9.19.2018

Bad Movie Night Presents: Steele Justice

Unintentionally Hilarious and Insanely Entertaining 80's Action at it's Best

by robotGEEK

How have I not seen this until now? Released in 1987, Steele Justice stars legendary bad guy Martin Kove, here in an attempt to make him a leading action star for the very first (and only) time in a big budget film that, despite it's budget, looks and feels more like a classic Cannon flick more than anything, and it's fucking glorious.

Martin Kove plays John Steele (get it?), a down and out ex-cop and ex-Vietnam vet who wanders from job to job with no clear direction in life. When an old Vietnam General and former enemy Kwan (Soon-Tek Oh), now a successful businessman and secret drug lord, and his son begin creating terror in his hometown, Steele must stop them. When they kill Steele's ex-partner and only friend, they sealed their fate.




Steele Justice has so much going for it that I don't even know where to begin. For starters, the cast is just epic here, with a kickass roster of notable bad guy's who were mainstay's in the 80's showing up, most notably the legendary Al Leong in a much more prominent role than we're accustomed to, and of course Peter Kwong (Big Trouble in Little China, Never Too Young to Die), as the son of Kwan, who leads his fathers charge with a brutality that pisses John Steele off. Rounding out the surprisingly stellar cast is Sela Ward, Ronny Cox, Bernie Casey, Sarah Douglas, Shannon Tweed, Asher Brauner (American Eagle) and so many more. And of course, the one and only Martin Kove. I have to be honest and say that despite their best efforts, I just can't take Kove as the hero as he's made an amazing career out of playing bad guys. It's in his face too. Even when he's being charming and nice, his face betrays him in a way that no matter what he does or says, he just looks like a villain. Regardless, he was awesome, and unintentionally hilarious. I'm telling you, the cast is nuts, but in a purely delightful way.

Obviously played straight, Steele Justice is loads of unintentional hilarity in the best possible way. I'm saying this is easily one of our Bad Movie Night masterpieces, right up there with Never Too Young to Die, Hired to Kill, Mankillers, Strike Commando, Deadly Prey and Killer Workout. So much of this film doesn't make any sense, with so many of the decisions of the characters being so ridiculously stupid and defy all logical thinking that you just can't take any of it seriously. And then there are the moments that literally have no explanation and leave you confused and dumbfounded. I won't mention them to you here because it's best to experience them for yourself, but you'll know exactly what I'm talking about, and you'll more than likely say out loud "WTF??".  There's even a totally out of left field epicly WTF? music video sequence that will blow your mind halfway through.

 Steele, for his part, is a treasure to watch. It seems so effortless for Martin Kove to play this unlikable character, who's valiant attempt at being charming comes off as creepy, and he really puts his all into it. The moments when he yells out in anger (of which there are many) during any number of shootouts is pure gold (think Reb Brown in literally every movie he's in).

Steele Justice, written and directed by Robert Boris (Frank & Jesse), is a Bad Movie Night masterpiece of the absolute best kind. Unintentionally hilarious, oftentimes strange, full of an incredible list of actors that surprised me at every turn, solid action, absurdity aplenty, and Martin Kove turning in easily my favorite performance from his entire career. He may not be leading man material, but he sure does try, really hard, and it's a beauty to watch. If Steele Justice is anything, it's 100% entertaining from start to finish and you'll be hard-pressed to find a better time in the 80's action department.


9.18.2018

90's Action Attack!: Silent Trigger (1999)

by robotGEEK

Dolph is my all-time favorite action star. More than Arnold, Sly, Chuck and Charles. I wish I could explain my fascination with this guy, but I can't. I just think he's the coolest action star on the planet. So the fact that I haven't seen this until now kind of blows my mind. To make matters worse, this is directed by Russell Mulcahy (Highlander, Razorback, The Shadow), a director I adore. I honestly have no excuse. I guess I was worried it might not be any good, and here, a project starring and directed by two men I admire, was sidelined by me for many years. I should also mention that it wasn't an easy film to come by anyway in widescreen. Knowing how visual a director Mulcahy was, I did not want to settle for a full frame VHS tape or DVD my first time out. If there was any chance of being able to see it in widescreen, then I would just wait for that opportunity. Luckily Amazon Prime is the perfect place for these hard to find 90's action films.

