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Action Movie Fans
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CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK
. . . everything you love about ACTION MOVIES
Essentials that make a great
WELCOME TO THE
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 7
Daniel Bernhardt is a towering figure (literally 6' 3"—IMDB says 6' 2 3/4"—and figuratively) in Action Movies. I didn't realize that was him in The Matrix Reloaded (2003)! Maybe it was the sunglasses, but now it's clear . . . And how cool is that?! His first movie was Bloodsport 2 (1996), where he played Alex Cardo (as in wasn't only doing stunts). Since I didn't see Bloodsport: The Dark Kumite, The Matrix Reloaded would have been the first movie I saw him in. So, looking at this movies between 2003 and Parker in 2013, I'm not sure just how I came to worship his skills so much, but as Chad Stahelski told him "You're an Action Actor". Maybe it was these direct-to-video Action Movies: Future War (1997) opposite Robert Z'Dar, Black Sea Raid (1997), True Vengance (1997) with Miles O'Keeffe and Beverly Johnson, and Perfect Target (1997) with Robert Englund and Brian Thompson.
His career really took off after Parker. And these are just highlights: He did The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (same year), Knock 'em Dead, and who wasn't 'knocked out' by him in John Wick (2014)? He was in Logan and Atomic Blonde (2017), Escape Plan: The Extractors (2019), Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbes & Shaw (2019), Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (2020), and did 5 episodes of Altered Carbon (2018-2020). Super impressive!
And I didn't know he was Swiss. His accent came out just a little here and there (sounds a little like the Canadian accent). He heavily downplayed his martial arts training, but his work speaks for itself. Modeling led him to a TV commercial he did where he fought Jean-Claude Van Damme. This attracted the attention of Producer Marc Di Salle who cast as the lead in Bloodsport 2. And the rest is history, as they say. One really cool pattern in this series is how much praise these "action actors" have for their victims lol. The people they fight against, who help sell it and make it look real . . .
I really enjoyed his story about working on Parker. Don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't watched, but, owch!
This series is amazing, and next up is J.J. Perry who I first heard of (saw) at ActionFest 2012 where he won the Stunt Coordinator of the Year award (he was on hand to accept, and was there the whole festival chatting with fans). They showed a video from Chuck Norris who said "nobody deserves it more". J.J. Perry seemed like a really gracious and truly nice person, and he thanked Mickey Gilbert for paving the way.
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 6
Really living for this
series! So enjoyable to hear them talk about what it's like to
make an Action Movie. Someone asked me on the
Freak Facebook page which martial art I liked. I think I was
expected to say Muay Thai, but I like kickboxing and taekwondo,
and it surprises me how often they come up when these
Action Figures are asked what they studied and what their
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 5 Gareth Evans
This was really enjoyable, especially for his passion for Action Movies. There were many things I had to look up:
• Eggy (Eggy is when something annoys you, but not to the point of anger more just slightly frustrating -source)
• Previz (Previsualization is the visualizing of complex scenes in a movie before filming. It is also a concept in still photography. Previsualization is used to describe techniques such as storyboarding, either in the form of charcoal sketches or in digital technology, in the planning and conceptualization of movie scenes. -Wikipedia)
• Dit Guy (Digital Imaging Technicians support the camera team with technical and creative tasks with the digital camera. Their purpose is to ensure the best technical quality possible, as well as production safety. DITs are responsible for tasks during preparation, on-set time and post production. -Wikipedia)
• Jib/Jimmy Jib (The jib is an extension arm with a camera mounted on the tip. -video)
• Fig / Fig Rig Not sure this word . . .
• Panasonic 2 Camera (Merantau), Panasonic AF100 Camera (The Raid), Red Camera (Red Digital Cinema is the camera company that figured out how to make a digital camera feasible for Hollywood productions. -Wikipedia)
• M.I.A. Born Free "amazing music video" his influence for The Raid handheld feel. He makes a great point that the whole film should have the same style and not have just the action sequences be 'shaky'.
