Chuck Norris joins The Expendables 2!!

Holy crap!
Chuck Norris has just joined The Expendables 2!!
As if Van Damme joining the sequel didn't get me excited already, now the addition of Chuck Norris is truly making this an action lover's dream team.

Here's the word via the CEO at Nu Boyana Studios:
Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, John Travolta, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke. Who else? Of course, Bruce Willis,” David Varod, CEO at Nu Boyana Studios, told news website Novanite in an interview.

Not sure if he'll be a villain or a good guy here. Doesn't really matter. Chuck Norris can do no wrong either way.
Yes, I have an unhealthy love for the guy and i'm not ashamed to admit it. Along with Burt Reynolds, Lundgren, Van Damme, Walter Hill and Craig R. Baxley. As long as we're naming names.

Still not sure how I feel about Simon West directing. Didn't feel like he blew me away with The Mechanic. Though I liked what he did with Con Air all those years ago. I'm sure the pressure's on though, so maybe he'll try a little harder to give us something special visually.

On the first day......Chuck Norris was created. Nothing else matters!


Review: Never Too Young To Die

Directed by: Gil Bettman
Category: Trash Cinema

Yes, that is a real poster and this is a real movie. It actually exists. And, it stars the weird combination of John Stamos, Vanity and Gene Simmons.

Where. Do. I. Begin.
What the fuck did I just see?
I'm still trying to digest the images and ludicrousness of it all and make some kinda sense out of the film. Still trying to wrap my brain around the crazy ass film that I actually had to hunt down on purpose. You know what it is? Trash Cinema. Pure unadulterated trash cinema that's so bug nuts insane and unintentionally hilarious throughout that it falls into the "so awful that it's good" category.
And I agree, because as I watched this film dumbfounded, my first thought was simply that it was awesome! How awesome? John Stamos plays a character named Stargrove. The theme song played during the opening credits is called Stargrove. Brilliant. I also need to point out that this poster is misleading. It makes it look like it's going to be some 80's version of "If Looks Could Kill", but it's anything but. It's probably one of the craziest, most fucked up action pics I've seen in years and that's putting it lightly.

I was recently reminded of this film and sought it out on the internet on a whim. I remember seeing it when it first hit VHS back in '86, but I think it was just that once and I don't remember anything about it except mainly that Gene Simmons played a drag queen or something. So I really had no idea what I was getting into or what to expect when I popped it in tonight.

Stamos (complete with mullet) plays a gymnast in college whose father is some James Bond type of secret service agent also named Stargrove (they're both referred to as just Stargrove in the movie) who's stolen a disc from the bad guy in drag Velvet Von Ragnar. When Ragnar kills Stargrove, his son Lance Stargrove teams up with his father's partner, played by Vanity, and gets caught up in a world of secret service agents and espionage intent on avenging his father's death.
There's a whole story about Von Ragnar trying to polute the city's water supply for whatever reason, but there's really no reason to get into it because as the movie plays out, you don't remember any of the plot details or even care about what's going on because:
A) You have Vanity either half naked or naked in the entire film.
B) You have Gene Simmons playing a hermaphrodite in drag "and" a secret service agent.
C) You have a young John Stamos playing a gymnast "a la Gymkata" who miraculously learns how to fight and use martial arts one day even though he's never thrown a punch in his life.
D) Enough absurd Road Warrior action in the modern world circa 1986.
E) Yadda, Yadda, Yadda

I will say this, the film was a blast from start to finish. Some insane shit goes on in this movie. I'm shocked it's not considered a bona fide cult classic?! It's got all the ingredients, John Stamos+Vanity+Gene Simmons in drag+ridiculous B-Movie grade Road Warrior style action=Badass Cinema. Plain and simple people.

It was just so ridiculous that you have to wonder what the hell everyone was thinking when they made this. Was it all on purpose? Because it's played pretty serious. Or were they really trying to make a god honest big budget action flick. I don't know. What I can tell you is that it's so utterly horrible, that it teeters on campy brilliance. Crazy action, tons of nudity, Gene Simmons in drag and horrible script. I love it.

Gene Simmons plays two characters here. One is a secret service agent under cover complete with fake red beard and wig named Carruthers. Somehow nobody seems to notice how incredibly fake his wig, beard and painted eyebrows are. And he also plays his alter ego, a hermaphrodite in drag named Ragnar (sounds like one of Godzilla's foes) who is the leader of a Mad Max style biker cult gang or something. Yes that's right, a hermaphrodite. I got nothing against hermaphrodites, but Gene Simmons dressed as one is disturbing. I'm just sayin'. As Ragnar, he's dressed from head to toe in leather complete with high heels and a face full of makeup. Actually, doesn't look too different from his "demon" getup fro Kiss, just a little more feminine.
There's a scene where Simmons' character, apparently a main attraction at a biker bar doing song and dance, appears on stage in a semi-Kiss getup with a showgirls head piece. Yup, a middle aged, overweight Gene Simmons in a see through dominatrix outfit singing a song provocatively on stage. Sooooo disturbing. And in true showgirl fashion, the outfit is mostly see through. I'm still trying to shake that image out of my head. It might be branded there forever unfortunately. I guess Simmons was trying to broaden his horizons with this one after playing regular bad guys like in Runaway and Wanted: Dead or Alive. But he's clearly having fun here, playing Ragnar about as zany as you can imagine. I guess playing the demon from Kiss for most of his career up until that point grew tiresome and decided to go the complete opposite direction with this character.
Vanity, who you think couldn't look anymore sexy than she did in The Last Dragon and Action Jackson outdoes herself here, appearing half naked through most of the film. Actually, within her first 5 minutes of screen time. Gotta love it! I saw an interview with her about 10 years ago where she married some football player and gave up music (she was a protege of Prince a looooooong time ago) and film and gave her life to God. Which is fine, but what a shame too. She easily could have been the B-Movie queen of the 80's, no doubt. Just look at her track record! The Last Dragon, Never Too Young To Die and Action Jackson. She coulda been somebody! (as I do my bad Marlon Brando impression)

The filmmakers need to be commended here. This thing easily could have been C-Movie quality direct-to-video trash, but it easily rises to B-Movie status thanks to the fact that it's filmed straight faced with a decent budget. Speaking of budget, I'm also glad they went full on brightly colored bloody squibs with this and didn't half-ass it when someone got shot. There's nothing more annoying than when you see someone get blown away by a machine gun and you don't see any bullet holes in the guy. The script, most notably the dialogue is horrible, but everyone delivers there lines with bravado here, no matter how ridiculous the dialogue is. The direction, by a T.V. veteran from shows like The Fall Guy and Knight Rider isn't half bad either. And did I mention that this film is just crazy!? I can't stress that enough. Like, during a fight at the end of the movie between Ragnar and Stargrove, Ragnar's female breasts (remember, he's half female) get exposed for a second and Stargrove uses that opportunity to bite one of them. Aaahh!

The film takes place in the present, meaning 1986, but every time a bad guy shows up he's dressed like he came right outta The Road Warrior! There must be some kinda Mad Max subculture in the city, just a guess. But it's so weird! Stargrove is riding his motorcycle on the highway minding is own business and there come the Mad Max guys again wielding chains and axes and shit outta nowhere! What do people think when they're not out to kill someone and just cruising dressed like that? Oh, and these Road Warrior second rate bad guys don't believe in guns. At least that's what i'm guessing since they never use any. They prefer chains, nets and axes.

And the most fucked up part, the part that actually scares me the most is that I actually saw this with my mother. Dude, i'm telling ya. I remember when this hit VHS and we rented it, I remember watching this at home with her. I must have been somewhere around 10 I think. I can't imagine what the hell she was thinking. Thanks mom!

Trying to explain this movie would just be too difficult because there are just too many "why's".
Like, why Stargroves roommate shows up half way through the film in a brightly colored neon getup at Stargroves fathers secret farmhouse that Stargrove himself didn't even know existed acting like Rambo and shit. Doesn't make sense. Way to blend in pal.
And why does Stargroves roommate seem to supply Stargrove with cool gadgets and weapons and shit for no reason? Like, he's in college, but makes weapons for no apparent reason. Like he's the "Q" to Stargroves' James Bond.
Why does anybody not know Ragnar is actually Carruthers? The dude has the same eyes and the same voice! He doesn't even try to change it!
Why do none of the villains, Ragnar included, ever just get a freakin' gun!?
Why does Stargrove suddenly know martial arts?
Why, why, why?
Who cares?

