One Man's Justice AKA One Tough Bastard

Directed by: Kurt Wimmer
Category: Action

I'm a sucker for 80's and 90's action films. It doesn't matter if they were theatrical releases or DTV fare. If it's good, it's good. Because even with the DTV stuff, you find a solid gem in there every once in a while. In fact, some of my favorite films are low budget action films. Seriously, you'd be surprised what you find if you take the time to look.

I recently caught the excellent Brian Bosworth starring and Craig R. Baxley directed Stone Cold. A prime and essential piece of 90's Badass Cinema. But it got me to thinking why Bosworth never became the next big action star like he was supposed to be. Stone Cold was a very good start. I mean, it's not every day that you get your first film to be a big budget theatrical action film with all the bells and whistles that's also directed by action god Craig R. Baxley (I Come In Peace, Action Jackson). Van Damme certainly didn't. He had to work himself up out of low budget obscurity. Seagal? He fared a little better as Above the Law was a decent budget made by an action veteran. But here's the thing. It was 5 years after this film until Bosworth appeared in anything else. Which brings us to One Man's Justice AKA One Tough Bastard.

Browsing Netflix Instant a while back I came across this in one of the "recommended" lists. Hey, it's Bosworth so I put it in my "list". It was only after I did that when I realized that it was directed by Kurt Wimmer. Now, I'm not the biggest fan of this guy, but he's a big enough player in the film community that if I see his name attached to something, I'll definitely give it a shot. For those of you who are not familiar with this guy, he wrote and directed Equilibrium, a film I have yet to check out. But he's mainly a screenwriter having penned films like Salt, Total Recall (2012), Law Abiding Citizen, The Recruit, Street Kings, and so on. And just so it's clear, he didn't write this film; he only directed. So yea, I see his name and immediately think this is going to be better than I thought it would be.

Ha! Well, yes and no. Yes in the sense that it was a completely and thoroughly entertaining film from
beginning to end. No in the sense that it's for all the wrong reasons. This my friends, is probably one of the best unintentionally hilarious and downright dumb action films I've ever seen. But in a good way. The plot holes in this thing defy logic. The film itself looks like it was made for television, except with a healthy dose of blood and violence. And while Bosworth comes across as a better actor than he did in Stone Cold, which is not to say he was bad in that. He was just a little stiff in my opinion. But here he comes off a little more natural than before. But the scene stealer in this film is Bruce Payne as the villain. Words alone cannot
express how ridiculous his character is in this film. Payne chews up every single scene with such gusto that I honestly can't figure out if he was actually trying to come out as over-the-top or if it was by accident. In any case, the guy owns this film and every single second he appears on screen is goddamn gold. Now I've seen Bruce Payne in plenty of films, some good (Passenger 57), some not so good and some just flat out terrible (Dungeons & Dragons). Here though, here he shines like a fucking rock star. Which is fitting because he kind of looks like one too. It's funny, he's supposed to be playing an FBI agent, yet he looks like someone right out of Def Leopard with the long hair, long black leather trench coat and two nose rings.

Basically this is a film about revenge. Bosworth plays a drill sergeant who's family is killed in a botched convenience store robbery. After waking up from a coma, he sets out on a mission of justice to catch the guy who killed his wife and daughter. Soon after he realizes the guy is just a pawn in a much bigger conspiracy led by crooked FBI agent Karl Savak. A guy who almost sounds like a British guy trying to pretend to be a British guy doing an American accent. Lost? It's hard to explain. Just listen to his line delivery and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. But this is Payne's movie my friends. Payne makes this film.

I think what I loved about this film, besides Payne's kick-ass scene chewing, is that it's never dull. Not for one single second. The film opens with an almost hilariously dated and cheesy opening credit sequence of Sgt. John North (Bosworth) running in the dessert while his little daughter is timing him. It's just the way it's shot, the location, the music, the credits font; all very surreal in a funny/cheesy 80's/90's sorta way. But it's fun. It's almost like it's trying to throw you off a bit because the film keeps a break-neck pace with enough action and violence to keep you satisfied. I had read a review before I sat down to watch this that said there wasn't enough action or blood in this. I couldn't disagree more. With low budget action films, it's always a 50/50 chance of there being not enough, or more than you were bargained for. One Man's Justice definitely kept me satisfied in that department. There's some cool and well choreographed fist fights, shoot-outs and even a killer "death at a gas station" scene that surprised me.

Kurt Wimmer has only ever directed 3 films in his career. This is his first film as a director, followed by Equilibrium and then Ultraviolet. I'll be honest, since I haven't seen either Equilibrium or Ultraviolet, I can't be too harsh. But just judging from this film, directing is not his strong suite. As I said before, it looks and feels like a made for tv movie complete with some bad angle choices and lazy hand-held camera work. But there are a few scenes that shine, and more than the bad stuff, that's probably what you'll remember more. I'll give it to the guy though, he can film a fight scene rather well. One Man's Justice is Steven Selling's only writing credit, and it shows. This thing is chock full of ridiculous plot holes that even the casual moviegoer will be saying to themselves "Now wait a minute". But I have to admit, I would have loved to have seen what other train wreck he could have come up with.

