Posts Tagged ‘vigilante’
Thursday, July 11th, 2019
A month or two ago I saw a comedy called BOOKSMART, directed by Olivia Wilde, who I just knew as an actress from TRON: LEGACY. BOOKSMART is about two really smart, funny girls obsessed with good grades and good colleges who, on the night before graduation, try to go to a party. It’s similar to SUPERBAD in both laugh ratio and sweet emphasis on friendship, and it even stars Jonah Hill’s hilarious sister Beanie Feldstein (LADY BIRD), along with Kaitlyn Dever, who played Loretta on Justified. I really enjoyed these two characters, plus the score by Dan the Automator, and highly recommend the movie, but it’s the kind of thing I don’t really know how to write about. I don’t know how to get much mileage out of trying to explain why I think something is funny. So I just tweeted about it and left it at that, until this very paragraph.
But the same week BOOKSMART came out there was a much less jolly movie released on video starring Wilde, written and directed by first-timer Sarah Dagger-Nickson. This one is called A VIGILANTE, and she’s literally playing a vigilante. It’s an arty movie that played South by Southwest in 2018, and the title could maybe be an homage to Jacques Audiard’s A PROPHET, because that seems like sort of the category of movie they’d like to be in. But at the beginning there were logos for Emmett-Furla Productions, Saban, and Moviepass. So yeah, obviously this one I know how to write about. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Morgan Spector, Olivia Wilde, Saban, Sarah Dagger-Nickson, vigilante
Posted in Drama, Reviews | 5 Comments »
Wednesday, February 6th, 2019
Well damn, I had been hyped to see PEPPERMINT in theaters but I lost the urgency after everyone told me it was bad, and it left before I got to it. Turns out it’s the type of shit I like. Shoulda trusted my gut.
Admittedly it is guilty of that troublingly prevalent action movie problem of our era: vicious Mexican gang/cartel bad guys at a time when the ruling party in this country wants us to be having nightmares about that shit to justify their cruel, racist policies and moneymaking scams (see also SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO). As if left over from another time, the movie casts John Ortiz (CARLITO’S WAY, NARC, MIAMI VICE, AMERICAN GANGSTER, FAST & FURIOUS, FURIOUS 6) as the lead investigator, the one Latin good guy that’s supposed to offset the stereotype. To be fair, they also have the cartel conspiring with local cops, judges and lawyers, so Corruption In The System is as guilty as The Other.
Anyway if you can stomach that then the only other action movie sins are the type that I just laugh at and enjoy, like the ludicrous TV coverage of our anti-hero’s rampage (details later). I think the best way to explain the appeal of this movie is to say that I have enjoyed all of the PUNISHER movies, including this one. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Annie Ilonzeh, Cailey Fleming, Chad St. John, Jeff Hephner, Jennifer Garner, John Ortiz, JUan Pablo Raba, Method Man, Pell James, Pierre Morel, revenge, vigilante
Posted in Action, Reviews | 29 Comments »
Monday, September 24th, 2018
The success of DEATH WISH launched a million sleazy urban vigilante revenge pictures, but it took 44 years – one for each millimeter in a Magnum – for us to get one starring an uncanny Charles Bronson lookalike. In the tradition of THE MAN WITH HUMPHREY BOGART’S FACE, BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA, THE CLONES OF BRUCE LEE, the entire genre of Bruceploitation, Dolly the Sheep and Madame Tussaud’s comes DEATH KISS starring Robert Kovacs, a.k.a. Robert Bronzi. He doesn’t have a death wish, he is the kiss of death, you see. They explain that.
I believe this is a sincere tribute and/or a weird novelty, not a cash grab, because it’s not like there’s gonna be big money in tricking somebody into thinking there’s another old Bronson movie they never heard of, or that Bronson is alive and looking the same age as he was in DEATH WISH four decades ago. There’s no explanation, he just appears there with his messy hair and trademark mustache, wearing his Paul Kersey trenchcoat and tie, a mysterious stranger showing up where he’s not supposed to, putting bullets into child traffickers and their clients, or unsolicited cash into the mailbox of a troubled single mother (Eva Hamilton, OUIJA HOUSE) who has no idea who he is.
