It was only a matter of time…
The B Action Movie Thread has been a gargantuan mainstay of this site for several years. So, in our continued efforts to dominate the internet in every conceivable way, here is a weekly column. A digest, if you will. Dig in and we’ll see you in the thread!
THIS WEEK ON THE B ACTION MOVIE THREAD (Last Week’s Installment)
Mike Flynn here with your look at this week’s madness and grandstanding over at the B Action Movie Thread. Five pages were added this week, starting at page 1412 and ending at 1416.
The Academy Awards? Who cares! It’s not like The Expendables or Machete got nominated or anything like that.
Two genre offerings, Unknown and I Am Number Four, hit theaters this weekend and some of our regulars reported back on them. Unknown—anticipated by many folks after Liam Neeson’s last outing fucking shit up in Europe—and to say the least, mileage varied wildly. Not surprisingly, Rene gave it “a solid 10 out of 10” and “friggin’ loved” the film and its “off-guard” twist. Tyler Foster hated it, and ForsakenNoMore colorfully panned the film:
Fuck this movie to the tenth power! My trailer vibes mis-fired[…]Joel Silver produced this movie. Fuck his fat-ass w/ a LETHAL WEAPON!
ForsakenNoMore, might I add, revealed some touchy spoilers for Unknown, so unless you want to know the twist, proceed with caution.
Good or not, however, its success this weekend basically brings us closer to that long-anticipated event of 2012 or 2013 or whatever—Taken II: Rendezvous (alternate title: Taken It 2 the Streets [theme song by Cee-Lo Green featuring Michael McDonald!], Taken 2 Extremes)
Kain424 succinctly gave this insight on I Am Number Four:
Symptoms include nausea, anger, confusion and possibly some cerebral hemorrhaging.
Gabe T tells us he’s seen one of the most anticipated genre efforts of the year:
I just got out of what might be the very best action movie of 2011.
I’ll give you a hint. It’s about a hobo. A hobo who one day purchases a shotgun.
Hey, do you remember Machete? Well, multiply that movie by 1000 and you might HINT at the literally non-stop awesomeness.
I imagine some red band trailers will surface soon. Do NOT watch them. Go in fresh. Bring friends. Bring some beers. You will CHEER.
Erix spent his weekend taking part in a movie marathon competition where the person who can last the longest watching wins a Suzuki motorcycle. Our comrade came in 239th place, but he still logged 34 hours of nonstop movie watching and it’s an absolutely commendable feat.
(Erix sez: I should add that I wasn’t disqualified… I simply had to abandon the competition due to work commitments. If it wasn’t for those fucking kids, I would’ve won that cocksucker!)
Moltisanti has seen Wesley Snipes’ latest DTV outing, Game of Death, and it’s not good:
Slightly better than Snipes’ other DTV efforts but still lousy. I like that Snipes does more hand-to-hand stuff here but a lot of those scenes falter because of all the over-stylized choices made by director Giorgio Serafini. Of course he can’t just film a fight, but he has to include certain shots in black and white for no reason at all. Then sometimes there will be a scene where a shot suddenly looks like it’s from an old-timey silent film. Just point the camera in the direction of where things are happening, sir.
Gary Daniels didn’t add all that much as the villain though that’s mainly because his greatest asset, kicking people in the face, is barely utilized. Why cast Daniels if you’re gonna have him just shoot people point-blank with a silenced pistol instead of kicking their heads off? But Daniels does manage to come off better than Zoe Bell. Curse Tarantino for making Bell believe she should be an actress instead of falling out of buildings or riding a horse with a dark wig so Lucy Lawless can chill in her trailer.
Ernie Hudson plays a priest in GAME OF DEATH who councils Snipes’ character. If you didn’t know Hudson was a priest because he works in a church or because he wears a priest’s collar then you’ll know for sure he’s priest because of all the times he calls Snipes “My son.” It’s a dead giveaway.
Rene finally meets a movie he dislikes—De Palma’s The Black Dahlia:
After spending pretty much the entire week marathoning American Gothic, and Miami Vice: Season 1, I’m finally getting around to seeing the movies I got at Big Lots on sunday. Last night I saw The Black Dahlia. Few good scenes, and a large supporting role by the always awesome Mike Starr. Other than that, and a cameo by William Finley, the movie was a boring mess. I just couldn’t get into it. I wasn’t expecting the greatness that was L.A. Confidential, but it was still not a very good movie. One really gory scene has 2 characters tumble over a staircase, down into a water fountain, and the water fountain ornament OBLITERATES the face of one of them. I thought that was the coolest moment. One hilarious scene had all the cops watching a dirty movie that had this sleazy jazz music. I’m so used to hearing the 70’s music with it’s bass guitars and flutes, that it was a surprise to hear this jazz sounding music. Added to the hilarity.
