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Essentials that make a great
WELCOME TO THE
The Rock's spirit animal goes on a
Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock aka Samoan Thor aka The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment aka Rocky aka Rocky Maivia aka The People's Champion aka The Brahma Bull (he's a Taurus) aka The Great One aka Flex Kavana aka The Silverback gets to magnify himself (so to speak) in this movie as he and his gorilla pal share his bawdy sense of humor. This movie throws a lot at you: a super-sized gorilla, wolf, and crocodile/alligator do some damage to downtown Chicago, with a military element thrown in. It's a little like King Kong meets Transformers (not that there's anything wrong with that). Whereas Kong: Skull Island was "big and dumb" (my 3-word review), this movie was big and fun (what's not to like?!). Fans of The Rock (like me) will love this ride. It's very Saturday matinee in the way that 2005's King Kong satisfied. It reminded me the most of The Lost World: Jurassic Park . I especially enjoyed Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Tommy-Lee-Jones-ish cowboy lawman. What's become clear is The Rock knows is how to share the spotlight with a strong cast of supporting characters (part of why Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is so popular).
The Hurricane Heist
that '80s Action Movie Feel
So, there's a little difference—a girl is the lead, and there are 2 guys (brothers) who help her out, but overall, it satisfied my Action Movie Essentials, and the action was creative. Maggie Grace as US Treasury Agent "Casey" does a good job of handling a weapon (as far as I could tell—I'm no marksman—but she looked competent/confident), and she handles being in charge and her character's job in a convincing manner. She's far removed from the delicate Maggie we saw in LOST. The movie's special effects of the hurricane are realistic enough that they don't detract, but exaggerated for dramatic effect—Like the villains—For me it all worked. The Action Elite enjoyed it as well. I paid to see it twice. And I would watch it again, just for the brothers.
What I especially like was that they were a little "Bubba" without being too "good ol' boy". Just Southern enough to give them values and for us to enjoy their camaraderie, accents, and lingo ("well ). In Action Movies there are lessons to be taught, and learned and these two step up to the plate to be heroes. "Will" and "Breeze" are brothers who lost their father in Hurricane Andrew. As the movie begins, Will, now a meterologist (PhD in Synoptic Meterology), says: "We got 500 miles of Armageddon on its way to crush your house and ruin your life." Let the games begin.
There were lots of Boy Toys, vehicular manslaughter, and even vehicular vehicleslaughter (Gnarly Kills), crashes and Explosions, semis, drones, a "tank" (storm chaser), Chase Scenes . . . I highly recommend this movie, so I don't want to spoil it by describing specific scenes, like this one:
Love that there's even a payoff for "the harsh part". The dialogue is good and there are surprises. What's at stake here is $600,000,000 that's headed for the shredder, which attracts bad guys and even good guys gone bad. That's plenty to divvy up, so there's no shortage of villains. Disposable villains, as it turns out, and we are treated to some Gnarly Kills. The sound effects are really awesome as well. The only thing was I wished it was a little bit longer. They made a joke at the end, but I kind of wish something had developed between Will and Casey and we could have seen them "all cleaned up" after the storm. Bring on a sequel! I'm ready.
Death Wish à la Willis
You know Action Movie Freaks did not miss this movie. Bruce Willis was enough of a draw but the premise would also have been enough considering the original Charles Bronson series. It had been a while since I watched the Death Wish series (1974, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1994) so I was spared the comparison (I also didn't want to compare Willis to Charles Bronson).
They did a good job of modernizing the movie, which added to the situational comic relief. (Speaking of comic relief, I could swear that is "Noel G." Noel Gugliemi @1:20 uncredited, who will forever be monkey-butt guy from Bruce Almighty—he did another butt thing too but I can't remember which movie it was). I think we all wanted to see more at the end, meaning we would enjoy a sequel. I love an 'up' ending. I think Shawshank Redemption is as popular as it is because of the ending. Nobody wants an Elysium ending . . .
How gratifying to see Black Panther so widely well received!
•Rotten Tomatoes crowned it "The Greatest Film of All Time"!
•The biggest box office opening for an African-American director.
•The biggest February opening in history.
•From it's record-crushing $202M Friday-Sunday opening, it has now earned $400 M in the first ten days.
•"With Japan and China still on tap, Ryan Coogler's MCU Action Movie has already topped $300M overseas for a $704M global total. It should be just over/under $900M worldwide by the end of next weekend, and it has already topped the likes of Man of Steel, Logan, and Justice League; with Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($714M) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($709M) next in its sights. Black Panther is well on its way to being the biggest solo superhero origin story/non-sequel ever. We'll see if it can get past The Dark Knight ($1 Billion), The Dark Knight Rises ($1.1B) and Iron Man 3 ($1.2B) to become Earth's mightiest hero."
It gave me tears of joy seeing this clip of the premiere in Busan, South Korea where part of the movie was filmed. There was a lot of love from the crowd, and I felt as proud of the cast as if they were my kids.
Busan is home to the center of South Korean's film industry. Busan is home to BIFF, the Busan International Film Festival, the beautiful Busan Cinema Center (aka Dureraum <- watch their PR video), and Busan Cinema Studios. I have been armchair traveling to Busan for some time, and this poster shot going over the Gwangandaegyo Bridge (광안대교 aka Diamond Bridge). How beautiful the bridge looks at night, all lit up. It's so much bigger than I thought. This action sequence was crazy exciting. Here's YTN News with a clip of the chase and highlighting the bridge appearing . . . (I posted thist last week but can't stop watching.)
Stuntwoman Janeshia Adams-Ginyard talks about what it was like being Danai Gurira's stuntwoman and one of the fearsome Dora Milaje warriors.
Sinners and Saints: Vengeance: Vengeance Starts
Filming in Bulgaria
Daylight's End Writer Chad Law posted this picture and WOW! Right to Left: THE MAN Tom Berenger, TOTAL BAD ASS Johnny Strong, Sinners and Saints Writer/Director William Kaufman, Chad Law, not sure-so familiar . . . , not sure, not sure . . . but will figure it out by the end of the day lol, and Sonny Puzkias. He hashtagged Scott Adkins and he is listed in the cast as starring with Johnny Strong! SCOTT mfing ADKINS! This movie could not be ANY cooler!! #youhadmetatjohnnystrong
Hold the phone! That means Johnny Strong will fight and defeat Scott Adkins (who must be the bad guy). Hahahaaa! SO psyched. Johnny Strong vs. Scott Adkins. SOMEBODY better make sure this movie comes to the big screen in Miami for me, pleeeeease!!!
"Glad to officially be meeting up with some of these #sinnersandsaints here again soon in #Bulgaria #startupsunday #sundayfunday #JohnnyStrong #ScottAdkins #TomBerenger #WilliamKaufman #SonnyPuzikas"
Black Panther: AT LAST!
AMAZING to finally have Black Panther in theatres. What seems like just a few years ago at ActionFest 2011, I was sure it would be Michael Jai White. (He was there in person and spoke about his directorial debut, Never Back Down 2, Black Dynamite, and spoke on a "Modern Fight Directors Panel". The group gathered around him, and he, sighed wistfully as we contemplated there finally being a Black Panther movie, and how perfect he was for it.)
Just reflecting—not to take anything away from Chadwick Boseman who was already phenomenal in Captain America: Civil War as Black Panther, and helped make us even more excited to finally see a stand-alone film, but if anyone's career had led them to that moment . . . Anyhow, MJW is such a great action movie supporter, he has been cheering CB on. If only I could work on this website full time, instead of holding down a job—Note to self: Add Chadwick Boseman to Bad Ass list!
I am on my way to see it now, and really glad the only trailer I have seen was the teaser trailer below. Been so psyched to see this movie, it's hard to describe. Larnell Stovall posted the variety of posters when they came out. And, he posted this message back on January 2:
Just seeing the continent of Africa like this is cool as hell!
Black Panther surprised in two big ways: First, the women! The fiercely blazing star of the movie was Danai Gurira who stole every scene she was in. If I hadn't seen the Amazons fighting in Wonder Woman, seeing the powerful all-female Dora Milaje (Wakandan special forces) would have given me goosebumps. Still, it thrilled me to no end that they were so fierce and skilled with their spears. Loved that they weren't scantily dressed! In her IMDb profile, Danai's bio gives this personal quote:
"I was a jock when I was a kid, so I've always wanted to physically live through a character—one of those really tough chicks." Mission accomplished!
This movie is so uplifting; a real when-they-go-low, we-go-high thing; a beautiful message, timely ("now more than ever"), and much needed. I especially liked the dig at the "monster of our own making" Donald Trump, when they said "the foolish build barriers". In the end, it was not so much about strength, as compassion. It hit every right note. When people ask me what I liked about the movie, I reply "EVERYTHING"!
Check out this
video about the stuntwork in Black Panther from Stunts Unlimited.
The Second Unit Directors on this film were
Andy Gill and
Darrin Prescott. Andy Gill also had a Stunt
Coordinator credit with
Jonathan Eusebio. The Fight Coordinator was
Clayton J. Barber. Movie credits are a little hard to
R.A. Rondell and
Hank Amos are also listed as Stunt Coordinator 2nd
Unit. The action was exciting in this movie. The fight
scenes were well executed and creative. My favorite, of
course, was the casino fight because it was so sudden and fast.
Share the love, if you can, by supporting the #BlackPantherChallenge and donate so a kid can go see the movie. #RepresentationMatters
12 Strong: A Portrait of Courage
This is more of a War Drama than an Action Movie (it's tagged Action Drama History War) . That said, it got applause at the end. At it's core, it is a moving portrait of Courage. It's the [declassified] true story of the Army Special Forces Green Berets who responded to the 9/11 attack. Just 12 men—I'd say God was watching. Makes you appreciate your freedom.
War is hell, that's obvious, but what isn't obvious is what kind of person, what kind of heart it takes to commit to something and push through fear and hardship to stand for something. To never give up, to find a way to complete the mission no matter what. They are well trained to be sure, but what stands out is who they are and what they signed up to do. You can't help but think that there probably would have been more attacks had they not struck back immediately as they did. It's a movie I'd like to own and watch again. To put it in a subgenre, I'd pick Revenge. It's not about who they are as much as what they did.
From IMDb: "The film is based on Doug Stanton's non-fiction book Horse Soldiers, which tells the story of CIA paramilitary officers and U.S. Special Forces, in addition to USAF Combat Controllers, sent to Afghanistan immediately after the September 11 attacks."
There's another movie Legion of Brothers (a documentary) that also tells the story. The real-life soldiers quote Isaiah 6:8 (KJV) "[Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying,] Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." It's powerful stuff.
Skyscraper: The Rock Die Hards
You've got to love The Rock and his social media savvy. I particularly enjoyed this post about Skyscraper.
And here's the trailer . . .
Mission: Impossible - Fallout Two Trailers
Two trailers! #becausetomcruise STILL not watching! So want to see it all on the big screen for the first time. The M:I movies have usurped /surpassed Bond movies in my mind already. He wants to be in Action Movies, and I love that he brings it to the extent that he broke his ankle and kept moving! #thatssojackiechan. What higher praise is there?! Yes, #takemymoney!
Mission: Impossible - Fallout announced for July 27, 2018
Take my money! Tom Cruise @tomcruise is now on @instagram! His first two photos are promoting Mission: Impossible - Fallout for Summer 18 (182 days until July 27). Deadline Hollywood supplied the tagline: "The best intentions often come back to haunt you."
