COMPILED BY ERIX ANTOINE
Greetings, fellow B Movie Chewers.
As I’m sure you are all aware… The apocalypse is upon us! And very few of us will have John Cusack and his amazing limousine to save us. So, if this is to be our final year on this earth, we may as well make the best of it.
And what better way than with some top quality B Movie entertainment to keep us company. With that in mind, we present the B Action Movie Thread – 2012 Preview! (exclamation point optional).
For a couple of years now, one of the thread’s most sacred tradition has been Moltisanti’s in-depth look at the upcoming B Action entertainment for a given year. He takes great care to list all the highlights so we can all mark our calendars.
But why should only thread regulars get to enjoy this privilege? We know there are many closet (and out of the closet) B Action aficionados out there… And these upcoming releases interest you as well. So, this year, we’re not being selfish. We’re sharing Moltisanti with the whole world!
CONTRABAND (1/13): Mark Wahlberg tries to live on the straight and narrow but is eventually pulled back into the seedy underworld of smuggling. Despite an unrecognizable Giovanni Ribisi playing the heavy, the trailer didn’t do much to impress.
UNDERWORLD AWAKENING (1/20): The epic battle between vampires and lycans continues and oh lord do I not care.
HAYWIRE (1/20): Steven Soderbergh directs MMA star Gina Carano in this story of an elite soldier looking for payback after being sold out for chicken change. Lots of familiar faces are on hand for support including Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, and Bill Paxton.
THE GREY (1/27): Second pairing for Liam Neeson and director Joe Carnahan. Neeson is part of an oil drilling team whose plane crashes in Alaska. The team’s chances for survival quickly diminish when they are hunted by a bloodthirsty pack of wolves.
SAFE HOUSE (2/10)
Ryan Reynolds as a CIA agent who must protect the life of a ruthless criminal (Denzel Washington) after a double-cross leaves their safe house compromised. Good crop of character actors all over this one including Brendan Gleeson, Robert Patrick, Liam Cunningham, and Ruben Blades. Ruben Blades? He wouldn’t be involved in any double-cross. That’s for darn sure. He’s always been anti-double-cross. Nobody has done more to warn the public about the consequences of a double-cross than Ruben Blades.
GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE (2/17): I suppose this film will aim to erase the 2007 GHOST RIDER flick from our collective memory. But since I already can’t recall a damn thing about that slop they’re way ahead of the game. Anyway, it’s Cage, it’s the CRANK guys directing and it’s Christopher Lambert as a “warrior monk.” It screened for an audience last month and everyone who saw it hated it.
ACT OF VALOR (2/24): Navy SEALs battle terrorists while attempting to rescue a kidnapped CIA operative. The big hook for this film is that the SEALs are not actors, they are played by actual Navy SEALs. That may lend the film some authenticity but will any of these guys convey the joys of zany golf cart mischief like Biehn and Sheen? Doubtful.
SEEKING JUSTICE (3/16): Already released in a lot of countries overseas, this long-shelved Nicolas Cage/Guy Pearce vigilante picture is set to be put out in theaters by Anchor Bay. Like most Anchor Bay releases, it’ll likely play in a handful of cities before heading to video quickly thereafter.
BULLET TO THE HEAD (4/13): Walter Hill’s first feature film in nearly 10 years is enough to make this one highly anticipated, but add Sylvester Stallone into the equation and you’ve hit the daily double. Stallone stars as a hitman who teams with a cop played by ethnic actor Sung Kang to take down a criminal enterprise responsible for the death of each of their respective partners. Might be a lot to ask of Hill to match the dizzying heights of EXTREME PREJUDICE or JOHNNY HANDSOME but this has to at least be better than RED HEAT. It just has to. Seriously, no excuse if it’s not.
ESCAPE FROM M.S. ONE (4/20)
Guy Pearce as a convict offered his freedom back if he can rescue the President’s daughter from an outer space prison. The international trailers for this one have been extremely promising and Pearce seems more than up to playing his hero role as a complete jerk-off.
SAFE (4/27): Jason Statham becomes protector to a 12 year-old girl. Before you furrow your brow Luc Besson is not involved so I’m sure it’s all nice and platonic.
PROMETHEUS (6/8): Expectations are mighty high for this one. The footage we’ve seen so far has been fantastic. I’m hoping this film will convince Ridley Scott to do prequels for some of his other masterpieces. Though I can’t for the life of me figure out who he should cast as fresh-faced rookie NYPD Officer Conklin.