I saw Red. It was boring. But Excessive Force was great.
Moltisanti also provides a trailer for The Hit List, the epic pairing of Cole Hauser and Cuba Gooding Jr., where the latter seems hell bent on emulating the greatness of one his Jerry Maguire co-star’s best performances.
Duke Fleed returns after his visit to…Jupiter (Florida).
Wadew1 posted an epic Drive Angry (Shot in 3D) online ad:
Felix posts the trailer for True Justice: Street Wars, and later on in the week, we ponder its chances of going further than a series of strung-together films (due to Seagal’s supposed laziness), let alone its chances of airing on U.S. television. Seriously, someone tell Spike or G4 to give us a weekly Seagal fix.
Our resident Dolph Lundgren expert, Jox, has details on Rage of the Tiger, a new Scott Adkins project:
Every international city has a dark side, welcome to Hong Kong.
Crazy street fights, Triads, organised crime.
A simple man is pushed to the edge, the love for his family will drive him to succeed, to win…. And to do what needs to be done.
“A movie with the heart of “ROCKY” and the fights of “BLOODSPORT”.
A film by Ross Clarkson
This week, we also combated the recent attempts by WWE Films to return to those long-ago salad days where family comedies like Mr. Nanny and Suburban Commando broke box-office records. Last Friday, the Triple H starrer The Chaperone hit theaters and proceeded to make almost nothing.
First we were horrified by this poster, which Moltisanti proceeded to remark, “Check out Kevin Corrigan on top of the bus. Oh boy, it’s a long way from stirring Henry Hill’s tomato sauce.”
The poster’s appearance marked the unofficial beginning of Unflattering Celebrity Photo Week here at the thread, where the name of the game is to see how far great people have fallen. First, we have Ed Harris starring in WWE Films’ next production, That’s What I Am:
The poster was met with sheer disgust when it debuted on page 1415:
Erix: “Are you fucking kidding me? I am changing my avatar as soon as I’m done watching ANVIL. Fuck this.”
Rene: “That poster makes me hate. IT MAKES ME HATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Felix: “Is a picture like that even legally allowed on this Thread? Weird.
Poor Amy Madigan. From STREETS OF FIRE to this?”
The Perfect Weapon, our resident pro wrestling expert, weighed in on WWE Films’ recent rash of failures at the box office, as if anyone lined up to see Danny Glover and Patricia Clarkson opposite John Cena in Legendary or wanted to laugh at the Big Show alongside Dennis Farina in Knucklehead.
By the way, it appears that their lineup has been steadily coming to Netflix Instant, so if you want to cringe at something, you know where to look.
…then I found the shocking truth behind John Travolta’s hairline:
…and Kelly Preston’s post-baby body:
Hans Gruber’s EYE CONDITION! Followed up with this candid Kelsey Grammer beach body photo:
Duke Fleed has seen Ong Bak 3 and is more than impressed:
Rene (Mr.Eko), Today, similar to, January 14th was…ONG BAKtakular! I saw, Part 3, of the, Bone…JAAring, Martial Artistry of Tony Jaa, this time on dvd! I never did see that other movie that opened on…Jan 14th, as I didn’t want to get…Stung, so I avoided…The Green Hornet! I have also been playing a good amount of, Marvel Vs Capcom 3, and it is…All Kinds Of Awesome!
Twitch Reflex’s three-hour “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” cover marathon led to an adverse reaction to one of Arnold’s golden-age greats:
Speaking of endurance marathons, I recently subjected myself to three, THREE, hours of covers of The Rolling Stone’s “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” on WFMU.
Only the bold or incredibly masochistic should dare hear it here: http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/39204?dm=1297576180
How am I trying to tie this to B Action? Afterwards, I stumbled across Raw Deal on cable, just as Arnold was gearing up for his convertible assault. I can’t sit through it without cringing. The trauma is fresh.