First Look at
Brie Lawson as
Hooray! They didn't skimpy-up the Captain Marvel costume. Here's a look at Brie Lawson, appropriately attired from the Marvel Studio News website. They mention that: "Captain Marvel is expected to do much of its production in California, so this could be a scene from Avengers 4 which has still been doing additional filming in Atlanta."
Aw yeah, GB loves him some Action Movies! Beginning with Law Abiding Citizen in 2009, it seems he began investing to portray the type of characters he likes. This list (see chart below) leaves out only some voice work. His producing credit clicked with me on London Has Fallen, and then it really stood out to me from that point on. So I wanted to find out why he does it (suspecting that he is an Action Movie Freak) and how it's working out for him (box office and popularity).
So, what do ratings and box office reveal about the projects he's backed? (shown with light green background in the table below as opposed to projects backed by Others (white background) Please scroll down below the table for the data and my conclusion.
And, in case you didn't know (from IMDb):
So, when Gair-errd invests in his own movies, do they make more money / are they the more popular ones? (I left out A Family Man, which had no information on budget or box office, on the profitability data, but included it in the genres pie chart.)
Here's what the data said:
There seems to have been a learning curve. Out of the starting gate, on 2009's Law Abiding Citizen (Gerry money) the movie had a $76,690,726 profit. The next movie was The Bounty Hunter (Other money) which made $96,333,522. He must have thought he can do no wrong. Then, 4 losses in a row! Owch. With Olympus Has Fallen ($100,270,201) he came back strong (maybe he used some of that How to Train Your Dragon 2 voice talent money), and the next 3 movies made money (2 Gerry money, 2 Other money, ALL Action).
On the data visualization below (my first of I hope many . . . three others already in the works), the movies that made money are in green (regular green = Other money / lime green = Gerry money). The movies that lost money are pink (Gerry money) or red (Other money / no Producing credit).
I did all this because I'm so psyched for Den of Thieves!
Alita: Battle Angel
Action Adventure Sci-Fi . . . Romance?
Den of Thieves
Trailer looks like
you're in Miami TONIGHT
see the Florida premiere of
very cool and fun horror film festival
Popcorn Frights and O Cinema present the Florida
Premiere of Brawl in Cell Block 99 at OCinema Wynwood.
Proceeds from the screening will go directly to aid victims of
Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.
More to come from scraigzahler.com:
The trailer reminds me of the Clint Eastwood movie Gran Torino (2008), and also, Bad Ass (2012) starring Danny Trejo.
Jackie Chan: The
While this movie has a good ending, like a typical Action Movie, it won't leave you feeling "pumped up". Other than that, The Foreigner is an Action Movie in every way. Jackie Chan, is Jackie Chan, meaning nobody else stands a chance. While he's an older version of a Bad Ass, he still he exacts his revenge. He doesn't try to be perfect. He gets beat up an bit, takes a few falls and hits, and is a little worse for wear at the end, but that only adds to the realism and there's absolutely no questioning his skills. There was only one moment I was sure there was a double and it might have been for height reasons (if they really were on a roof). Even in a knife fight, he's lightning fast.
This is a complex, engaging, and compelling story. We are along for the ride in real time, and while there are not a lot of big surprises, there are enough twists to make it enjoyable. What is most enjoyable is seeing Chan's character get the best of everyone. Pierce Brosnan is good as a flawed and pompous IRA front man cum government official. It's hard to forget it's Brosnan, but he does a good job of 'hiding' behind his character's pile of manipulative and over-confident moves gone wrong. It could be any typical Irish actor, and that's a compliment. In other words, what came through was the character and not Brosnan or Bond.
I highly recommend it and find it enjoyable enough to pay to see it again. In fact, I can't wait to see it again. I've been disappointed many times of late. But Jackie Chan always delivers!
"Tazito" Garcia: A New Kind of
Action Movie Star
In the way that Jackie Chan and Tom Cruise do (most of?) their own stunts, newcomer Taz Garcia does all his own character stunts but does not do stunt work. I would much rather watch a stuntman try to act, than have them cast an actor who has to have someone sit in for them. It's long overdue that the real reason we love Action Movies—the Action—gives more credit where credit is due.
As a part of a new generation of Action Movie stars, Taz is committed and serious about the work. A true Action Figure, his interests include tennis from his early days wanting to become a professional soccer player (at the age of 13, was scouted to play for the Manchester United 'Red Devils'), to being an ATP junior seeded tennis star, to racing professional go-karts (600cc / working his way to 1000cc) hoping to one day race F1. Taz has also trained in a variety of martial arts including shotokan karate, greco wrestling, kung fu, and capoeira, and as a multilingual, he has traveled the world. Taz can speak, read, and write English, French, Portuguese, Arabic, and Spanish, and also has good command of the Cantonese dialect.
Taz has been nominated for and won awards for directing, fight choreography, acting, and has been recognized for his work in Action Movie Short Films. Here are some of his recent wins:
Next up for Taz are the feature-length "First Bust" (biggest Canadian/Chinese co-production), and "Trigger", where he'll get to showcase his skills. He has worked with and learned from the best, including Ace Stunt Action and the Jackie Chan Stunt Team. Taz's star is on the rise, and we hope to see more of him on the big screen.
Below his action reel is an interview:
INTERVIEW with Action Star Taz Garcia
Action Movie Freak is thrilled to present an interview with Taz Garcia:
AMF: What is the first Action Movie that really made an impression on you, and what stayed with you from it?
Taz: Drunken Master. Action doesn't have to mean VIOLENT. [[ Awesome movie, and what a great choice! ]]
Taz: Action is our body's way of expressing 'dialogue' that transcends over any language barrier. Also, every action/stunt scene may have its own challenges for us to overcome as the performer. [[ Listen to the Dead End interview video below for more fun insight into this question. ]]
Taz: Action Comedy [[ After watching his Action reel, it's clear Taz has a gift for Action Comedy! ]]
Taz: Acting will always be my passion, but it's a gift to have a choice on either side of the camera.
Taz: Acting in general. When age kicks in and limits the action scenes you can do, acting is timeless. [[ This tells me Acting is a lifelong career choice for Taz. Great commitment! ]]
Taz: That's a very tough question
because I had to think about that very same question when I
directed and wrote my female assassin film "Dead
End". There's many up-and-coming young female action stars
with superb talent. A big congrats to them all, and of course a
BIG congrats goes out to
Gadot for her milestone in being the first stand-alone
Superhero in a movie.
Here's Taz talking about how he made Dead End:
What a trailer! Re-Born
Don't even blink . . .
Terminator 2: Judgment Day reboots in
theaters in 3D
Was excited for weeks since I first heard Terminator 2: Judgment Day would be back in theaters in 3D! I didn't think seeing it in 3D could bring much to an already "10" movie, but I really noticed the 3D during the chase with the motorcycles and the rig. It brought the 'course' to life, and made it more intense because the environment seemed more confined, the speed and obstacles more real. That alone was worth the price of admission.
The movie also brought back that terrifying concept of a post-nuclear-war earth where human survivors are being eliminated by robotic weapons. Although I think they are unlikely to be the cold, cool, chrome look of Terminators, the things being invented and conceived of today are nonetheless terrifying. I found this photo in a gold mine of concept robotic weapons.
Before the T2 credits they set up the premise of which Terminator—the 'good one' sent to protect John Connor, or the 'bad one' sent to kill him—would reach John Connor first. Arnold Schwarzenegger, of course, gets the only above-the-line credit. How exciting watching an ILM + Stan Winston creation . . . I was thinking: "Pinch me, I'm watching T2 in a theater, again, in 3D!"
It was cool to see Jennette Goldstein. How different she looks than as her role as "Vasquez" in Aliens. From "muscle" to Mom . . . That John Connor ended up in Foster Care is disheartening, but the ordinariness of his suburban life makes a great backdrop for futuristic terror. The Gnarly Kill, later, by the T-1000 as the Foster Mom shows the wicked way the T-1000's metal can made into a sword/other formations, and how he transforms from one person to another. We see it, then they explain it: “Anything it samples by physical contact.” They get really creative with that.
Way back when, the first place to have video arcades was California. Since that was also where they made movies, by the '80s and '90s it seemed like this impossibly cool place. So many movies from this era had scenes in malls. In T2, we're at the Sherman Oaks Galleria mall (featured in Fast Times at Ridgement High '82, Valley Girl '83, Night of the Comet '84, Commando '85, Back to the Future Part II '89, and a half dozen more movies). As Wikipedia puts it: "The mall became famous in the early 1980s as being the center of the teenage-mall culture and a well-known teenage hangout." At this point (T2 was '91), we'd seen this mall in so many movies, it was a truly frightening thing seeing two Terminators in a familiar setting (it felt the same as if it was in our local mall).
Looking back now, Arnold seems young, but he's 43 here. With the face off of the two Terminators in the Mall's back hallway, until Arnold says “Get Down”, you think he's the bad robot there to kill the kid. You wonder, too, if the two terminators are a match for each other. Relentless v. Relentless: Yes, I want a front-row ticket for that! It was indescribably cool to see that liquid metal can heal itself. Then we saw how crazy fast this new Terminator can run [Robert Patrick trained in a rigorous running regime in order to be able to appear to run at high speeds without showing fatigue on film.]! I mean, what's in a number? We were, of course, wondering how much better could the "T-1000" Model be? Love this aspect of movies, where they can take something that's already so wicked cool like a "terminator" and come up with something better that makes it look outdated.
And they're off . . . Here begins one of the greatest-ever chase scenes. [I wondered who was the stuntman who got pulled out of the rig and thrown to the street, to begin the T-1000's crazy all-out hunt. Turns out to be this guy:]
The T-1000 (and the fact that he's chasing a kid) makes this first chase scene intense—his expressionless face is frightening, and then, he drives the rig off an overpass! That relentless aspect was hitting pretty hard right about then. Arnold as the Model 101 is following on a motorcycle but runs out of road. [Again, I wondered, who the stuntman was who did that jump? I found him on IMDb Trivia: Peter Kent. He's 6' 5" (Arnold is 6' 2"). He doubled Arnold in The Terminator and worked with him in a total of 14 films. "The motorbike was supported by one-inch cables, so that when they hit the ground, the bike and rider only weighed 180 pounds. The cables were later digitally erased." Flawless! You can see this on the "Making of . . . " documentary.]
As the scene ends, I remembered how BAD ASS it was to see the T-1000 walk out of the flames of the wreck of the rig. I remember being in the theater back in 1991 and someone yelling out in wonder: "Unscathed!" LOL Nothing has been that impressive since. What a huge moment that was. This movie rocked!! That scene is the biggest part of the mythology of this movie. Driving home the unkillable aspect of Terminators, we were thinking: If he survived that, it seems like there is no stopping him.
One of the most fun elements of this movie was John Connor's childish delight in treating Arnold as a toy: “Cool! My own Terminator.” So funny when he makes the Terminator promise not to kill anyone after what a monster killing machine was in the last movie. At least Arnold doesn't have to hold back when it comes to the T-1000. When he shoots it in the head, and it splits open, that was one of the coolest effects we'd ever seen in a movie. It then become: How much damage can it survive? What's it gonna take to bring it down?
