Posts Tagged ‘Danny Trejo’

In the Blood

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

tn_inthebloodI heard so much trash talked about Gina Carano vehicle #2, IN THE BLOOD, that I was scared off from watching it on VOD. And it’s true that there’s plenty wrong with it, especially as a followup to Steve Soderbergh’s HAYWIRE.

#1 problem for alot of people: director John Stockwell (UNDER COVER, BLUE CRUSH) isn’t as meticulous about massaging a performance out of veteran fighter, recent actor Carano as Soderbergh was, so there are some pretty stiff line readings. In one scene she even says she’s from “Cuh-NECK-ticut,” not a regionally accurate pronunciation in my opinion. But as a fan of Dennis Rodman, Brian Bosworth, early Van Damme, Daniel Bernhardt, Gary Daniels, Olivier Gruner, early Dolph, etc. this is not a problem to me at all, and seems like kind of a complaint for action movie lightweights.

The main complaint for people of our ilk, that will go unnoticed by normal people, is that the fights are short and over-edited. The hits feel hard, the camera’s not that shaky and most of the framing is okay, but it’s another one hit = one cut movie. Why directors don’t think it’s worth the effort to stage a bunch of moves – or shit, at least two moves – in a row is beyond me, especially since Stockwell is on the public record as having seen and enjoyed HAYWIRE. He seems to take some influence in how to portray Carano as a scary asskicker (even re-using the gag where she calls her betrayer on the guy she just killed’s phone), but little in the clean-as-a-whistle action filmatism that is HAYWIRE’s bread and butter. (read the rest of this shit…)

Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

tn_badass2“Let’s go get those sonofabitches.”

BAD ASS 2 is the sequel to a DTV movie I almost forgot about, the one where they bought the life story rights to a mentally ill Vietnam vet who punched out a guy in a racial incident on a bus in a famous Youtube video and turned him into a heroic vigilante played by Danny Trejo. For part 2 they ditch the true story claims, but do have one in-joke reference to the video (a guy pronounces “ambulance” weird). The adventures continue for Trejo’s character Frank Vega, so I guess he’s Buford Pusser for the internet age.

This is three years later and Vega is settled in to a more normal life training boxers, with one particularly promising student Manny (Jeremy Ray Valdez) who is “almost like a son” to him and is about to have his first pro fight tomorrow. This will shock you to your very core and make you question everything you’ve ever believed, but the kid has gotten involved with some drug dealers who say he’s stealing and they murder him but the cops aren’t gonna do anything so Vega has to track them down and, I don’t know, trick them into getting on a bus so he can punch them, or whatever he does. (read the rest of this shit…)

Force of Execution

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

tn_foe“I think the streets are clean for a while. I’m a dinosau’. Ain’t nobody around like me no more, so…”

Steven Seagal’s new one FORCE OF EXECUTION isn’t really a movie I would recommend to most people, mainly because they would ask what “force of execution” means and I would have no idea what to say. I guess it means the same thing as “reservoir dogs,” but just doesn’t sound as cool or poetic.

However, as a dedicated Seagalogist (in fact, one of the West Coast’s most respected, if I do say so myself) I found plenty of things interesting about this one. In fact, I watched it without reading anything about it and it kept confounding my expectations for a Seagal picture. In the opening scene Seagal’s character Mr. Alexander has a guy tied to a chair and he’s threatening him, saying “You broke the code, Sasha,” and stuff like that. He gives him a knife and tells him to slit his own throat as punishment for being “a rat.” When the guy tries to defend himself Mr. Alexander beats him to death and complains about getting blood on his suit. I mean, Seagal characters are always kinda over the line, but they don’t usually capture a traitor, torture and kill him. (read the rest of this shit…)

Machete Kills

Monday, October 14th, 2013

tn_machetekillsThere are lots of funny things in MACHETE KILLS. For a while it coasts on enjoyably stupid jokes, like the ridiculous trailer for part 3 of the series that it opens with. Early on it has a little faux-serious melodrama, playing it almost straight when a clash with rogue soldiers, a Mexican drug cartel and an army in lucha libre masks leads to the death of Machete (Danny Trejo, DEATH WISH 4: THE CRACKDOWN, MARKED FOR DEATH)’s partner. I like the setup, with a redneck Arizona sheriff (William Sadler, DIE HARD 2) failing to hang Machete before he gets called in by the president (Charlie Sheen, NAVY SEALS, credited as Carlos Estevez) who offers him citizenship in exchange for doing a dangerous mission. I thought the joke of casting him was to have a guy as crazy as Sheen as the president, like wasn’t Mickey Rourke the president in MASKED AND ANONYMOUS? It honestly didn’t occur to me until seeing him on a White House set that his dad played the president in The West Wing (not to mention playing Kennedy). Anyway, the best part is the idea that this unsavory slasher/wife-and-daughter-fucker/assassin gets to sit in the White House and hear his offer.

