Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Action Jackson...

Lately, I have been revisiting a lot of my old favorite action movies.  I have boxes of titles on VHS, lots of it purchased again on DVD.  It's easy to sit around and be all nostalgic about the glory days of VHS and the epic amount of time that I spent discovering movies.  I'd hate to be the type that sits around talking about how great the past was and how everything sucks now, but man, those were fun times. 
Action Jackson was always a VHS favorite of mine.  It's not as gritty or bloody as a lot of the action movies of the time.  In fact, some of it is pretty polished.  Fuck it though, it's a prime example of what we like here at Crimson Screens. 
Action Jackson (Carl Weathers) has been demoted to sergeant because of his escapades as a policeman in Detroit.  Now he has an easy desk job, given to him as a punishment for sending the lead bad guys (Craig T. Nelson- who always excells when he plays a shitbag) son to jail.  Action Jackson doesn't really even seem to mind his new job.  He stumbles onto a string of murders that tie in with the main bad guys business and thinks quickly spiral out of control.
Even though movie seems a bit polished, there is still a good amount of sleaze lurking beneath the surface.  There is a subplot about hookers who are strung out on heroin, a dirty hotel owner, lots of fist fights and a great car chase, where pretty much everything around the car chase gets blown up or destroyed. 
We eventually venture into the home of the Craig T. Nelson character and his butler is played by Nicholas Worth.  Nicholas Worth!  Don't Answer The Phone Nicholas Worth!  It's odd to see him as a quiet, subdued butler here, but it works and he adds a little touch of creepiness to the movie. 
Action Jackson was directed by Craig R. Baxley.  "Who is that?", you ask.  Well, look at this string of movies he directed... Action Jackson into I Come In Peace into Stone Cold.  WTF?!?!?!?!  That right there is a trifecta of solid action movies, all underrated.  A friend and I always talk about the greatness of I Come In Peace and how it is a lost action classic, which it is, and how it has been forgotten by time.  I wrote about Stone Cold earlier this month, it's gold too.  It boggles the mind that a director could direct three solid action movies and not be mentioned at the same time as the "big names" of that time period.  Fuck it though, you would be doing yourself a huge disservice by not checking out the movies mentioned in this post.  Craig R. Baxley also was a stunt coordinator on the A-Team TV series.  The A-Team was a great show, right?  I think it was.  I don't think I could ever sit down and watch an entire day of a season of the A-Team but it's great stuff four or five episodes at a time.  I recently watched an episode that had a guest role from Yaphet Kotto.  Nothing against the A-Team, which I love, but I had to stop watching after that episode and watch Truck Turner again.  Yaphet Kotto is at his best in that movie. 
Anyway, enough rambling, Action Jackson is a way above average action movie, filled with good acting, a great supporting cast and action scenes where no one is safe.  Highly recommended! 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chain Of Command...

They don't make action stars like Michael Dudikoff anymore.  The man starred in many 80's and 90's action movies, many involving ninjas or the martial arts.  Yes, most of them were low budget but it is almost a non point.  Many of them were just as good, if not better, than the big screen offerings of the day.

Chain Of Command is about an "advisor" for an oil conglomerate.  The oil refinery that he works on is taken over by terrorists and almost everyone is killed.  He investigates a little bit and end up joining forces with bad guys who are against the terrorists.  Except the terrorists are really terrorists and the bad guys aren't even bad guys.  It's not as confusing as it sounds, I promise!

The movie offers a lot of shoot outs and minimal martial arts action.  There is a wild shoot out in a desert command center, which IMO, was the highlight of the movie.  There is some brief nipple but it's a body double and the scene it is involved in is pretty creepy.

Michael Dudikoff swears a lot in this one too.  I don't recall him ever swearing this much is any of his other movies.  When Michael Dudikoff says, "Get the fuck out of my way!", you get the fuck out of his way!

The one glaring error I noticed about this movie was the casting decision for the main bad guy.  He overacts throughout.  Sometimes he is calm and a suave killer and other times he is a sweaty, leering weirdo, which is normally a great thing, but it doesn't work here.  The showdown at the end between the two leads is well done, especially the part with the axe, but his overacting takes away form the movie as a whole.  You know, he reminds me of a poorly done version of Hans Gruber from Die Hard.