When I first saw the movie, I was so invested in Sarah Connor's being stuck in that mental institution. We knew what she was saying was real (Terminators do exist), so all the things she did that made her seem crazy, we knew was just an act. After seeing what she'd been through in this awful place, when Arnold comes out of the elevator, her sense of terror was crushing. Even though we knew he was good, we could imagine how she felt. We knew just how much she had dreaded the inevitable. After nobody believed her, it was kind of great that everyone takes a huge crap. The second big chase out of the mental institution was also intense, but then we're dealing with Armageddon, so the stakes are the highest.
And how did we get to Armageddon? By putting machines in charge. “It's in your nature to destroy yourselves” Arnold explains casually. In T2, "Skynet" takes control on August 4, 1997, as human decisions are removed from our defense system. How far away are we from that in real life? With a hotheads like Donald Trump in charge of the US, and North Korea's Kim Jong-un threatening to launch nuclear missiles almost daily, it doesn't seem like such a bad idea to remove human decisions. However, scientists, researchers, and academics like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have warned us of the dangers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in weapons. Musk has said "I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it [will be] too late."
A big variety of robotic weapons have already been invented, and have been in use since WWII: Meet Northrup Grumann's "Mobile Armed Dismount Support System" or MADSS for short (on the left). From guns.com: "The MADSS is somewhat modular and can be fit with a wide array of weaponry from M240s and M249s to Mk 19 40mm automatic grenade launchers and Ma Deuces. Northrop Grumman has also alluded to 25 and 30mm weapon systems, which likely means autocannons—this may be one of the most terrifying land robots outside of science fiction." There are many variations. The one on the right is fairly small. They are all remote-controlled.
Here's a compilation photo from 2012:
There are also armed, remote-controlled, aquatic vehicles:
And there's a host of larger, armed robotic vehicles they've used/are currently using on sentry duty. War is big business . . .
From "Dawn of Killer Robots" NationalGeographic.com, August 21, 2017: "116 founders of robotics and artificial Intelligence companies from over 26 countries including Elon Musk and Mustafa Suleyman from Google AI, penned a letter urging the United Nations to intercede and address the use of lethal autonomous weapons or ‘killer robots'. The group is calling for a global ban of killer robots." Here's a scary quote from Wikipedia: " The autonomy of current systems as of 2016 is restricted in the sense that a human gives the final command to attack—though there are exceptions with certain 'defensive' systems." Sounds like Skynet to me.
Speaking of weapons: The idea of hiding stuff somewhere in case you ever need it is awesome, and speaking of awesome: Sarah Connor. She has a huge arsenal. WAY too much stuff!! LOL I only wish she wore a bra, and didn't smoke. Women don't have to be braless to be tough, and smoking sucks. Really glad Hollywood seems to have moved away from taking Big Tobacco money. Now if we could just get properly attired women . . .
When John Connor consoles his mother, it breaks my heart. On the one hand, she's an ultra-protective mother, on the other hand, neglect's a little like abuse. She's so focused on protecting him, she doesn't give him much love, or even attention. Kids consoling parents is the essence of bad parenting. This Sarah Connor is so different than the way she was when we first met her. She gets her moment to complain: “Fucking men like you built the hydrogen bomb. Men like you thought it up. You think you're so creative—You don't know what it's like to really create something, to create a life, to feel it growing inside you. All you know how to create is death and destruction.” What is Cameron saying here? Is this a post-Ripley-in-Aliens-(1986)-mom aspect? How emotional she is can be explained by the danger, or by the fact she was locked up for a while, but on the heels of the bad-ass warrior version of her, I just kind of hated it (I hated it in '91 too) when she gets all emotional, and later freaks out more. She tries to kill a man in front of his family! It just stood out in a bad way to me and made me lose respect for the character. She 'lost it' for about a half an hour. Really don't like when female leads cry in Action Movies.
So, they make peace with Cyberdyne's Miles Dyson and they all go off to recover the robotic arm and the CPU so the inevitable won't happen. And they plan to blow up Cyberdyne Sysytems. Then in rides CHiPS. The T-1000 is so psycho it drives a motorcycle out of a window to grab onto a helicopter. Then he pours himself in through the windshield. Remember how tense that was and shocking when he says “Get out!” and the pilot just jumps out in mid air. They don't show what happens to him. [In real life, the pilot is Charles Tamburro. Seems like he's worked on every great Action Movie ever. From Wikipedia's T2 Trivia: "Tamburro actually flew the helicopter under the overpass in the final chase scene. The camera crew refused to film the shot, because of the high risk involved. James Cameron did the filming with the help of the camera car driver."]
It looks a little like Die Hard's Nakatomi Plaza (1988) as Arnold reigns down hellfire on all the police cars, but killing no one. In the ensuing chase scene, Sarah Connor's one hell of a warrior. Always ready for something, watching. Seemingly capable til you notice she closes her eyes when she shoots LOL. Arnold slams brakes on and the helicopter crashes into the back of the van, but then Arnold loses control of the van and it flips. Am I crazy, is there a glitch in the matrix here. I could swear they kill the same extra twice.
What liquid nitrogen does to the T-1000 is so cool. How did they film that breaking and walking thing?! Hats off to CGI. Fast firward to a Mano a mano fight at last. the T-1000 face first against the wall, and, instead of turning around he just re-forms the other way 'round, face out. It was just freaky at this point. He beats Arnold SO bad, it makes you wonder about pain for the Model 101, although there is this punch . . .
Arnold 'dies' and reboots. That's cool. The ending, especially the setting, reminds me of Cobra (1986). The T-1000 gets diluted to death. You just know that the Model 101 has to go too but it doesn't make it any easier. At first, I thought if Sarah and John cared for him, they shouldn't wouldn't be able to watch the Model 101 die, but it's like a tribute, like they can't let go. Like they want to see him for every moment they can. Mother figures and father figures are always powerful in movies. Shaboo, the fatherless boy gets the coolest Dad, and then has to lose him. As he's lowered, Arnold gives a cheesy thumbs up. Always hated that.
So we are left with this closing thought:
“If a machine, a terminator, can learn the value of human life—maybe we can too.”
In light of recent events, apparently not. #BlackLivesMatter
Boyka: Undisputed #sogood
In this first fight, get to see his signature move. As he celebrates the win, you can't help but shake your head in appreciation of Scott Adkins' physique! And we cut to a jail . . . Another arena.
[Just a side note: As a graphic designer, I loved everything about this movie except the titles. They could have elevated the quality/look of the production, but here they look too amateurish. I am sure there are PLENTY of career graphic design people who would fight to do the titles for a Boyka movie for free!]
What I saw reminded me of a project I contributed to (don't get excited, it wasn't much, I'm a 9-to-5-er) called Fight of the Century: A muzzled, growling, restrained behemoth (Martyn Ford as "Koshmar") enters the ring to fight against against a much smaller opponent—a complete mismatch—whom he dispatches in record time, pulverizing the man's face.
We see Boyka next going into a church, bringing a box of new bibles. Apparently, he's been using his winnings to support a church. This movie is very 'Rambo comes full circle'.
Only eight minutes into the movie, and we get another fight. The choreography and the skill level is so good, I yelled out: “Oh ho ho Holy Crap!” They are selling it (there's an amazing acrobatic turnaround) and they move so fast, and seem to hit so hard. The fight is intense/on another skill level. Even though his opponent is awesome, Boyka is “the most complete fighter in the world”. When Boyka tells you stay down, stay the fuck down! You know what's coming . . . Boyka ends up killing his opponent. Not on the spot, but he dies later. This sends Boyka into a crisis. He decides to go find the dead fighter's wife. He asks his manager to get him a fake passport. The manager is reluctant, of course, and tells him
And he's off to find the fighter's wife for absolution . . .
Boyka is so bad ass. I don't want to give everything away, but don't mess with him. He's not to be touched. When a guy in the gym tells Boyka he can't use his punching bag, Boyka walks away. The guy—BIG mistake—puts his hand on him as he walks away. Seriously, NEVER put your hand on a fighter. Epic sound effect there!
The movie's main fight is against a guy that they did a great job of making him seem like a prick. You can't wait for Boyka to dispatch him. Turns out . . . well, you should watch it and see for yourself.
This movie delivers everything you want in a Boyka movie and I really look forward to another one (please?!) . . .
As if Boyka isn't scary enough, here's Boyka with a gun. Yeah, there's a gun somewhere in that photo. Kinda hard to see anything but male cleavage though. Uh-huh, uh-huh.
For an in-depth
look at this movie, check out
FunnyActionMovies.com's awesome writeup:
another Femme Fatale, hated it!
I've been avoiding writing about this movie like I was avoiding going to see it. In the end, I went to see it because I wanted to find out if it was any different than the way it was portrayed in the trailer, and I wanted to give 87eleven some of my money. The theater audience was all old men (over 60). Yeah, that's not creepy! As the only female in the audience, I wasn't looking forward to participating in their ogling Charlize and waiting for the 'girl-on-girl' action.
Let's get this out of the way right up front: I'm a radical feminist. If you think you know what that means and don't want to read any further, then "You're welcome" for me saving your time, and "Buh-bye."
If you'd like to know more, let me start by explaining what a feminist is and what a radical feminist is.
A feminist is anyone who stands up for the rights of women. In a world that enslaves, tortures, mutilates, rapes, beats, and kills females in such alarming numbers that ex-President Jimmy Carter (in his book A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power) called it "the Human Rights Crisis of the Century", if you think females are safe, you are wrong. So, get your head out of the sand.
A radical feminist is someone who thinks women are people first. What does that mean? A human being. Not a thing. A person, just like a man. I believe I can do anything I think I can, and I don't think I should be treated differently because I'm female. The radical part: I want to be a person, first, someone who doesn't have to accept gender roles and limitations.
Wikipedia puts it this way, but the writing is slanted to be 'scary' like we want to destroy the world, so let me dissect it for you:
"A radical reordering of society in which
male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic
2) "Radical feminists seek to abolish patriarchy (where 'males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege, and control of property')" I can't even believe I have to justify this. Women just got the vote in 1920! Give us some time to accomplish this LOL. Given the current political state of white maleness in the U.S. and the "leadership" that is lacking, the lack of morals (government corruption), and the imbalanced perks of wealth sanctioned by an unfair tax system, I'd say it needs abolishing. And as for control of property . . . how about the fact that women in some countries still can't own land they've worked their whole lives on, that has been in their family for generations, and have the deed be in their name! Yes, we want to abolish the idea that power is male-only, leadership is male-only, that males have the final say in morality, that males, only, retain the upper layer of social privilege, and that males, only, have the power to control [our] property.
3) "By challenging
existing social norms and institutions, rather than through a
purely political process."
"This includes [a] challenging
the notion of traditional gender roles, [b] opposing the sexual
objectification of women, and [c] raising public awareness about
such issues as rape and violence against women."
So why does a radical feminist hate this movie? The answer is part and parcel of the reaction of a male friend when I said I hated it. He praised her "femininity". This is strictly a man's view:
So, today, on Charlize Theron's 42nd birthday, let me say in her defense, she really gave the action her all—much more than I even hoped for (well, it is 87eleven—as good as it gets), but that having someone like her just sets the wrong tone. What does Charlize have to say? I found this some time ago and put it in the long-overdue (next) 4th issue of Payback: action movie magazine . . .
