COMPILED BY ERIX ANTOINE
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)
Things get off to an auspicious start with our own Fat Elvis and his revisiting of Rambo III. He has some interesting things to say.
The Art of Screenwriting: Sylvester Stallone
Mousa: This is Afghanistan… Alexander the Great try to conquer this country… then Genghis Khan, then the British. Now Russia. But Afghan people fight hard, they never be defeated. Ancient enemy make prayer about these people… you wish to hear?
Mousa: Very good. It says, ‘May God deliver us from the venom of the Cobra, teeth of the tiger, and the vengeance of the Afghan.’ Understand what this means?
Rambo: That you guys don’t take any shit?
Mousa: Yes… something like this.
It’s kind of remarkable that this came out only five years after the original. Oh, how everything’s changed. Gone is an underdog spirit, replaced with ego trippin and excess remarkable even for a decade known for both. Sly and Schwarzenegger get lumped together a lot in this thread, but I think self awareness is a big dividing line. Sure Arnold might have close ups of his muscle-layered physique, but there’s a sense of irony and tongue in cheekiness about it. With Sly, here (and truthfully most of his mid to late 80’s work) it’s almost like porn; he’s a masturbating auteur in love with his own body/image. It’s actually pretty gross. And not very much fun.
The Action itself is okay. More lolzy, than adrenaline inducing–come on, the russian helicopters crashing head on is hysterical!–but Sly has always been more than competant in this department. And when the movie becomes Rambo teaming up with Trautman, a little of the old charm actually shines through. But that’s more due to Crenna finally getting to kick butt, than anything Sly is doing with the character.
Verdict: Hated it.
kain424 vehemently disagrees….
That’s evil. Rambo’s body vanity makes it even better. From the opening stick fight to the cavern killfest, the movie makes an even clearer departure from First Blood than the last sequel. The movie is now a full-on cartoon, and it’s wonderful. The fact that it isn’t just ripping off Missing In Action is a plus, with Rambo now willingly going on his own stupid adventure with its own silly politics. Why does Rambo play dead-animal polo? I don’t know, but it leads to him throwing Molotov cocktails at tanks, and that’s what’s important. I think with Rambo III, Stallone topped anything else in the action genre coming from the U.S. at the time. And it’s silliness makes it better.
And then, it’s on to the contributions… In typical left-field fashion, our own HunterTarantino (Mike) graces us with this intriguing poster for a film that was released on the same weekend as Showdown In Little Tokyo, and went on to clobber it in the Box Office wars. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… TRUE IDENTITY.
Paul McCartney: This poster is making me laugh pretty hard.
“OK, what’s the single most boring title we can give this movie?”
Moving right along, we celebrate the release of Albert Pyun’s CYBORG – THE RENEGADE DIRECTOR’S CUT.
The new opening is nifty.
And here’s a handy comparison for the unaware…
NathanW: The homoeroticism in that scene is off the charts.
kain424: So I gather that the main difference was AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
One of our “Leading Ladies” – the always welcome Natalia - is on hand with this very entertaining link: STEVEN SEAGAL VS. JUSTIN LEE COLLINS.
Pretty much a must see… And it won’t be around forever. So, hurry up.
In other news, we are all surprised that Sylvester Stallone has given up directing duties for The Expendables 2. But we are also quick to offer our “suggestions.” You’ll notice one name that pops up a lot. And it is this writer’s hope that Sly reads this column and perhaps pays attention.
Moltisanti: My guess is, if Sly does indeed give up director duties, he’ll want someone who won’t step on his toes during production. Someone like George P. Cosmatos, only alive.
Rene: I’d vote for Lexi Alexander. Girl knows how to shoot stuff without shaky cam. Or give it to John Hyams. He’s already worked with Dolph and Van Damme, and Van Damme has been approached for The Expendables 2. Hiring John Hyams would make it easier for him to slide into the movie and do split kicks.
duke fleed: John Woo would be ideal, but, Issac Florentine would be good as well. My personal fave would be…Ryuhei Kitamura, but he probably wouldn’t be considered. Stephen Sommers, knows how to blow things up well too. Pierre Morel would be another good choice.
S.D. Bob Plissken: My top choices would be John Hyams (who already has the Dolph/Van Damme connection) and Wayne Kramer (who’s doing Headshot with Sly this year)
I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets someone he has worked with before to do it. Renny Harlin and Rob Cohen come to mind. Hell, even James Mangold might be up for it. After all, he was actually chasing a directing gig on a Twilight movie(!) before landing Knight & Day.
