COLD PURSUIT – which could be called HELLY HANSEN PRESENTS ‘COLD PURSUIT’ in my opinion – is an odd duck of a Liam Neeson vehicle. His character Nelson “Nels” Coxman is a man with a very particular set of skills, but they mostly involve driving a snow plow. He lives a simple life in a big house in a tiny ski resort town 3 and a quarter miles from Denver, Colorado. It’s one of those places where people have to be kinda rugged but they’re also laid back and individualistic. It’s always cold outside so they mostly just find ways to relax in their big houses. Nels’s wife Grace (Laura Dern, WILD AT HEART) smokes a joint while cooking up some meat from the reindeer that Nels and their son Kyle (Micheal Richardson, VOX LUX) hunted a while back.
Nels is a little nervous about having to make a speech after winning Citizen of the Year. Otherwise they seem to have a nice comfortable lifestyle going when all the sudden Kyle turns up dead – we know he was murdered by drug dealers, but the coroner (Jim Shield, SHANGHAI NOON, who looks like a more hard living Chris Pine) says it was a heroin overdose. Nels is so broken up he puts a shotgun in his mouth but when he’s interrupted by Kyle’s bloodied and apologetic friend Dante (Wesley MacInnes, POWER RANGERS) and learns what really happened, it’s not long before he’s sawing off said shotgun to fit in his jacket and go trying to find the people responsible. (read the rest of this shit…)
Another one from the Vern Vault: I have written about STONE COLD many times, but this was the only time I thought to title it STRICTLY BOZNESS. Originally posted October 15, 2015 on One Perfect Shot.
STRICTLY BOZNESS: THE FIERY MAJESTY OF ‘STONE COLD’
There is a certain type of action movie I love where it’s more important to be awesome than grounded; where the knowing use of cliches, absurd physics and extreme exaggeration are part of the agreement between the film and the audience. These are movies that are almost impossible to truly make fun of, because their ridiculousness is not a drawback, even when it’s an accident. They make you laugh but you’d be lying if you said you were only enjoying them ironically. Classics of this type include Schwarzenegger’s COMMANDO, Van Damme’s HARD TARGET and Seagal’s HARD TO KILL. (read the rest of this shit…)
I don’t think any of you would disagree that I’ve been neglectful of DTV action lately. I’ll always try to see the new Scott Adkins and what not but I don’t get down in the dirt like I used to. I mean I’m proud of the other stuff I write about, but I do have some concerns about the state of my mojo. And to be honest I’ve been feeling a little down worrying that too many of my proudest moments are now associated with skeezy people. It’s like, I mention the guy I wrote a book about, the websight I started out at, the place where I did my first public appearance, I gotta distance myself from three different sexual harassment scandals. And as I’m about to post this I just found out about allegations against an iconic hero for most of us around here, and it’s absolutely crushing me.
I’m gonna have to start hiring detectives to do background checks on these people before I start writing books on them. Pretty soon the fictional characters in my novel are gonna turn out to have secrets. I’m gonna have to write strictly about inanimate objects, because people always turn out to be creeps.
I know it’s more important to expose scumbags than to make sure I feel good about my legacy, but it’s kind of a bummer. So while I process all this I’ve decided to put more effort toward seeing probly-gonna-be-shitty-but-hopefully-not DTV/VOD type action movies like I used to, to see if it brings me back to full strength.
So far the results are inconclusive. I started with CHECK POINT, a film from this year, directed by Thomas J. Churchill (LAZARUS: APOCALYPSE). I chose it based on the following signs of b-action legitimacy in the cast: professional wrestler (Bill Goldberg), horror star (Kane Hodder), professional wrestler turned horror star (Tyler Mane), blaxploitation icon (Fred Williamson) and great character actor (William Forsythe). The lead turns out to be Kenny Johnson, who I assumed was also a wrestler because in close-up he looks kinda like present day Mickey Rourke, but in fact he’s an actor who I would’ve recognized if I watched The Shield or Sons of Anarchy. (read the rest of this shit…)
Oh hey, look guys, it’s summertime! And you know what that means: 1) time to sit back and unwind 2) that hardcore dance has gotten a little bit out of control, and 3) there will be a bunch of big special effects type movies coming out. As soon as the sunny days start I get excited for all the greatness and/or crap that’s coming out every Friday, I get nostalgic for the joy I’ve had in movie theaters throughout my life, or even that certain feeling I get from sitting down and waiting for some big expensive heavily advertised movie that will turn out to not be artistically worthy of its Slurpee tie-in. I still cherish the experience.
And in between watching the new movies I usually do some kind of summer movie retrospective. I’m sort of running out of good anniversaries to do, though, so this year I decided to try a different approach. This will be a series of films that have come out in the past couple decades of summers but didn’t exactly catch on culturally. Some of them will be financial flops or disappointments, others made decent money but were undeniably rejected by audiences. We’ll look at some misunderstood gems, some horrible pieces of garbage, and various stages in between.