You can't have it both ways. What this movie did was take practically the most girl-in-the-back-of-the-frame-in-a-push-up-bra type girl, and feature her in the movie. It's such a man's idea of a woman it's like Sucker Punch all over again! (BAM! Ow!)When I first saw the Atomic Blonde trailer in the theater, my heart sank in horror (not exaggerating). The pit of my stomach churned and I thought "How could they get it all so wrong?! This is everything I don't want to see in the lead character of a female-driven action movie!"
Like Gal Gadot as Woman Wonder—she's too thin. All I could think about Wonder Woman is what a HUGE missed opportunity it was to feature a truly physically strong woman. After waiting 30 years (and ranting about it since 2010), I wanted a real powerhouse like Gina Carano or Ronda Rousey. Instead, we get Gal Gadot and Charlize Theron. More of the male-fantasy, non-threatening wraith types. The message? Oh, it's fine for her to be physical as long as it's fake, as long as it's a man's idea of "feminine". A woman who can go toe to toe with men in a fight is going to be 'cut', buff, bulging with muscles! Charlize doesn't even have an ass. What's her kick going to deliver in real life? Broken toes. Her arms are twigs. But, hey, this is just a movie, and apparently this movie was for men, because it sure as hell wasn't for real women. No woman who does these things in real life is going to look like that, nor dress like that, which brings me to. . .
IF YOU'RE NOT FISHING, DON'T BAIT
No, you can't wear anything you want.
If that weren't true, women soldiers in combat could be in high heels, or leather thigh-boots and fishnets stockings with a garter belt—like Charlize in the yellow-power-cord scene. How ridiculous would that be?! Well, to me, just as ridiculous as a "40+ woman [kicking ass] wearing a mini skirt [and] garter belt". Women in real combat dress like soldiers. You pull your hair back so it won't get in your eyes at a crucial moment, and you wear fatigues just like everyone else. Yes, in a perfectly safe world, men and women should be free to dress how they wish, but you're still not going to wear a 'naked gown' to work, or a clown costume to an interview.
Do I want to change what women wear in general? Yes, yes I do: I wrote about it in Payback back in June of 2014, starting on p. 24 (26-27 on the menu bar) if you want to know more.
So what I saw of Charlize's character's wardrobe was hardly late '80s. Having lived through it, I can say there weren't any bustier-style pinstripe (is that a vest?) garments, and we didn't have that type of super high heel. That being said, the point is more that she's wearing thigh-high boots with fishnet stockings and a garter belt. Come on. Who dresses like that?! She's also wearing a coat and a turtleneck because it's freezing outside. The reason she's dressed that way is it's a male fantasy of what is 'sexy'. Don't give me sexy. I don't want sexy-for-men. I don't want to watch a supermodel dick accessory go through the motions. [Again, she gave it her all, and it looked great most of the time. The choreography showed somewhat like it did in Haywire, in reverse, when all the men couldn't keep up with Gina!]
This character is textbook
Femme Fatale: (excerpted from
"a stock character of a mysterious and seductive woman whose
charms ensnare her lovers, often leading them into compromising,
dangerous, and deadly situations. Having a power akin to an
enchantress, seductress, vampire, witch, or demon, having power
over men. A femme fatale tries to achieve her hidden purpose by
using feminine wiles such as beauty, charm, and sexual allure.
One of the most common traits of the femme fatale includes
promiscuity. Femmes fatale are typically villainous, or at least
morally ambiguous, and always associated with a sense of
mystification, and unease. Something that turns men on."
Sometimes I think the only thing men like more than sex is the
possibility of being killed while having sex. (Where does that
thought come from? A million movies!) (And speaking of a million
movies, was this really about a "NOC list"?!)
Femme fatales as the lead in Action Movies?
No thank you!
I want a character who is equal in force, with more self respect and better values than her male counterparts, smarter, not "female" first, AGENT first. Someone so NOT trying to be "sexy" but trying to just do her job. Someone I can respect. Not a "stick insect" smoldering her way through costume changes and nude scenes to get men off.
And I don't want to see Charlize Theron naked, or any women naked, in Action Movies. I don't want to watch two girls together. I thought we left that soft-porn aspect behind in the '80s. If that's your idea of an Action Movie, this is not the site for you. You can keep your supermodels.
I've been Googling "strong girls" since Googling was a thing, and thank God, finally, there are more non-slutty images than ever before. Give me these types of girls:
Bring on She-Hulk already . . . (but talk about a hard-to-find, non-sexualized image!)
Or maybe the first Gears of War movie can be about Anya . . .
Just give me someone properly attired . . .
Loved this look for Linda Fiorentino back in Men in Black . . .
Make it more like real life . . .
Fully clothed is Bad Ass . . .
"Feminine" isn't just about skinny . . .
Vulture crowned King of
Oh to be young again. This movie really captured the fun side of being a freak LOL. Peter Parker's high school experience and his growth into the role of Superhero was an enjoyable journey. It set up his joining The Avengers, officially, and yet sent the message to stay in school and don't rush growing up. It was more like an after school special, but, boy oh boy, was it special! It's not the trash talking, R-rated ass-kicking fest, I'm looking for in a Action Movie, but as Superhero movies go, it was really fun. Tom Holland was great, but so was everyone else!
Michael Keaton's character "Vulture" was the best thing about it, and the whole alien weapons side business was really cool. Keaton's character walked a fine line between good and evil. He thought he was more good than he was, but he redeemed himself in the end. I'd love to see more. It was on par with Ant-Man (which I loved). The Vulture's suit was incredible!
After watching this, I'm gonna have to go see it again. How bad ass was the new Spider-Man suit?! My 9-year-old nephew was way impressed as well! Can't wait to see Spider-Man wear it.
Proud Mary Trailer
"An assassin meets a young boy that sparks her maternal instinct." Sounds like Gloria, that means it's gotta be good!
Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars . . . Dizzy's back!
This animated action movie is in select theaters for ONE NIGHT ONLY 8/21.
On the 30th anniversary of RoboCop (17 July 1987), a feature-length documentary from the makers of "Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II" and "You're so cool, Brewster! The Story of Fight Night" was announced: RoboDoc: The Creation of RoboCop. "Supported by dozens of the RoboCop cast and crew, this documentary sets out to give the definitive view on the film's 30-year legacy, as well as the impact it has had on fans, and on the action movie genre itself."
Nancy Allen . . .
*Sadly, Miguel Ferrer passed away this year in January.
Miguel Ferrer's breakthrough role was the OCP
Vice-President Bob Morton in RoboCop (1987). Before that, he
played a helm officer in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
After that, he appeared in movies like Deepstar Six, Point of
No Return, Hot Shots! Part Deux, Anothe Stakeout, Traffic, The
Manchurian Candidate, Iron Man 3, and so many more movies.
He also appeard on lots of TV shows like NCIS, Magnum P.I.,
CHiPs, Cagney & Lacey, Hill Street Blues, T.J. Hooker,
Miami Vice, Twin Peaks (1990-91 and 2017), ER, 3rd
Rock from the Sun, 8 episodes of Jack Chan Adventure—His
voice was very cool—He had voice parts in many animated series
as well, including Robot Chicken, American Dad . . .
too many to list.
vs. Movies with Action
I've been seeing movies lately without writing about them. Why? Because they are "movies with Action" and not Action Movies. I've given up hoping for a real Action Movie. I'm thinking that Action Movies as we knew them, are dead. We waited to see who would emerge after Arnold and Sylvester Stallone began to age. Arnold 'passed the torch' to The Rock, but he's doing his own "most electrifying man in show business" thing and too many kiddie movies. He squandered to chance to be the new King of Action Movies. Jason Statham is just too unassuming. He's INCREDIBLE—don't get me wrong—but has his own downplayed version of trashtalking. He's less in-your-face and more fluid grace. Where are the men with attitude?! I'm thinking, if we want attitude, we need females!
I predict what we will see next is Action Movies with female leads. Yes, I hope for a time when that same beefy action hero is a woman who talks trash and plow her ways through everything just like Action Figures of the past did. I'm ready for a real show of strength anyway. After 'Wonder Woman Light' (that's what I've taken to calling it) squandered the opportunity to showcase a 'big girl', the time has come for She-Hulk. Bring her on! This would make a great TV show like the 1977-82 series with Bill Bixby, The Incredible Hulk, or The Fugitive (1963-67). How funny would it be to see what pisses her off each week?! There are SO MANY issues women are pissed about. What a teaching tool. Anyway . . .
So, apologies (as if anyone cares LOL) for not writing much this past year. I've been disappointed a lot, or maybe I should say dissatisfied. And I don't have really high standards. I like most "movies with Action" as long as there's some shit talking. What I've been seeing is a lot of Drama. Like Baby Driver: Genre: Drama about Crime. Super Fantastic Driving and some shooting and fights but it's not an Action Movie.
of the Century Kickstarter . . .
This project looks cool. Co-creaters (and Writers and Producers) are Nick Allen and Troy-Jeffrey Allen. There are a lot more talented people involved: Check it out on their kickstarter page and please show your support. Their goal is $5,000 and they have 59 days to go. Every little bit helps, so back them if you can. There are many levels of support, starting at just $1 and lots of cool perks. With successful funding, the book will be released quarterly starting in October 2018.
Follow Troy-Jeffrey Allen @TJAComics on twitter.
by "The Mo Brothers"
Thank you, Netflix for bringing me "Headshot" starring Iko Uwais, Sonny Pang, with . An ACTION MOVIE. One hell of an intro, too. The violence is not for the faint hearted, in other words, awesome. A movie that made me say "Oh, my God" out loud, twice, back to back. Then, "Sick", followed by "What?!" And that was all in one scene. Besides the epic violence, there were some stunning visuals. It goes without saying but . . . Iko Uwais is THE MAN!
The Stunt Coordinator is Udeh Nans (he appeared in The Raid: Redemption, The Raid 2, and Beyond Skyline). Very Tri Yulisman is listed as Action & Stunt Coordinator, and the "Uwais Team" as Action & Stunt Choreographer.
Love this from IMDb: "Uwais plays a young man who washes ashore, an amnesiac with a serious head injury whose past comes back to haunt him shortly after being nursed back to health by a young doctor. Violence ensues. Sweet, sweet violence."
LOL. Don't watch the trailer. Just watch the movie!
. . . at last!
The movie Wonder Woman's best feature is the Action. It was thrilling to see Diana do her goddess thing. Overall, it was a great movie, but all I kept thinking was I wish she was not so skinny—that, had she been a powerhouse, how much cooler it would have been. We waited SO LONG for this. Gal Gadot's waify-ness is such an impossible standard to uphold, like Lynda Carter's waistline, like a supermodel, like Barbie. And, it's not 'heroic', it's more fantasy, and that makes what she does less believable. So, I'll have to wait until the first movie with a 'big' girl to get some satisfaction. It doesn't seem like Wonder Woman to me in that dark, metallic outfit (like on the right). Give me the campy, colorful, more comic-booky version with real muscles and the red, white, and blue, please.
Hats off the the stunt people who made Diana look so good. At least Gal lifted some weights so her arms and legs weren't quite as thin as they were in Fast Five. It so should have been the powerhouse Gina Carano! I really would like to see Wonder Woman wield Mjolnir, but I can't see the waify version of her doing that.
