Some film historian could write a book about The Last Boy Scout, the outrageous action flick from 1991. It’s a film legendary for its troubled production, with no less than four Hollywood egos clashing while it was made.
There was screenwriter Shane Black, who had been paid almost two million bucks for the script; director Tony Scott, who was in the midst of his peak as a blockbuster filmmaker; star Bruce Willis, who was in need of a hit after Hudson Hawk underperformed and The Bonfire of the Vanities absolutely bombed; and producer Joel Silver, part of whose legend involves massive amounts of cocaine. Silver was such a pain in the neck that when Scott later directed True Romance, he based the character of Lee Donowitz on Silver. Reportedly, Silver was not pleased. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: The Last Boy Scout”
I didn’t think I was going to like this silly movie. If not for this month of reviews, I doubt I would have seen it again, ever. Demolition Man feels like a pure expression of movie by committee. The action genre had had much of its life polished out of it by the time this flick came around in 1993. The effect on this film is that, bizarrely, it feels as much like a stage play at times as it does a movie. There is no possibility for suspension of disbelief, nor does the movie require it for the viewer to be entertained. The ideas behind the film are outlandish, something of which the filmmakers were aware. Therefore they wisely shied away from heavy-handed seriousness in favor of the absurd. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Demolition Man”
Predator, the 1987 film from director John McTiernan, is among my favorite action and sci-fi films. It’s one of those dumb 1980s action flicks that it’s easy to turn one’s nose up to, but which is actually pretty damned good. I would like to try making an honest effort at not comparing the sequel unfavorably to the original, but that’s just going to be too hard. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Predator 2″
Looking at the list of films I’ve reviewed for Shitty Movie Sundays, there are some real standouts. Most of the films on the list are of such substandard quality that I am genuinely concerned I am wasting precious time in my life that I will never get back when I watch them (Galaxy of Terror, I Spit on Your Grave, Theodore Rex, for example), while others, despite being bad movies, are entertaining. Spacehunter, Raise the Titanic, Reign of Fire, Commando, The Keep — all shitty movies, and all eminently watchable. When I think of my affinity for shitty movies, it is flicks like these that keep me searching for the next great dog. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Road House”
What a gloriously stupid movie. When I think about 1980s action, all sorts of flicks bang off the inside of my skull. Cobra, Road House, Die Hard, any of the Rambo flicks, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It was an amazing genre of film that Hollywood has never been able to fully replicate. That’s not for lack of trying. Last year there were two movies about terrorists taking over the White House, and both could have been Die Hard flicks, circa 1989. Something happened to moviegoing audiences since the ’80s, though. I’m not going to pretend for a second that we’re any more sophisticated as a group, but maybe we grew accustomed to the shenanigans of ’80s action, and that’s why it doesn’t work as well today. But if a viewer happens to be in a nostalgic mood for black and white characters, senseless one-liners, and guns that never run out of bullets, then there is hardly a better movie than Commando.Continue reading “Schwarzenegger Month: Commando”
Predator is everything a 1980s action movie ought to be. It’s loud, overwrought, over-roided, and filled with cliché and blinding amounts of muzzle flash. All the characters are macho, carved out of wood, and traverse their fictional universe with names like Dutch! Dillion! Mac! Pancho! Blain! Hawkins! and...Billy. I’m surprised there wasn’t a character named ‘Duke’ in there somewhere. Oh, wait. Actor Bill Duke plays ‘Mac.’ Close enough. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Predator”
Science fiction is not only the province where the wonder of our imaginations resides, it is also where nagging fear for the safety of mankind finds a home. The best science fiction stretches human timelines to the unbelievable. Also, it reminds us of what is possible. Because we can imagine it, it follows that eventually, it will be done. Some time in the future we will gaze upward at foreign skies with unfamiliar constellations, Sol but one of the infinite dots twinkling in a new sky. We will wander so far from our home for so long it will become legend, rumored to have once been an unthinkable place where thousands of generations could only dream of seizing the stars, when light years were vast and distance still had meaning. It’s possible. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: The Matrix”