Released in 1999, Silent Trigger see's Dolph Lundgren as a professional sniper, who is double-crossed. After a brief disappearance, he re-emerges for another job, surprisingly hired again by the company that double-crossed him, only to find that he may have been double-crossed again. Along with his previous "spotter", he tries to figure out who's responsible.



Silent Trigger was a solid flick from every angle. Simple in it's premise and approach, most of the film takes place inside a building, which gives Mulcahy ample excuses to get creative with the camera. Kudos to him for still giving the film a slick sheen despite these limitations. The film does venture outside of that building in flashbacks and in it's opening sequence momentarily, but the bulk of the film takes place within an abandoned high rise building under the watchful eye of security guards.

There's plenty of action, suspense and visual flair from start to finish, and while I wouldn't call this one of Mulcahy's best films, it's better than I expected for what it is. Let's just say, I've seen some of Mulcahy's films after this and they bare little resemblance to the once visionary directors previous style and work. But considering this is a pretty standard DTV flick, it's definitely above average. It's a very small cast, with Dolph leading the charge with zero effort and all macho charisma like a pro. And honestly, had anyone else headlined this other than Dolph, I doubt we'd even be discussing it today. It's as good as it is because of his involvement, plain and simple.

In the U.S., Silent Trigger is available on VHS, Laserdisc and DVD in Full Frame (as is the case for most of Dolph's DTV stuff in the 90's). To date there has been no official widescreen release of this film on any format in the U.S., let alone Blu Ray. I am aware that there is a snazzy German Blu Ray out there, which I'll probably snag at some point (I'll need to see if it's region-free). However, I have good news for you streamers. It's available on Amazon Prime right now, and in glorious widescreen, so like me, you have no excuse to finally check this out.


9.13.2018

90's Action Attack: Soldier (1998)

"I'm Going to Kill Them All"

by robotGEEK

I've never really been a fan of director Paul W.S. Anderson. So much so that I've systematically avoided all of the Resident Evil films after being extremely dissappointed with AVP. In fact, other than Death Race, I haven't seen any of his films in the last 20 years. And that's based solely on his very specific style of directing and overuse of bad CGI. I just can't stomach it. But then I remembered Event Horizon while I was browsing Hulu recently, and since it had been well over 20 years since I'd seen it, I figured why not give it another shot.....and I fucking loved it. It was like "Hellraiser in space", done to the nines and was a far better experience than I was expecting. That got me to thinking of some of his other early films I hadn't gotten to yet, namely Soldier, which was made the following year. So I felt that if he carried some of that same visual aesthetic over to Soldier, then I'm sure I'll dig it, even knowing Soldier was ultimately a flop.

Released in 1998, Soldier was Anderson's follow up to the sci-fi/horror classic Event Horizon. And even though Kurt Russell was still riding high following a string of hits, Soldier somehow failed. Even despite a kickass trailer that effectively used White Zombie's More Human Than Human, and displaying a barrage of kickass action, Soldier was a flop. So much so that Kurt Russell took a break from acting for a few years before returning with 3000 Miles to Graceland and Vanilla Sky in 2001. And I honestly can't explain why I avoided it all these years. I can surely attest to the fact that had I seen that trailer, I would have jumped on it immediately.



Soldier is another prime example that Anderson was once a great visual director. In fact, you can easily count his first 3 big budget Hollywood films (Mortal Kombat, Event Horizon and Soldier) among his best. Somehow for some reason his style changed drastically following Resident Evil, and it's the same visual aesthetic he's retained ever since, except for Death Race, which was surprisingly awesome. It might be partly due to the fact that he didn't use any CGI (from what I can remember), and it was just a big, loud fun action flick that reminded me why Anderson was so good in the first place. It may also be because Anderson, like most directors, transitioned from film to digital cameras, thus changing the "look" of his films entirely. Sadly Death Race was but a brief detour from his now usual "digital style" and he would go right back to overused CGI, slow-motion and uninspired camerawork.