What was . . . . What is . . . What should have been
Maybe this is just me, but I hated that the script was written by a man. There were a couple of jokes no woman would have put in there. As thrilled as I was to hear her say "What I do is not up to you" in the trailer, when it was in place in the movie, it was rushed and not the feminist moment I was hoping for. The messages were good, maybe too good:
"If you see something wrong in the world, you can either do nothing, or you can do something."
"I'm willing to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves."
"Who will I be if I stay?" was the most impactful thing she said. Indeed. There is no more important question than who we are. And . . .
"Only love can truly save the world." One can only hope this positive image of a woman in action will inspire a generation the way Lynda Carter's TV show did. We LOVE Wonder Woman. She wants to bring peace to the earth. I wish that sounded less like a Beauty Contestant answer. Come on, Hollywood, give us some muscle!
Speaking of wielding Mjolnir, something that seemed epicly bad ass was the way the women were portrayed in the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok. Cate Blanchett and Tess Thompson were both powerfully frightening. Not the unsure, demure, Daisy Do Good that was Diana.
You gotta love OCinema for this: "Important Note: Buzzsaws, flamethrowers, or any harmful items will not be permitted into the theater."
Fans of Stephen King all know that "the Bachman Books" were written by Stephen King. I didn't read them until the news came out. Four of the stories were published as a collection. The one I liked best was "Roadwork" but they are all good. Here is the story behind the release of the news that King was Bachman, but, as it says, everyone was already talking about it.
the vibe of
Spider-Man: Homecoming 7/7/17
The trailers for this are delightful, combining high-school teenager angst with incredible action! I really liked Tom Holland in Captain America: Civil War and am looking forward to this. Just when you think they can't make another great movie about Spider-Man, something like this makes you realize, it just never gets old! Love Spider-Man, love Peter Parker. Check out their cool, custom IMDb page.
Here's Trailer # 1
and Trailer #2
The Fifth Element
in theatres on 5/14 & 17
It's the 20th Anniversary of The Fifth Element [Action Adventure Sci-Fi (9 May 1997) Director/co-Writer Luc Besson with Mark Kamen], and AMC Theatres Sunset Place 24 is showing it on 5/14 and 5/17 at 2:00 and at 7:00 PM. It's also showing at South Beach 18 and the Falls 12. Run time 2 hours and 6 minutes | Rated PG-13.
"Four elements, gathered around a fifth . . . "
For a look back at how incredible this movie is: http://www.actionmoviefreak.com/predator.php
The Fate of
the Furious is fricking fabulous!
Opening with a race in Havana, Cuba, the 8th installment of this hugely popular series delivers epic Action from start to finish. All the expected Fast & Furious elements are there. Right away we get a cheesy one liner as good as "I live my life a quarter mile at a time" when Vin Diesel says "The only thing that matters is who's behind the wheel," and then puts up to shut up his competition. The movie takes off from here and plows its way through scene after scene of even-better-than-hoped-for Action.
As far-fetched as the opening race is, it's over-the-top exciting and fun as hell to watch. The recurring themes of family, respect, trust, and ego, give us what we paid to see: All the chemistry of the team plus some new faces. Scott Eastwood is good as a suit. He and Kurt Russell bounce off each other well. They throw in some rules: "Rule number one: Know your audience." When baby Eastwood's character "Little Nobody" pisses off The Rock as "Hobbs", Kurt "Mr. Nobody" says "I gave you your shot. You shit the bed." LOL Loved how Hobbs breaks his restraints like they were just for show.
Without getting too much into the plot, when The Rock and Jason Statham face off in jail, it's as good as you can get for the Action Movie Essential: Camaraderie and Dominance. The Action in the prison riot scene is just top notch. These two bounce around like locomotive cars launched off a high-speed train in a tunnel. The Rock (or his stunt double) even does a little parkour (that's right!). He's an unstoppable force. The slide under the banister where he (one of his two stunt doubles) bounces off a chain link fence to land on the floor below is crushingly cool. And Jason Statham's leaps from one floor to another are just as fluid as you expect Action to be from him. In fact, the whole riot scene is one long action sequence that culminates in their face off. From a still photo you'd this was the start of the fight, but it's actually the end of the riot and they're stopped before they come to blows with each other.
Overall, the movie is the usual 'wild ride' with jokes and impossible situations that come off without a hitch. But who needs reality—we're in it for the escapism. No, cars may not be able to outrun an Akula Class submarine over ice, but, it's really cool someone thought of it to make a chase scene like no other. For the filmmakers to think of things we haven't already seen must be a huge challenge, and this series never fails to take the action to another level. So they borrowed a bit: The scene with the cables was a little like The Wolverine but still very cool. The "Knock Knock" was very Arnold, very Expendables with Big Toys, and I loved when Vin looked like Bane and bashed the driver's door off from inside. Come on . . . Still, super cool. But then there's the shootout with the baby, the audience was not happy about that. For all the far-fetched action, there was the tech angle that took it to another level of cool, throwing in some BIG DATA. Not going to talk about plot holes and EMPs. They had 2 girl hackers 'fighting', Lety fought some men, and they had jetpacks that slingshotted themselves into the back of a plane. All that and the emphasis was still on love and family. "You never turn your back on family," Vin says. They pulled it all together with the introduction of the baby "Brian" (sniffle), and saying grace over a shared meal. The movie makes sure it's really relatable, so that at the end of it all, you feel like they could be one of you.
And, look: there's Don Omar and Tego!
Artemis Film Festival
It was a blast. Here's their red-carpet compilation video from twitter:
. . .
Artemis Film Festival 4/20-23, Los Angeles,CA
On my way . . . see you there!
3 more days to Artemis Film
. . . I am hoping
It's cute to see "Sammo Hog", Jessie's pig on her workout videos. Sometimes he 'helps', sometimes he's an extra obstacle challenge. He's VERY cute!
6, 5, 4 more days to
Artemis Film Festival
. . .
I discovered none of the videos on my site were loading so I'm working furiously to fix that. I've haven't had time to see Chips, Power Rangers, or The Fate of the Furious (yet). I hope to see all 3 after the Festival. You're going to Artemis, right?
Melissa McCarthy and Luci Romberg
Artemis Film Festival—Calling for Volunteers!
It's Thursday morning, April 13, and the Artemis Film Festival starts next Thursday! I am thrilled to be able to attenda nd to participate as a volunteer. To be a part of something that promotes strong women is a dream come true for me. If you are attending and can volunteer, please let @IndusAlelia know.
Days to Artemis Film Festival
In an exclusive from Variety, it was announced today that Melissa MCarthy will be honored with the Action Powerhouse Award by the Artemis Women in Action Film Festival. "Melissa has epitomized female action heroes in countless films,” the festival said. “She has always embraced characters who are physically empowered — even when they make us laugh.” Love her so much in, well, everything, but The Heat (laughed so hard it hurt at the machine-gunning oneliners in the bar scene), and Spy, especially those two . . . The Action in Spy was really so hilarious yet so good! She is a powerhouse talent!
9 Days to
Artemis: Meet the Artemis Team
10 Days to
Artemis: Meet their Media Partners
This year's Artemis Womenin Action Film Festival media partners are :
SOURCE: Michael Nordine at
L.A. Weekly, Feb. 8, 2016
Upstairs, theater 5 features a midsize screen and some 30 seats (as does the auditorium next to it). Also on the upstairs level is a lounge area with luxe couches and chairs. Sitting in the Monica Film Center (or any Laemmle theater, really) feels like embedding yourself in the cultural fabric of L.A. film culture. The company is now in its 78th year of operation ([operating] a theater on Second Street for 44 of those years) and the fact that it's renovating and reopening theaters, when so many others are closing, is something to be celebrated.
12 Days to
and "Mission NinetyTwo"
Sat. Apr. 22, 11:55 AM | Get Tickets
Just based on the poster (can't help it: Graphic
Designer), I am intrigued by Mission NinetyTwo (showing
with another movie The Dawning under the heading "Deadly
Skills"). The Japanese poster title is Assassin Hunter—love the
13 Days to
and "Tip Your Waitress"
Fri. Apr. 21, 7:15 PM | Get Tickets
This short movie looks entertaining (part of a "Punch Lines" grouping of shorts). I hope it's as satisfying as the premise makes it seem. "While working the graveyard shift, waiting on a table of rude and rowdy thugs who stiff her, one waitress will exact the revenge so many of us dream about (featuring fight action violence)." Always wanted to make a movie called "Asshole Eliminator" with a specially designed vehicle that cruises around punishing bad driving behavior by crushing and smashing them into oblivion, satisfying the road rage in aggressive drivers (guilty).
Writer/Director: Kelly Riot IMDb bio: Kelly Riot (Brewer) is a native Texan photographer who started her career in production in hair and makeup for the fashion industry, which brought her, very quickly, to Los Angeles. She immediately began working in hair/makeup, special effects, and costuming for TV and film. Kelly is also an accomplished guitarist, having learned to play by watching country music videos on TV, and by writing music herself. In between working on set, Kelly was picked up by the all-girl, punk-rock-sensation "Rocket", and she toured for the next 4 1/2 years. After leaving Rocket, she hired herself out to other bands while filming her own small web series, and returning to photography. After moving to Austin, Texas, Kelly made the shift to directing, and writing her own films alongside Trevor Seits, under the company Electric Sneakers Productions.
14 Days to the
Women in Action Film Festival
It's not too late to be a part of the Artemis Women in Action Film Festival. You can still make a donation toward their larger goals of making the Festival even cooler, bigger, and better, at any time. They met their original goal (122%!), but have a larger vision that you can help bring to life (plus there's always next year to pull off). It feels empowering to be a part of this positive event that promotes strong women. Click here to contribute (scroll down a little) and via PayPal to Artemis Motion Pictures (one of the forces behind the festival).
See you there, April 20-23!
Days to the
Women in Action Film Festival
Tom Cruise has been featuring some strong women in his Action Movies, and strong women have taken notice. This year's Artemis Women in Action Film Festival's Action Rebel honoree is arguably the biggest star on the planet, and I have already sang his praises here . . . but why stop there LOL. #imatomcruisegirl
As I re-watch Oblivion, I appreciate just how much Tom has pushed the boundaries of visionary Action filmmaking. The pilot in this movie "JackHarper: Tech 49" is not that far removed (being cool and capable) from Top Gun's "Lt. Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell"—Tom's made a career of being 'top gun' much to our movie-watching delight—and yet it's worlds apart. Always the lead in the coolest movies, Tom has been sharing the lead spotlight with some kick-ass female characters, like: Army Major "Susan Turner" in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Secret Agent "Ilsa Faust" in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, Rita 'Full-Metal Bitch' Vratski" in Edge of Tomorrow, Henchwoman"Sabine Moreau" and IMF Agent "Jane Carter" in in Mission: Impossbile - Ghost Protocol. It's truly gratifying to see him bring a female character along on these adventures. No longer just eye candy, these women not only hold their own, but usually help out, save, and/or exceed the male lead(s) at times. For this reason, in keeping with the Artemis Mission Statement, they are honoring him for honoring us!
The Artemis MISSION STATEMENT
"Toe to toe, and hand in hand." -Tom Cruise
Army Major Susan Turner
Love this video as it seems to balance femininity and being kick ass.