This movie's crazy and for the most part doesn't make a lick a sense. But it's brilliantly crazy and Trash Cinema has never looked so good. Unfortunately, it's never been released on DVD and I doubt it ever will, but if you ever find this in any format, I say get it. Doesn't seem like it was ever meant for Anamorphic Widescreen anyways. And look at that poster ladies. Stone washed jeans tucked into high top tennies. That's how we did it back in the day.
So I know it sounds like i'm doing nothing but making fun of this thing. But the truth is, I had an absolute blast watching it and it was probably one of the most fun flicks I've seen in a really long time. Watch this with a group of your movie buddies and a few beers and I guarantee you that a good time will be had.

Nemesis v2.0 is coming!

As a lover of badass cinema, I've recently started to re-acquaint myself with director Albert Pyun's filmography. The guy is prolific, so it will be hard to catch up any time soon. But I'm on a good roll right now and having just finished Nemesis last night (which I LOVED) and only recently learning that Pyun himself has put together "Directors Cut's" of 2 of his better known films, Cyborg (1989) and Captain America (1990), I was lucky enough to meet a fellow avid Pyun fan on Albert Pyun's facebook page of all places (gotta love the internet), and have just learned that there is indeed a "Director's Cut" in the works. A Version 2.0 if you will. I gotta tell you, July has proven to be Christmas all over for me again. Many thanks to my new movie buddy Ingo Holtorf over in Germany for pointing me in the right direction and whom I hope to have many great geeky movie discussions with in the future.

Here is some info via Albert Pyun himself:
This promo was created for foreign distributors to see at the Cannes film market. For them to see how we were upgrading the original film’s shots with 21st century CG technology.

NEMESIS v2.0 Teaser Promo from Albert Pyun on Vimeo.


Ever wonder why Han Solo hasn't spoken to Chewie in decades?

Review: Nemesis

Directed by: Albert Pyun
Category: Sci-fi Cinema/Cult Classics

Wow. My second badass Albert Pyun flick of the week! As much as I love Cyborg (haven't seen the directors cut yet), I think this one one-ups it in terms of entertainment value and I think I might just like this one a little bit more. I'll admit, right now i'm on an Albert Pyun high. I've got my orders in for directors cuts of both Captain America (1990) and Cyborg and have been trying to play catch up on his vast filmography which won't be easy cuz the dude's made a "lot" of flicks!

As with most of his movies, I do remember seeing this when it first came out on VHS (pretty sure it didn't get a theatrical release in my town), but that was it. Probably just the one time and I don't remember much about it other than it was from the same guy who did Cyborg, it also had cyborgs, a lot of action and starred the French dude from Angel Town. Almost 20 years have gone by since that first viewing, so it's pretty much like watching it from scratch all over again.

NEMESIS is pure badass adrenaline fueled awesomeness! This film has some crazy ass action in it and it's probably the main thing it has going for it. I mean, the action in here is insane and I know i'll get flack for this, but i'd say it rivals even The Killer in terms of how many bullets go flying through the air. The only time it ever slows down is this one section in the middle, but then just when you think it's starting to ease up a little bit they throw even more insane action and gunplay that outdoes the sequences from before. It's so frustrating that we can't watch this in Anamporhic Widescreen as intended. You clearly see that director Albert Pyun filmed it that way with how he frames and composes his shots and I really hope one day we'll be able to see it like that. Or any of his other films for that matter. It's weird, but for some reason hardly any of his films are ever released in there proper aspect ratio. I know Cyborg and The Sword and The Sorcerer are, but I honestly can't find any others that are.

Here's the plot via IMDB:
In the future, chaos is rampant as 'information terrorists' threaten to destroy order in society. Alex is a part-man-part-machine LAPD cop who is the best at what he does. When one of the terrorists calls him a machine, Alex questions his humanity and decides to leave the force. His final assignment is to apprehend an old colleague who has stolen some data. However, there is more than meets the eye and Alex must question his allegiance.

In all honesty, the plot was a little confusing. You know it's about cyborgs and all that, and that he's trying to get out of the game and they keep trying to hire him one last time to retrieve some stolen data. But he gets double-crossed or something. It sorta reminds me of Blade Runner (of course without the fancy effects), except here he actually knows he's part cyborg. There is a voice over narration which does help a lot in explaining what's going on. But it doesn't really matter because the visuals in here and the insane amount of action and stunts are what drives this baby. It's one spectacular action set piece after another and though I loved what Pyun did visually with Cyborg, he tops himself here. And everyone looks so cool. It looks like it could be 120 degrees outside, but they're always wearing trench coats and wearing sunglasses and look so cool.
Visually, it's probably one of director Albert Pyun's more impressive films. I haven't seen everything he's done, but i'm definitely on a roll and what he's done here is pretty damn impressive and proves that the guy is in fact talented.

This thing has a pretty sweet cast also. Besides Olivier Gruner we've also got Brion James (the replicant in the beginning of Blade Runner who blows the interview guy away when he's asked about his mother), Tim Thomerson (Jack Deth of Trancers fame and Dollman), a naked Thomas Jane (the 2nd Punisher), Deborah Shelton sporting a nice amount of unnecessary nudity, and regular baddie Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat and the villain from Showdown in little Tokyo). A pretty badass B-Movie cast to say the least. Gruner does a decent job as the lead here, but you can't help but think that he wouldn't come off so wooden if he didn't have that French accent.

Nemesis has spawned 3 other sequels so far, none of which I've seen yet. But I can't imagine they're any better than this one because this one just simply rules! There's a ton of action, a lot of unnecessary nudity and a semi-cohesive storyline. There are a few drawbacks though, like with the opening sequence. I don't know, I just felt that with a movie filled with so much badass imagery the opening sequence with Alex and a hooker/cyborg just kinda looked half assed with a lot of closeup hand held camera work. But then he kills her/it and proceeds to escape from the hotel with some baddies on his tail and the film kicks into gear. Also, the ending sequence with Alex and Farnsworth. You can call it a blatant Terminator ripoff or you can call it a homage to a very badass sci-fi flick. In either case, the effects are laughably bad. And yea I know, small budget. And you also have to consider it was 1992, so yea. Low budget effects hadn't yet reached the level of decent low-brow effects. But whatever, it looks cheesy and cheap and I suppose adds to the nostalgia factor. I just have to keep reminding myself "they were on a budget dork!". Director Albery Pyun is currently working on a version 2.o with newly enhanced effects and some re-editing I think. So far no release date has been set, but you can bet I'll be one of the first in line to purchase that awesome release when it's available.


Review: Cyborg

Directed by: Albert Pyun
Category: Sci-fi Cinema/Cult Classics

Cyborg was one of those films that I saw when it first came out in 1989, but in all honesty haven't seen since then. And I don't remember much. Here's what I do remember about it though:

It was set in a post apocalyptic future.
It starred a relative newcomer.
It had some martial arts.
It was part sci-fi.
It was low-budget.
The lead actor hardly spoke a word.

And that's really all I remember. I think I was 13 when it came out and that says a lot. Too young honestly to appreciate what goes into making a film. And too young to really understand what it was even about. In my young mind all I cared about was the fact that it was set in the future and that it starred some cool new martial arts guy.

Here's the synopsis via IMDB:
Gibson Rickenbacker is a hired fighter living in a plague-ravaged apocalyptic America where a plague has infested most of the United States and the rest of the world. In New York City, Gibson encounters a woman named Pearl Prophet. Pearl reveals to Gibson that she is a cyborg who is carrying vital-information for a group of scientists in Atlanta who are working on a cure to the plague and Pearl hires Gibson to escort her back to Atlanta. But Pearl is kidnapped by “Pirates” a murderous gang led by Fender Tremolo, who wants the cure for themselves and they decide to take Pearl to Atlanta themselves. Gibson, joined by a young woman named Nady Simmons, goes in pursuit of Fender and his gang, as Gibson sets out to rescue Pearl, stop Fender and his gang from reaching Atlanta and defeat Fender who slaughtered Gibson’s family.