And yeah, if George P. Cosmatos were still alive, he would probably be the first to get the call.
HunterTarantino: After Drive Angry, I’d love to see Patrick Lussier get the gig. Let’s just hope he doesn’t pull some Noam Murro sort of POPPYCOCK here.
VacuumJockey: I’d like to see Isaac Florentine direct Expendables 2. I wouldn’t mind John Hyams either.
felix: So long as a good Director with a promising track record takes over (e.g Issac Florentine, Shane Black, John Hyams), I am fine with it.
Bluelouboyle: My vote goes to Walter Hill. Been far too long since he’s had a movie in cinemas.
Erix: If he’s going to go with a “name”, Harlin might be a good choice. I haven’t liked his latest work, but he’s still a reliable, set piece oriented guy who could pull off the right moves.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – For the record, it doesn’t say so in that post… But my favorite choice is also John Hyams… Just so you know.)
Like most of you out there, we are caught up in CHARLIE SHEEN FEVER. And it’s nice to know that his recent firing from Two And A Half Men has given him more time to play Call Of Duty.
Finally, our own GabeT recently had a run in with a Punisher. And he’s very excited about it, as you can see.
This leads to some always welcome (and, this week, oddly fitting) Punisher discussion.
kain424: If they ever throw the Punisher in anything again, he should be a supporting player. I’d like to see that.
The Perfect Weapon: I’m just SO disappointed that a movie was never made in the early 90’s that was of Frank Castle and Nick Fury. Imagine, say, DOLPH returning as Punisher and someone else we love as Fury, and they re-enact the insanity in this game, and it’d be an all-time classic. Come to think of it, I’d love to see it done now with Stevenson as Castle instead and hell, Lundgren could be Castle, or whatever. What missed opportunities.
duke fleed: kain424, Well, I wouldn’t want to see…Frank Castle as a supporting character. I would…Love, to see The Punisher team up with Nick Fury! Since, Punisher War Zone was the, Perfect R rated Punisher film, I wouldn’t even mind a…Gasp…PG 13 Punisher, if he wore his 80’s era costume, and drove his Battle Van!
The Perfect Weapon, If…The Punisher/Nick Fury film arrived in theaters in the 90’s, I would have cast…Lee Majors as Colonel Fury, joining Dolph (your casting pick), as The Punisher!
THE MIND OF RENE F. RANGEL
“Hearing The Expendables talk about big pussy, fucking squirrels to death, and fat wife jokes, while blowing away guys with guns in stuffed animals would be awesome.”
“I wasn’t a fan of [Brandon] Routh at first, but I’ve grown to like him. Strangely enough a lot of it comes from his role in Scott Pilgrim. A film I’m not a huge fan of, but his portrayal of a gigantic asshole who punches the highlights out of a girl’s hair was hilarious.”
THIS WEEK’S MOVIE
MOLTISANTI REMINISCES ABOUT THE PUNISHER
In the summer of 1989 the nation was smack dab in in the middle of BATMAN-mania. The success of the Tracey Walter film led many to believe that the dawn of the comic book movie revolution was upon us. I recall reading an article around that time stating that there was already another motion picture based on a comic book that was all set for release at the end of that very summer. That motion picture was THE PUNISHER, based on the Marvel Comics’ vigilante, and starring a then on the rise Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle who waged a one man war on the criminal underworld. Coming on the heels of BATMAN it had the potential to be a hit for Lundgren whose first two leading roles in MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE and RED SCORPION had failed to launch him into the top ranks of the era’s action stars.
As June, July, and August sped by there was a problem. No PUNISHER movie. What happened? The short answer is that it was released in a lot of the world but that financial troubles for New World Pictures, the film’s distributor, had destroyed its chances of being released theatrically here in the states. But in a pre-Internet society that sort of information was not readily available. You had to go on with your life not knowing why a movie wasn’t released. That’s just the way it was. From that point on there wasn’t a peep about THE PUNISHER, with the small exception of an ad for the movie that showed up in the back of the instruction booklet for the NES Punisher video game in 1990. Great game by the way, I can still hear the soulful sounds of that guy on every level playing the saxophone.