One of the things that constantly surprised me was the familiar faces. Starting with Russell, who spoke less than 2 minutes of dialogue in the entire film. Here he's big (literally the biggest you've ever seen him, and ripped), tough and more of a robot than anything. But Jason Scott Lee (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) as the main villain was awesome, as was the inclusion of Gary Busey, Jason Isaac's, Michael Chiklis, Connie Nielson, and Sean Pertwee (Gotham), who were all welcome surprises.



All in all, Soldier was a pleasant surprise. It was stylish in a way I hadn't anticipated from Anderson, and full of rock-solid action both big and small. The production design was impressive, as were the plethora of practical effects and pyrotechnics. The film slowed down a tad in the middle, but was able to recover nicely in the last act to deliver a wholly satisfying finale full of spectacle.

One thing I did not know going in was that it was written by David Webb Peoples, who is most famous for writing Blade Runner and Unforgiven. Peoples has stated that Soldier exists in the same universe as Blade Runner, acting as sort of a side-quel. In fact, highly observant viewers can spot many nods to Blade Runner throughout, even the famous spinner, while experts will also point out that Peoples wrote this screenplay around 1982/83 when Blade Runner was hitting theaters, but kept getting shelved when actors and directors originally interested on the project passed. While all this is fascinating, I just found it to be a really great sci-fi/action film that delivered in a way that I was not expecting. I half-expected to trodge my way through it, thinking I would probably be playing on my phone half the time. But no. I was invested from the very start, and the film never failed to deliver the action goods. It was a good old fashioned time in the action department, and a reminder of the type of quality that Paul W.S. Anderson was able to deliver many years ago.

9.12.2018

The Cult Corner: Miami Blues (1990)

An Unconventional Caper That Delivers

by robotGEEK

I'm back. I guess I just can't stay away. I love movies so much and watch so many of them on a regular basis I feel the need to let some of you in on some hidden gems that you might not be aware of. But I think I'm going to change my format from here on out. I think from no on I'll stick to a "Short Form" review style, so that I can get more out in a timely manner. So let's kick things off with this under-the-radar film from 1990.

Like you, I've certainly come across this title at my local video store. I remember always thinking how crappy the cover was, and in any promotional material always seeing images of a shirtless Alec Baldwin, or that one image of him sitting in a bed with an uzi in one hand, and a wad of cash in the other. Other than that I knew nothing about it. Thankfully Hulu Plus has had this on their streaming site for a while and I finally took the plunge.

Miami Blues is great. It's also one of those films that is hard to categorize, much in the same way Miracle Mile, Into the Night, Joe Versus the Volcano, and hell, even Innerspace to some degree. And these are all incredible films, and the fact that they're nearly un-categorizable probably explains why they didn't do well, because how can you market a film that is hard to fit into a specific genre? The same can be said about Miami Blues, a film that came and went with very little attention, but has gained a cult status in the following years.

Part caper, part dark comedy, part thriller, part detective film, Miami Blues works as well for all the reasons it didn't do well financially. It's a very niche type of film that not a lot of people will understand, or "get", but if you can just go with the flow, you'll find that it's quite the pleasant surprise. Unconventional at it's core, you follow Alec Baldwin's just released from prison ex-con who immediately takes up his old ways upon release, but with more urgency, extreme and with higher consequences. On his trail is Sgt. Moseley (an excellent Fred Ward), an out of shape cop who knows he's got his man, but can't seem to connect him to anything concrete. The back-and-forth battle of wits between these two is what makes the film work so well, and combined with the film's unconventional approach, you have yourself a great time.



Baldwin does a great job at creating a totally unlikable character, and using brute force, intimidation and bully tactics to get what he wants. It's weird seeing him so thin and in great shape, compared to what we've grown used to seeing in the last 20 years. But it's Fred Ward (who also executive produced) who steals the show, as a somewhat bumbling sgt. who's always one step behind.