After having not seen it for a better part of 20 years I'm happy to report that it's so much better than what I remember. It's no masterpiece, but director Albert Pyun works with what he's given and the end result is a low-budget part sci-fi, part action, part martial arts film with some better quality B movie production value and talent behind the camera. Having been made over 20 years ago (22 to be exact), it's definitely a product of it's time. But it still looks badass with top notch camera work and imagery. If you take it for what it is, then you're going to dig it. It's a genre flick plain and simple. If you go in expecting a film with a big budget, awesome special effects, big name actors and oscar worthy performances, then you will be disappointed. It's a Cannon Films release, which should tell you everything you need to know about the production value if you know anything about the film industry. But I personally loved it.

Now the version I saw was the theatrical cut, which was entertaining enough for me. But from what I've read, it was not the version Pyun had intended to release. He had envisioned more of an opera tone, complete with a rock music score by his longtime composer Tony Riparetti and some other changes. Pyun put his cut of the film before a test screening which didn't go over very well. Cannon Films removed Pyun from the editing process and let Van Damme and Sheldon Lettich re-edit it to a more favorable 1989 era kinda film which is the theatrical cut, or studio version if you want to call it that. So it's not Pyun's version of the film, they even replaced his score with a more electronic score which had it's moments, but didn't seem to work so well overall. But like I said, I enjoyed it. However, director Albert Pyun has put together his "directors cut" from an old VHS workprint recently discovered. I've put my order in and can't wait to get it in the mail soon. I'm curious to see how different it might be and you'll be sure to get my review on that asap.

There are a lot of Albert Pyun haters out there. Who is Albert Pyun? He's a genre director (usually straight to video stuff) who has made over 40 films to date, starting with the sublimely geeky The Sword and the Sorcerer in 1982. I will say this, the guy is no hack. He's a genuinely gifted and talented filmmaker with a passion for the medium and nobody directs a B movie better than Albert Pyun. Cyborg has some really badass imagery in it and is a testament to his talent as a visual artist. I haven't seen everything he's ever done (the guy's made a lot of flicks), so I can't speak for the quality of "all" of his work, but the few I have seen and remember, I remember being pretty damn cool. But there are so many other things that go into making a film, other factors to consider when a movie is made other than who's directing it such as editing, music, casting, budget and production value (all of which contribute to a specific quality). But when it comes to actually filming a scene, Pyun knows what he's doing. He's got skill and it shows. He doesn't always make the best creative decisions, but when he gets it right, we're given some nice B-Movie gems like Cyborg, Nemesis, Captain America and The Sword and the Sorcerer and Radioactive Dreams to name a few. I know it comes off like i'm lovin' on the guy, but the dude is good. Maybe not in every single movie he makes, but he works with what he's given.

Cannon Films (by Israeli producing partners Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus) didn't always have the best track record when it came to producing movies. They were prolific to say the least, with some minor action hits in the 80's (mostly with Chuck Norris), but quality never seemed to be there motive. Spider-Man and Masters of the Universe 2 (two properties they had the rights to for a short time) were set to be made back to back with Albert Pyun directing both before Cannon Pictures went bankrupt and all plans were scrapped for these films. So the sets that were already built for those films were used for Cyborg. That's the kind of thing you have to remember when watching a film like Cyborg. All the behind the scenes crap at play that ultimately leads to the production quality and success of a film. I read Pyun originally wanted Chuck Norris to play the lead in this. I personally think that would have been a brilliant move for so many reasons. First, I think it would have had a bigger audience since at that time not a lot of people knew who Van Damme was. Second, it might have even given Norris the jump he needed in his career since around this time he was coming out with things like Firewalker, Delta Force 2, Missing in Action 3 and Hero and the Terror. I don't know if that's true or if Norris even would have taken the part if it was, I'm just sayin' it woulda been badass.

Alright, so i'm done praising on the film, now onto the bad. Bad acting, bad wigs, bad dialogue, bad dubbing. I mean, I know it's the same actors dubbing there own voices, but it just sounds bad, like they're reading off of cue cards. And the acting, just plain bad. You can kinda forgive Van Damme since he was a newbie and since he had that thick Belgian accent and since he can do a split and a badass roundhouse, but everyone else was laughable starting with Vincent Klyn as Fender and Deborah Richter as Nady. They deliver there lines like (again), they're reading off of cue cards. And who knows, maybe they were? One thing's for sure, the dialogue was terrible.
Some of the fight scenes were cool, but there was just too much slow-mo (a constant in all of Jean Claude Van Damme's early films from the late 80's through the 90's). Another funny thing is that as badass as these bad guys try to be, they can't seem to fight for shit. They stand there and wait to be punched or kicked in slow-mo almost every time when they easily could have gotten in at least 2 or 3 blows during that time. And what was with all that screaming during that final fight scene between Fender and Gibson? It's like constant screaming from Fender like he's having an constant back spasm or something. And was it me, or did it seem like his gang was constantly growing? In the beginning they show a cool wide shot of him walking in slow-mo with his gang. But all throughout the film there seems to be more and more bad guys in his team who just seem to appear outta nowhere!

But hey, that's just me being nit-picky. Because in all honesty, I love this movie. And I haven't even seen the directors cut yet! Cyborg is a cool concept playing on our geek requirements. A robot (or cyborg), post apocalyptic wasteland, action, B movie quality and Jean Claude Van Damme. It's Trash Cinema of the highest quality and thank god Albert Pyun films in anamorphic widescreen. They're not always released and available that way, (ahem, Nemesis anyone?) but at least it's how he shoots it. There are some bad elements for sure, like really bad acting for one, but Pyun's technical skill as a genre director keep it from sinking fast. If you can look past the bad casting choices and bad acting you'll enjoy the hell outta this thing.


Review: Hobo with a Shotgun

Directed by: Jason Eisener
Category: Exploitation

The best thing about Hobo with a Shotgun is that it doesn't try to be anything else than what the title says. It's a movie about a hobo with a shotgun who kills the scum of the crime infested town. That's it. There's no preachiness in here. No hidden message, no hidden meaning. If there is, it might be that hobo's, or homeless people, are people too. But that's it because as the poster and trailer promises, it's a movie filled with so much insane carnage, violence and gore that had this had a large theatrical release or even been made in the 80's or early 90's this thing most certainly would have gotten an X Rating.

I will say this, you have to be in the right mood and frame of mind to enjoy this because it's ridiculously insane. And not in the brilliant Sam Raimi Evil Dead kind of insane, but more of a homage over-the-top kinda insane. Bloody, insane, ridiculous and completely over the top it serves as a perfect homage to the trash exploitation stuff hitting video stores in the early to mid 80's. And boy was it a lot of fun.

In case you didn't already know, it's based on a fake trailer contest given by Robert Rodriguez's SXSW Grindhouse fake trailer contest to promote his and Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse theatrical release. After winning, it was soon made into this feature length film by director Jason Eisener, who also made the fake trailer. Only this time instead of using David Brunt as the homeless man in the trailer, they hired cult cinema icon Rutger Hauer for the role, and what a brilliant move. So much is written in his old, leathery and weather worn face, even his eyes. There's a scene where he's locked inside an upright coffin with a small window in front of his face so he can see out. It's so small that you only see his eyes, but what he does with those eyes and what he's able to convey with them for those few seconds are a testament to how brilliant an actor this guy is. There's not any other recognizable actor in here other than Hauer, which is fine because it's all about him here.