• Fig / Fig Rig (A handheld stabilization device for smaller film cameras/video cameras designed by film director Mike Figgis. The Fig Rig is made commercially by the Manfrotto Group. -Wikipedia)
• Dutch Tilt (The Dutch angle, aka Dutch tilt, canted angle, or oblique angle, sets the camera so the horizon line of the shot is not parallel with the bottom of the camera frame. This produces a viewpoint of tilting one's head to the side. -Wikipedia)
• "Punchlines" He came up with this term for those moments of 'impact' in a fight scene that gets a rise out of the audience. You know, it's how you know you're an Action Movie Freak—those moments of levity at the extreme violence.
This was also a fascinating look at Action Design. "[We try] to maintain that sense of geographical space so that you're not lost in the movement of something. You're not, sort of, trying to figure out where are we in the room right now? You always want to know exactly where you are,and you know where the attack's coming from, and you know the relationship of that action with that space that you're in. THIS IS HUGELY IMPORTANT and too often lacking in action sequences (super annoying too).
LOVE the big finish where Gareth STANDS UP FOR STUNTS. #StandUpForStunts Sign the Petition!
The Art of Action Series: Ep. 4 Michael Jai White
Love listening to these Action Figures talk about Action Movies! Super entertaining to see their take on shared experiences and their interaction/friendship. Love that Michael Jai White thinks the fight between Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee in The Way of the Dragon according to MJW is the best fight scene. It has the most narrative that he's ever scene in a fight (about honor). Love, too, that this is such an insightful choice. Really shows what he knows about fighting. It was so enjoyable that I hated for it to end. It seems they cut it a bit short, but probably, they could have talked all day and Scott just want to keep it under 50 minutes. Hope this series continues!
Episode 4 | Michael Jai White (48:32)
Scott Adkins' Exciting "The Art of Action" Series
Just discovered this series (already on episode 3) on YouTube. Scott's respect and admiration for fellow stars is great to watch and their love of the genre shines through. Now that I'm caught up, can't wait to see who's in the next episode. Loved how Enter The Dragon, Yuen Woo-Ping ("he is he best" "Master"), and Sammo Hung kept coming up.
It starts off with what Scott Adkins calls his "the best fight I've ever done" against Marko Zaror in the always enjoyable Undisputed III: Redemption (2010), which is an amazing Fight Movie showcasing the talents of Larnell Stovall and Isaac Florentine, with a nod to J.J. Perry (it must be this stunt reel he mentions?). So cool to hear how they pulled off so many real-looking moves and what really connected! lol
Episode 1 | Marko Zaror (37:19)
In Episode 2, Scott talks to his Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear co-star Kane Kosugi about his training and his martial arts background and influences—they both love kicking things lol. (Kane Kosugi's father is the legendary Shō Kusugi.) They talk about other famous action stars (Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Jackie Chan) that they got to work with who impressed them. There is more praise in this episode for Isaac Florentine and his directorial style, and for Fight Choreographer and Stunt Coordinator Tim Man. This was the first time Scott worked with Tim but he says "Tim's become my go-to fight coordinator". Kane agrees "I don't think you can find anybody better." They breakdown the final fight in Ninja 2. Scott says it was his hardest film ever (he did 11 fight scenes with a back injury).
Scott talks with Thai International martial arts phenomenon Tony "Hollywood" Jaa about his martial arts background, revealing how much Tony looked up to Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. He trained 8 hours a day in the beginning and ran 12 miles a day. Tony speaks about Panna Rittikrai ("the man behind" Tony Jaa) and about how he got into movie making. Tony breaks down some of his most famous moves and reveals the inspiration for some of them. No wires, one take, it's all just as incredible in review as it was the first time you saw it. His timing and reflexes are astounding, and his vision because he comes up with these incredible moves himself. Makes me want to watch all the Ong Baks and Triple Threat again.
Episode 3 | Tony Jaa (54:32)
Predicting MGM Studios Facebook page ROCKY Watch Party with Sylvester Stallone will ABSOLUTELY break the internet. Tomorrow, Thursday 5/21 7:00 Miami time . . . See you there!
Bad Guys: Vile City
Heavy on the Action!