Hans Gruber’s EYE CONDITION! stopped by to discuss one of the thread’s favorite supporting characters, Graham Greene’s performance as Joe Lambert (better and affectionately known to us as Fat Indian Cop] in Die Hard with a Vengeance:
…had a random thought at this late hour- Do you ever wonder what Fat Indian Cop’s (from Die Hard with a Vengeance) middle name was? I don’t think I know, but I probably know his sacred Cherokee indian name. “Dances-With-Hotwings”. Perhaps there should have been a scene in the movie where Simon Gruber attacks the members of the police team at their homes, ala Lethal Weapon 2. Fat Indian Cop would hear a knock at his door, and open up and someone left a pallet of buffalo wild wings. As he lifts the pallet into his room, a bomb is armed inside the gigantic pile of hotwings. There is easily about 100 pounds of hotwings on the pallet. He gets a call on his mobile phone. Its Simon. “I TRUST YOU SEE THE MESSAGE! You must eat all these hotwings and reach the bottom of this pile, and the timer will stop!”
Clarence Boddicker made this fantastic statement: “I actually think a Die Hard sequel that rips of the Saw franchise starring Hans Gruber and Fat Indian Cop would be better than what we’re probably gonna get with Die Hard 5.” Rene and wadew1 seem to express interest in penning this project:
wadew1: And the twist ending is that SIMON was never tormenting Fat Indian Cop!
It was the large woman Fat Indian Cop made fun of for being….FAT during McClane and Zeus’ tense payphone call!
Bruce Willis and Robert Rodriguez made another Nike commercial, making the non-prospect of Rodriguez taking the reins on Die Hard 5 instead of NOAM MURRO more frustrating:
Moltisanti got around to Unthinkable:
It’s all about Jackson as the greatest interrogator/torturer in the history of interrogation/torture who has to interrogate/torture Michael Sheen as a terrorist who has placed 3 nuclear bombs all across America, all while Carrie-Ann Moss looks on in disgust at what Jackson does in the name of freedom. It’s not bad, kinda gets bogged down in a lot of “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” from Moss and then Jackson says something like “WHAT I’M DOING WILL SAVE INNOCENT LIVES!” and then Moss says something like “BUT NOW WE’RE MORE BARBARIC THEN THE TERRORISTS!” blah blah blah.
I will say that Jackson does one form of torture near the end that basically made the whole film watchable. A true “Holy crap” moment. Take that scene out and I’d probably be harder on this one.
wadew1 channeled his inner Rene upon seeing Takers:
I watched TAKERS based on Moltisanti’s recommendation.
And he was right, it’s not that bad! I’ll probably never watch it again, but it has an actual story and the characters aren’t annoying. I wasn’t expecting those things. I think my favorite part was when weasel of the group RAPPER “T.I.” (disguised as a traffic cop) starts commentating like a play by play announcer during the HEIST GONE WRONG!
He just jacked the guard!!!!!!!
He hit the car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HE GOIN FO IT!!!!!!!
OH SHIT MAN HERE HE COME!!
The Perfect Weapon honors President’s Day with a Sensei classic, Out for Justice:
That is one quality flick and I don’t need to talk about it here as all of us know it pretty well.
However, I will mention a few things that will always make me howl with laughter:
The butcher shop scene, the cleaver, the hand, and the guy howling AAAHHHHHHOOOHHHAAHHHHH! throughout the rest of the scene.
The scene at the end where one guy has something unfortunate happen to his leg… and his “OH, You took my fucking leg” reaction for about the next 30 seconds… and the fact that in the next scene during the big brawl mismatch, you can briefly see those remnants in the background. That’s good continuity.
And of course, “Ooh, my balls!”
Oh, why can’t they make more movies like this nowadays?
Dolph’s still got it:
Felix breaks more Seagal news, this time that life will imitate art as the Machete villain heads to Arizona for season three of Lawman, mind you, working with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who inspired Don Johnson’s turn as Von Jackson in the film.
Duke Fleed has a book recommendation:
While I have only read the review, I have to recommend the book based on the coolness of the subject matter alone. Stuntman: My Car-Crashing, Plane-Jumping, Bone-Breaking, Death Defying, Hollywood Life by…HAL NEEDHAM! This is for everyone that…Loves the late 70’s-mid 80’s car chase movies, from, Smokey And The Bandit, Hooper, Megaforce The Cannonball Run, Cannonball Run II, SMokey And The Bandit II, Stroker Ace and Body Slam. This book also calls back to the intro of, Glen A. Larson’s Greatest Series…The Fall Guy, Starring Lee Majors as Colt Seavers. It wouldn’t surprise me if Larson had based the character on a combination of…Ralph “Papa” Thorson (a Bounty Hunter, which was Steve McQueen’s final film, The Hunter), and Hal Needham!