"This the 'deep end' of Action". -Tom Cruise
Not one but 2 Bad Ass Chicks (first time I've ever used the word "henchwoman'!):
4 days of non-stop Action!!
7:15 PM Shorts: Yoga Pant Brawl,
Girl Trip, Schooled, Tip Your Waitress, and Hard Way
5:15 PM Shorts: Moonshot and Go Against The Flow
7:00 PM WOMEN IN VR PANEL Virtual Reality is the future and the future is female. Join us for a one-hour discussion of the recently leaps taken in 360 VR filmmaking and the pioneering role women play in it. Sponsored by Hyperator VR and featuring some of the leading women in VR today.
8:15 PM Shorts:
Her Blue Eyes, Olga, Blackwell, Summers Mysterties, Lydia's Last
One, Fight Room, Interrogation, Relapse, and Stealth &
7:35 PM Crazy Happy
and The Empowerment Project
For tickets and more details, please visit the Artemis website: http://www.artemisfilmfestival.com/2017-schedule/
17 Days to
Artemis Film Festival celebrating
Tammie's IMDb bio is short and sweet: "Many women dream of being swept off their feet, but it's a rare breed, indeed, who would like it to involve the front fender of a moving car. Tammie's journey to become a top-level professional stuntwoman began in the acting world, but no sooner had she taken her first squib hit on the film, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, she knew her true calling. You may have seen her work in shows like, Sons of Anarchy, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, American Horror Story, Modern Family, NCIS Los Angeles, and Fear of the Walking Dead just to name a few. Tammie is very proud of her multi ethnic heritage that has allowed her to double actresses of almost every race."
THIS is a kick-ass woman and a kick-ass photo:
The photo is from Tammie's IMDb Photo Gallery and is captioned: "Stuntwoman Tammie Baird taking a car hit for actress Shannon Elizabeth on Chris Brown's 'Next 2 You' video featuring Justin Bieber." ( collison at 3:52)
Tammie appeared on the Today Show, and her love of stunt work shines through:
Looking at her resume Tammie's done an incredible amount of movies and shows! Here is some high praise from her Artemis 2017 Honoree profile:
Tammie is being honored for "persistently creating breathtaking art in her stuntwork. You become an icon when you both embody and represent the best of your craft and Tammie Baird is that.
It was said Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in heels. Well, the same can be said of Tammie Baird. Known for her intrepid car stunts, wire work, acrobatics and badass martial arts fights, Tammie can do all that decked out in an evening dress and stilettos.
From Mr. & Mrs. Smith to Iron Man, Halo 4, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, Taken 3, and NCIS: Los Angeles, Tammie has made the daring commonplace and won the admiration of her peers and the inspiration of those stunt performers who follow her.
This amazing performer is now a paragon in the stunt industry, and our recipient of The Artemis Stunt Icon award."
Stunt Icon—hell yes!
18 Days to
Artemis Film Festival starring
When you see her, wish her a late Happy Birthday (it's April 16th). I loved Gina Carano in Blood and Bone \nnn/ "Call me.") Then she eclipsed all the men in Haywire. I thought when they put her as The Rock's partner in Fast & Furious 6, they looked like a great match (strength and strength) but he/the character seemed to treat her with disregard. . . calling her "Woman" (I hated that). She/the character looked a little sheepish like The Rock was gonna stomp on her any minute. BUT, when it came time to thrown down, she made the ticket price so worth it!
She's tough alright. If you didn't see her in In the Blood, you should have. She's the real deal! No need to make it look convincing. She's the embodiment of every dream of strength we have. Delivering 'hard-hitting' action as well as anyone. Would love to see her in a an all-female Predators-type movie.
In the Blood "Plot Keywords" . . . #thatswhatimtalkingbout
Then came Heist (first called Bus 657) which was only disappointing because of how little she was in it. She had roles in Kickboxer: Vengeance, Deadpool, and Extraction. (I really hated how they treated her character in Deadpool and the whole boob slippage thing—it was like they were making a joke of strong women. No surprise since the whole movie was very 'anti-vag', but I enjoyed the action anyway and paid to see it twice.) I haven't seen Extraction yet (also stars Bruce Willis and Kellan Lutz), but I see she's sexualized. I hope she makes a movie where she's just a fighter, not a 'sexy' fighter. Know what I mean?!
Gina is so cool. Her fighting history is fascinating. From her IMDb bio: "At the age of 21, Gina began training in Muay Thai, a form of Kickboxing, with Master Toddy. Initially, because of her pretty face, spectators refused to take her seriously as a fighter. [Gina was] openly laughed at, insulted, and ridiculed in front of crowds before fights [but she let] her fists do the talking. Her Muay Thai career is comprised of an impressive 12 wins, 1 loss, and 1 draw and she becomes the first American woman to win a title in Thailand. The 2005 cult film Ring Girls (2005) follows Gina and her trainer, Master Toddy during her early Muay Thai career."
I just love that she was an American Gladiator: Gina "Crush" Carano. That's cool, too, and a great role model of strength for girls. Yes, we can!
I enjoy watching her fight because she never looks afraid. She can take a punch, and boy can she throw one. Sometimes, she just launches it and is airborne. There's a lot of power in her shoulders, and watching her you feel the phrase "packs a punch", especially in the MMA video tribute below.
YOU KNOW she should have been Wonder Woman!
19 Days to
Artemis Film Festival recognizing
Starring as "Atalanta" in Brett Ratner's Hercules alongside The Rock is an impressive Action Movie notch in your belt, but Norwegian actress Ingrid Bolsø Berdal was already impressively fiece as "Dagmar" in Escape:
And if you watched the Westworld TV series (which I didn't get to) she was some kind of bad ass naked robot cowgirl . . .
She was also in Chernobyl Diaries (looks like fun—don't watch it in the dark!).
Researching for "30 Days 'til Artemis" has been great fun. Everyone involved is so impressive. As I flipped through Andy Armstrong's photo gallery on IMDb, I wondered why it began with this shot (other than it's from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which he worked on), and now I know. Of course, this is a really cool Action Movie moment, and your mind naturally goes to effects and wires, etc., but . . .
This video from the Armstrong Action website reveals the 'magic', and that magic is Andy's love of Action. You can hear him explain it. If you think it's as cool as I did, yes, you're an Action Movie Freak.
Here is (one of) his Current Reels of Work:
Beginning in 1972 as a vehicle stunt performer, Andy Armstrong (@AndyRArmstrong) decided (in 1973) to become an Assistant Film Director "specializing in very large international productions that involved complex, dangerous, and logistically difficult stunts and action sequences. [Between 1973 and 1987] Andy worked as an Assistant Director on more than 70 International Movies—including the three of the largest James Bond films: The Man With The Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker.";
"[In] 1987, Andy once again decided to concentrate on Action, [which led him to] design, coordinate, and/or direct some of the largest action sequences ever achieved on many international productions. These are typified by the huge (1,200 people) Teamster battle in Hoffa, the charge and battles in Stargate (1,400 people), the action on Galaxy Quest, the World War I battle scenes for Oscar-Winner Frank Pearson's TV Movie Truman starring Gary Sinese, the huge battles in Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes, the car stunt sequences of Highwaymen, and the action sequences on Scooby Doo 2, Cat Woman, I Robot, and Eragon (2nd Unit Director)." SOURCE: IMDb
(At left, Andy with Tom Skerritt , Rémy Julienne, John Philbin, and Director Jeannot Szwarc on "Honor Bound" in Croatia.)
In 1989, Andy moved permanently from England to set up base in California. Andy and his Brother, Vic, run Armstrong Action, the largest privately owned and most comprehensive family-operated stunt and action facilities company in the world.
As Second Unit Director or Assistant Director, Andy has worked on Rambo III, Highlander (uncredited), Rough Cut, Force 10 from Navarone, A Bridge Too Far, and many more.
As Stunt Coordinator, he worked on Bang Bang, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (uncredited), The Amazing Spider-Man, Thor, The Green Hornet, Season of the Witchh (US battle scenes), Fun With Dick and Jane, Charlie's Angels, and again, too many more to name (those are just some of my favorites).
He has a Stunts credit for Universal Soldier, Total Recall (he also appeared as one of Richter's Henchmen (uncredited), and 53 more. He was Associate Producer and Stunt Coordinator for the David Mamet movie Homicide. And, he had an acting part in the Jean-Claude Van Damme twin role movie Double Impact.
TAURUS WORLD STUNT AWARDS
TAURUS WORLD STUNT AWARDS
At right, Andy and Jennifer
22 Days to Artemis
Jennifer Caputo for
One of the things I would love to see change
about Action Movies it the lack of recognition. I imagine those
of us not 'in the business', the fans, unless we research when
we see stunts we like, would never know who does them. The
credits run really fast at the end of a movie and the
descriptions (except for stunt doubles—of which there are
sometimes multiple) are quite generic. This wonder woman,
Jennifer Caputo has only this for a bio on IMDb:
Under Trivia: "Sister of Jay Caputo (Stunts | Actor | Producer)", and "Graduated from Lake Mary High School in Lake Mary, Florida (1989)." I'm from Florida and I'm going to have to look that up (it's north of Orlando, population was 13,000+ in 2013, so a 'small-town girl'.
Her resume is anything but trivial . . .
PERFORMANCE SKILLS Stunts, Motorcyclist, Stunt Driving, Precision Driving, All-Around Athlete (istunt profile)
2015 Action Icon Awards
2014 Action Icon Awards
2013 Taurus World Stunt Awards
2007 Taurus World Stunt Awards
Photo Gallery of Jennifer Caputo in costume for many of her films.
You gotta go! The Artemis Women in Action Film Festival will be the place to be April 20-23, 2017. It's going to be great but will feel even better knowing you helped, so get in there and give whatever you can! And see you there . . .
What a photo: L-R Vanessa Robyn, Zöe Bell, Jessie Graff, Dayna Grant, Yancy Butler, and Heidi Moneymaker!
Meet Luci Romberg (luciromberg.com), she is a 'force of one'! She is this year's Stunt Next Wave Award Winner.
Luci is a woman who inspires in many ways. Luci ("Steel" is her nickname) is a champion gymnast, an all-conference soccer player, a practitioner of freerunning (Tempest Freerunning Academy's only Female Pro Freerunner), and an award-winning stuntwoman. [Pictured below are: Alyma Dorsey, Jessi Fisher, Meredith Richardson and Luci Romberg, stunt doubles for Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Melissa McCarthy, respectively. Photos from: "What it takes to be a 'Ghostbustters' stuntwoman" via espn.com.]
In 2014, she was nominated for the Taurus World Stunt Awards "Best Overall Stunt for a Stunt Woman" for her fall down basement stairs in The Conjuring, and she won "Best Overall Stunt for a Stunt Woman" for being hit by a car in Identity Thief (she was also nominated in the category "The Hardest Hit" for this stunt).
In addition, Luci is a 10-time Red Bull Art of Motion Best Female Champion, and was a Sasuke [Japan's "Ninja Warrior TV show (Luci was the first woman to make it through the jumping spider)] and American Ninja Challenge competitor.
Luci has appeared on TV (Crossing Jordan, Monk, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Scream Queens, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Unit, True Blood, and so many more), and in movies (Divergent, Green Lantern, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Ted, The Conjuring, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Zombieland, Jason Bourne, and more). She doubled Mireille Enos in Sabotage, and has doubled Melissa McCarthy in Identity Thief, Spy, The Boss, and Ghostbusters.