Basically, Rutger Hauer plays a homeless man who rides into town on a train. This town is overrun with crime and violence led by a guy named The Drake with his 2 sons Slick and Ivan. Immediately you get that these guys are idiots, but what do you expect. They keep the entire town in a constant state of fear, even having the police force in there pocket. All he wants to do is buy a used $49.99 lawnmower from a pawnshop so he can start his own business, but as he finally saves enough change to get his lawnmower, a group of hoodlums robs the place threatening to kill everyone inside. Hobo snaps and see's a shotgun on the wall also for sale for $49.99. You have to ask yourself why a pawnshop would have a loaded shotgun for sale in a crime infested town on the wall on the opposite side of the store from the cash register. But whatever. Hobo kills the intruders in glorious fashion and his murderous rampage to rid this town of crime begins. But not before he actually pays for the shotgun with his $50. Hilarous! You would think the pawnshop owner would just give him the shotgun since he saved his life and all. Funny thing too, you don't see him actually get shotgun shells or even reload at all throughout the film, but that's part of the charm. He also befriends a prostitute who he saved from being killed, so he's got kind of a sidekick or at least someone he cares for now.

That's pretty much the plot. And honestly what else do you need? Do you care about plot, performances or even characterization? Hell no! You want to see Rutger Hauer blowing every thug away in gory fashion and this movie delivers indeed. It's probably the goriest film I've seen in a really long time and that's putting it lightly. But it's done in such an over-the-top extreme fashion that it's almost comical. You actually laugh when someone's head gets blown off, or someones foot is splattered with a sledgehammer, or someone's head is ripped off with a noose attached to a car because it's so ridiculous that when blood flies, it literally sprays like a shower.

One of the other things this film has going for it is that unlike Machete, this film looks and feels more like an authentic 80's direct-to-video exploitation flick. It keeps its consistency throughout, right down to the soundtrack and credits. I love Machete to death, but as cool as that movie was, it just seemed that like after 20 minutes it just starts to look like a normal movie. Rodriguez's kitschy camera work and even the scratches and graininess from the beginning start to diminish, making it look less like the film he was trying to make. But that's another story. Here, director Jason Eisener pulls off the look and feel perfectly down to the bright neon lights, over exposed colors and hyper kinetic camera work. It works, it all works to achieve exactly the kind of film it's paying homage to and you have to commend the guy for that.

The script, if you can call it that, is about as vulgar as you can possibly imagine. Almost every word that comes out of every characters mouth is unapologetically vulgar, vile and nasty. But again, you laugh because even in the most unnecessary instances you can count a dozen obscenities. The entire movie is crazy, but there were a few things that stood out more than most. Like when Hauer and his prostitute friend come up with an idea to start a lawn care business, they come up with the motto "If you grow it, we cut it". Obviously anybody else would try to make it rhyme by saying "If you grow it, we mow it", but that's the beauty of this film. They know anyone else would probably say that and they don't give a shit. In another scene, Hauer kills a pervert cop who's about to kill his friend. He literally reduces the cops body to a slimy, pulverized mess after repeated shotgun blasts. Realizing there's a mob down the street and he would probably be killed, he hides in a shopping cart and put the pulverized corpse on top as his prostitute friend pushes it to safety. When they come to as stop, they could simply have just pulled the dead body off the top and out of the way so he can get out of the cart. But no, instead they leave the body on top and he rips through the corpse spewing entrails all over the place. Brilliant. Just another example of it's gory brilliance.

The film is about as short as it needs to be, coming in under an hour and a half. Running too long it would have been overkill with this kind of story and film. An extremely good time is to be had here if you can look past the fact that this is not your conventional film and more of a tribute/parody hybrid and enjoy this film for what it is, an authentic and extremely violent, gory homage to a long dead genre. Trash cinema, exploitation, sleaze and cult cinema all rolled into one. Badaaaaaass.


New full image of Judge Dredd from "Dredd"!

New full image of Karl Urban as Judge Dredd on the cover of EMPIRE magazine!
Looks sweet! Dredd still has no release date, but damn he looks cool!


Review: Dick Tracy

Directed by: Warren Beatty
Category: Cult Classics

Dick Tracy has always been a film I've always really enjoyed. Though to be honest I haven't seen it since it came out back in 1990. I do remember that I did in fact like it, but for whatever reason never felt compelled to catch it again until now. I think I wanted to see if my memories of it still held true, that it was a beautifully photographed film with catchy musical numbers and a good amount of action.

Make no mistake, the design of it alone is worth the trip. The film explodes in a palette of only 7 colors taken directly from the original comic strip and transports you into this world of vibrant reds and yellows, machine guns and some of the craziest looking gangsters and villains you've ever seen.
But there are some people that don't like it for that reason alone, feeling the film looks too cartoony and weird. But not me. Here Warren Beatty was paying homage to an old comic strip and literally brought that comic strip to life. And it was a tough call, because Dick Tracy could easily have gone either way. I can totally see Dick Tracy as a hard-edged violent and bloody detective film if say someone like Martin Scorsese, who was actually going to direct it at one time, would have made it. But then put it in the hands of someone like John Landis, another potential at one time, and you would have had a much tamer and less visually appealing film. I'm not knocking Landis, because the guy has given us some truly great treasures, but around the time Dick Tracy would have been his next flick, he was mostly rolling out comedies like Spies Like Us, The Three Amigos and Coming to America. But I digress. Walter Hill was also in the running to direct, and in all honesty, I think going the hard-boiled or hard-edged route would be genius with this character with Hill directing and Clint Eastwood starring. That would have been a bloody brilliant collaboration. And on a plus, Eastwood even looks like Dick Tracy, or at least he did in the late 80's when this thing was finally getting off the ground. That's the Dick Tracy film I would have loved to see, but that's just me.

So 21 years later my feelings are that it's a technical and visual marvel, but unfortunately the script simply falls flat due to just having way too many characters in the mix (I read an article that said Beatty intentionally put as many characters from the strips in as he feared there would never be a sequel), confusing subplots involving double-crossings and back-stabbings that even I found difficult trying to keep track of and the whole "kid" thing. Yea, I know this film was marketed for kids so obviously they're going to have a kid in the movie, but man did it slow the movie down every time he showed up. I suppose they felt the need to humanize Tracy by showing him interact with a kid, but it would have much cooler to see a film about Dick Tracy going after hoodlums and beating them to a pulp rather than see him trying to get along with an orphan kid actually named "kid" . But that's just me.

I have to hand it to Warren Beatty though, the guy put his heart and soul into this and for lack of a better word it's fucking brilliant. When a film looks and feels this impressive I can usually forgive the too many characters thing and the dragging storyline because it's so impressive to watch. In the end I like the fact that he went with the pulp, overstylized and even slightly campy look and feel because it's done so incredibly well here. I don't know what other movie you could get away with doing it like that, but here it works perfectly. The design, sets, effects, backgrounds, costume design and character designs are just fascinating. It does tend to drag a bit here and there, but for the most part Beatty keeps the pace moving nicely. The only time it ever really slows down to a crawl is when Breathless Mahony comes into the picture and it's always awkward because you wonder how far they're going to go with there relationship. Madonna was an alright choice I suppose, but they easily could and should have gotten someone better for the role. But the fact that she could actually sing and maybe the fact that she was the queen of pop or whatever you wanna call it at the time probably helped in the long run. So yea, these scenes with Tracy and Breathless were a little much because she's usually half naked in most of her scenes and the constant teasing and sexual tension between them is pretty distracting. Especially if you're watching it with a kid in the room. I don't know, in the end it all seemed unnecessary and I didn't really care for it.

Breathless Mahoney aside, the casting of this film is pretty spectacular. There are so many names in here, even under all that makeup, that it's at times overwhelming. You find yourself playing puzzles with your brain when you see Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Warren Beatty, Dick Van Dyke, William Forsythe, Ed O'Ross, Seymour Cassel, Charles Durning, Paul Sorvino, R.G. Armstrong, Henry Silva and James Caan just to name a few and try playing the "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" game because you can go on forever. And let's be honest, Al Pacino "owns" this movie. It's really only whenever he shows up that the film really kicks into gear because Pacino exudes such an over the top hyper kinetic performance that it kind of saves the film from ever really being boring when there's not some action set piece going on, which unfortunately for a film called Dick Tracy, there just aren't enough of.

I've never been one for musicals, I usually can't stand them, but I'll admit that the 5 original numbers by Stephen Sondheim are pretty damn catchy. And speaking of music, though I usually love Danny Elfman's music, especially during this time period when he was doing stuff like Batman, Darkman, Nightbreed and Edward Scissorhands, here it just seems like a rehash of discarded Batman music. And I don't want to be harsh cuz I love the guy, but it really does sound like they just took some music from Batman and inserted it here at times. Even my kid kept saying "That's the music from Batman right?". 'nuff said.