By 1991 the lack of THE PUNISHER was a distant memory. There were simply too many action films being released to worry about one that had not. Seemed as though a week didn’t go by without a new film from Seagal or Van Damme, and if either of those two didn’t have a new movie coming out you had folks like Speakman or Bosworth dipping their pans in the creek hoping to strike big screen gold. It was a grand time to be an action junkie.
That summer of ’91 I put in a lot of trips to the various video stores in my area. I was about a year away from regularly attending R-rated films in the theater and I grew up deprived in a home barren of cable. Thus renting tapes was about the only option available to catch up on all that the action genre had to offer in the new decade. From LIONHEART to MARKED FOR DEATH to DELTA FORCE 2 I never left the video store unfulfilled. That’s not quite true, one time I rented FIREBIRDS.
It was on a sunny Friday afternoon that one such trip to a local video merchant proved more prosperous than I could have ever imagined. While browsing the shelves I saw it. Plain as day. Like a dime in a roll of pennies. It was there. THE PUNISHER on VHS. Nestled snuggly right in between PUMP UP THE VOLUME and Q&A.
Within record time I was out of that store with cassette in hand and back home jamming it in the ol’ RCA (with programmable timer!). What I witnessed over the next 92 minutes (not counting a minute or two for the trailer for KING OF NEW YORK) was nothing short of enchanting. How my 13 year-old eyes managed to stay in their sockets I may never know. Director Mark Goldblatt crafted a pulsating experience that left me in a blissful haze for weeks. THE PUNISHER was worth the wait.
There’s no point in me writing a traditional review for THE PUNISHER. Ya want a review? Here’s a review: I love it. I love how Dolph Lundgren fires a crossbow arrow with a rope attached through a dude’s chest then uses that same rope to repel down from a roof all while blasting away bad guys. I love how he casually flips the switch back on that stretching contraption after that evil doctor of torture tells him where all the kidnapped Mafioso children are being held. I love how those same adorable Mafioso children help dispatch of that one Yakuza chump as they’re being driven to safety in a bus by Lundgren. I love how Lou Gossett Jr. brings the gusto in his big scene where he confronts Lundgren in his jail cell (“They are going to E-LEC-TRO-CUTE you”).
I really love how Lundgren breaks the neck of the deaf adopted daughter of Yakuza crime lord Lady Tanaka.
Speaking of Lady Tanaka, I love the great Kim Miyori as Lady Tanaka. Oh my that cackle she gives as she goads Jereon Krabbe to shove a loaded gun in his mouth forever haunts me. Easily my favorite role from Ms. Miyori, just edging out her guest turn on The Shield as the head of an underage prostitution ring in an episode entitled “Cherrypoppers.” Here’s to you, Kim Miyori!
Now while I know there is a cult that has grown through the years of fellow admirers of this film I’m also well aware that there are many others who do not share my enthusiasm. For a long time I would try to reason with these folks and explain their misguided complaints, chief among them their vexing cries of “He doesn’t wear the skull” and “There’s no skull on his chest” or “Where’s the skull?” not to mention “duhhh skull duhhh.” I’ve reached a point in my life where the skull-debate is long over. Do I wish those who bemoan the lack of the skull would just go away and stop bothering people? Of course I do. However I don’t know how to make that happen. At one point I thought I had figured out a way to make that happen. It didn’t work.
I’ve watched a lot of movies in the 20 years since my first viewing of THE PUNISHER. KUFFS, B.A.P.S, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN to name a few but even after all I’ve seen since THE PUNISHER it remains a treasured favorite. It’s a film that always brings me great joy even in times despair. An unsung cornerstone from a period of time when reprehensibly violent action movies were rightly embraced and not banished to the niche where they reside today.
ONE OF THE GREATEST COMIC BOOK MOVIES OF ALL TIME
“What the fuck do you call 125 murders in 5 years?”
“Work in progress.”
Sometimes a great comic book movie doesn’t have to be a direct adaptation.
At the age of 6 I was introduced to what would become my favorite “superhero” of all time. The Punisher. My Father has always been an avid comic book collector. He got me into collecting as well (though it was MANY years before I actually started bagging and boarding them) and he knew that I really liked action movies and guns. I had (and still have) a collection of toy guns from my youth. Many a day was spent re-enacting action movies, and creating my own action or horror movies with them.