Rene experiences the Moltisanti-endorsed The Horseman as kain424 takes in CHUD favorite Yor: The Hunter from the Future:
I’m 40 minutes into Yor and can’t stop laughing. This movie is definitely in the So Bad It’s Awesome category. Holy shit. And now they’ve puzzlingly added a love triangle to the flick. I can’t believe this movie exists.
Fat Elvis dropped $20 on a VHS for Steel—nope, not that one, this one sounds awesome, a “proto-Die Hard” with Lee Majors and George Kennedy, among others, as construction workers face deadly thieves. The best, however, was when Elvis said he “jumped on it, like Eko spotting LEVIATHAN at Big Lots.”
The week closes with Rene ending up a lucky bastard and getting to see Drive Angry a night early. It’s vague, but you can be sure we’ll have more input this weekend:
GENTLEMAN (and two ladies of the thread) SEE THIS MOVIE. You’ll immediately want to see it again. I had a friggin’ blast with it, and William Fichtner is going to have more lead roles in the future. Everyone loved it whenever he came on screen. It’s a down and dirty exploitation movie that’s been shot in 3D, and it doesn’t skimp on the crazy action and gratuitous nudity. To say more would spoil it too much. SEE IT. I look forward to hearing what everyone else thinks of it.
THE MIND OF RENE F. RANGEL
I (as usual) have to go against the grain and say I FRIGGIN’ LOVED UNKNOWN! Just like with Unstoppable, the trailer for Unknown only hinted at what the movie was really about. The twist caught us both off guard, and it has a really awesome car chase that reminded me of the one in The Bourne Supremacy. Liam Neeson has a couple of fight scenes, and I loved the paranoid thriller feel to it. I have a feeling I’ll be in the minority on this one, but I give it a solid 10 out of 10. We both enjoyed the exploits of Dr. Martin Harris.
Before I go on with more, I do want to make a personal note of something I said to Rene in response to this: At this point Liam Neeson could be starring in a remake of Loose Cannons and you’d be walking around town with people thinking you shoved a potato in your pants.
If I was sitting in a movie marathon and saw Legion, I’d be eating my popcorn and drinking my soda and being entertained. Once it finished …. then I’d just get comfortable and fall asleep to wait for the next movie which would hopefully be fun and interesting like Unknown, Red, or Jonah Hex.
…today I got in Xtro 3: Watch The Skies. Gotta love Netflix’s policy where if the closest warehouse doesn’t have the movie at the top of your list, they send you the next one, then send you the one you wanted a few days later …. It had a decent plot about an alien on a deserted island killing off Army people sent to collect live rounds that have been left there. The funniest thing is that the alien spaceship looks like full on MALE GENITALIA. I’m talking a scrotum for the back of the ship, and the rest of the ship is the dick.
I HATED in college when I’d run across pretentious douchebags who were all about arty stuff. I don’t mind arty stuff, but I don’t like getting force fed the stuff, and it’s one of the biggest stereotypes, that film fans are all about the arty stuff. It’s one of the reasons I wholeheartedly champion “crap”.
Just started The Devil’s Own. Heard terrible things about it, but it’s free on Instant, so what do I care?
THIS WEEK’S MOVIE
ERIX IS IN COMPLETE AGREEMENT WITH MICHAEL BOLTON ABOUT SUPERMAN III AND ITS STATUS AS “AN UNDERRATED FILM”
It’s all a matter of perspective.
I don’t want to give the impression that I’m using the term “underrated” as a signifier that the film is some kind of unfairly maligned classic. Besides, I’m sure Rene will be along shortly to tell us all that Superman III is a masterpiece. But I have to admit that it is underappreciated.
I have long been a champion of the movie because of what it does right, choosing to freely ignore everything it does wrong. So, indulge me for a minute, as we go over some points in the film’s favor. And perhaps we will discover that there are worse ways to spend a rainy Sunday in front of your television set.
IT REALLY IS A COMIC BOOK
For all its faults, lack of fidelity to the source is hardly one of them. It’s easy to understand, watching this film, why people were initially skeptical about greenlighting an epic saga about Superman. The fact of the matter is, Superman comic books were, by and large, stupid things. This story of a greedy villain and his power trip, combined with evil computers, a bumbling asshole who is actually good inside, plus a woman turning into a robot and Superman fighting with himself?
Torn from the pages of a Pre-Crisis comic.