The aftermath:
Dick Tracy, in the end, was not a financial success. After running extensively over-budget and factoring in marketing and promotion, Dick Tracy ended up costing about $100 million to produce and only making $103 million in the U.S., with the studio scrapping whatever plans there were for a sequel after it's poor performance. Critically, the reviews were mixed with critics being divided by feeling that the film was campy and fun, while others felt while it was visually and technically triumphant, the story and pace was a bore at times. Currently Dick Tracy holds a 65% rating over at Rotten Tomatoes, not bad considering.

Though he's a multiple Oscar nominee for films like Bonnie and Clyde, Shampoo, Reds, Heavens Can Wait, Bugsy and Bulworth, and even winning Best Director for Reds in 1981, Dick Tracy will be his opus, his crowning achievement. Even still in interviews today Dick Tracy is the most brought up topic. He will always be known for Dick Tracy more than any other picture in his filmography, and rightly so. Dick Tracy is such a visually impressive film where every single shot was meticulously designed and executed that you can't help but be amazed. Currently there is a Blu-ray release in the works which Beatty himself is supervising. And since it's release on DVD in the states in 2002, there has been talk of a supposed "directors cut" with about 10 minutes of extra footage. I hope that it's included in the Blu-ray release because the DVD we've been stuck with is as bare-bones as you can possibly get. Warren Beatty is said to be a perfectionist though, and since Dick Tracy is his pride and joy, who knows how long it will take till we get that Blu-ray release.

This was a fun film to watch, bringing back a flood of memories of when I first saw it and of the time when it was being released. It drags here and there and Madonna and the kid were more distractions than anything, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching Dick Tracy again.

Rodriguez: Sin City and Machete sequels in the works!

Robert Rodriguez announced at this year's San Diego Comic Con that sequels are currently in the works for both Sin City and Machete.
His script for Sin City is being refined and he has at least 2 sequels planned for Machete, one of which would put Machete in space. He says his idea for Machete 3, which is the one where he would be in space is so good that even if they don't ever get to making 3, he would still at least make the trailer for it and even possibly release it before 2 because it's that good.
Now that is badass news because we've heard of a Sin City 2 for a few years now, but this is the first time I've heard of a Machete sequel. I was hoping that they weren't going to let the Machete character and possible franchise die in celluloid oblivion.
I for one, can't wait! Machete in space. Sounds awesome!


New Judge Dredd image appears online!

A new image of Karl Urban as Judge Dredd in the currently in production film has just appeared online and I'm liking what I see.

This new version simply titled "Dredd" is supposed to be a more darker, grittier and more faithful adaption of the legendary comic character than the 1995 Stallone starring version, a much watered down version of the character but still a version I still happen to love very much.
Hopefully this will be the Judge Dredd film we've all been waiting for. After 33 years this character is due for a proper big screen treatment.
This film will be written by 28 Days Later writer Alex Garland and directed by Vantage Point's PeteTravis.

Judge Dredd is currently filming in Johannesburg in 3D. An official release date has yet to be announced. Can't wait!


Review: Action Jackson

Directed By: Craig R. Baxley
Category: Badass Cinema

Action Jackson represents everything I love about badass cinema. 80's action cinema if you want to be precise. It's excess to the highest degree and exploitation at it's finest even down to the opening them song performed by The Pointer Sisters singing "He Turned Me Out". Shit gets blown up here like you wouldn't believe and there's so much overkill here that it's hard to believe that this wasn't a hit. Director Craig R. Baxley pulls out all the stops on this one and his talent as an action director and stunt coordinator is on full display here. I'll be honest. I think this guy directs films so much better than someone like say...........Richard Donner with the Lethal Weapon films. I love those films of course, but sometimes I just don't feel he was the best choice as a director for that series. Now Craig R. Baxley would have done wonders for that franchise. Or even a Die Hard sequel. You know what? They should just get this guy to direct every action movie. Him and Walter Hill. Yea, I've got a love for the guy, so what. I wish I knew why the guy isn't making big budget flicks anymore after a tremendous start with Action Jackson, I Come in Peace and Stone Cold. I don't know if it's by choice or what?

But anyway. Carl Weathers, in his first big budget starring role after supporting stints like in the Rocky films and Predator which came out just a year before, is a force to be reckoned with here. The dude is huge, imposing, menacing and charming all at once. The guy can kick the ass of every single dude in the room whether they have knives, guns or pool sticks, but he can also carry on a debate about law and politics because he's Action Jackson. And he's a total badass here. When his boss is yelling at him for tearing a suspects arm off, Jackson simply says "So, he had a spare." He may be a demoted Sargent, but he's also a Harvard grad which means he can speak eloquently while he pounds your ass till kingdom come. Action Jackson was filmed in Detroit, where the story takes place and has the same look and gritty atmosphere as Robocop, another film that takes place in Detroit that was released a year earlier. I say hire Craig R. Baxely and have him do the next Robocop. I'm just sayin'.

What's great about Action Jackson is that it's an awesome mish mash of talent from both Die Hard and Predator. From Predator you have Craig R. Baxley who was second unit director and stunt coordinator, Sonny Landham and Bill Duke. From Die Hard you have Robert Davi, 80's action film regular Al Leong and the bad guy who looks exactly like Huey Lewis. I'm still not convinced it's not him. That southern drawl can be learned.

Exploitation is really the first word that comes to mind when I think of this film. I can't imagine they were going for a serious tone with this one because it seems like it's played so tongue in cheek. If someone gets punched, they get punched and pushed against an electrical circuit so they catch on fire and get electrocuted. If someone gets shot, it's not enough to just shoot them. In Action Jackson they have to get shot with exploding grenade launchers out a 10 story window engulfed in flames as they fall onto a dining table at an outside restaurant where people are eating. That's how you kill someone. This film has so much overkill its just plain genius. Take for instance when the bad guy's henchman infiltrate a rich guy's boat and kill everyone on the boat by way of knife, bow and arrow or by breaking there neck. But when they get to the rich guy instead of just shooting, him or breaking his neck or whatever like everyone else on the boat, they feel the best thing to do is strap a bomb to his wrist and the boat explodes in a gigantic fireball. That's what makes great cinema!

You can tell they were just having fun here and not going for any kind of realism. Writer Robert Reneau has a penchant for the outrageous. The fact that he co-wrote Demolition Man says a lot. I mean, there's a scene where after Jackson chases a bad guy on foot while the guy is driving a cab. He's miraculously able to keep up with him for a good 2 blocks before he jumps on top of the cab's roof while in motion. In all honesty Jackson does admit that maybe it wasn't such a damn good idea after all. As it's hurling through traffic the driver slams on the brakes and Jackson goes flying a good ways down. He gets up and taunts the guy to run him over rather than shoot him by saying "Be a man, don't shoot me!". The driver obliges and Jackson runs towards the car and does an over the car flip. The driver is distracted for a second as he's watching this marvelous feat and when he turns his head back he's about to smash into a car so instead of turn the wheel he throws his hands up over his face like a girl and crashes into a car and then a building in total destruction. Awesome. And in the end when he has to get to the villain who's holed up in a second floor room in his mansion, he uses a Lamborghini instead of running, even though running probably would have gotten him up there much faster, because it looks so much cooler to drive a car through a house, up the stairs and into a bedroom before he kicks his ass. That's just how he rolls, Action Jackson style.