I discovered afterwards that the film's writer and director was George Armitage, who also did Gross Pointe Blank, which explains a lot about it's particular tone. It's based on a novel by author Charles Willeford, where they even attempted a tv series/movie in 2014 starring Paul Giamatti based on Ward's character Hoke Moseley. Sadly, I think that tv movie was intended as a pilot and it just didn't take.

The film carries a charm that is hard to define and describe. I really can't explain it. As I struggled to try and figure out just what type of film this was supposed to be, I couldn't help but fall in love with Fred Ward, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and the films odd tone. I never knew where it was going to go next and oftentimes blindsided me with what did end up happening next. For all of those reasons, Miami Blues deserves to be seen, or a second look if you've already seen it and just didn't connect with it before.

9.05.2018

Going on Hiatus....

As much as I enjoy sharing my talking films with all of you, and sharing some hidden gems that some of you may have forgotten about or not ever heard of, I've had a lot of different things pulling me in different directions lately, and I'm finding it increasingly difficult to post on here as much as I want. So I think the best course of action for me right now is to take a step back and focus more on some of my new passions that have taken up so much of my free time. I hope you understand.

If there are any of you who actually do care whether I return or not, or enjoy my taste in films and critiques, you can follow me on Instagram (I'm robotGEEK), where I post regularly because it's in short form. At this piont I don't know when, or if, I'll be back. But we'll see. I have a strong feeling that nobody is going to miss it though...

9.01.2018

Species II: A Totally Bonkers Blast of Gory, Nasty Fun

That Rare Exception When The Sequel is Better Than The First

by robotGEEK

I remember being pretty excited about the first Species when it first came out. Probably because H.R. Giger was designing the alien, but also because I just love sci-fi/action/thrillers, and this one looked to get a gem. But for me, it wasn't. I found it pretty dull and lifeless for the most part. Sure it's always nice seeing Natasha Henstridge nude, but overall it was a pretty forgettable experience for me. I decided to revisit it a few months ago out of sheer curiosity because I have been known to change my mind about movies, but not this time. I felt the exact same way as I did all those years ago, only now with a much clearer reason why I don't like it. It has all the bells and whistles of a big budget sci-fi film, a potential kickstarter to a new franchise, but it's just all so very bland. Great cast, and some nifty effects, but I just found it hard to care about anything or get excited. Even on a visual level, when I'd always felt Roger Donaldson was more of a serviceable director, and never adding any level of visual fun to the mix, I still had hope. But alas, it was not to be and Species left me underwhelmed yet again.

Then somebody had randomly mentioned how nuts the sequel was, and as luck would have it, Hulu added the Species films to their lineup and it was just the sign I needed to dig into them, since I would probably never make any real effort to. So let's dig in.



I don't even know where to begin. It seems like the filmmakers, production and studio decided to go the complete opposite direction of the first one, going so far into low-budget grindhouse that it was just fucking awesome. It's bloody, gory, fun, full of nudity and really just a blast from start to finish. It's so absurd, quite ridiculously silly, and unintentionally bonkers that I honestly couldn't believe what I was seeing, but that's what I loved about it. It was a complete 180 from what I was expecting going in, and for lack of a better term, my mind was blown. This is the kind of experience I love, when I go in with one expectation, and being delivered something totally different.

Directed by Peter Medak (Romeo is Bleeding, The Krays), Species II piles on the blood, guts, gore and nudity in a way I was not expecting. Medak, who would seem like an unlikely choice for a project like this, handles it all with such care, giving the film a kind of slick "look" that you wouldn't normally see in a film like this, which only adds to it's continuous surprises.



On the flip-side though, I can completely understand why someone wouldn't like it. It's so bonkers, like writer Chris Brancato just though, "fuck it, I'm going to write a batshit crazy sequel and make it fun, something the first film wasn't". And he most certainly did. Some might consider this a mess. But it's a great looking mess, and a very fun one.