It's been a while since I liked anything this much right off the bat, but Netflix's 나쁜 녀석들: 악의 도시 Nappeun Nyeoseokduel: Akui Doshi, literally Bad Guys: City of Evil aka Bad Guys: Vile City makes Training Day look like kindergarten. If you're not big on Korean movies or dramas, maybe this will make you a fan. It's a spin off of Bad Guys, which was also made into a movie of the same title, and like in the first show the cast is excellent!
Starring . . .
Park Joong-Hoon (박중훈 Bak Jung Hun) as Prosecutor Woo Je-Moon (reaching for the bat, below right) is ordered to take down a villainous business leader "Chairman Jo" Jo Yeong-Guk (played by 김홍파 Kim Hong Pa above at right) who controls Seowon City. Woo gathers a team of men (key players below) who may not be so clean themselves. Men who are emotionally invested in the outcome. If you really want to get the most out of this series, use the cheat sheet at the bottom and get to know the names. There are about 15 key players.
Next is heartthrob 주진모 Ju Jin-mo (known for 사랑하는 은동아 Saranghaneun Eundong-a aka My Love Eun-dong—just my favorite) in the group photo above at bottom left, who has beefed up for this role of the total badass, Heo Il-hu aka "Mr. Heo." In real life, Joo Jin-mo is also know for, though his popularity appears untouched by, some scandalous text message conversations with another old-er famous Korean actor Jang Dong-gun (Jang Dong-gun was the lead in The Warrior's Way, and I loved him in A Gentleman's Dignity—oh, the irony . . . ) that were published by hackers at the time of the JJY group chat scandal involving mainly Seungri (of kpop group Big Bang). Ju Jin-mo apologized publicly: "Even though his apology statement was released, people say that Ju humiliating and sexually objectifying women with his acquaintances has to be clarified as a separate issue from his hacked [text] messages." That quote is from this YouTuber's take (watch the video below) on what happened: "It looks like a conversation between two old men trying to look young and hip by using all these squiggly lines and LOLs." Ah, even though he's younger, I think the YouTuber's a little jealous. Ju Jin-mo and Jang Dong-gun are pretty much the shit for their age group in Korea (IMO), and maybe also So Ji-sub, but this is a big tangent. Anyhow, Ju Jin-mo makes the fighting look legit as his athleticism shows in all his moves (he does Taekwondo in real life). He's the guy that takes on the room full of men The Wild Wild Westt style (rest in peace Robert Conrad). There are many "Oh Shit!" moments that satisfy.
Anyway, Ju Jin-Mo is jacked, kickin' ass, and taking names. But, don't leave out 'the little guy'. Part of what I love so much about KDrama is the backstories on the characters. Just when you think you know what kind of person they are, you find out there's a really good reason for why they are the way they are. Take this character, for example, the mad dog Jang Seong-cheol (played by 양익준 Yang Ik-Jun): "He's a real psycho. He has no goal in life. He lives because he's alive." When he's introduced, he comes off as a lowlife dick, but you soon learn to respect him. In real life, he starred in, wrote, directed, and won several awards for his movie Breathless. And just like it says in the trailer for Breathless, "A vicious man, but he will make you cry."
Next is Kim Ji-soo, internationally known as just 지수 Ji Soo. He starred in JTBC's Strong Woman Do Bong-soon, which you should watch (he's so adorable it's hard to explain #swoonworthy), and, another Netflix K-Drama series I really liked: My First First Love). In BG:VC his rage fuels his fighting, and he's always showing up at clutch moments. Plus, he's indestrucible!
One of Korea's best actors has to be 죄귀ㅘ Choi Gwi-Hwa. His range is amazing. Loved him in Netflix's excellent Korean version of Suits, which contrasts greatly to this bad ass bad guy as he plays the #2 man to the villain "Chairman Jo" Ha Sang-Mo. Gwi-Hwa's character's strength also contrasts greatly to the character he played in Train to Busan (yes, that's him on the left, below with his head bowed). As Ha Sang-Mo, Choi Gwi-Hwa's character may be the most complex, least predictable. Like all his roles, it's a nuanced, deep, and enjoyable performance.