GI JOE 2: RETALIATION (6/29)
A lot of reservations about this sequel, and its director John Chu, were momentarily put at ease after the film’s trailer was released. In a wonderful stroke of wisdom it appears Channing Tatum will have limited screen time while The Rock leads the charge as Roadblock. Throw in Ray Stevenson, Walt Goggins, President Zartan, ninjas fighting on the side of a mountain, and Bruce Willis shooting at Cobra from the bed of an El Camino and the ingredients are all there for a delightful summertime diversion.
TOTAL RECALL (8/3): A new telling of the Phillip K. Dick story starring Colin Farrell as Hauser and Bryan Cranston as Cohaagen. Don’t expect Verhoeven levels of lunacy, as reportedly Len Wiseman’s version will be much more “grounded” and “realistic” and “subdued” and “practical” and “down-to-Earth” and “matter-of-fact.” Sounds like a blast.
THE BOURNE LEGACY (8/3): 4th entry in the Bourne franchise, though this time there’s no Jason Bourne. Instead Jeremy Renner will star as an operative named Aaron Cross. Doesn’t really make an ass-crack of sense to me.
EXPENDABLES 2 (8/17): Nothing much I can really add about this one. I’ll be there. You’ll be there. We’re all gonna be dripping in bliss.
DREDD (9/21): Karl Urban has the title role in this Schneiderless film adaptation which details Judge Dredd’s efforts to maintain law and order in Mega City One. Last we heard the film’s director, Peter Travis, was locked out of the editing room and control of the picture was handed over to writer Alex Garland. Since then Travis and Garland have stated all is well and that the two had agreed to an “unorthodox collaboration” before the filming began. Good luck with all that.
Rian Johnson directs and Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in this TERMINATOR-ish tale of a time-traveling hitman who recognizes one of his targets (Bruce Willis) as his own future self. Movie has already screened in some circles and the initial word is that it is a keeper.
TAKEN 2: RENDEZVOUS (10/5): Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills who this time finds himself, along with ex-wife Famke Janssen, kidnapped by the father of one of the scumbags Mills killed in the first film. It’ll be great to see Neeson bring the pain again but I’m a bit saddened that TAKEN director Pierre Morel is not back behind the camera. Instead Olivier Megaton will take the reigns and if you’ve seen TRANSPORTER 3 then you know that’s cause for concern.
PARKER (10/12): Jason Statham has the title role in this latest film based on Donald E. Westlake’s literary career criminal. Also starring Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, and Michael Chiklis.
GANGSTER SQUAD (10/19): Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, and Michael Pena play members of an LAPD unit formed in the 40’s to keep mobsters out of the city, particularly Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen. Would love to get a West Coast UNTOUCHABLES out of this.
RED DAWN (11/2): I don’t know. Maybe this year? This remake finds a band of teenagers led by Chris Hemsworth defending their town against an invasion from China. I mean North Korea.
SKYFALL (11/9): Latest installment of the James Bond franchise with Daniel Craig back as Bond and Javier Bardem as the newest Bond villain. As for Giancarlo Giannini? Yep, still in that dumpster.
47 RONIN (11/21): Big budget telling of the Japanese legend about a troupe of banished samurai on a quest to restore their honor and find vengeance against the treacherous lord who was responsible for the death of their master. Starring Keanu Reeves. Wait, what?
THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS (TBA): Rza wrote, directed, and stars in this film centering on a blacksmith who must defend a village in feudal China. Rounding out the cast are Cung Le, Pam Grier, Lucy Liu, and Russell Crowe. Wait, what?
THE COURIER (TBA): Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the title role and is hired to deliver a briefcase to a reclusive crime lord. Also featuring Mickey Rourke, Til Schwiger, Miguel Ferrer, and the great Mark Margolis. Hasn’t been a lick of news about this one in a while which makes me think it may end up DTV.
BARELY LEGAL STILL IN BRACES (TBA): Hot teens shove huge rods inside a mouthful of metal.
MEDALLION (TBA): Nicolas Cage reunites with CON AIR director Simon West in this story of a thief searching for his daughter who has been abducted and stuffed in the trunk of a taxi. Based on the Robert Frost poem.