She release a moving and inspiring short film entitled "Tru Beauty: A Luci Romberg Story" where she talked about her struggle with Bulimia, and how she found the discipline to challenge her fears through freerunning. It's truly wonderful that she took the time to make this film, and bravely admitted her weaknesses and fears in a way that will help others who might be struggling with self doubt, a negative self image, and a lack of confidence. Thanks for sharing and inspiring others, Luci!
QUARRIES is one of the films that will be featured at the Artemis Film Festival. It's about a group of women on a wilderness hiking "experience"/escape, who stumble into danger when forest fires reroute them. The main character is "Kat" (producer and co-writer Nicole Marie Johnson), who is escaping from an abusive boyfriend. Part way along, the women are forced to fight for survival as they are being chased by a 'pack 'of predators.
They start out with a group of 7. Rebecca McFadizen is enjoyable as the very 'blonde' "Brit", and Carrie Finklea is a standout as a drug addict with attitude, "Wren". All the acting is excellent. "Jean", the tour guide, played by Sara Mornell, anchors the movie until . . .
Another star of the movie is the landscape. The beautifully shot, and well paced, and just when you wonder when things will go south, it suddenly goes from a 'walk in the park' to a drop-all-your-shit-and-run-for-your life pace. Kudos to the men for the physicality of their roles as well. Without spoiling anything, Quarries will give you a 'run for your money'.
The film is now available for purchase and
and is also available on both
Blu-Ray through Amazon.com and the
If you've never watched the original Star Trek series, maybe you don't know who Nichelle Nichols is, but I'll bet you've heard of Lieutenant Uhura (played in the recent Star Trek movies by Zoe Saldana). A ground-breaking role, Nichelle was one of the first African American female characters on American television not portrayed as a servant (Star Trek aired on NBC from September 8, 1966 to June 3, 1969). Her character was even eventually promoted in Starfleet to the rank of Commander.
the first year of the series, Nichols said she was tempted to
leave the show to pursue a Broadway career, however, a
conversation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. changed her
mind. She has said that King personally encouraged her to stay
on the show, telling her that he was a big fan of Star Trek. He
said she was playing a vital role model for black children and
young women across the country, as well as for other children
who would see blacks appearing as equals. Dr. King told
her: "You can't [leave]. You're part of history."
An enthusiastic advocate of space exploration, Nichols has served since the mid-1980s on the board of governors of the National Space Society, a nonprofit, educational space advocacy organization founded by Dr. Wernher von Braun. She also Nichols flew aboard NASA's C-141 Astronomy Observatory, which analyzed the atmospheres of Mars and Saturn on an eight-hour, high-altitude mission. She was also a special guest at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on July 17, 1976, to view the Viking 1 soft landing on Mars. Along with the other cast members from the original Star Trek series, she attended the christening of the first space shuttle, Enterprise, at the North American Rockwell assembly facility in Palmdale, California.
The Artemis Women in Action Film Festival Year 3 will honor Nichelle Nichols with the "Artemis Action Trailblazer Award". A resident of Woodland Hills, California, Ms. Nichols is 84 years old. Check out her website: uhura.com.
Artemis Film Festival 4 PANELS
The Artemis Women in Action Film Festival is planning 4 PANELS this year:
• Film Finance
• Warrior Women
On April 5, 2016, HTC shipped its first units of the HTC VIVE SteamVR headset. This marked the first major commercial release of sensor-based tracking, allowing for free movement of users within a defined space. In early 2017, a patent filed by Sony showed they were developing a similar location tracking technology to the VIVE for PlayStation VR, with the potential for the development of a wireless headset."
Seems like we're not ready for the full-length
VR movie experience but IMAX is offering a sampling of shorter
VR thrills at their L.A.
Flagship location: 157 South Fairfax, Los Angeles
If you think you're a Bad Ass, you should be a part of the Artemis Women in Action Film Festival. It feels great! They are all about empowering women with positive images of physical strong women, and they honor those who contribute to portraying women with strength, including men. The Festival features female Action Movies, and movies showcasing powerful women of all kinds. This is the 3rd year for the Festival and this year's Honorees are listed here. Please click through and learn more about this kick-ass event, and help them achieve all their goals. And, if you're going, I'll see you there.
29 Days to the
Women in Action Film Festival
Have you been participating in their
twitter parties on Wednesday nights? (7:00-8:00 PT)
April 20-23, 2017 | Ahrya Fine Arts Theater, Beverly Hills, CA
Starting a 30-Day Countdown to Year
3 of the
Woo Hoo! Please
and/or support them via social media if you can.
Female-led Action Movies . . . Hmmmm?
If you love film, you'll love @anti_cgi on instagram. Especially if you're a TIFF Midnight Madness fan. The man behind the vision is Aramis Gutierrez II. "Anti_cgi is . . . dedicated to 'gore, practical effects, atmosphere and anything that involves offbeat sexual innuendo'." Today, the curator of that remarkable feed posed a question (through my baby brother—they work together) on movies told from a female villain's POV. This led me to my "Hit List" where I immediately thought: Male, male, male, male, male . . . And wondered what it would like color coded.
So, blue for male-dominated movies, and pink for female-led movies.
Logan is outRAGEously good
Rage is the name of the game in this movie. Gnarly Kills abound, not only from Wolverine (Logan), but also from baby Wolverine (Laura aka X-23). If I didn't see the trailer and know there was a little girl in this movie, it would have been such an epic surprise (why I mainly hate trailers—they steal the best bits from the movie-watching experience). It's not that surprising that she is his daughter, what surprises is the level of her killing skills. When the main bad guy, Pierce (played well as a mega douche by Boyd Holbrook), gives the command "Go get her!" it sends a chill through you to hear that phrase used against a (you think defenseless) child when spoken to a large pack of men with large guns. Strong, big-bearded, man-bunned men: kinda like hipsters meet hardcore mercenaries (it seemed a little incongruous, but the Reavers also came off like douchebags, which was good).
Then UFC fighter Krzysztof Soszynski (@materializes (he's so frightening I almost pooped a little LOL), there are off-camera screams and gunshots, and out Laura comes, unharmed. It's one of many epic moments in this movie.
This first 'shootout at the OK corral' is one hell of a Action scene. After Logan finds out what Laura is, he doesn't tread lightly. She can heal and he knows it. There are times when you can tell it's a stunt woman, but those moments are really brief. Dafne Keen is completely convincing and intense, and she says nothing for the largest part of the movie. That's quite a large part to carry with only physicality and personality in such a small package.
The first all-out Action chase scene begins an armada of Vehicles—("The police have themselves an R/V" came to mind from Die Hard) yes, please pull out all the stops to capture a child, an old man in a wheel chair, and a has-been reluctant comic-book hero—and ends with a train-track crossing. For all the sophisticated weaponry, fight choreography, and stunt work, using a roaring wall of steel as a barrier is a great, realistic, but not-so-easy escape that drives home the 'superhero' nature of Wolverine's reflexes, timing, and decision-making powers. Against seemingly impossible odds, they get away.
"You got religion?"
When the Reaver armada catches up to Logan, Laura, and Charles trying to spend a peaceful, restful night, we are introduced to X-24 (a noticeably younger Wolverine clone), who attacks and kills the whole host family, and we get a Wolverine-on-Wolverine fight that is so savage, I felt sorry for any non-Action-Movie-Freaks in the audience. Also cool, to me, was that the family father wasn't dead and came to rescue Logan, but, realizing what he was and probably also pissed that Logan got his family killed, tries to shoot him, but has no more bullets, and then drops dead. Just more ammunition for Logan's downward-spiraling death wish.
As Charles is not dead yet (24 stabbed him in the chest), Logan puts him in the back of the pick-up, presumably to get him to a hospital. But Charles knows it's too late, touches the side of the truck bed, and calls it "our boat". A gesture of pure love to relieve Logan of the guilt of never having bought the boat they talked about sailing away on. Absolution is an invaluably beautiful gift at such a moment. It's all just too sad to lose the whole innocent family, and Charles. Logan buries Charles near a lake so he is by the water (sniffle).
Logan's health deteriorates and Laura is forced to be more adult than seems fitting for her age. Logan is reluctant to take her to "Eden" and she punches him full in the face. Best moment in the movie!
We love Logan's long-suffering character and want him to snap out of it. We still see Wolverine even though he's older and we still love him for who he is. I really love it when Action Movies are so surprisingly emotional because the stakes are so high, and when powerful lessons are learned at great cost.
Before the movie ends, we get a brief bit of a younger Wolverine who snarls and roars. So satisfying if you love the character as much as I do. It was really EVERYTHING a Wolverine fan could hope for, except a happy ending, but, it was a really great ending. Laura quotes "Shane"—more Western theme moments—as a eulogy, and turns the cross grave marker sideways. Hits you right in the heart just how much you love the "X-Men", the proverbial misunderstood outsiders. Also it's a real leaving-a-kid-behind, kick-in-the-teeth moment.
"There's no living with the killing.
There's no going back from one.
Again, in the current political climate of intolerance, it just drove home how much we need to be accepting of 'the other'. For an Action Movie, this was incredibly emotionally powerful. I'd give it 12 out of 10 stars. Go see it in IMAX. You'll want to see it again. Many moving moments and top-notch Action Sequences and Fight Choreography.
• • •
"Rissa Kilar began martial arts at the age of 5. With her being a military child, she has constantly moved around every few years with her family until finally settling in Los Angeles, California. In Los Angeles, she further pursued her martial arts career as an instructor and World Champion competitor and performer. After a couple years in LA, acting and stunts sparked her interest and with her connections through the martial arts industry, she has been set on the path towards exciting opportunities of the entertainment industry."
Marissa Labog is "an actor, dancer, and stunt woman. Marissa [won] the Lester Horton Award for Outstanding Performer, the Solo Award, and an Ovation Award Nomination. Unable to sit still, she explored multiple avenues of movement from dance, gymnastics, and martial arts to running, jumping, and climbing trees. Dancing nationally and internationally with PCB Ballet and Inland Pacific Ballet, Marissa was urged by her loving mother to take up martial arts to learn to defend herself while traveling abroad. Enrolling in Karate, Marissa excelled and furthered her study with capoeira, and Tae Kwon Do." She came to stunts through working with David Belle.
There were many incredible take downs and so many fast moves made by these ladies that the movie really must be seen again just so you can fully appreciate the great work by the Second Unit!
There was also a lot of car stunts that seemed Mad-Maxish at moments . . .
John Wick: Chapter 2
As I sat there in the audience on February 9th (who could wait?!), I thought "Are my ridiculously high expectations going to ruin this for me?" But it was beyond what I could imagine! (I'm sitting here typing this and wondering how soon I can go see it again.)
In particular, there was one thing Keanu did with a gun about three-quarters of the way through the movie that I have never seen before; something I didn't even think was possible; something that I'm still not sure of what I saw. I'm not going to spoil it but, I really have to go back to see it again. And I have to ask a gun expert if I saw what I think I saw. Not since Linda Hamilton did the one-handed shotgun cock, has something been this cool. But enough about the mystery thing. The whole rest of the movie was fantastic. Keanu Reeves is completely convincing as the ultimate Bad Ass assassin! (The fact that he's a smoker killed my crush :-/ but it was great to see these two together again.)