I’m calling them SUMMER FLINGS – things the world flirted with briefly on the screen, then left in the past. Or movies that were flung out there and nobody caught them. Today’s movie is arguably remembered more than most of the others we’ll be looking at, but it definitely didn’t catch the world on fire the way Disney hoped it would, so I didn’t want to skip it.
P.S. I’m shy about bringing this up, but I’d have a hard time doing a series like this without my benefactors on Patreon, whose generous donations help offset some of the extra days I take off to really dig in and research and what not. So thank you to them and if you enjoy these reviews and can afford it please consider donating (or using any of the other methods of support mentioned on the right side of your monitor/bottom of your phone). Thanks!
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June 15, 1990
When the ’90s began, Tim Burton’s BATMAN seemed like the gold standard for summer movie excitement. In 1989 it had been a phenomenon at the box office, in record stores and at bootleg t-shirt stands, and every studio wanted to find their own Batman. (read the rest of this shit…)
Those of you who participate in the “Twitter” brand social media platform might have seen an account called “One. Perfect. Shot.” It follows the simple idea of posting beautiful frames from favorite movies, so you can admire their composition and lighting and what not. For example here’s a nice one from today:
I didn’t know this at first, but the guy that does it is Geoff Todd, who was the editor over at Daily Grindhouse when I did a column there. He also collects them at a websight, oneperfectshotdb.com, complete with, like, articles and shit. He asked me to write some of those articles and shit, and he’s always been good to me, so what the hell. I will be writing one or two perfect essays a month over there.
Since most of his readers probly don’t know me from Adam and Steve I figured I should introduce myself with a movie that truly represented who I am and what I represent, not only as a writer but also as a human being here on this planet just trying to get by and travel this journey you know what I mean so obviously I wrote the only thing a man in that situation CAN write, a little piece called:
I know I’ve written about this movie a couple times before, but come on. It’s fucking STONE COLD, man. This won’t be the last time either. “Stricly Bozness,” by the way, is what I wanted to call my book on the films of Brian Bosworth before I determined that too many of them (including the barely aired TV show he starred in) were unavailable for me to do it. Maybe some day.
Anyway, check it out and feel free to comment over there so they know somebody gave a shit.
There are many things I don’t understand about the sci-fi world and story of VIRTUOSITY. It opens with Parker Barnes (Denzel Washington) in a Captain Panaka cosplay outfit chasing a killer through the business district, where everybody is in a suit carrying a briefcase, like they’re in The Matrix. It does turn out to be a virtual reality simulation and Parker turns out to be a prisoner, though he was formerly a cop until he accidentally killed an innocent(ish) journalist while killing the guy who killed his family.
But what is the reason for this simulation? I guess it’s supposed to be for training? But then why are they training prisoners? I guess because it’s still in Beta testing. With its current calibration, getting killed in the virtual world can cause the player to go into convulsions and die in real life. (You hear that, Wachowskis? See if you can take that idea and do something better with it.) (read the rest of this shit…)
No man, I don’t got a problem. I just watch Michael Bay movies recreationally. I don’t gotta watch them when I wake up or nothin. It’s just every once in a while. I only watched PEARL HARBOR ’cause I was doing all the summer of 2001 movies. And TRANSFORMERS 3 because I thought it would be funny. Then people said I should watch this one. It’s not a big deal, man. That’s not that many. You don’t know what you’re talking about.
SAVAGE DAWN is a post-apocalyptic-town-harassed-by-bikers movie very similar to STEEL FRONTIER except way crappier looking and without all the great cars and car stunts. I’d almost give it a very, very lenient semi-pass just because Lance Henriksen, with bleach blond hair, gets one of his rare leading man roles, except… no, I wouldn’t want anybody to think I sort of recommended this movie. The best thing I can say is I’ve seen worse.
But if you insist on seeing it the DVD is #3 on a triple feature with CAGED FURY and DRUG TRAFFIKERS. Don’t say I or the cover didn’t warn you. (read the rest of this shit…)
I didn’t have time to do a countdown for MACHETE like I did THE EXPENDABLES, but it is almost like a holiday today so I figure it deserves some kind of commemoration. Obviously Seagal is the supporting player I’m most excited to see on the big screen again, but in second place I think would have to be Don Johnson. So I marked the occasion by checking out a Don Johnson movie I always meant to see, John Frankenheimer’s DEAD BANG from 1989. (read the rest of this shit…)
Since Labor Day was last Monday I figure the kids are either back in school or about to go back to school, so I might as well do VERN’S BACK TO SCHOOL SPECIAL. And if I’m gonna do that there is one movie that I would have to be a fuckin moron not to start with. And I’m not talking about BACK TO SCHOOL.
THE SUBSTITUTE is not necessarily a great action movie. It doesn’t have any particularly memorable action scenes or anything. But I really like this movie for the simple fact that the idea behind it – combining a mercenaries/drug gangs action movie with a DANGEROUS MINDS style white-teacher-makes-a-difference-in-the-big-city movie – is flat out brilliant, a once-in-a-cinematic-history opportunity. Seriously, I sit around trying to think of genre combinations this absurd and yet this natural. There aren’t many left. (read the rest of this shit…)
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