My Dad showed me some comics of The Punisher that he had, and I was instantly entranced. He wore a costume that was pretty much spandex, but had a HUGE white skull on it. Of course there was also the vast armory that The Punisher had. Around 1992, my Dad started getting me the newly started Punisher: War Zone, and that along with the regular title The Punisher, as well as The Punisher: War Journal were my go to for enlightened literature. There were many great story arcs. The 3 biggest being “The Final Days” which had The Kingpin frame The Punisher, have him thrown in prison with Jigsaw and another thug named Gregario who pretty much ran the prison with Jigsaw, and then he gets injected with a temporary “dye” that gives him a tan so he can look like a black man and avoid The Kingpin’s goons. The second “Suicide Run” had The Punisher killing a lot of mob bosses in a building that’s due to open soon (It’s a lot like Die Hard) and then he blows the building up, faking his death. The last is called “Countdown” This was the final story arc for the 3 titles, and wrapped up a lot of the threads (though not all) from the 3 titles. This included The Punisher doing battle with his former armorer, Microchip, who now believed him to have gone completely mad, and had locked him up in a room and even hired another guy to be the new Punisher, and The Punisher going to work for The Kingpin, killing all of his associates, with The Kingpin knowing full well that he would come gunning for him after he had killed the rest.
Yes, the comics are amazing, and now with the MAX line, the writers can go that extra mile and really show what The Punisher can be capable of. There was a lull in the comic until Garth Ennis came along and completely revamped everything and brought the title back to its roots, and redefined the character. First as a “Marvel Knights” comic, then in the current MAX line.
The first comic began in 1987, and by 1989, the first adaptation of the comic became a movie directed by Mark Goldblatt, and starring the demigod that is Dolph Lundgren. I first found out about the movie in early 1992, not long after we had gotten cable the previous year, and saw that Cinemax was going to show the movie. I thought we got Cinemax, and to my sadness, we only had (and still have) basic cable. Then a miracle happened. My parents and I had gone on a trip, and at a Wal-Mart, they had the VHS of The Punisher, and my Dad bought it. I was in 7th Heaven (sans Jessica Biel). Once I got to see it with him, it was quite possibly the greatest action movie I’d seen next to Commado, The Running Man, Robocop, Batman, Tango & Cash, both Terminators, and Total Recall.
I started off this review with a quote about comic book movies not always needing to be a direct adaptation, and that’s true. Even as a kid, I was not that pissed that the most glaring omission, THE WHITE SKULL is not present on The Punisher, except for his knives which have skulls on them. They also basically retool his entire background. No longer is he a Vietnam vet who’s family was killed by mobsters in Central Park. Now he’s a cop who tried to take down a big boss, and the boss planted a bomb in the family station wagon that was supposed to only kill him.
Dolph Lundgren has been the first of 3 actors to portray Frank Castle. I also think that he’s the best. He plays The Punisher as he should be. A borderline psychopathic loner who is an engine of destruction. Tom Jane and Ray Stevenson are the other 2 actors to portray him, and I feel that Ray Stevenson is the other one to really nail the character down. Not to leave Tom Jane out. He did a great job as well.
Jeroen Krabbe who I had seen play a bad guy in great film The Living Daylights, plays one of the central villains of the film. He’s no Kingpin, but he does a good job. The big bad villain is a female Yakuza played by Kim Miyori and a mute girl who does martial arts. The interesting thing about the movie is that the climax actually has Frank Castle team up with the man who ordered his death, in order to save that same man’s son.
The entire film is basically action sequence after action sequence, and there’s almost no breathing room. You don’t want breathing room. You just want to see Dolph Lundgren fuck up bad guys and shoot shit up. The pier assault is notable for being heavy on the gore, as spiked balls and that awesome sickle looking Japanese weapon on a chain that was masterfully used in Ninja Assassin is used here as well.
Also a sequence where Frank Castle shoots up an illegal gambling casino. The gun that Dolph sports on the cover is used only during this sequence, and I really wish he had used it to shoot up bad guys rather than a bunch of slot machines and craps tables.
Then a shoot out in a funhouse that leads to an interrogation where Dolph answers the question “Who sent you?” with “BATMAN”. The fact that he’s also being tortured with a Japanese guy WEARING RED LADIES PUMPS adds to the bizarre hilarity of the scene.
To add to the humor in the movie is a bum who somehow is very well connected in the criminal underworld, who is played by the star of Howling III: The Marsupials, Barry Otto. He is the replacement for Microchip, and I quite like him. He’s a pretty funny guy of the Arthur Bach mold who is a drunk, but has a sense of honor. He also has a great gag where he’s 4 hours late to meet The Punisher, and The Punisher sends out a remote controlled truck that has a bottle of liquor on the back of it that Barry Otto, known by the name of “Shake” in the movie, follows it back to him. He also has a scene of dialogue between him and The Punisher that has been my signature on the CHUD.com message board for a very long time, and it’s one of my favorite exchanges in the entire movie.
