Posts Tagged ‘Vin Diesel’
Wednesday, May 24th, 2023
Hard to believe, but I’ve been watching these FAST & FURIOUS movies for more than 20 years now. The first two on video, the rest highly anticipated theatrical events. At first they were these goofy lowbrow trendsploitation movies I got a kick out of, but I had to defend their right to exist from the Ain’t It Cool talkbackers. With FAST FIVE they became a hugely popular action saga that even mainstream critics respected for a couple years. The series definitely peaked during that period, and I don’t expect them to ever get that perfect balance back, but they still have their own delightful brand of preposterous action excess mixed with macho grease monkey soap opera that brings me great joy, and there’s no other movie series past or present that offers anything quite like it. So they’re back to being this dumb thing I enjoy while my Twitter feed is full of posts much like the talkbacks from back in the aughts. Why do they still make these, who are these for, Vin Diesel has an ego. Same old shit as time marches on a quarter mile at a time.
FAST X (which we all seem to have agreed to pronounce the same way we pronounce JASON X) doesn’t have as much to live up to as F9 did two years ago. It’s not my return to theaters after Covid-19 vaccination, and it’s not the series’ best director Justin Lin finally returning to the fold. In fact, it’s his departure – somehow Diesel (allegedly) managed to be such a pain in the ass that Lin quit as director. They’d managed four full movies together, but only a week filming this one. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alan Ritchson, Alexander Witt, Brie Larson, Charlize Theron, Dan Mazeau, Daniela Melchior, Helen Mirren, Jason Momoa, Jason Statham, Joaquim de Almeida, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Justin Lin, Leo Abelo Perry, Louis Leterrier, Michelle Rodriguez, Nathalie Emmanuel, Olivier Schneider, Rita Moreno, Scott Eastwood, Screen Actor's Guild Award Winner Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Spiro Razatos, Sung Kang, Tyrese, Vin Diesel
Posted in Reviews, Action | 37 Comments »
Wednesday, May 17th, 2023
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 is the finale to the Marvel’s Celluloidical Ubiquity’s best trilogy. It’s one of the few from a writer/director, and one with the most directorial personality, but it’s also very accessible to less dedicated viewers of comic book movies. It exists off in space, pretty separate from the other Marvel business, other than building off of things that happened to the characters in the two biggest MCU crossover movies, which are quickly summarized for our convenience.
Honestly the story is pretty simple. A weird powerful dude apparently called Adam Warlock (Will Poulter, SON OF RAMBOW) flies in from space and tries to abduct the talking raccoon Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper, THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN), instead putting him in a coma; when his friends try to resuscitate him they figure out from code in his cyborg parts that Orgocorp, the company that enhanced him from regular raccoon into Rocket, was trying to reclaim him as “proprietary property,” and now his body will shut down if they don’t get some security code. So the Guardians get help from former member Gamora (Zoe Saldaña, THE TERMINAL) to break into the company’s headquarters, and then to get information in a place called Counter-Earth (an experimental re-creation of an American suburb populated with animal-human hybrids) to save their friend and battle his cruel creator, the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji, JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2). Along the way, of course, there are complications, battles, many running gags and bits, and (new to this volume) some very grim but also sweet flashbacks about Rocket’s origins and his friendship in captivity with very innocent cyborg otter, walrus and rabbit lab animals. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Chukwudi Iwuji, Dave Bautista, Elizabeth Debicki, Heidi Moneymaker, James Gunn, Judy Greer, Karen Gillan, Maria Bakalova, Marvel Comics, Nathan Fillion, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Vin Diesel, Will Poulter, Zoe Saldana
Posted in Reviews, Comic strips/Super heroes, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 25 Comments »
Wednesday, May 11th, 2022
RICKY POWELL: THE INDIVIDUALIST is a 2020 documentary about the late New York City photographer/scenester who documented the golden age of hip hop and the ‘80s New York City art scene. Most of us know of him because of a line in a Beastie Boys song – he grew up with Ad Rock and went with them on their tours for around a decade, hanging out and taking photos. He also took many famous pictures of Run DMC, LL Cool J and Public Enemy.
