it more to keep the story going and bring back certain characters and stuff.

Luckily it’s also funny and gory enough to be a pretty good time. The returns are diminishing, but I’ll take ‘em. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Babysitter

Monday, October 19th, 2020

It’s common during These Uncertain Times to say that time is moving slowly. I generally agree. But as a counterpoint, I sincerely thought McG’s straight-to-Netflix horror comedy THE BABYSITTER came out recently, and that I would get to it eventually. Turns out it’s been three years since it came out and there’s already a sequel where the main characters have grown like a foot taller. So eventually has arrived.

Despite McG’s checkered past directing Korn and Smash Mouth videos, I’ve always had a soft spot for him. I enjoyed his silly, joyful, aggressively style-over-substance CHARLIE’S ANGELS movies. In the Ain’t It Cool Days I didn’t understand why people hated him so much, bizarrely taking offense to his name. What the fuck does it matter to you? You think it’s unprofessional? What are you, a dad telling his kid to tuck his shirt in for a job interview? Get over yourself.

I was really rooting for him to pull off TERMINATOR SALVATION, but I concede that he didn’t (even if I like more things about it than most people). I kind of stopped paying attention to him after that, although about five years later he did 3 DAYS TO KILL with Kevin Costner, which I seem to be about the only fan of. (read the rest of this shit…)

Message from the King

Friday, September 4th, 2020

MESSAGE FROM THE KING is Chadwick Boseman’s 2016 (pre-BLACK PANTHER) action(ish) vehicle, released straight to Netflix. I always meant to watch it – I’m sorry it took me a tragedy to get to it. It’s pretty good.

It follows the classic noir tradition of the outsider who comes into town because a loved one went missing or died, starts asking around, spying on people, finds out what happened, and goes after the people responsible. I tend to like that story format – in fact, I kind of played off of it in my book Niketown, now that I think about it.

The specific version of this type of story that MESSAGE FROM THE KING reminds me of most is THE LIMEY. That’s both a compliment (I love THE LIMEY and movies like it) and bad news (unsurprisingly it’s not as good as THE LIMEY), but I couldn’t avoid the comparison. Instead of British he’s South African, instead of a daughter it’s his sister, and instead of her being involved with an older music producer it’s an older movie producer. But it’s a similar thing of a guy from another culture going around to rich people parties, barging into front businesses, angering macho thugs who don’t know who he is and underestimate him, playing dumb but exploding into a few sudden bursts of brutal violence. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Old Guard

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

THE OLD GUARD is a pretty good Pandemic Summer blockbuster, because I’m sure it would’ve felt underwhelming if it had been advertised for months and played on the big screen, but as a movie I read mentioned once or twice and never saw promoted until shortly before it dropped on Netflix, it was enjoyable.

In the opening scenes it almost seems like another one in the tradition of CLOSE and EXTRACTION – militarized elite mercenaries or whatever, all geared up with their guns and armor and headsets, on a mission to rescue kidnapped kids in a Muslim country (South Sudan this time). But there are little hints that something else is up – wait, is that guy carrying a sword? They have a team, too, instead of one burnt out loner who’s messed up about losing a kid. Their leader is Andy (Charlize Theron, with hair and physicality that reminded me she was AEON FLUX), who thinks they should be laying low, but reluctantly agrees to meet with this ex-CIA guy Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor, TRIPLE 9) for intel.

It turns out to be a trap. They breach the place and the walls close in on them and some guys come out and machine gun them. A minute later is when we get to the real premise – the team wake up, the bullets drop out of their wounds, they heal and they stand up and kill those motherfuckers with that sword and a cool ax and some kung fu and shit. (Fight coordinator: Daniel Hernandez, xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE, AVENGERS: ENDGAME, VENOM.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Extraction

Monday, April 27th, 2020

EXTRACTION seems to be getting good promotion as far as non-awards-contender-made-for-Netflix movies go. And there aren’t movie theaters at the moment anyway, so it was the hot movie to see this weekend. I’m glad they figured out a way to get people interested – I’ve been anticipating it for a while, but “it’s the first movie directed by the stuntman who did the action direction for ATOMIC BLONDE and WOLF WARRIOR II” maybe doesn’t have the same currency with normal people as it does for me.

Sam Hargrave has been the Captain America stunt double since the first THE AVENGERS, and a Marvel fight/stunt coordinator/second unit director since CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, so he was well known to “visionary directors” Joe and Anthony Russo, who used their Marvel money to start the production company/studio AGBO. And they were wise enough to get him as director for this movie based on their 2014 graphic novel Ciudad (written with Ande Parks, adapted for the screen by Joe Russo). (read the rest of this shit…)