TOM YUM GOONG 2 (TBA): No idea about the plot of Tony Jaa’s sequel to his 2005 bone-crunching romp, but we do know that it was filmed in 3-D. Gonna have to be really good to erase the memories of those last couple ONG BAK flicks. Oh man, like putty-colored excrement, those movies.
COGAN’S TRADE (TBA)
Brad Pitt as a gangland enforcer looking for answers (and blood!) after a mob-protected poker game is robbed. Also with Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini.
THE EXPATRIATE (TBA): Aaron Eckhart gets his TAKEN on as a former CIA agent whose attempt to start a new life with his estranged teenage daughter goes down the crapper when they become the target of a ruthless assassin.
FREELANCERS (TBA): 50 Cent unfortunately stars as the son of a murdered cop who himself joins the police force. Even more unfortunate, Robert DeNiro is also on hand as a veteran officer who takes 50 under his wing and soon recruits him for his super secret rogue task force of cops. The unfortunates continue as Forest Whitaker will also co-star. I’m being awfully generous in thinking this will get a theatrical release seeing as how this is another flick delivered from the diseased womb of 50 Cent’s Cheetah Vision production company.
FIRE WITH FIRE (TBA): More Cheetah Vision drivel. Here Josh Duhamel plays a firefighter who witnesses a murder committed by a white supremacist (Vincent D’Onofrio). When his protective custody turns out not to be all that protective, Duhamel is forced to go on the offensive and kill many skinhead goons. Featuring Bruce Willis as a cop, Rosario Dawson as a U.S. Marshal, Rampage Jackson as a Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer, and Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha as an appellate court judge.
HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION (TBA): Been some rumblings of late that this Mel Gibson-stuck-in-a-Mexican-prison film will finally be released this summer. Though I’m still not sure if that means overseas only or if it will be coming stateside as well. Hard to imagine a major studio giving this much of a push. Prove me wrong, Hollywood.
DJANGO UNCHAINED (12/25): Looks like we’re gonna wrap up the year with a very merry Christmas. This epic from Quentin Tarantino follows a slave-turned-bounty hunter played by Jamie Foxx out to exact revenge against his former master (Leonardo Dicaprio). The amazing roster of supporting players includes Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kurt Russell, Don Johnson, Tom Wopat, James Remar, and James Russo. Can’t miss.
RECOIL (3/6):Steve Austin battles it out against Danny Trejo in this yarn about an ex-cop out for vengeance against the biker gang that murdered his family.
FORCED TO FIGHT: Gary Daniels in a good ol’ fashioned underground fight flick. Speaking of Peter Weller, he’ll co-star as the gangster running the illegal fights. While this is a low-budget film and likely will come and go in a flash, it is nice to see Daniels headlining this sort of movie again.
UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: A NEW DIMENSION: Scott Adkins has the lead in this 4th “official” entry in the franchise, though even with filming long ended we still don’t know much about the actual plot. Adkins himself has been quoted as saying the story is a mix of BLADE RUNNER and APOCALYPSE NOW. But the important thing is John Hyams is back behind the camera while Dolph Lundgren and Andrei Arlovski will appear again in front. Meanwhile, Van Damme will also show up looking like this:
ONE IN THE CHAMBER: Cuba Gooding Jr. as an assassin caught in between warring Russian gangs. Dolph Lundgren will also show up as a hitman partial to wearing flamboyant Hawaiian shirts tasked with wiping out Cuba.
EL GRINGO: Scott Adkins stars as a man who crosses into Mexico with a bullet in his arm and a fortune in cash with hopes of retiring to Acapulco. Also featuring Christian Slater as a cop on Adkins’ trail.
THE BUTCHER: Jean-Claude Van Damme fit this flick in shortly before filming EXPENDABLES 2. He’ll play a man hired to find the kidnapped daughter of a mixed martial artist. From the same director of ASSASSINATION GAMES, which ought to sprinkle some dash on any hopes.
DEATH RACE 3: Luke Goss dons the Frankenstein mask for the second time in this follow-up to the surprisingly decent DEATH RACE 2. Thankfully this film will feature a race beyond prison walls as the action is set for the South African dessert. Roel Reiné returns as director along with Ving Rhames, Danny Trejo, and Robin Shou who will all return in front of the camera.
MAXIMUM CONVICTION: Steven Seagal and Steve Austin team up in this tale of a prison set to be decommissioned that finds itself under siege by a group of mercenaries led by Michael Paré. Believe this was filmed in like three weeks. Infer as you like.