(read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Daniel Baldwin, Eva Hamilton, lookalike, Rene Perez, Richard Tyson, Robert Kovacs, vigilante
Posted in Action, Reviews | 17 Comments »
Thursday, March 2nd, 2017
featuring Abel Ferrara as “First Rapist”
MS. 45 is a simple, palatable slice of early sleazy arty Abel Ferrara. Much like his previous film DRILLER KILLER it’s his New York art scene take on a genre movie, and a great time capsule of that world, but it’s a much more captivating story and – crucially – the people in it are far less obnoxious. Instead of playing the insufferable lead, Ferrara just plays an alley rapist in a Halloween mask at the beginning.
Yes, it’s a rape-revenge story like THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE, and also a vigilante movie like DEATH WISH. The rape scenes are as disturbing as any, but mercifully short compared to I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE or something. The vast majority of the slim 80-minute running time is given over to our 17-year-old protagonist Thana (Zoë Tamerlis, later known as Zoë Lund)’s urban murder spree. When she beats a rapist to death with an iron she could report it as a legitimate case of self defense, but she makes the less orthodox choice of hiding the body and using his gun for the .45 caliber execution of adult men who make moves on her, attempted gang rapists, pimps she sees beating prostitutes, etc. A fun new hobby for a young woman living on her own in the city. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Abel Ferrara, Eddita Sherman, rape-revenge, vigilante, Zoe Lund
Posted in Crime, Horror, Reviews | 19 Comments »
Tuesday, May 10th, 2016
If you are absolutely dead set on seeing no more or less than 1 (one) of the 2 (two) Steven Seagal films that came out last week, and you can’t be talked out of it, I highly recommend CODE OF HONOR for your specific circumstances only. Here, my friends, is a movie where Seagal seems almost like a co-lead. Where he sort of fights a guy once or twice. Where he stands up and/or walks in many of his scenes. This is the hardest he’s worked on film all week!
On the other hand, it’s sort of a distressing sign that he came out with two movies within a few days of each other where his main activity is using a sniper rifle. He even uses the phrase “watch your six” again. You can tell he’s into that, because it was part of the tag line for SNIPER: SPECIAL OPS. Playing a sniper is a distressingly convenient way for him to do action scenes without having to do any choreography, martial arts moves, or acting with other actors. Also sometimes he’s sitting down in a chair. This could be a big problem. If he’s a sniper in his next movie it will be a bad, bad sign.
This sniper obsession is a period within his current Goatee Era. These days his characters always look the same, with too much shit on. The goatee, the tinted glasses, a bulky coat, a scarf, a backwards hat, and now he’s big on ear protection like he’s at the gun range. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Craig Sheffer, snipers, Steven Seagal, vigilante
Posted in Action, Reviews, Seagal | 57 Comments »
Monday, January 25th, 2016
I had to give LILA & EVE a shot because of my love of different types of vigilante revenge movies. In this one the titleational duo are two women (Viola Davis [from the JESSE STONE movies] as Lila, Jennifer Lopez as Eve) who meet in a support group for mothers of murdered children and decide to ignore the group’s core principle of learning to accept what you can’t change.
Like Neil Jordan’s THE BRAVE ONE with Jodie Foster, this tries to lean harder on the respectable drama side than the satisfying DEATH WISH one. Lila’s son was killed in a drive-by shooting, most likely not meant for him. When she waits around all day to talk to the detective in charge (Shea Whigham, FAST & FURIOUS) he doesn’t even recognize her. They discuss the lack of progress in front of a picture of a dead white cheerleader who has her own task force.
But Eve won’t have it. She pushes Lila to go out to the block where it happened, find the criminals that work there, question them, work their way up the ladder until they find who did it. During their first parking lot confrontation the guy pulls a gun and Eve shoots him. Now they’re killers. She takes his phone and uses what she finds on it for further detective work. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Andre Royo, Charles Stone III, Jennifer Lopez, Shea Whigham, vigilante, Viola Davis
Posted in Drama, Reviews | 28 Comments »
Monday, September 29th, 2014
All things being equal, THE EQUALIZER is Denzel Washington’s TAKEN. It’s the one where they figure out people like to watch a really commanding older actor be smarter than everybody and kill a bunch of criminals. It has some gestures of seriousness and takes a bit to get to the killing, but once it does it’s pretty straight up about being a violent, lowbrow action movie. It even has the Academy Award winner doing the ol’ slo-mo-walking-away-from-a-fiery-explosion shot. I guess he did that in MAN ON FIRE too, and shot more beautifully from what I remember. But this one is more my speed because it’s not trying to rub my nose in the shit, it’s just trying to be stupid fun.