And it was more than that. He just lived in an interesting place and time, and knew a ton of people who went on to do big things, who were comfortable with him and let him take candid photos of them. Club kids, actors, graffiti artists. Some of his old friends are interviewed in the movie: Natasha Lyonne, Debi Mazar, Fab 5 Freddy, Laurence Fishburne, the graffiti writer Zephyr. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Beastie Boys, Debi Mazar, Fab 5 Freddy, hip hop, Josh Swade, Laurence Fishburne, Max Perlich, New York City, photography, Ricky Powell, Run DMC, Vin Diesel
Posted in Documentary, Music, Reviews | 6 Comments »
Tuesday, June 29th, 2021
F9: THE FAST SAGA, a.k.a. FAST 9, actual onscreen title: FF: F9, is not the Platonic ideal of a FAST AND FURIOUS movie. That would be FURIOUS 6 or FAST FIVE. But if Plato is anything like me he would’ve appreciated this one for what it is. I don’t know how much of a grump he was.
(lots of spoilers here of course)
This is the first FAST movie since 2003’s 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS that’s not written by Chris Morgan, instead being credited to Daniel Casey (KIN) & director Justin Lin (HOLLYWOOD ADVENTURES) with a story by those two & Alfredo Botello (uncredited revisions on TOKYO DRIFT). They’ve come up with a patchwork that certainly shows the dangers of a movie series going on for twenty years with at least half that time spent trying to top itself in size and ridiculousness each time out. But for me it has a much better balance of preposterous action and sincere melodrama than, at the very least, HOBBS & SHAW and FATE OF THE FURIOUS. It has more and better spectacle than your average movie, but also requires that you like the characters and themes of the series to enjoy it. In fact, in between a car somehow Tarzan-swinging across cliffs on a rope and another one being (as you’ve surely heard) launched into space, you’re gonna spend a surprising amount of time in 1989 when Dominic Toretto’s dad (J.D. Pardo, THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2, SNITCH) was killed in a racing accident and Dom went to prison for beating another driver (Jim Parrack, FURY) with a wrench. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alfredo Botello, Bow Wow, Charlize Theron, Daniel Casey, J.D. Pardo, Jason Tobin, Jim Parrack, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Justin Lin, Kurt Russell, Lucas Black, Martyn Ford, Michelle Rodriguez, Nathalie Emmanuel, Screen Actor's Guild Award Winner Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Shea Whigham, Sung Kang, Thue Ersted Rasmussen, Tyrese, Vin Diesel, Vinnie Bennett
Posted in Action, Reviews | 122 Comments »
Tuesday, November 27th, 2018
Hey man, I’m not a monster, I enjoyed WRECK-IT RALPH like anybody, and the sequel is fun too. This licensing crossover bonanza shit has kinda become its own genre since WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT invented it in earnest, so we’ve had the toy version (TOY STORY), the other toy version (THE LEGO® MOVIE), the… everything version (READY PLAYER ONE) and the horrific, soul-rattling nightmare version (FOODFIGHT!). RALPH’s video game version does it just right – an elegantly executed premise full of Pixar-worthy well-thought-out world building, funny characters, good jokes, loving homages, minute detail, occasional Q*Bert cameo. I mean they even had an end credits jam by Buckner & Garcia (look it up). Some time later I went to Disneyland and they had playable Fix-It Felix, Jr. games in the Starcade, and especially seeing it in person you realize what a nice tribute it is to the beautiful design of the Donkey Kong game cabinet and the 8-bit animations of that era of video games. It makes you remember that, crude as they seem now, they are an artform.