Species II exceeded my expectations in the most unconentional way. Where I was expecting a lower class sequel to a big budget hit, I got a blast of "go for broke" gory, bloody, nasty fun, made all the better with Steve Johnson's incredible practical effects work. I would strongly recommend this to anyone who loves films in the low-budget sci-fi/horror genre, because this one delivers the goods and is just so damn fun. Here's to hoping Part III is somewhere within the same scope. To be continued...


8.28.2018

90's Action Attack!: Moon 44

Roland Emmerich's Big Fancy Early Sci-Fi Tale is Better Than You Would Expect

by robotGEEK

Before German writer/director Roland Emmerich hit it big in Hollywood with Universal Soldier, he got his feet wet with this vastly underrated sci-fi/action/thriller. Released 2 years before UniSol, Emmerich flawlessly displays his knack for outstanding visuals and exciting action with this under-the-radar gem. This was when he was really delivering some intensely visual films like UniSol, Stargate and Independence Day. But he had to start somewhere and this little seen and often forgotten gem was just the experience he needed to firm up his specific aesthetic, which also allowed him to work extensively with models and special effects. Let's get started.

Released in 1990, Moon 44 tells the tale of the future, where natural resources are nearly depleted and big companies now look for them on remote moons. When airships full of these much needed supplies begin disappearing on their way back to Earth, the company sends in an undercover officer to figure out what's happening. Thrown together with a group of prisoners (cheap labor and if they complete their jobs, they receive early release from their sentences), he soon discovers there might be sabotage in play, and must figure out who's responsible.



While there's not nearly enough action as you'd expect, Moon 44 more than makes up for in style, production design and it's excellent casting. Of course, there's Michael Pare, who some may say sleepwalks through his roles, but he sure makes the best of it. I had completely forgotten that Brian Thompson was in this, because he's always a welcome addition to any film. And then there's Stephen Geoffreys (Evil Ed from Fright Night), and Malcolm McDowell as the guy in charge of the mining station.

Aside from a completely unnecessary subplot involving prison rape, the film flows generally smoothly as our undercover agent works to try and uncover who's responsible for the missing ships, only to find his own life in danger. So at it's core, it plays out more like a thriller, only it's a damn good looking one, and they throw in enough action and kickass model-work to keep us action junkies satisfied. But really, it's in the visuals that keep you invested and Roland Emmerich delivers full force on that front. It's one of the best looking sci-fi thrillers I've ever seen; literally a perfect combination of Aliens and Blade Runner in terms of it's visuals and production design. Just for that alone, this has a ton of re-watchability for me.



This was just one of several films that Roland Emmerich made before hitting it big with Universal Soldier in 1992, which as we all know was then followed by genre-defining classics and franchise starters Stargate, Independence Day and unfortunately Godzilla, before he would transition to being known as the disaster king with big budget effects heavy films like The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 BC and 2012. After revisiting this one, I wish Emmerich had stuck to this style of filmmaking, which made his earlier films like UniSol and Stargate so great. Though I will say White House Down was a surprisingly solid effort, and a sort of throwback to his older days as a filmmaker.

How to see it:
Sadly, here in the U.S., this has been virtually impossible to find in widescreen. While it did ultimately get a release on VHS, Laserdisc and DVD, they were all piss poor quality and what's worse, in full frame. You just can't enjoy or appreciate a film like this without seeing it in true widescreen, because Roland Emmerich put so much work and emphasis into every single frame of film, it would be like trying to watch Blade Runner in full frame, and you just really can't.

Thankfully, the fine folks over in Germany released this baby in an HD upgraded Blu Ray. But it gets better. It's region-free and in widescreen. And the best part is that it's relatively inexpensive, usually going for around $10-$20 on eBay. The transfer is excellent, and the sound quality crisp and clean. I can honestly say I'm extremely proud to have this in my collection and here's yet another win for Germany in putting out these hard to find films in a quality presentation.