So how about the supporting cast? It's pretty damn eclectic and badass if you ask me. So we have Bosworth kicking some ass and showing some maturity in his second acting gig. But when it's all said and done, it's Bruce Payne's villain that really makes the film what it is. But we also have the one and only Jeff Kober (The First Power) as a wannabe white gang banger, MC Hammer (here only known as Hammer) as a drug kingping (yup, you read that right), even Neal McDonough pops up in here in a small part. You've also got some standard "go-to" guys filling out the cast of baddies.

I don't know. There's just something about this film that clicks. Like all the right ingredients were all put together in such a wrong way that it created a beautiful disaster. That's what this film is....a fucking beautiful disaster. You know what this reminded me of? An Albert Pyun film from the early to mid 90's when he was firing on all cylinders and delivering his best output. I actually wish Pyun had made this one himself. I can only imagine it would've been even better and more enjoyable.

One Man's Justice AKA One Tough Bastard is currently streaming on Netflix.


Bad Movie Night: Samurai Cop

Directed by: Amir Shirvan
Category: Action

Add this to my list of one of the BEST "So Bad It's Good" films ever made. Seriously folks, this completely inept, tasteless and utterly enjoyable action film from 1989 has EVERYTHING you would want in a Bad Movie Night film.

Samurai Cop, for all intent and purposes plays out like a standard action/cop film. I mean, I have a very strong feeling that the writer/director actually set out to make a legitimate action film. But since the guy possesses not a single ounce of creativity or talent, the film comes off as so completely inept that you literally laugh from beginning to end at almost every single choice that was made during the process of making this film. The editing. The acting. The dialogue. The directing. The hilariously unrealistic and crudely choreographed fight scenes, of which there are plenty. The list goes on and on and let me tell you, this one is a doozy.

 First of all, let's start with the completely misleading cover art. While it is a very cool cover, it in no way represents the film accurately. Made in 1989, it actually looks like something that was made going way back to the late 70's and early 80's, on a shoestring budget, with non-actors. I'm serious. It's gawd awful in almost every aspect, yet highly enjoyable because of how bad it is. The only notable face you'll see in here is Robert Z'Dar (Maniac Cop). Even he seems to not know what the fuck he's doing in this or how to deliver a line. Which is surprising considering this was made after he had already appeared in about 12 films before this. Hell, he even appeared in a supporting role in Tango & Cash this same year, yet you'd never know it by his delivery. Maybe I'm being too harsh though. I know the editing, or lack there of, had a lot to do with it.

Which leads me to Matt Hannon. Why oh why didn't this guy make anymore films? Believe it or not, is the one and only film he ever appeared in. Before this, he was a carpenter on two other films, one of them being Night of the Creeps. Weird. But hey, there's always Samurai Cop. I had no idea, but this is practically a legend in the "Cult Film" community. How have I not heard of it until now? Bad movies are a passion of mine. I love them to death. The worse, the better. And Matt Hannon seems tailor made for these films with his ridiculously long and thick mane of hair, his unusually large physique and his ridiculous tan driven home by a cocky attitude. The confidence this guy exudes is impressive. Too bad he didn't have the acting chops to back it up. Though he seems so comfortable in front of the camera spouting these ridiculous lines of insanely cheesy dialogue that I have no doubt he would have become one of the biggest DTV stars of low budget action films in his time. He definitely possesses a special something that not a lot of others have.

What's funny about this is that while the film is called Samurai Cop, you don't actually see any samurai in the film. And as far as the lead goes, he throws a few punches and kicks, but in no way convinces you that he possesses any real martial arts skills whatsoever. But that doesn't really matter because the choreography, directing and most of all, editing, are so laughably off track that you are bewildered by how this ever passed a screening process without anyone noticing that rarely does it ever look like a punch or kick actually ever lands. And guess what? There are sex scenes so terrible and that overstay their welcome that you can't wait for it to be over so you can get back to laughing. And I know it can't just be my imagination, but I could swear there are scenes where it looks like he's wearing a wig. I can't explain it, but I know it must be true. You'll know it when you see it for yourself.

At the risk of giving too much away, I think I'll stop here and let you experience the rest of this gem for yourself. Rest assured, there is a story in there, I just for the life of me cannot remember what it was because I was having too much fun constantly asking "What the fuck??!!".

How to see it:
While it has gotten a previous bare bones full frame release years ago, your best bet is to pick up Epoch Cinema's 2013 Special Edition release. While sparse on Special Features, it does have a few things going for it that the only other previous release didn't. First of all, this comes in widescreen and remastered from the newly discovered 35mm negatives and featuring new interviews with stars Robert Z'Dar, Gerald Okamura, and cinematographer Peter Palian. Unfortunatly star Matt Hannon passed away in 2012 and wasn't able to contribute. 