So now we have the sequel RALPH BREAKS [sic] THE INTERNET, and at least it’s not a rehash. Sentient video game characters Ralph (John C. Reilly, CRIMINAL) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman, THE WAY OF THE GUN) are inseparable friends from frame 1, and when the arcade they live in gets wi-fi they find themselves exploring the big city that is the internet. It has an actual help desk for a search engine, an eBay building where auctions take place, flocks of Twitter birds overhead, and lots of little blocky avatars of internet users walking around trying to avoid people waving pop-up ads and clickbait in their faces. It’s all very clever and observant (they get a big laugh from an auto-fill in gag, and there’s one about “one weird trick”) and designing the behind-the-scenes characters (a messenger who delivers eBay reminder emails) in the style of ’50s advertising icons helps keep it from feeling desperately current. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Disney, Gal Gadot, John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson, Vin Diesel
Posted in Cartoons and Shit, Reviews, Videogame | 27 Comments »
Tuesday, May 9th, 2017
Troma boy made good James Gunn (SUPER) returns as director and this time sole credited writer to bring us GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, the continuing adventures of Marvel’s literally-colorful team of intergalactic reprobates. Gunn doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, he just coasts on the charm and humor of the world and characters he set up in the first one. But this time they hit the ground running, already a team, and Groot (Vin Diesel, FIND ME GUILTY) is a baby tree man instead of a giant one, so they only have one big enforcer guy instead of two, and they have to take turns babysitting.
Think about it: wouldn’t it be weird if in one of the FAST AND FURIOUS movies all the sudden Tyrese was a 2-year-old and they still had to take him with them on their missions? It’s a pretty different dynamic.
The team is still earth-born manchild Peter “Star Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt, WANTED), green warrior woman Gamora (Zoe Saldana, THE TERMINAL), wiseass mercenary raccoon Rocket (Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper, THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN), and literal-minded berserker-with-a-heart-of-gold Drax (Dave Bautista, WRONG SIDE OF TOWN, HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, THE SCORPION KING 3: BATTLE FOR REDEMPTION, THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, RIDDICK, KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE). They fly around in a little space cruiser and battle with laser guns, swords, bombs and jumping and what not. This time they do a security job in exchange for Gamora’s evil cyborg sister Nebula (Karen Gillan, THE BIG SHORT), who becomes the dangerous-prisoner-who-maybe-they-should-free-as-an-ally character like Riddick, Napoleon Wilson or Desolation Williams. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, James Gunn, Karen Gillam, Kurt Russell, Marvel Comics, Michael Rooker, Pom Kementieff, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana
Posted in Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 59 Comments »
Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
Here we are, number eight in the impossible series. The one that started as cheesy car exploitation with surprising heart, and evolved into… the FAST AND THE FURIOUS series. The one that, I am happy to say, is still the longest running movie series that I like every installment of. (Second place is still DEATH WISH. I am now aware that RESIDENT EVIL comes close, but I don’t like the first one.)
That is not to say that it can sustain forever. But only because fossil fuels will eventually run out. Inevitably, there has been a slight downward arc in quality since the untoppable back-to-back peaking of FAST FIVE and FURIOUS 6, but part FATE is still an immensely entertaining chapter in the ongoing soap opera about friends who have been repeatedly swallowed and coughed up by the impossible, and filmmakers who have not yet run out of ways to go bigger and more ridiculous than last time. (Hint: car playing chicken with nuclear submarine.)
Ah, who am I fooling, there is no room for hints in this review. This is gonna be straight up SPOILERs throughout. I’ll write it so it makes sense to those who will foolishly avoid the movie and just read this, but my recommendation is obviously to go see the movie first. I will not be pussyfooting around about surprises. We’re gonna want to discuss them. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Charlize Theron, Chris Morgan, Elsa Pataky, F. Gary Gray, Jason Statham, Kristofer Hivju, Kurt Russell, Michelle Rodriguez, Nathalie Emmanuel, Scott Eastwood, Screen Actor's Guild Award Winner Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, The Rock, Tyrese, Vin Diesel
Posted in Action, Reviews | 157 Comments »
Monday, January 23rd, 2017
It’s weird how long I’ve been anticipating xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE. I didn’t actually like the first one very much other than the lovably ridiculous first chunk before the actual mission starts. The second one starring Ice Cube is a fairly enjoyable B movie, but doesn’t live up to part 1 director Rob Cohen’s talk before he and Diesel left. He really sparked my imagination in the interview where he said one of the scripts he was developing “takes place in Washington DC, where, I think, our most colorful character will go up against all the grey men. I can see him mountain-biking on the top of the Capitol Dome, where in a domestic context, as opposed to an exotic context, he gets to shake up old George Bush and all that he represents.”