Despite the low budget and the hammy acting from the lead bad guy, the movie is still worth a watch or two and is one of the last solid efforts from the amazing Cannon.  Check it out!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stone Cold...

Brian Bosworth plays a policeman who doesn't play by the rules.  He is already suspended before he fucks up a few guys who are trying to rob a supermarket.  He gets put on extra super bad suspension then and is, kind of, blackmailed by the FBI to go undercover and try to bust a motorcycle gang.  He infiltrates the motorcycle gang with minimal effort.  Soon enough he is eyeballing the leaders girlfriend.  Throw in a major "jail break" scheme and we have an action classic on our hands! 

There is really no reason why this movie flopped at theatres when it was released.  The movie has everything that an action movie needs to suceed.  Let's investigate...

- While Brian Bosworth isn't a great actor, he does a solid job as a wisecracking, sarcastic lead. 

- The movie has solid bad guys.  We get Lance Henriksen as the gangs leader.  Lance Henriksen doesn't fuck up movies, he makes them great.  He plays his role differently, definitely bad ass but with a little jokester thrown in.  We also get William Forsythe as his right hand man.  He fucks up everyone in his way and has a great motorcycle chase/shootout with Brian Bosworth.  When William Forsythe is on, he is on, and he is on here. 

- Whoever plays the girlfriend of Lance Henriksen's character (way too lazy to look it up) is a mega babe.  I'll have to see if she is in any other movies.  Let's check...  Ok, her name is Arabella Holzbog.  It looks like she is in Carnosaur 2.  I'll have to check that out.  It looks like she is in a couple episodes of Red Shoe Diaries, so maybe there is some tit action somewhere, I don't know, I'll have to look into that when I'm not at work!  Anyway, Arabella Holzbog, major babe!  There are a decent amount of boobs on display here, so it's got that too. 

- The ending.  The action throughout the movie is great, fist fights, shoot outs and motorcycle chases.  Well, the end battle goes in every direction, with excellent gun fights and lots of blood.  It must really be seen to be believed.  It's almost silly how over the top it is, but I couldn't help but love it because of how the action/violence level flies into the stratosphere.  A completely grand way to end a great movie. 

This is easily purchased on DVD for less than $10 and it worth three times that.  Highly recommended!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cyborg... an awful, awful, awful, awful movie...

Cyborg is a post apocalyptic action movie from 1989.  It is about a fighter who is payed to take a Cyborg across the country, where her knowledge will be used to better humanity.  Unfortunately, the cyborg is kidnapped by a ruthless gang and it is up to the fighter to rescue her. 
This is an early starring vehicle for Jean Claude Van Damme, who had been and would be in, much better movies.  The plot here never advances past my description of it.  It's simply one chase scene or fight scene after another.  That might sound like a recipe for success but it is not here.  The fight scenes are awkwardly staged and aren't very exciting at all. 
The acting is terrible too, especially from the lead bad buy.  All he does is yell.  His fighting skills suck too.  He seems stuck in slow, lumbering giant mode, even though he really isn't a lumbering giant.  He definitely drags the movie down a lot. 
Cyborg features the one thing that can ruin any movie.  A miniscule plot that runs its course after an hour, except the movie still have thirty minutes left in it.  Fuck, I was suffering towards the end.  The fact that I found this enjoyable when it was a frequent Saturday afternoon movie, makes it even harder to watch now.  Maybe the commercial breaks every ten minutes or so broke up the movie enough that I didn't notice the lack of quality.  Who knows? 
I do know now that the movie was an effort to sit through. 
Fun fact: Cannon Films, who released Cyborg, had initially planned on making Masters Of The Universe 2 and Spider Man.  Both of those films were not made but the set and preproduction had been completed, so Cannon was in a scramble to save some money.  The script for Cyborg was created in a weekend and utilized the sets made for the two aformentioned movies. 
Anyway, Cyborg... avoid!