The big climax features Frank fighting ninjas, well, the entire movie has him fighting ninjas, but these guys are armored up like Bushido warriors. Then it ends with Louis Gossett, Jr. screaming out Frank’s name, and that same shot from the beginning of the movie where Dolph sits naked and sweating and pondering that as long as the guilty are around, he’ll be around as well.
Ah, Louis Gossett, Jr. LGJR. He plays a guy named JAKE BERKOWITZ who was Frank’s former partner on the police force, and has now dedicated his life to finding Frank, and getting him the help that he believes he needs. This all culminates with Jake and Frank in a jail cell where Jake keeps asking Frank why he kills and Dolph says stuff like “FRANK IS DEAD. ALRIGHT?” and Jake has a break down and says “THEY ARE GOING TO ELEC-TRO-CUTE YOU! LET ME IN!” If only Chloe Moretz would have said that to Cody Smit McPhee in Let Me In. That would have been great.
The movie actually had been edited and changed before its Direct To Video release in 1989. It was actually released theatrically through the rest of the world, but here in the States, it was released DTV. The Marvel Comics adaptation of the movie has a lot of the scenes in it. Also, the back of the VHS as well as the DVD also has a still from the deleted opening sequence that Detective Samantha Walker talks about later in the movie. “It was my first assignment in plain clothes. I WAS THE HOOKER!”
The whole beginning deals with the arrest of the guy who the movie now opens with getting released. Goldblatt has shown this version, his Director’s Cut that also features extra violence, at film festivals, but because of rights issues it hasn’t been released. That’s sad because it really should be.
The score is another great thing about the movie. It’s very bombastic and action oriented. It was finally made available on cd back in 2006. I ordered it, and it’s become a score that I play every now and then.
The DVD is also sadly a bare bones release. It really deserves the special edition treatment. The full Director’s Cut, a commentary with Goldblatt and Dolph, a documentary, trailers, the works. The other 2 Punisher films have all of this, and this one should be no exception.
The Punisher is one of those rare comic book movies that takes liberties (major ones) with the source material, and it actually works. It’s most certainly worth checking out. If you are tired of all the fantasy based superhero movies, check out this reality based one. Even if it uses the term “reality” loosely. You won’t regret it.
Well, what can I possibly say after that mouthful?
Not much. But I would like to focus on one little detail… The Opening Credits.
What’s the big deal about the credits? Well… For one thing, they’re awesome. It’s a lovely bit of graphic design – very much in the tradition of Saul Bass – that, coupled with Dennis Dreith’s fantastic score, makes for a thrilling and visually arresting opening for the picture.
But they also set a very specific tone. They tell you, right at the start, that you are about to watch a comic book brought to life in a most vibrant way.
The Punisher is very much a live-action comic book at every step of the way. It is, after close consideration, the best and purest interpretation of this particular character. I don’t give a shit about the fucking skull, okay? Fuck the skull. Tone is what matters. Boaz Yakin’s sharp script and Mark Goldblatt’s economic but effective direction bring to life a film that is very steeped in the Punisher comics of the era. This is The Punisher… Gerry Conway’s Punisher – alive and well on the silver screen. And it is that conviction, that evenness of tone… That’s what makes this particular adaptation a cut above the rest.
Hensleigh’s was just a mess. Trying to consolidate the stark 80’s Punisher with the over-the-top dark humor of the Ennis version – ending up with an overcooked mishmash that never knew what it wanted to be. War Zone is a lot of fun, yes, but you get a lot of mayhem with no real subtext and there are times, even, when the movie really seems to be trying too hard. (Both War Zone and this Punisher open with a siege on a mobster’s house. But the ’89 version is the one that feels more effective – despite being less bombastic)
What they do here is craft a classical action piece, very steeped in the manic ultra violence of the period, infusing it with comic book camp. The performances are pitch perfect in this regard. Lundgren sells the character expertly and no one else has really come as close to capturing the stoic demeanor of the Frank Castle I grew up with.