Here's the Train to Busan trailer, although if you've never seen it, I would recommend it as the best zombie movie ever, and a great movie overall. Just skip the trailer and do yourself a favor. You can watch the trailer after, and then watch the trailer for Train to Busan 2, called Peninsulaa (below). Think The Raid or The Raid: Redemption with zombies.
Each of the actors is memorable in his/her own way. I couldn't recommend this so highly if the performances weren't stellar, plus if you're a fan of KDrama, you will know many of these faces. Hats off to the writer as well, 한정훈 Han Jung-Hoon (Han Jeong-Hun). He also wrote Bad Guys and 2019's The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos (can't wait to see that). I could go on and on, but I don't want to get into spoilers. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If you're a fan of 김민재 Kim Min Jae, he's in Peninsula.
Here is your cheat sheet (characters by last name alphabetically—I made this version), and below this, the cast courtesy of AsianWiki.com . . .
Wars IX: The Rise of
I was very late to see Star Wars, but so glad I did! It was a full circle kind of thing, and very emotional. You realize just how long you've been watching these movies because Harrison Ford is old now, and Carrie Fisher is gone. I tried not to have expectations, but I was in no way disappointed. Quite a bit of it was predictable, but I just tried to enjoy the ride. It delivered everything we like Star Wars movies for. I would say the wrecked Death Star was worth the whole movie. Even though we've gotten really spoiled with amazing CGI, it still took your breath away. I know mega fans will nitpick, but it's still a buffet. Shut up and eat your awesome (<--love that phrase, use it every chance I get and never get sick of it).
The best Bad Boys yet! We waited so long for it, I was afraid it would not be worth the wait, but it so was. An extremely enjoyable movie; love it when I want to watch it again right away. Also love that they set it up for more with a new team. Never can get over how beautiful Miami is in movies. It's even more stunning in real life. I thought the most impressive shot was the one they opened with here (and at 1:21):
The glamorous pool deck scene at night was shot at the spectacular Bentley Bay South Condominiums (Penthouse Villa B), which sits on the right hand side at the point when Alton Road meets 5th Street on South Beach as you turn right to leave the Beach and drive across the MacArthur Causeway toward Miami. (daytime photo from Lucas Lechuga's website Miami Condo Investmentss | he is still using the logo I bought/made for him, which was the first logo commission I ever got paid for as a graphic designer—nobody cares, right? LOL)
It was once the site of the Biscaya Hotel (also initially called The Floridian) where Al Capone stayed, and had a beautiful patio along the water that you approached by boat. When it fell into disrepair, it was a time when all anyone seemed to care about was Art Deco and it was Mediterranean style, so they couldn't see past the disrepair to appreciate the architecture. What a loss of history and an elegant landmark property. I was on the bridge the morning they imploded it as captured in this video. Many people were sad to see it go.
This guy (Miles Fisher) is awesome. tomcruise2020.com
Netflix is 'On the Nose' with
"With loneliness comes freedom to go where you please, do what you want."
Disney had good reason to be worried that Netflix got Michael Bay! Michael Bay delivers a stunning Action Movie with an unparalleled opening 20 minutes. Within the space of that first 20 minutes, I had said "Holy shit!", "Oh my God!", "How did they do that?!" (twice), "Jesus!", and another two "Oh my Gods!". The killcount was at least 23 at that point and rated "R";, and that is awesome!
I love when Action Movies introduce a team like players in, for example, The Rundown. I also liked the numbers-instead-of-names thing too.
The movie begins like a Redbull Commercial in a Mission-Impossible-II-cliff-climber opening setting. The Netflix logline reads "After faking his death, a tech billionaire recruits a team of international operatives for a bold and bloody mission to take down a brutal dictator." The movie introduces them and later gives us a little more on each. [SPOILER] One of them dies so they have to replace him.
The premise is all of them would rather be "dead" to the world so they can do good. As "One" puts it: "Our job as ghosts is to do the dirty work the living can't, or won't." The group has a target hit board of 9 men. Target number one is the "first mission" (this movie). Does that mean we get 8 more movies?! I hope so.
Some things I loved about this movie were . . .
In the opening sequence, when One has to bail out of his aircraft to fake his death, in true Michael Bay fashion, the plane circles around him as he falls (must be seen to be appreciated).