8.23.2018

90's Action Attack!: Street Hunter

The Legendary Steve James is Given his 
Moment to Shine in this Forgotten Classic

by robotGEEK

If you haven't already noticed, I've been on somewhat of a Steve James kick lately. I just love the guy, and have always felt he never got the chance to really shine the way he should have. Cannon Films really lost a great opportunity to let him lead the franchise after Michael Dudikoff bailed on the third American Ninja film, but they didn't. And whenever he would pop up randomly in something like Chuck Norris' Hero and the Terror, or William Friedkin's To Live and Die in L.A., he was always wasted. He really was a badass in every sense of the word and deserved much more respect than he got. He was always the "partner", and never the lead.

There were 2 instances where he did carry a film all on his own. The first was 1989's Riverbend, an impossible to find film directed by none other than Sam Firstenberg (Revenge of the Ninja, American Ninja, Breakin' 2), and then there's 1990's Street Hunter, Steve James' one and only screenwriting credit. And guess what? Street Hunter is also really hard to come by these days. Having only ever gotten a VHS release, there's no DVD or even a Laserdisc release that I'm aware of, making that VHS pretty scarce.



Steve James plays Logan Blade, an ex-cop turned bounty hunter who's somewhat of a hero in the community. When he's not busy busting bad guys or tracking down fugitives, he's doing what he can to help his community. When a young street gang leader named Angel (John Lequizamo) begins taking over the drug traffic in his city, Blade's life begins to turn upside down. And with the help of the ruthless Col. Walsh (Reb Brown) by Angel's side, Logan Blade might have finally met his match. 

Released in 1990, Street Hunter is a hidden gem within the low-budget action genre. Steve James is finally given his moment to shine, and boy does he deliver. Having co-written the script himself, you see so much of him all over this thing. He's brutal when he has to be, but also kind, gentle and loving. The moments when we see him trying to have some sort of relationship with his girlfriend really show how charming and charismatic he can be without even trying.



But the action is where it's at and that's where Street Hunter delivers the goods. While not filled to the brim with it, there's enough to keep you satisfied, and with enough of a Grindhouse aesthetic that makes it stand out. Actually, if I'm to be honest, I was surprised at how well the film looked and turned out overall. I'd never heard of director John A. Gallagher, but he did a bang-up job making the film look slick, gritty and handled the action sequences like a pro. Was there room for improvement? Sure, but still damn good regardless. It felt at times like something either Albert Pyun or William Lustig would have directed, oftentimes even emulating their very specific style. It made me wonder how much better it might have turned out had either of them directed it themselves. Not that it's badly done as it is, because it's pretty fucking awesome. Though James doesn't do a whole lot of martial arts fighting, instead choosing to use his badass gun, he does allow himself an amazing moment in the last act where he takes on a whole bunch of thugs at the same time in true American Ninja style.

A very young John Leguizamo plays Angel, the leader of the drug gang, and I have to admit, he wasn't as annoying as he usually is here. Reb Brown (Strike Commando, Yor) does not disappoint as the stone cold killer Col. Walsh. And what Reb Brown film would be complete without his trademark screaming while shooting guns, which he does plenty here. It's hilarious.



Street Hunter may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy low-budget vigilante films, this one delivers the goods tenfold. It oddly reminded me a lot of the Maniac Cop films for some reason. It's made and handled exceptionally well and James is given his prime moment to shine, literally just killing it with ease every second he's on screen. It's a shame this film isn't more well known, easy to come by or that it didn't spawn a franchise. It certainly deserves all of those things and I wish more people had the opportunity to see this. I'd personally love to see it get a decent release, even if it's a foreign Blu Ray release, like say from Germany (they've been killing it lately with hard to find films being released in HD and in widescreen for the first time), since it's never gotten one other than VHS here in the states.

But there is some good news. You can currently rent it on Amazon to stream for just a few bucks, which is how I saw it. It's not available for free on their Prime service, but still, $3 to rent for 30 days is one helluva killer deal. The quality was pretty good too, considering.