And by the way I apologize for awkwardly shoe-horning “all things being equal” in there at the beginning. It just seemed like something you do. But let’s try to get past it.
Written by Richard Wenk (VAMP, 16 BLOCKS, THE MECHANIC REMAKE, THE EXPENDABLES 2) and sort of based on the ’80s TV show of the same name, this has Denzel (RICOCHET) playing Edward Woodward’s character Bob McCall, now a book-reading, OCD widower square who works at “Home Mart,” wears polo shirts tucked into dad jeans and cleans his New Balance sneakers with a toothbrush every morning. Then one day when an acquaintance from the diner where he hangs out (Chloe Grace Moretz, TODAY YOU DIE) gets badly beaten by her Russian pimp (David Meunier, a.k.a. Cousin Johnny from Justified) Bob decides to try to help her. And it turns out his previous job was at the CIA or something (the agency is not specified) and that he’s real good at massacring a whole bunch of armed criminals using found objects and guns he takes out of their hands. Gino Fellino would be proud. He even sticks a corkscrew in a guy’s chin and we see it poke up into his mouth. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Antoine Fuqua, Bill Pullman, Boston, Chloe Grace Moretz, David Meunier, Denzel Washington, Martin Csokas, Melissa Leo, Richard Wenk, TV movies, vigilante
Posted in Action, Reviews | 53 Comments »
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
BREAKING POINT is an early Bob Clark picture in sort of a DEATH WISH vein. DEATH WISH came out 2 years earlier. Bo Svenson (who had already been in WALKING TALL 2, and is my favorite Buford Pusser) plays Michael McBain, a regular guy who’s walking home with his stepson late one night when he sees two gangsters beating a man to death in an alley. He’s an honorable, manly kinda guy so he fearlessly goes over to tell them to cool it. But he’s too late to save the guy.
And being that that’s who he is, of course, he’s willing to identify the two guys who did it to the police. Or at least that’s the plan, but everybody starts saying he’s crazy to get involved. His wife, his sister, his sister’s fiancee – all of them think he should just stay out of it. So he gets second thoughts, and pretends he doesn’t remember anything. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bo Svenson, Bob Clark, judo, Robert Culp, Roger Swaybill, Stanley Mann, vigilante
Posted in Action, Reviews | 19 Comments »
Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
When BAD ASS came out in the summer I took a look at it and considered it, because it’s that rare Danny Trejo starring role we’ve always wished for. But the title and the tagline “They messed with the wrong senior citizen” made me think it was another one of these post-GRINDHOUSE neo-Troma type tongue in cheek movies that I’m not really interested in. And then I looked up director/co-writer Craig Moss and learned that the rest of his filmography is:
1. SAVING RYAN’S PRIVATES (not a porno, but way worse – a parody)
2. THE 41-YEAR OLD VIRGIN WHO KNOCKED UP SARAH MARSHALL AND FELT SUPERBAD ABOUT IT (a parody of comedies?) and
3. BREAKING WIND (TWILIGHT parody with farting).
This was before his next movie was listed, it’s gonna be 30 NIGHTS OF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY WITH THE DEVIL INSIDE THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. So not only did I put BAD ASS back on the shelf, but would’ve reconsidered everything I believed about civil liberties if given an opportunity to deport Craig Moss just for making up those titles. And what, I’m supposed to believe this guy has no friends or family who could intervene and tell him to have some fucking dignity as a human being and stop making those? Come on, people. You’re just as culpable in this SARAH MARSHAL IS SUPERBAD fiasco as he is. If you see something, say something. What did you know and when did you know it. All that is necessary for the release of BREAKING WIND is that good men do nothing.
But a buddy said BAD ASS was pretty good, so now I watched it.
(read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: based on a fucking Youtube video, Charles S. Dutton, Craig Moss, Danny Trejo, Ron Perlman, vigilante
Posted in Action, Reviews | 177 Comments »