The "glorious clusterfuck" first chase scene in a 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (IMCDb.org) in "day-glow green" is something that not only showcases the skills of the team, but how they work, plan ahead for contingencies, get along. It's Michael Bay mayhem at its finest.
Right after a car full of bad guys gets T-boned by a (rig/oil truck?) and they bounce a pedestrian off the hood of the car, the second how-did-they-do-that sequence was this motorcyclist who takes a headshot and winds up on the hood of their car..
The third unbelievable stunt was this death-by-pipes impaling:
Then there was this guy who got caught between cars in the chase. Photos don't do it justice since it happens so quickly, the cyclist's body is just flung against the Maserati. Seriously, HOW do they do that?!
The next gnarly kill was also hard to imagine how they did it..
The guy gets dragged. That part looks real/possible/incredible.
Once you see the excavator in the distance, you know what's going to happen. As the bad guy (whose leg is stuck somehow in the car) gets swung all over the road, he is headed straight for the bucket.
How he flails about and moves his arms looks real, and this looks so painful but in this screencap, it shows it's a dummy.
He hits and gets thrown back 90 degrees (owch) . . .
And then there's the shoe . . .
Gnarly kills are best when it hurts to watch! On the heels of this death is another incredible scene. This is one hell of a chase sequence. We can see it coming, but Michael Bay really puts his mark on it. It's like the worst imaginable car crash movie that they show you in traffic school (yes, someone's been to traffic school more than once).
Here we see the car breaks in half.
And, of course, the passengers come flying out.
Somehow the driver's still inside and (it's hard to see here) gets something through his neck! Sweet! LOL
It's all Final-Destination-2 good, or maybe I should say Transformers-Dark-of-the-Moon good, because nothing I've seen since has topped the last 45 minutes of the eye-popping 3D of that movie!
Another how-did-they-do-that scene was this 'on the nose' shot through the window at high speed. It looked like tit took half his nose off in real time, but in these pictures, it just gets smooshed to the side.
In this crash, they 2 men in the car come crashing through the windshield. Then, the green car sideswipes them as they try to move. They are knocked into the air and thrown into the wooden slat wall below. Again, timing makes it look so real. I really think 2 stuntmen did this, just don't know how. Looked so real.
There's so many more incredible moments in this movie, but that first 20 minutes is packed!!!! The soundtrack is great and there is plenty of humor. This is BY NO MEANS all the crashes or kills, it's just my favorites.
Some critics complained there wasn't enough story. I think that just translates to they wanted more. You want more. Watch it yourself. The rest is just as good.
And "Two" is a total bad ass! #grrrlpower
I thought for a while it wasn't going to get made, that they had given up. But, here's the trailer. Sounds like an excuse for her to kick ass. Super excited for the female stunt work on this. Don't even care if it's a good movie, it's MARVEL!
Won't Be Back"
Terminator: Dark Fate
So, YES, you need Arnold Schwarzenegger if it's a Terminator movie, BUT they don't get what made it cool in the first place: MUSCLE. I saw it in theatres when Arnold was a phenomenon. It was like "What's the big guy gonna do next?" "Oh, they turned him into a robotic killing machine—cool!". We were afraid of him BEFORE we found out he was a killing machine, but none of the Terminators have been scary since. Yes, they've been relentless and indestructible, but still ordinary-looking men/woman—meh!
And this was yet another Terminator movie that gave us only a glimpse of the battle we are all still waiting to see . . . How do they still not get that we want to see THAT movie?!
Terminator: Dark Fate answered a question you didn't want answered: "What would your Dad look like as The Terminator?" Not only did the robot 'become' human, but so did Arnold Schwarzenegger. And yet, he's the still best thing in it. Schwarzenegger humanizes the "Cyberdyne Systems Model 101" in the best/worst way possible. If just his exterior 'skin' aged but his physique was the same, it would be different, but we are all too painfully aware our heroes are aging. You can't escape reality there and that knowledge/baggage made it suck for me. As he finally says, he won't be back . . . (I'm not crying, you are!)