Go ahead and pick one up. You may particularly enjoy one of those during the time when Clark Kent was a TV reporter. I’m pretty sure there was some thrilling adventure where he had to stop some greedy contractor from tearing down a building or something. And bullets were fired at some point… And they bounced off Superman’s chest and he flew the anonymous white-haired villain into a prison, while he shook his fist in the air.
THE CAST IS UP TO SNUFF
If you’re going to make a Superman comedy, you could do worse than this cast.
Margot Kidder exits the picture (literally) early on.
What remains is basically an all new cast, beginning with a rather winning love interest in the form of Annette O’Toole. The film has flaws. But the romance between Clark and Lana is not one of them. Take that insufferable fucking kid out of the picture, and you have a couple of genuinely poignant moments. And it helps that O’Toole is really easy on the eyes.
I suppose it’s fair to complain about PG Richard Pryor. But he gives it his all… In the scene where he travels all the way to Smallville just to get Gavan O’Herlihy drunk (my favorite scene in the picture), he starts out by doing a PG-version of his White People routine.
And, since we’re on the subject, I rather like very much that Gavan O’Herlihy is in this. He has two iconic 80s roles. Manny Fraker and this. I wish he’d been in more movies.
Robert Vaughn is never praised, since he plays what is perceived as a second rate Luthor clone. But, in the role of the “white haired businessman who will be flown to prison while shaking his fist”, he actually gives a very droll comic performance. I’m a really big fan of that part at the end where he points at an undefeated Superman and exclaims; HE’S STILL COMING. HE’S GOING TO GET ME!
Pamela Stephenson picks up where Valerie Perrine left off. But she’s hot as fuck. So we’ll leave it at that.
Richard Lester doesn’t give a flying fuck about Superman. And here, freed from the constraints of having to adhere to Richard Donner’s EPIC VISION, he cuts loose and decides to spit in the faces of comic book fans by presenting a take that twists itself into self-parody. Lester is very unfairly taken to task for these films. Like it was his fault that the Salkinds were assholes or something. But I’ve always appreciated that he really tried to put his own stamp on the material. There are two inspired comic set pieces. First, the odd way he chose to open the film.
And, although that’s all very weird – to have all this slapstick nonsense juxtaposed with Superman saving a man from drowning as a result of that slapstick nonsense – you can’t say they didn’t warn you. You can’t sit through those opening credits and not expect something different.
It’s turning the Superman “legend” on its head and reminding people that it’s really all a bunch of baloney.
The next comic set piece involves a series of convoluted mishaps caused by Richard Pryor fucking around with a computer. It doesn’t make any logical sense. But, I don’t know that it’s supposed to. I want to reach right now and say that Lester was trying to make a statement about mankind’s rapid descent into a rigid technological dependency that could only result in an apocalypse.
Or maybe he’s just having fun. But it does feature one of the funniest “laugh out loud with your mouth wide open and your tongue sticking out like an obnoxious asshole” moments in any 80s comedy I can think of.
The widely celebrated Superman Vs. Clark Kent duel (the one thing most people seem to agree is an actual series highlight) is pretty good, despite coming from a silly place. But I am more intrigued by the Evil Superman stuff that builds to it. It’s an endearing slice of innocence, to make Superman bad by turning him into a douche that plays mean pranks on people all over the world.
I don’t know why they left it at that, but it’s interesting and allows Lester to indulge in more of his slapstick humor.
It also gave the world this priceless image.
I’m pretty certain that Lester consciously set out to make an anti-Superman Superman movie. And it’s only the fact that he didn’t go far enough that keeps the movie from being truly great in that respect. Because the idea of taking this revered icon and revealing how shallow and meaningless it all is… That’s a good idea. Forget about your Christ metaphors and Biblical parallels. Make the statement that sometimes we give comic books too much credit. Sometimes they really are just a bunch of crap.
Now – I want to believe all of this, but it’s probably not true. I think that, in indulging himself, Lester kind of stumbled into making a sloppily subversive movie. But it is those elements that make the film unique and allow it to stay with you.
I’ll be honest, okay? Taken strictly as a sequel to Superman and Superman II, this movie is kind of a piece of shit.
But if you look at it as a separate piece, it’s an interesting work. It’s genuinely a comedy (even when it isn’t funny) and genuinely a tongue-in-cheek comic book from the 80’s.
Because of those strange qualities, it’s the one Superman sequel I always revisit the most. I don’t know what that says about me.
Maybe I don’t really give a flying fuck about Superman either, at the end of the day.
But, hey… Here’s hoping Zack Snyder gives us a good movie in a couple of years.