Nevertheless, ever since Diesel announced his intention to star in a xXx part 3 ten years ago (!) I’ve been anxiously awaiting it. And that optimism, though unearned, wasn’t wrong. RETURN OF XANDER CAGE (no “THE” for some reason) is just the stupid movie I always wanted out of this series. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: D.J. Caruso, Deepika Padukone, Donnie Yen, F. Scott Frazier, Kris Wu, Michael Bisping, Nina Dobrev, Rory McCann, Ruby Rose, Samuel L. Jackson, Toni Collette, Tony Jaa, Vin Diesel
Posted in Action, Reviews | 42 Comments »
Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
Okay, I didn’t actually like xXx very much at the time, and I kind of condescendingly liked-did-not-love xXx: STATE OF THE UNION. But somehow I’m really fucking excited for this one. All those years ago Vin Diesel turned down the sequels to THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS and xXx, but when he came back to the former he helped grow it into a series greater than even early adopters could’ve imagined. He’s taken his sweet time getting back to Xander Cage, and I kinda doubt they were begging him, so this is something he’s passionate about. And I believe this time he can live up to the absurd premise. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: D.J. Caruso, Donnie Yen, Samuel L. Jackson, Tony Jaa, Vin Diesel
Posted in Blog Post (short for weblog) | 6 Comments »
Monday, October 26th, 2015
A tale has long been whispered of Vin Diesel – musclebound, gravel-voiced, meat-headed action star, professor of macho brotherhood and cinematic tributes to muscle cars and jumping from moving vehicles – and how he’s a huge nerd who loves playing Dungeons & Dragons. It’s an unusual badass juxtaposition and although I always believed it I also knew it could’ve been exaggerated as a way to endear himself to the “Geek” sights who helped turn PITCH BLACK into a minor cult success and get two unlikely sequels off the ground even though it seemed like no one believed in them like he did.
But the proof is in the pudding, and in this flavor of pudding Diesel plays Kaulder, an 800 year old witch hunter aided by a Catholic secret society called The Axe and Cross in controlling the descendants of the monstrous Witch Queen who killed his wife and daughter and cursed him to be immortal even though he was real sad. He uses spells to travel into his memories, where he has a long beard like a Lord of the Rings dwarf and yells “IRON AND FIRE!” whenever leaping at someone with his sword (which he notes he does not have a name for but has heard it called Such-and-Such the Witch Killer by others). I should also mention that sometimes his sword is on fire. So yes, he plays Dungeons & Dragons. He lives his life a quarterstaff at a time. And I bet he gets really into doing voices and yelling out battle cry catch phrases and stuff.
Most of the movie takes place in present day
Philadelphia Pittsburgh (or present day Unnamed City Filmed in Philadelphia Pittsburgh). Here Kaulder, like Dominic Torretto, enjoys wearing fitted black long sleeve button up shirts with the collar opened wide, but he drives a different type of fast car. (There’s one part in the movie where a car drifts, but it’s an FX shot and he’s not supposed to be the driver.)
Michael Caine (ON DEADLY GROUND) plays Dolan, his Alfred-like right hand man of 50 years, but since Kaulder is older than him he always calls him “kid.” (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Breck Eisner, Burk Sharpless, Cory Goodman, Elijah Wood, Isaach De Bankolé, Julie Engelbrecht, Matt Sazama, Michael Caine, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Rose Leslie, Vin Diesel, witches
Posted in Fantasy/Swords, Reviews | 20 Comments »