8.21.2018

90's Action Attack: McBain

Legendary Action Filmmaker James Glickenhaus Delivers Another Action Classic with this Under The Radar Gem

by robotGEEK

When I recently watched the James Glickenhaus classic Shakedown for the very first time (finally!), I immediately fell head over heels in love with his very special brand of action filmmaking. That led me to dig into his very short list of films he made as a director, which included Jackie Chan's The Protector (LOVE!!), the arthouse action/thriller The Soldier, and of course, Shakedown, hands-down one of the best action/thrillers to come out of the 80's. This amazing journey then led me to this, his first and only 90's full-on action/thriller. The funny thing is that I had always been aware of this film, even seeing it numerous times at the video store, but had no idea it was a James Glickenhaus film. But I guess I can say that about all of his films.

Released in 1991, McBain tells the story of Robert McBain, a vietnam vet working construction in New York who bands together with his old vietnam war buddies to take down a Colombian dictator who was responsible for the death of one of their former own.

I loved this one. Not only is it classic Glickenhaus all the way, the casting is especially special here. For starters, we have the legendary Steve James (American Ninja, Street Hunter), getting more screen time than we've been acustomed to as a supporting player, because more Steve James in any film is always a good thing, but we also have Michael Ironside, Maria Conchita Alonso and a roster of other notable character actors. And I  never would have figured Walken for this kind of role, but he handled it like a true badass and a pro.


The film starts with a bang as we're thrown head-first into a rescue mission in Vietnam, and I must say, it was damn impressive in it's execution. Glickenhaus has a very specific way of directing and shooting action sequences, and he did not disappoint here. We're then transported to the present day New York City circa 1991, and then to Columbia where this group of men, now older, wiser and somewhat bored with their professional lives, attempt to exact revenge for the murder of their brother by taking down a ruthless dictator.

Whether shooting in the jungles of Columbia, the streets of New York, or even all the way over in Hong Kong, Glickenhaus just knows how to shoot an amazing action sequence. It's a shame that this would be his last hurrah in terms of action/thrillers, as the last few films he made after this were easily forgotten, and not within the action/thriller genre. But hey, at least we still have a strong handful of classics we can keep going back to.

While it sort of feels like a "rescue mission" type film, it's actually more of a revenge-style action film. Our group of seasoned soldiers are not going to rescue anyone, rather their purpose is to exact revenge for the televised murder of their 'Nam brother at the hands of a ruthless dictator. They're even able to secure help from a rogue air force pilot along the way after a pretty incredible dog fight battle sequence in the air. Once they arrive in Colombia, they must infiltrate El Presidente's compound with a full arsenal at their disposal, where all hell breaks loose. Needless to say, McBain did not disappoint. It's the kind of film that I was both not expecting, but also hoping for. It's a Class A production handled with gusto by a far too underrated director with a stellar cast.



Glickenhaus only made 2 other films after this, the '93 thriller Slaughter of the Innocents, and the kids movie Timemaster released in '95, both of which haven't fared nearly as well as any of his previous films. He hasn't written or directed a film since then, and it's a damn shame. Yet I don't think he could even make a film like he did all those years ago, just because of how films are handled these days. It certainly wouldn't make it into theaters, and shooting films digitally rather than on film like in the old day's just takes so much away from the experience and general aesthetic of them......for me anyway. So maybe I should just appreciate the great classics that he's given us and stop thinking about the films he could have given us had he kept making them.

McBain is one helluva great action film, made all the better with it's stellar casting and Glickenhaus' very unique way of shooting. It's a bit under-the-radar, which is a shame that more people don't know about it compared to a few of his other films, but it's not any less entertaining. That I will guarantee.

How to see it:

As far as I'm aware, it's only gotten a VHS and Laserdisc release here in the U.S., but I know it's been released on DVD and Blu Ray in other countries. The best one to get would be Cultproof's Region Free Blu Ray, which is roughly around $20. It's in widescreen, and the presentation and audio are pretty great. The only real issue is that it's lacking in any extra's, so all you get is the film and nothing else.

I've heard that there's an Arrow release either already out, or coming soon. So I'm sure that would be a great release to get your hands on. But there's some good news for those of you who like to stream. McBain is currently available on Amazon Prime in the U.S., but I can't vouch for it's quality or if it's even in widescreen, which is really the only way to see it to really get the scope of these large action set pieces.