Louis Gossett Jr knows very well what movie he’s in, and he relishes in his scenery-chewing. But it’s also a carefully measured performance, with just the right amount of winking awareness. Also, as a fan of FRINGE, I have to say I noticed that Lance Reddick borrowed heavily from this performance for his characterization of the taciturn Broyles.
Terrific camp, solid non-stop action… The movie never really missteps – with the exception of failing to give Jeoren Krabbe an appropriately satisfying comeuppance.
I have to echo the sentiments of my compatriots when I say that this movie deserves better than it’s gotten over the years. Yes, it’s a solid comic book movie. It’s also one of the great, unsung action pictures of the 80’s. It packages the wondrous action tradition of CANNON, and ushers it into the comic book era.
JUDGE. JURY. EXECUTIONER. ALL IN MIKE’S TAKE
The Punisher is an intriguing selection from the limitless gamut of comic book adaptations. New World’s bankruptcy orphaned it until LIVE Home Video finally got it on home video in the States in 1991, and when it hit shelves, fans cried afoul of the decision to make Frank Castle more reality-grounded than he had already been established as in the Marvel universe. In other words, Dolph Lundgren’s doesn’t wear the superhero-y costume that he was known for in the comics, and most absolutely and positively importantly, there was no skull on his shirt. From this perspective, who emerged as, basically, a more lethal, angrier, and less noble Batman had been turned into a one-dimensional gunman.
Mind you, this is precisely why The Punisher works. For one, Marvel is always willing to tap their characters into the contemporary real world and render them emblems of current events. The Fantastic Four represents the Space Race. Spider-Man, the Hulk, and Daredevil were all created by radiation, no doubt a commentary on the effects of nuclear power.
When the Punisher debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 in 1974, he was Marvel’s avatar for the Vietnam War. Not only was he a reckonable force against rampant urban crime, he was a sociopolitical juggernaut, a poster child for posttraumatic stress disorder and a fitting companion to the Eastwoods, Bronsons, and Marvins of the film world. By the time the Punisher emerged as one of Marvel’s biggest sensations of the late 80’s, he had his own
Blathering exposition aside, The Punisher is a damn fun film that thoroughly fulfills the ambition to play on the same level as the bigger-league action offerings. Film editor Mark Goldblatt had made his directorial debut on the so-dumb-it’s-really-not-that-good Dead Heat, but here he proves himself as a very capable genre director. The film has a violent streak that waves flying colors everywhere that’s so evocative of the time and defines the film. I mean, it’s not on the level of War Zone where every kill is a novelty. Still, this is a film where the hero massacres a meditation session and children are put into horrible peril, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from a man who directed a film that featured an action sequence set inside of a haunted butcher shop. Throw in a very capable screenplay from Boaz Yakin, who co-authored The Rookie (not the baseball one, you asshole!) and you’re got yourself set up for something great.
As Castle, Dolph Lundgren is at the top of his game. Compared to Thomas Jane and Ray Stevenson, Dolph plays more on the slick side than his grittier successors, but it has absolutely no effect on the character. A substantial portion of the reason why Lundgren is so great in this film and many others is something that isn’t as accentuated in other genre luminaries. Not only is Lundgren a colossal badass who you certainly do not want to fuck with, but at the same time, he’s an extremely classy, smooth presence that helps anchor a connection between the audience and why he’s killing everyone. GQ just had an interview with him that showed up somewhere in the thread a month or two back, and his taste in fashion, liquor, exercise, and fine dining.
There’s really not much else I can say that has already been said. It’s a very entertaining and gleefully brutal gem that demands a better understanding from purists.
However, I do want to address Louis Gossett Jr.’s role in this film. The man justifiably wins the Oscar for An Officer and a Gentleman (a classic case of a middle-road movie with a brilliant performance), yet instead of trying to keep a prestigious clout in the world, he plays a supporting role in Jaws 3D (hard to believe that guy from Gorp has more clout than an Oscar winner), helped James Belushi eradicate rampant crime from an inner-city high school, and embarked on an arduous treasure hunt with his gay lover. While he does a good, albeit ham-fisted job playing the angry, befuddled Murtaugh to Lundgren’s Riggs, he’s a black guy named Jake Berkowitz. Seriously, with a name like that you’d half-expect Saul Rubinek or Michael Lerner to be playing the part, but in the end, fuck it. It only makes the movie that much better.
I think I can vouch for my B thread compatriots and colleagues that there’s absolutely nothing to hide in telling the truth: we’d all go rainbow gay for Dolph.