Carl Weathers plays Sargent Jericho "Action" Jackson, a Sargent recently demoted from Lieutenant. He's told by his boss that he has to attend a fundraiser in the honor of Peter Dellaplane, a car manufacturer in Detroit. You see, there's a history between these two guys. Jackson almost killed Dellaplanes psycho sexual son by ripping his arm off and sending him to a mental hospital. So there's some animosity there. In the meantime there are union bosses getting offed left and right and Jackson soon learns that it's all at the behest of Delleplane so that he can pull the strings in the union or something like that. Jackson hooks up with Delleplane's wife, here played by a young Sharon Stone who always seems to be naked for no reason, in trying to get to the truth but ultimately gets her killed and Delleplane pins her murder on him. So then he hooks up with Delleplane's mistress, here played by Vanity, who's less than eager to help unless she's getting a fix. Eventually she comes around and the two are on the run while trying to uncover the truth and get Delleplane outed.
It's all a lot of fun with enormous explosions, car chases, gun fights, fist fights, gymnastics, wise cracks, gratuitous nudity, kung fu, and a plethora of 80's action icons. The action, violence and mayhem here is full on gratuitous and over the top. Don't expect anything less.

Action Jackson was supposed to be the first of a planned series of films but because the first one didn't do as well as they had hoped at the box office, the series was scrapped. That is such a bummer too. I would have loved to have seen many, many more of these films. I don't know, the film is too awesome to just be left alone. The title alone begs awesome remake or something. Get Robert Rodriguez to do it, or better yet, George Tillman Jr. who did the pretty badass but hardly seen Faster with Dwayne Johnson and also get Johnson to star. That would be sweeeeeeet!!
An annoying fact about Action Jackson is that it's never been available on DVD in Widescreen, only Full Frame. I don't know why, it's just one of those things. And it's so annoying because i'm sorry, but you just can't crop Action Jackson. But wait! I recently caught Action Jackson on Netflix using there instant streaming and holy crap it was in Widescreen! It was like Christmas in July!! Why it's available in Widescreen on Netflix instant and not on DVD, I don't know. It boggles the mind.

Review: Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3

Directed by: Jeff Burr
Category: Horror

TCM3 has always had a bad rap. And I'll agree, it's definitely the most tame out of the series. But I've always enjoyed it and don't think it's as horrible as most people say it is. Yea, the gore is almost non-existent, but if you remember, neither was the original. The original is terrifying because it almost looks like a documentary. And there was blood, but very little. What you had instead was a whole lot of screaming, creative camera work and a realism that sent chills down your spine.

TCM3 is famous for many reasons, most notably for the extensive cuts that were forced upon it for it to receive an R rating from the MPAA back in 1990. I lost count how many times director Jeff Burr said they submitted this film for a rating after extensive edits and cuts and time after time coming back with the dreaded X-Rating. Originally there was a lot of gore in this thing. They actually filmed a lot of these violent gory sequences with wonderful f/x work by the masters Kurtzman, Berger and Nicotero. But these scenes never saw the light of day and to this day it doesn't look like they ever will. Even the so-called "Unrated" version is a joke. There's maybe 3 scenes that I noticed were new, but nothing to get excited about and definitely nothing to justify the title "Unrated". All the scenes where they're about to show something horrific and then suddenly cut away right before it happens are exactly the same. Bah! And I just don't get it. Why would a studio finance a film called The Texas Chainsaw "Massacre" and not want it to be violent, disturbing and gory? That makes absolutely no sense to me, especially considering the kind of film part 2 was where it was actually released Unrated in the theaters in 1986. It's a movie about a chainsaw wielding psycho who butchers people without hesitation so that he can eat them. What is the thought process in making a horror film like this but cutting all the gore out. Blasphemy!

A lot of people trash this entry, just as much as they trashed part 2 for being too silly and ridiculous, even a little funny. So you just can't make everyone happy. And another thing people whine about is the fact that this one seems to have no relation to the first two, other than the fact that it has Leatherface. But that's true with all of them. The only single constant in any of them is Leatherface, which is fine! Make them all different if you want, just make them good!
In TCM3 he seems to have a new adopted family. I think that little girl is even his daughter! Though grandpa is still there, which doesn't make any sense at all if you think about it. But I think it was more of a sight gag than anything else. Of course they're all cannibals still, so they kill for meat. Director Jeff Burr was faced with relentless obstacles while making this, and considering the hell he went through during and after production, I think he should be commended because though the studio cut almost "all" of the gore out, the film looks good and it's probably his best looking film from his filmography to date.
Leatherface looks badass too. A little different from the curly haired fat slob of part 1 and 2, as he looks taller, more muscular and with long straight hair here. And that chainsaw............brilliant. Completely impractical as it weighs 80 pounds and looks longer than him, but fucking brilliant to look at. Remember the teaser trailer with the Excalibur theme? That teaser trailer will probably go down in filmgeek history as being one of the most ridiculous, but also the most awesome horror movie trailer ever! I've included it below for your amusement.

I don't know, I think 1990 was just a tough year for horror films because it almost seems like this film had all it's cards stacked against it before they even started filming. Director Jeff Burr, who was at the end of a long list of possible directors, was obligated to deliver an R rating so that the film could be profitable. And I think the committee on the MPAA board must have been anti-horror or something because even the deleted scenes and gore sequences they filmed that were eventually edited out would actually be fine in this day and age. You see these scenes and say to yourself "I've seen worse on True Blood!". And it really is that bad in this. It's a good movie, but it doesn't have a lot of scares. It's a slow burn first half as it tries to build a plot and does offer a few sequences of tension, namely that "tire changing" sequence. But when Leatherface finally shows up and starts wielding his chainsaw it's all very brief and extremely tame. Every single time when something is about to happen like when he's got someone trapped on the ground and his chainsaw is coming down right on his victim, like the very split second before, the scene cuts to something else and it drives you nuts. And when the scene cuts, you hear hear him cutting up his victim with the infamous sound of blood splattering. And that's another problem. This film is not consistent in the least. For example, this sequence I just described. You clearly hear him butchering up this poor guy and you hear him screaming and yelling for his life as the sound of blood and guts is heard for a good 10 to 15 seconds. But when they bring this guy inside to hang him upside down to cut him up, he has no damage to his body! He has a bloody nose and mouth, but that's it! And when Leatherface is fighting Benny in the swamp in the finale with his chainsaw apparently running on it's own without anyone holding the trigger in the lake when it should have sank immediately because of it's weight, you clearly see him almost cut Benny's head in half, holding his head against the blade of the chainsaw for a good long while. And you know Leatherface doesn't do anything half-assed. If he's killing you, he's gonna make sure you dead for christ's sakes! But guess what, Benny conveniently appears outta nowhere saving Michelle yet again at the very end with just a scratch on his head! A completely ridiculous ending for sure, and one that they apparently filmed after test audiences didn't like the original ending where Benny died. And since were on the topic of ridiculous. The same swamp sequence where Benny "supposedly" dies is also the same scene where Leatherface "supposedly" dies. But it's soooooo lame! After all the buildup to the final death scene, Michelle hits him over the head with a rock and he sinks. That's how he dies. But guess what!? He shows up too right after Benny magically shows up and he's still alive too! What an ending! But wait! The DVD offers the "alternate" ending and it's so much better. First off, we see Benny's head actually get cut in half. Second, Tex re-appears after being cooked alive and tries one more go at trying to kill Michelle before she sets one of there own booby traps on him and kills him for good. Third, in the final sequence when Michelle is walking in the desert, everyone doesn't miraculously come back to life. Instead it's a slightly different ending and one that works much better for this kind of film.

But you know what? Despite it's flaws like logic, consistency and complete lack of gore it's still heaps above the dreadful sequel after this one, 1994's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. Horrible, completely horrible and unwatchable and I'm shocked they had the balls to continue with the franchise after that entry. I guess that's why it took 9 years for the remake to come out.

While considered by many to be "not very good", I beg to differ. It's oozing with style and suspense, wrapped in a dark tone that was hard to match back in 1990. R.A. Mihailoff made a great Leatherface, and though the gore is severely lacking, the execution is convincing and I think it all pays off nicely. I love this film despite it's flaws, and hope that one day we'll get a "real" Uncut version some day. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer. It's insanely brilliant.