I must warn you. Be prepared for hilarity and nonstop quoting of the amazing lines of dialogue that come out of Harrin's mouth in this film. Easily one of the best "WTF?!" films to grace my TV, and hopefully now, one of yours.


Jodorowsky's Dune Documentary Trailer is up!

By now, I'm sure you're aware that waaaaaay back in the 70's legendary filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky was close to making Dune a reality. It would have been one of the strangest, and most epic science fiction films ever made. To date, it is considered one of the greatest films "NEVER" made. 

Just the amount of talent he had lined up for this thing was astronomical. Pink Floyd for the score. H.R. Giger for the designs. Orson Welles, Mick Jagger and Salvador Dali for roles. Dan O'Bannon for effects and the list goes on and on. I mean, this thing was going to be EPIC like nobody's business.

Director Frank Pavich has made a documentary on this monumental unrealized film and after having hit a few festivals to much acclaim, we finally have a release date and it's first official trailer. 

The release date is March 14, 2014 and man, it can't come soon enough.



Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Category: Thriller

I've been watching a shit-ton of films these past few months, but still haven't been in the mood to sit down and say anything about them. However, after sitting down to catch this little gem, I feel compelled to say a little something because I don't think enough people know about it. I certainly didn't.

Prisoners, is without question, one of the most gut wrenching and intense psychological thrillers I've seen in ages. What a complete and total surprise this one was. A slow, dark, bleak and exhaustingly unnerving thriller about a father (Hugh Jackman) who's daughter disappears and decides he will do whatever is necessary to get some answers and hopefully find her. Jackman, to his credit, just nails the part as an angry, desperate father with no limits to what he's willing to do or how far he will go to get answers. He's also surrounded by a pretty stellar cast that includes Jake Gyllenhaal as the confident and moody detective assigned to the case, as well as Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Maria Bello, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano. Every one of them giving outstanding performances in a truly horrifying situation. It's really Jackman who comes out shining though. We may always know him as Wolverine, but when given the right material, the guy can turn out some Oscar-worthy performances.

I had heard about this film when it was hitting a few festivals before it's official release, and of the few I had read, every single one was 100% positive. Now I see why. As often as they make films these days, I can honestly say that they certainly don't make them as good as this, or rarely might be the correct term. It's extremely rare when a film comes out that has so much depth and substance, and also looks as good as this film. While the great cinematographer Roger Deakins has a lot to do with that, I think it's also what French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve is able to accomplish with the right talent both in front of and behind the camera that will surprise mostly everyone. This guy will be one to keep an eye on. If he's able to pull this much off with his first American release, I can't wait to see what he has in store. The good news is that we won't have to wait long actually. Along with Prisoners, he made another film the same year in 2013 also with Jake Gyllenhaal called Enemy. Not sure if that's getting a wide release here or not but in any case, it should be hitting DVD and Blu ray shortly.

Prisoners is so fucking effective, with a knockout ending that I did not see coming to boot, that I'm not really sure where the problems come in terms of trying to pinpoint why this doesn't have the recognition it deserves. It may be the marketing I suppose. On the surface it looks like your typical thriller. It is, in fact, a thriller.....yes. But not the type you are expecting. So without giving too much away, I don't know how else they could have promoted this. But it also suffers from a major problem we have had since the 90's here in Hollywood in terms of cover art. Just look at that lame excuse of a poster. I recently saw an amazing documentary on legendary Hollywood film poster artist Drew Struzan and he summed it up perfectly. He said that these days, no matter what genre it is, a poster will consist of just two heads photoshoped together to create a poster. Prisoners is the PERFECT example of this lame excuse for fast, cheap and unfortunately "standard" practice in the film business. The age of the hand-drawn poster art is long gone. Because what does a poster like this tell you about the film? Nothing. Not one goddamn thing. But that's Hollywood for you these days. Instead of hiring an actual poster artist to put some thought and care into an image, it always feels like they hire some kid outta high school to come up with something in an hour.

Prisoners is an unexpected surprise and a completely satisfying thriller that will stay with you long after it's done. Do yourself a favor and check this sucker out ASAP. You'll thank me for it.


Awesome Fan-Made Crowd-Sourced Robocop Remake NSFW

So it's been a while since I've posted, and well I'm just not feeling it these past few weeks. However, I came across this today and felt that I just HAD to share this with you. What we have here is 55 different filmmakers, some amateur and some professional, who each took a section of Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi/action masterpiece and remade it however they seemed fit in different formats like live action, digital, toys, etc. for this crowd-sourced fan-made film that plays like the perfect homage to a sci-fi cult classic. 

Plus, it has everything we love about the original. The gore, violence, completely NSFW and that gorgeous helmet. As far as the remake goes, I'm still not 100% on board. It's been receiving positive reviews, but I just don't feel it's necessary, despite it's killer cast. And I'm a purist, and still love the original Robocop design. Not digging the new style at all, but hey! That could all change once I finally see it, because you never know. 

Check out the trailer below and prepare to have your mind blown. To check out the entire film, you can go to the official website HERE.