The rumbling American Muscle opening chase scene pulled off being new and different and also totally cool, and then we go right into a fight scene that was a little Frank Martin in its tone. The whole fighting-in-a-suit thing is bad ass, and I love that John Wick fist fights anyway, even though he has guns. He's pissed off, and you're gonna feel that.
"John Wick is a man of focus, commitment, and sheer fucking will."
Chapter 2 more than abounds with Action Movie Essentials, like the Trash Talking quote above. We get a Big Dog Entrance as Keanu's face moves from dark to (half) light. This movie, like the first, is beautifully lit and stylized, and the Action is mesmerizing. We finally get to see John Wick pull off the infamous pencil death: they give us more than one Gnarly Kill! It's got weapons galore. In a twist on the much-loved The Terminator scene where Arnold selects a slew of weapons, we get a weapons sommelier: "I'd like a tasting."
Every aspect of the movie is first-rate (Chad Stahelski and 87eleven!), and the fight coordination is especially enjoyable. We get a lot of hand-to-hand, but also some duking it out, a fight with knives, and a knife fight, an epic gun battle, and John Wick's signature head-shot barrage! The movie's Fight Coordinator was Jonathan Eusebio, and there were four Stunt Coordinators: Marc Désourdy, J.J. Perry, Darrin Prescott, and the Italian Stunt Coordinator was Claudio Pacifico.
Listed as Fight Coordinator is Jonathan Eusebio whose IMDb bio is short and sweet: "Jonathan Eusebio is known for his work on 300 (2006), The Avengers (2012) and The Expendables (2010)." But there's a whole lot more to his career than that.
I'm just picking the movies I loved: He did stuntwork on Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, Blade II, Windtalkers, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Daredevil, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Bourne Supremacy, Collateral, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
He was an assistant Fight Coordinator for The Bourne Ultimatum, Fight and Stunt Coordinator for Never Back Down, Co-Fight Choreographer for Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, and he did double duty as a stunt performer and Co-Fight Choreographer for Ninja Assassin! How's that for qualifications?! It doesn't stop there.
[Speaking of double duty, Heidi Moneymaker is the double for Ruby Rose and plays one of the many hitmen out to get John Wick.]
He was also a Fight Coordination for Iron Man 2, Conan the Barbarian (2011), Haywire, The Bourne Legacy, The Wolverine, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, John Wick, Doctor Strange, and the upcoming The Fate of the Furious.
He was a Stunt Coordinator for Dragonball: Evolution, Colombiana, Escape Plan, Hitman: Agent 47, The Last Witch Hunter (badass), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, and the upcoming Power Rangers.
This movie showed a big range and creativity in execution. Hats off to Keanu a bit in that it was really hard to tell how much of it was really him in action owing to the amount of practice he put in with fighting and gun use. The flip side of that is, of course, that the credit goes to the stuntmen who remained 'invisible'! Here is Keanu putting in the hours to be convincing:
The list of cool Action Movies he's done stunt work in is too long to list (100+), but includes Barb Wire (1996 his 2nd movie), G.I. Jane, Blade, Fight Club, Bedazzled, Monkeybone (!), Adaptation., Cradle 2 the Grave, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Beerfest, Crank, Jackass Number Two, Red Dawn (2012), and he will be the Supervising Stunt Coordinator for Deadpool 2 (2018). Overall, Darrin has been a Stunt Coordinator on 40+ movies.
Darren has spent his life training in martial arts, snowboarding, surfing, driving, motorcycles, and he competed in the 2001 X-Games. I think it's safe to say he feels the need for speed.
Look: It's Keanu driving with no door!
Keanu Reeves & Chad Stahelski
talk John Wick 2
Just a few more days until John Wick: Chapter 2 . . .The movie opens February 10th.
BUILD Series interviews Keanu Reeves and 87eleven's Chad Stahelski, and teases that the movie has a High Killcount—an Action Movie Essential—"upwards of 80" (80 was the first movie's Killcount). Chad discusses the movie's influences and how they were shooting for an "unapologetic, artsy Action Film" flavor. I LOVE that he said unapologetic. Action Movie Freaks love the "ridiculous" side of Action Movies (like the Cheesy One-Liners). He says it's "A little on the ridiculous side, but everybody kind of plays it straight."
So, they get it. They REALLY get it. Is there anyone on the planet cooler than these two?! We'd have to include David Leitch, the other 87eleven force behind John Wick, who—great news—will be directing Deadpool 2! While they (Chad Stahelski and David Leitch) have incredible backgrounds in Action Movies as stuntmen, stunt coordinators, fight coordinators, action coordinators and consultants, the first feature they Directed was John Wick. How's that for a win right out of the gate?! With their background, John Wick had to be as good as it was. I'm hoping John Wick: Chapter 2 will change minds in Hollywood about Action Movies. It's WAY past time! There has never been such a cool looking, stylish Action Movie (and I say that based on the impressively cool trailer). It will be a magical 2 hours and 2 minutes for Action Movie Freaks and Keanu fans.
"Starring global superstar Matt Damon and directed by one of the most breathtaking visual stylists of our time, Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), Legendary/Universal's, The Great Wall tells the story of an elite force making a valiant stand for humanity on the world's most iconic structure. The first English-language production for Yimou is the largest film ever shot entirely in China."
The Great Wall is listed on IMDb as Action/Adventure/ Fantasy. At 1 hour and 43 minutes, it will be offered in IMAX 3D. I already want more. AMC Theatres is running a promotion for bonus Stubs points if you see it between February 17 and 19. I can't wait until then so I bought tickets for the first IMAX 3D show on the 16th. Guess I'll just have to see it twice. #ohyeah
The summary is: "European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures."
The "Action Unit Director" is George Marshall Ruge, a Stunt Coordinator who made the jump from TV with the Lord of the Rings movies, and also worked on the National Treasure and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, so he knows something about spectacles.
He was also a stuntman himself from 2002 going back to early '80s classics Police Academy and Bachelor Party, and in the '90s he is listed on Hard Justice (see AllOuttaBubbleGum.com's KillCount) and Above Suspicion, which sound like Steven Seagal movies, but aren't. Above Suspicion (1995) starred Christopher Reeve, Joe Mantegna, Kim Cattrall, and William H. Macy (who also has a writing credit). Other Action Movies: Set It Off, Conspiracy Theory, Lethal Weapon 4, The Mask of Zorro, Ocean's Eleven, and many more. Quite an interesting career!
Here's a quote from Variety: "I think in terms of a mosaic in the design of shots. I'm painting a picture and layering these images, action, emotion and nuances so it connects with the human experience."
xXx: The Return of Xander Cage
I forgot about 2005's xXx: State of the Union until I saw this movie. Probably because it starred Ice Cube. I love Ice Cube but he's not an Action Figure to me. I don't think I ever saw it. In any case, Vin Diesel decided to take it back and make it over in the image of Fast & Furious and 'it's all about family'. If you can stand Vin's grandstanding—some of us even love him for it—and some implausible scenarios (I said did say it was a la Fast & Furious), there's enough star power and awesome Action to satisfy any movie goer. At the end of this movie, they establish a new group and it's all set up to be a franchise. Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa are wasted (I mean under utilized) here but, really, are you gonna complain about them being in a movie? I don't think so. The girls have their 'moment' but, well, watch it for yourself. It's not the kind of equal footing you'd hope to see (as a girl). Deepika Padukone is somewhat of a force to be reckoned with here, but I'd prefer she tone down the sexuality. It canceled out all the other positives for me. I was really impressed with her Action skills otherwise, and she certainly stole the show!
"Concrete and Crashpads: Stunts in New York"
"Concrete and Crashpads: Stunts in New York" premiered as an Official Selection at the 2016 Urban Action Showcase and Expo. This :30 minute documentary shows us the world of New York City's booming stunt community. "Stunt professionals are invisible" but Action Movie Freaks would like to know more about them! Here's your chance.
We get to meet, and find out a little background on (how they got into stunt work), the players listed below (pictured L-R in the order that they are introduced). The film shows us: how to stage a series of fight scenes, what a stunt training camp looks like, what stunt men carry in their equipment bags, and we get the good news on the women's take on the business.
"There's bad-ass women out there, and we can fight . . . as good as the guys."
Concrete and Crashpads is an interesting and enjoyable ride along with a team that has wide experience and a celebratory outlook. They love what they do and it shows. They packed a lot into this documentary and I hope it works for them. The film is just starting to hit the festival circuit. Like them on Facebook and visit them on IMDb.
Personally, I think stunt performers should be listed as prominently as the actors. They can be invisible during the movie, but why not give credit where credit is due, after?! I'd like to see how the stunts are done at the end of every Action Movie, with the names and faces of those making the magic happen. I think stunt people should be as famous and anyone else making movies. Outtakes at the end of every Action Movie would be awesome as well. It's way past time we #StandUpForStunts. Awards are great and "The Academy" should stop excluding Stunts, but take it a step further and use the credits to give the stunt crew long-overdue recognition. Like with the John Wick movies, we want to see them because of who is making them: 87eleven. It would be a draw, not a drawback, knowing which stunt people are involved. The Action's what we're there to see anyway . . .
Sleepless starring Jamie Foxx and T.I.
I wanted to see this when it came out but the synopsis seemed like another "Give me back my son!" which Liam Neeson has made into a subgenre: "An undercover Las Vegas police officer (Jamie Foxx) must race against time to save his kidnapped son from a crew of murderous gangsters." These gangsters are led by a serious f-ing lunatic. So much fighting! They'd rather fight first, talk after. Dermot Mulroney and Scoot McNairy are great! It's so worth watching. Michelle Monaghan (you know, Ethan's wife from Mission: Impossible III) has a fight with Jamie Foxx that is a police officer vs. police officer fight more than a guy versus girl. And that's awesome! Physically, she's no match for him (this is the movies), but she's "properly attired" and had she been a little beefier, it would have been an epic match! They leave it open for a part 2 . . .
The movie is based on 2011's Nuit blanche (Sleepless Night): "A cop races through a packed nightclub, dodging drug dealers and his own corrupt colleagues, in a mad chase to rescue his son from the crime kingpin he is in debt to."
The two movies are similar, and the violence
is over the top in both. it's more protracted in Sleepless, and
grittier and more real in Sleepless Night. Watch both.
I wanted to support this movie because it's a female lead, and a woman director, but I can't afford to see every movie I'd like to, and, in the end, I was just tired of this series.
At some point, I will pay to watch it online, because . . . Anna Foerster: This movie was a jump from TV to the big screen in the Director's chair for Anna, who was previously 2nd Unit Director and Director of Photography on 10,000 BC, AEon Flux, and The Day After Tomorrow. She was Director of Photography on White House Down and Pitch Black. She was also Pytrotecnics Director of Photography on Alien: Resurrection. How cool is that?!
What a way to kick off the new year! This film by @Kain424 of AllOuttaBubbleGum's Kain's Quest series, looks at the origins of female powerhouse Action Stars Cynthia Rothrock and Michelle Yeoh (aka Michelle Khan) and Hong Kong Action Comedies starring women. It would be hard to find many movies with more Action Movie pedigree than this gem, directed by Corey Yuen, and produced by legend Sammo Kam-bo Hung and Dickson Poon.
87Eleven Action Design
Nov 28-Dec 6