Review: Rubber

Directed by: Quentin Dupieux
Category: Exploitation/Trash Cinema

This is probably one of the strangest flicks I've ever seen. Good, just bordering on great but not quite getting there.
I remember reading about this one last year as it was hitting all the film festivals. And immediately it sounds intriguing. A movie about a killer tire rolling around a desert town killing people and animals with it's psychic powers. Sounds like a blast to me! Sounded like a unique, clever idea. Certainly one I've never seen yet.
The problem is that the film thinks it's so clever in fact, that it has to constantly remind you of how clever it is, starting with the opening sequence. One of the main supporting characters drives up in a police car. But he's not the driver, he's actually in the trunk for whatever reason. The car pulls up from a distance, the trunk pops open and he steps out taking a glass of water from the driver of the car and walks up to the camera and delivers a monologue to the audience about "things just happen for no apparent reason". I guess that explains why he came out of the trunk instead of the drivers or passengers seat of the car. Clever. As he's delivering his monologue he starts offering examples of why "things just happen for no apparent reason" like "In the movie E.T., why is he brown?", or "Why can't you see air?". Like I said, clever. When he's done with his little speech, he pours the glass of water to the ground and gets back into the trunk of the car and it drives away, for no apparent reason. Then the movie starts and were shown that besides you the viewer there is an actual audience of spectators with binoculars in the desert there to watch what is about to unfold, being the story.

A tire named Robert (there is no reason why the tire has a name) digs itself out of the desert ground and starts rolling around. As it's rolling around aimlessly it realizes that it has telepathic powers that enables it blow things up, for no reason. It rolls up to a bunny, it blows it up. It rolls up to a bird, it blows it up. And you know its going to happen because when it's about to do one of these explosions the tire starts to shake, so you know it's using it's telepathic powers. It soon finds it's way to a road and starts rolling along when it comes across a pretty girl driving alone through the desert in her car. For some reason the tire becomes fixated on this girl and apparently follows her to her hotel, but it doesn't kill her. It kills other people in spectacular fashion, but not this girl it's fixated on.

I will say, the effects in this movie are outstanding. In all honesty, probably some of the best practical effects I've ever seen on film. When a rabbit, bird or a human head explodes, it looks real as hell and the camera does not shy away with clever editing. Oh no, it lingers on for what seems like forever as Robert the tire uses it's telepathic powers to explode someone's head and you're sitting there waiting and waiting for this persons head to explode and when it does, the camera doesn't move or cut away, which is just awesome. And I have no idea how they made that tire move throughout the entire film. I mean, it's genius and I wish I knew how they did it. The tire moves, stops, turns jumps and does all of these things and you wonder how they did it because it just seems impossible. Another thing Rubber has going for it is that it's beautifully photographed, i mean it's just simply stunning. I have to give it to writer/director Quentin Dupieux. The guy has a gorgeous eye and has displayed some of the most inventive and gorgeous camera work I've seen in a movie in a really long time. It's a shame he wastes his talent with something like this as this film clearly shows the guy is incredibly talented. Maybe someone will see the talent on display here and give the guy a proper venue to show off because the guy can film a movie beautifully.

What Rubber ends up being is a weird type of exploitation revenge movie about a tire that kills relentlessly with it's telepathic powers. Which is badass in my book and a movie well worth checking out, especially when you throw in the insane amount of gore and really well done practical effects and stunning camera work. What kinda ruins the experience is when the movie literally stops dead in it's tracks several time to constantly remind you how clever it is by including that group of onlookers/audience. They serve no purpose whatsoever and offer nothing that affects the overall outcome of the film except to slow it down severely whenever they're brought back into the picture. And that's the biggest thing holding this film back from being a cult classic, the constant reminder of weird things happen for no reason. It's got all the ingredients, including a dedicated and talented production crew on an extremely limited budget.

The budget for Rubber was $500,000, pretty damn impressive considering it looks like it was made with a budget 10 times that with all the trimmings. Hell, they even have Wings Hauser in here as one of those damn spectators. Another interesting fact about Rubber is that it's a French production, with writer/director Dupieux of course being French but also the entire crew and the production companies that financed it. But the entire cast except for the the actress that plays the girl that Robert the tire is fixated on is American and the entire film was filmed in California. Just another weird fact about Rubber.

I had a good time with the interesting premise and when the film was rolling with the insane plot and exploding heads and cool effects, it was fun. I didn't even care that there was "no reason" for any of it because it was fun. I just wish they had edited out all that spectators/audience stuff and focused more on delivering a crazy ass "tire on a killing rampage" story.


Review: Invasion U.S.A.

Directed by: Joseph Zito
Category: Badass Cinema

First thing you need to know when going into this is that Invasion U.S.A. takes place in an alternate reality of 1985 where things happen for no apparent reason, Chuck Norris can go up against an army of thousands and not get a single gunshot wound, and has the ability to be at many different places at once at just the right time.

This was one of those mid 80's Chuck Norris flicks that I always meant to watch, but just never got around to it. And I love a good Chuck Norris flick, Lone wolf McQuade being my all time favorite. Which is surprising that I've never seen this one until now. I'll be frank, this film is completely silly, but oh so much fun. It's probably the most perfect example that putting action before plot can still create a badass picture.

In a hysterical way, this film is so naive, so silly and so simple that you can't help but laugh throughout. But it's fine, because your not here to watch a movie with intrigue, plot details or even well thought out characters. No, you're here because you want to see Chuck Norris kick some Russian ass and boy does this film deliver.
As stated before, if your looking for answers as to "why" these people are doing what there doing or "why" these things are happening you ain't gonna get it here. They just happen so you just have to accept it and enjoy the ride.

Chuck Norris plays an ex CIA agent named Hunter who's retired and now lives in the swamp wrestling alligators and whatnot. Why he's retired at such a young age and why he decides to live in a swamp of all places after retirement when he could certainly be living comfortably on an ex-CIA agent's pension is of course not explained. In the meantime this Russian bad guy, here played by the 80's go-to guy for bad guy roles Richard Lynch, teams up with this Middle Eastern bad guy to create an army of a couple thousand to start a war in the U.S.A., Florida to be exact. Why? We don't know. They just are. So they recruit a couple thousand guys from different nationalities and different ethnic backgrounds to start killing people, blowing up houses, blowing up school buses full of children, churches full of people and all that. Why they think this army of a couple thousand can actually take on the entire United States is also never answered. These recruits aren't necessarily promised anything so why they agree to wreck havoc on the United States is a really good question too. Because they're not doing it for money, you have to wonder what they have to gain from killing innocent people including children. But wait, said Russian mastermind and Hunter have a connection. Hunter almost killed him once a long time ago when he was about to shoot a bazooka into a building full of people. Hunter pulls a gun to his head and whispers "Time to die", but decides against it and does not kill him after all. That's all were given as far as any history between the two goes. And to this day, Russian baddie still has waking nightmares of that historical event in his life. So here's a ruthless guy who kills thousands upon thousands of people on almost on a daily basis, women and children included, and he has nightmares of this one guy who almost shot him once, but didn't. Hilarious. The CIA has figured out who this mastermind is and of course try to recruit Hunter back into the game so he can help take him down. But he keeps refusing saying only that "You should have let me kill him when I had the chance."

So that's it as far as plot. The entire film consists of one action set piece after another. I was actually quite pleasantly surprised at how violent this film was. Especially coming from the mid 80's where we had our Commando's, Rambo's and our Terminator's. All full of action sure, but not nearly as much as what's on display here. And that's really what this film has going for it. It's a plethora of nonstop insane action and violence from beginning to end.