There were amazing moments but they were just other versions of things we've seen before. Not original, like the "unscathed" moment the liquid metal Terminator stomps out of the burning semi wreckage, but another level version of that. It's the coolest moment in the film (what happens with the—I call him the "tar" version; tar is not scary—REV 9) when he explodes out of burning wreckage, but . . . it's still like this. This photo cold be high school, guess who's the nerd and who's the bully?
As for the women, Linda Hamilton's character is made fun of IMO. The new Sarah Connor character doesn't have a son that will save the world, SHE will save the world. It feels like they just wanted to cast a Latina to attract a demographic (like the choice of Diego Luna). That's great, I'm all for diversity, but this girl is tiny. Again, where's the MUSCLE?! If you're going to have two other average women, bring on a super-bad-ass-beefy-augmented Super Soldier! But "Grace" is just tall. She would look more at home on the runway. I like her androgynous look, but I just don't get why another opportunity for a muscular Vasquez-from-Aliens type was lost.
Here's a character poster of the tiny and skinny chicks. ACTION MOVIE!!!! <--screaming in Gary Oldman as Stansfield in "Léon: The Professional" way. Where's the muscle? Women are fighting MMA and UFC! Isn't that proof enough, women want to see truly strong women?
Action Movie Trailers
Maybe just new to me, but, here we go, here we go . . . As we all countdown to Terminator: Dark Fate (11/1), these look like the-real-deal Action Movies:
Primal (8 November 2019)
First, let's start with Primal (of course) #becauseNicolasCage, but Kevin Durand might steal the show as the walking wall of villain. Famke Janssen plays (Army) Dr. Ellen Taylor. "A big-game hunter for zoos who has booked passage on a Greek shipping freighter with a fresh haul of exotic and deadly animals from the Amazon, including a rare white jaguar - along with a political assassin being extradited to the U.S in secret. Two days into the journey, the assassin escapes and releases the captive animals, throwing the ship into chaos." And I don't give a damn how fake the white jaguar looks. Rated "R" and it looks like it will have a High Killcount, lots of Gnarly Kills, and because Nicolas Cage, lots of Trash Talking.
Line of Duty (No Release Date Yet)
This looks exciting (love when they "put a clock on it")! Aaron Eckhart in Line of Duty—"A disgraced cop finds himself in a race against time to find a kidnap victim whose abductor he accidently killed."—succinct. I see explosions, stunt driving, and in the vein of Heat (1995), a gun battle in the streets. Director Steven C. Miller's career speaks volumes for his passion for filmmaking as he hit the ground running (10 years to 'the big time'). He directed Escape Plan 2: Hades, First Kill (Bruce Willis, Hayden Christensen), Arsenal (Nicolas Cage, John Cusack), Marauders (Bruce Willis, Christopher Meloni, Dave Bautista), and Extraction (Bruce Willis, Gina Carano, Kellan Lutz). No release date listed yett.
Bad Boys For Life (17 January 2020)
And #becauseMIAMI (the Magic City always looks so pretty in
movies, but it's even cooler in real life)
Bad Boys For Life brings back the dynamic duo of
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, in theatres
January 17, 2020.
Joe Pantoliano plays that stereotypical police captain (love
that). He's been a favorite of mine since Midnight Run
(1988) and The Fugitive (1993).
Bloodshot (21 February 2020)
If you're a Vin Diesel fan, you're excited about this, if not, you're missing out as it looks like Vin does his version of RoboCop. For good or bad, two words: Man's man. Go see it. Bloodshot. And P.S. Riddick fans, Furya has been announced.
Bay on Netflix!
AdWeek ran a story that "Disney Will No Longer Run TV Ads From Rival Netflix on Its Entertainment Networks". I guess you must be #winning if you have Disney worried. And so they should be! Netflix has Michael Bay. His new Action Thriller 6 Underground starring Ryan Reynolds comes to Netflix on 12/13/2019, and true to Michael Bay's #shutupandeatyourawesome ways, the trailer looks FANTASTIC!
87Eleven Action Design
| Chad Stahelski + David Leitch
Oct 24-27 Nassau
Oct 28-Nov 1 Abaco
Nov 1-4 Eleuthera