Trejo’s face is even more rugged than ever, if possible, and he doesn’t have to joke around. He’s fun to watch just being that same character, but now equipped with various high-tech variations on machetes to chop people up with. Robert Rodriguez (credited as sole director this time, and also with his name above the title, but only a co-story credit) once again fills the movie with a huge, unlikely cast, mostly playing colorful gimmicky characters: Mel Gibson (PAPARAZZI) as a weapon inventor/space cultist planning to blow up the world, Demian Bichir (2012 best actor nominee for A BETTER LIFE) as a revolutionary/terrorist/something, Amber Heard (DRIVE ANGRY) as a government agent undercover as a beauty queen, Walton Goggins/Cuba Gooding Jr./Lady Gaga/Antonio Banderas all playing the same assassin called El Camaleon, Vanessa Hudgens (SPRING BREAKERS) as a girl that’s in one part, Sofia Vergara allowing Salma Hayek some dignity by stepping in to play the deadly Madam character with army of killer prostitutes (see also Lucy Liu in THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, Zoe Bell in BAYTOWN OUTLAWS, etc.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Anaconda

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

tn_anacondaThis may surprise you, but I have always wanted to see ANACONDA. It’s a theatrically released, pre-SyFy Channel, early CG giant snake movie with an all star (more so now than then) cast, and I heard pretty good things about it, including a description of the best part of the movie (a famous scene involving Jon Voight) which was convincing. But somehow in all these years I never rented it. And then all the sudden last month Seattle’s S.I.F.F. Uptown screened it in a remastered DCP. The kind of thing I was hoping would happen to make up for all the theaters being forced to switch to digital. You take away our 35 mm, you better give us theatrical re-releases of ANACONDA and shit like that.

Maybe that’s why I never watched it. I was waiting for it to come back to the big screen. Maybe dreams do come true. (read the rest of this shit…)

Sushi Girl

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

tn_sushigirlI know they say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but a movie is not a book and a cover is not always the same art as a poster so I sometimes feel okay writing off a movie because of its poster. And these days when a movie has kind of a quasi-retro poster with a sort-of-old-school-ish illustration and attempted ’70s font, I assume it’s just some bullshit by somebody who liked GRINDHOUSE like I did and thinks if they know about old movies they can make a movie like that even if they don’t have the chops. But some of you said I had to watch SUSHI GIRL, so I gave it a shot. I forgive you.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Death Race 3: Inferno

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

tn_deathrace3DEATH RACE 3 is of course the sequel to the DTV prequel to Paul W.S. Anderson’s theatrical sort-of remake of Paul Bartel and Roger Corman’s DEATH RACE 2000. To gage my response you will need to see my scorecard: I consider DEATH RACE 2000 a classic, DEATH RACE a surprisingly solid b-movie, DEATH RACE 2 a pretty enjoyable DTV prequel to that type of movie. And part 3 rates about the same as part 2.

It’s all the same people: Luke Goss (BLADE II, HELLBOY 2) returns as the pre-Statham Frankenstein, masked hero of the newly invented car racing to-the-death prison circuit. Tanit Phoenix is still his sexy girl navigator, Danny Trejo is still his mechanic, Ving Rhames still Weyland, the warden/CEO of Terminal Island, and from the movie we have Fred Koehler as the somewhat autistic Lists and Robin “Liu Kang” Shou in his traditional P.W.S. Anderson supporting player role as fellow racer 14K. Part 2′s director Roel Reine (of PISTOL WHIPPED and THE MARINE 2 fame) and writer Tony Giglio (story by Anderson) also return.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Bad Ass

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

When BAD ASS came out in the summer I took a look at it and considered it, because it’s that rare Danny Trejo starring role we’ve always wished for. But the title and the tagline “They messed with the wrong senior citizen” made me think it was another one of these post-GRINDHOUSE neo-Troma type tongue in cheek movies that I’m not really interested in. And then I looked up director/co-writer Craig Moss and learned that the rest of his filmography is:

1. SAVING RYAN’S PRIVATES (not a porno, but way worse – a parody)

2. THE 41-YEAR OLD VIRGIN WHO KNOCKED UP SARAH MARSHALL AND FELT SUPERBAD ABOUT IT (a parody of comedies?) and

3. BREAKING WIND (TWILIGHT parody with farting).

This was before his next movie was listed, it’s gonna be 30 NIGHTS OF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY WITH THE DEVIL INSIDE THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. So not only did I put BAD ASS back on the shelf, but would’ve reconsidered everything I believed about civil liberties if given an opportunity to deport Craig Moss just for making up those titles. And what, I’m supposed to believe this guy has no friends or family who could intervene and tell him to have some fucking dignity as a human being and stop making those? Come on, people. You’re just as culpable in this SARAH MARSHAL IS SUPERBAD fiasco as he is. If you see something, say something. What did you know and when did you know it. All that is necessary for the release of BREAKING WIND is that good men do nothing.

But a buddy said BAD ASS was pretty good, so now I watched it.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Recoil

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
tn_recoil“You killed him?”
“Technically it was the explosion that killed him.”

In his latest, RECOIL, Steve Austin plays a little bit darker version of his usual screen persona. A little Stone Colder. He’s still an ex-cop who knows how to beat the shit out of people, still a stranger drifting into a small town and getting into trouble with the local criminals, still a scary-looking regular working man with a no bullshit attitude and an inherent sense of decency, but at least at the beginning he’s more of a Terminator than usual. He drives into Hope, WA in his black 1968 Plymouth GTX with 12 score marks burnt into his arm, apparently representing the number of killers and rapists he’s executed in his travels. He’s way ahead of the FBI, who want to put “24 hour surveillance” on a child killer before they figure out Stone Cold already “made abstract art out of him” 2 days ago. (read the rest of this shit…)

House of the Rising Sun

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

tn_houseoftherisingsunI’m not familiar with Dave Bautista’s work as a WWE Superstarâ„¢, but I thought he was cool in a supporting role in my old internet pal “Demon” Dave DeFalco’s action movie WRONG SIDE OF TOWN. So when I saw he had a starring role in this movie (which credits DeFalco as an executive producer) I was sure to check it out. And I was surprised, especially watching it immediately after TACTICAL FORCE, at its level of quality. There are some issues, for sure, but it’s a serious crime drama adapted from a novel, not some shitty excuse to bring him from wrestling scene to shootout to wrestling scene. It’s a pretty decent story, actually. (read the rest of this shit…)