Chuck Norris helped write the screenplay here, which might explain a "lot" of what's going on. For one, he rarely utters a single word in the entire film. If he does, it's usually a lame smartass remark to a baddie right before he's about to kill him like "If you come back here, I'm gonna hit you with so many rights, your gonna beg for a left". For real, that's what he says when he actually opens his mouth throughout the entire film and it's hilarious. He also seems to magically appear whenever one of the thousands of bad guys is about to do something bad like blow up a buss full of kids or blow up a church full of people. He just.......appears out of nowhere and thwarts anything bad that was about to happen. Weird when you consider that there are literally thousands of these bad guys all over the city doing something like that and he happens to be there all at once to stop it. Come to think of it, they should have just dyed his hair black, painted a skull on his chest and called this The Punisher. It would have worked. He also drives around this seemingly indestructible old black truck that can get shot at thousands of times and still run like a dream. It must be a special magic truck. They don't mention anything about it in the movie, but that can be the only explanation. So while he drives around town in his magic black truck in the middle of the night killing bad guys and shooting endless rounds out of his two mini Uzi's, he also seems to keep forgetting to button his shirt. It must be really hot in Florida.
There was a scene where the Russian Baddie and his men actually go all the way to the swamp where Hunter lives and blow up his home with dozens of explosions. Yet when they leave, none of them stops to see if he's actually dead. They just drive away in there boats. And when anybody is shooting whether it be a rocket launcher, bazooka, Uzi, machine gun or pistol, there is no need to reload ever as they are magic guns that do not ever need reloading. Uzi's seem to be the most accurate guns, at least for Chuck Norris as he can shoot them from a shoulder strap connected to his sides without actually aiming or reloading. He just points and shoots and gets them every time. If he doesn't have his Uzi's, then there always seems to be a rocket launcher handy laying around somewhere fully loaded and ready to shoot. And that's how the movie ends. He finds the Russian bad guy after a lengthy shootout with his men and when he's face to face with him, outta nowhere finds a rocket launcher and again says "Time to die" and blows him to pieces. The next shot is a freeze frame of Chuck Norris and then the credits roll. Freaking classic!
That's how you end a movie! The second the bad guy dies. Who needs answers? Just end the movie and be done with it!

I loved every second of this movie. You get the sense that they took all of this incredibly serious, which is why it comes off silly more than 25 years later. But hey, that's how they made them back then and I wish to god they did that more often these days. Though utterly ridiculous, this is an action lover's dream from beginning to end with Chuck Norris playing "The" badass of all badasses here. I'm surprised that the director, Joseph Zito, didn't have a bigger career in the action genre. Before this he helmed The Prowler, a pretty decent horror film, Missing in Action and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, the one with Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover-one of my favorites in this series. But after this his career seemed to taper off which is shame because he handles the action sequences and violence masterfully here. I would have loved to see more of his work. I'd have to say that now Invasion U.S.A. goes head to head with Lone Wolf McQuade as my favorite Norris flick. If your looking for an action fix, Invasion U.S.A. is your answer.


Captain America (1990): Extended Directors Cut is finally available!

This is really exciting news.
Albert Pyun's 1990 low-budget version of Captain America FINALLY gets a proper directors cut!

If you read my review of this cult classic from 1990, you know my feelings about it.
It was one of Marvel's failed attempts at bringing one of there more popular properties to the big screen between the late 80's to early 90's.
Massive budget cuts, restraints, re-shoots and re-edits eventually left it an unimpressive mess and shelved for several years before finally getting a VHS release. It wasn't for a lack of talent that's for sure. You can tell immediately that lack of budget seemed to be it's biggest enemy. It's still never been officially released on DVD.

To catch up, here's my review:

But you always wondered what kind of film we would have had if director Albert Pyun had the budget and creative freedom to make and release the movie he always wanted. Well now it looks like we're finally getting that chance as director Albert Pyun himself has cut together a directors cut of this cult favorite using his original workprint and other salvaged elements. It has been re-edited to match closer to screenwriter Stephen Tolkein's original script. So what we'll ultimately have is a much different version of that 1990 film.

Technical Specs:
The extended director’s cut includes additional scenes, never seen before – approximately 13 minutes of more footage.
The film is transferred from telecined tapes, plus a 35mm work print. It was not transferred from the original negative and there is artifacting in the dark scenes, dust specks and visible splices. Only the new footage is true widescreen. However, the picture quality is far superior to Albert Pyun’s previous director’s cuts.

Firts he'll be showing this Extended Director's Cut at The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin, Tx on Sunday, July 17 @ 10:15pm with director Albert Pyun himself in attendance. Tickets are sure to sell out fast. He'll then be traveling the country all the way up to Canada showing this directors cut along with his new film Tales of an Ancient Empire, his sequel to his 1982 cult classic The Sword and the Sorcerer.

You can purchase the Captain America: Extended Directors Cut in a 3 disc Region-Free DVD Special Edition available through Albert Pyun's website @ www.AlbertPyunMovies.com or by emailing curnanpictures@gmail.com.

The 3 disc set includes:
Captain America: Extended Director's Cut
Captain America Commentary Disc.
Left For Dead (a film he directed in 2007)
And an autograph

The DVD set will be $25 with FREE shipping.
Blu-ray version will be $35 with FREE shipping.

These are pre-orders. They will not ship until Aug. 13 as Albert Pyun is traveling the country promoting this film. I say get your order in now. I put mine in last night and can't wait for it to arrive.

MGM is also set to finally release the theatrical version on DVD for the first time July 19th. If your a film geek, it's just one of those things you "have" to have. That planned DVD is the picture I have attached with this posting.

In regards to MGM's planned July 19th DVD release of the theatrical cut of this 1990 film, as of this day, 7.21.11, I have not been able to find this for sale anywhere on the internet or any of the big retailers. So it looks like it wasn't released after all and now we play the waiting game.
If anyone can let me know where this DVD is available, I would be much obliged.

It now seems that the planned release of the theatrical cut of Pyun's Captain America will now be released on August 23rd. Let's see if it sticks this time.


The Thing trailer is up!

Still not sure how I feel about this. John Carpenter's The Thing, I feel, is perfect in every way. A rare example of a remake actually working and improving on the original. It's still my absolute favorite horror movie of all time and to this day can still stand the test of time. It works on so many levels. As a horror movie, as a sci-fi thriller and even a good ol' monster movie featuring some of the most amazing practical effects I've ever seen in a horror film, thanks to the brilliant Rob Bottin. As a director, this was John Carpenter at the top of his game bar none.
I will say though that this new one doesn't look bad at all. In fact, as I keep reading that it's supposed to be a prequel, it actually looks like a flat out remake to me. Looks like the just changed Kurt Russel's character to this dame scientist or whatever she's supposed to be.
In any case, here's the first trailer to wet your appetite. What do you think?

<a href='http://movies.msn.com/movies/movie-trailers/#/video/f749b83d-e1d0-4983-a918-a9c3914b03c0' target='_new' title=''The Thing' Movie Trailer' >Video: 'The Thing' Movie Trailer</a>

Geek news of the day - Evil Dead remake confirmed!

As Bruce Campbell let it slip via Twitter yesterday about a scary as hell sequal to the classic The Evil Dead, Sam Raimi is confirming via his Ghost House Pictures that a remake is actually in the works and it is to be helmed by Fede Alvarez, who made that amazing short "Panic Attack".

Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell will produce the full blown "remake" with Fede Alvarez directing and Diablo Cody doing a revision on the draft written by Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues.

Kinda sad to hear that it's a remake as opposed to an actual sequal, which would have made it Part 4. I still would have preferred Ash battling some demons, even at his current age. Ash don't age. But I'm also sure Alavarez will give us something pretty awesome. Just look at "panic attack" if you don't believe me.


Geek news of the day - M.A.S.K. the complete series hits DVD on Aug. 9th

M.A.S.K.: The Complete Series
Oh man! I used to watch this one every day after school in the mid 80's. This is one of my absolute favorite animated series ever and unfortunately hasn't been available on DVD until now. On August 9th Shout! Factory will release a 12 disc set of the "complete" series of this animated classic on DVD. "Complete" as stated on the box set is a little misleading as this box set only contains the 65 episodes from the 1st season and not the 10 from the 2nd. In season 2 they completely changed the format of the series by making it more of a racing show as opposed to the G.I. Joe vibe from the 1st season and only offering 10 episodes as opposed to the 65 from season 1. Those 10 episodes are not included in this box set and may very well never be. Which is fine because season 1 is the season that ruled.

If you don't remember or hadn't even been born then M.A.S.K., which stands for Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, was an animated show that ran from 1985-1986 about a crime fighting group led by Matt Trakker who fought the evil villains of V.E.N.O.M., or Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem, led by Miles Mayhem. Both M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M. rode awesome vehicles that would transform into other objects like helicopters, flying cars and whatnot. It was a really fun action packed weekly afternoon show that ran along with Thundercats, Transformers and G.I. Joe in the mid 80's and was animated surprisingly well.
That theme song is so choice.