Action Movie Club pt 1: Full Throttle

Joined: Aug 2007
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MKSdedication to...catsuit Beckinsale

Truly a noble endeavour.

The RE films I halfassedly defend on the basis that they have strong individual bits of craft without thinking any of them really work as complete action films (except the second one, which gains momentum from its rampant stupidity, and maybe the first and last ones, which I haven't seen). They're both too good for what they are but at the same time fundamentally shitty in some ways. Jovovich in a catsuit probably makes me lean somewhat positively on a few of them. If you're saying another film series can offer similarly catsuited thrills while working as complete action films, then I guess I can give them a shot if they pop up on Catsuit...I mean Canadian Netflix.
Jun 20, 2017 3:12 AM
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MKS
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Rock
MKSdedication to...catsuit Beckinsale

Truly a noble endeavour.

The RE films I halfassedly defend on the basis that they have strong individual bits of craft without thinking any of them really work as complete action films (except the second one, which gains momentum from its rampant stupidity, and maybe the first and last ones, which I haven't seen). They're both too good for what they are but at the same time fundamentally shitty in some ways. Jovovich in a catsuit probably makes me lean somewhat positively on a few of them. If you're saying another film series can offer similarly catsuited thrills while working as complete action films, then I guess I can give them a shot if they pop up on Catsuit...I mean Canadian Netflix.

That is precisely what I'm saying. Well, beyond the first one. It's a necessary slog so try and see the theatrical version as it's the shortest. It's still better than RE but lacks the very competent action that makes the others so watchable.
Jun 20, 2017 3:20 AM
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MKS I think you put more time and dedication into watching the Underworld movies than the filmmakers did making them. :p
Jun 20, 2017 3:22 AM
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MKS
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DeschainMKS I think you put more time and dedication into watching the Underworld movies than the filmmakers did making them. :p

But the mythology, bro... The mythology.
Jun 20, 2017 3:51 AM
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MKS
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The Sugarland Express is one underrated film. I blame it entirely on it being sandwiches between Duel and Jaws in Spielberg's filmography or the very fact that it's in his filmography at all, as it seems to evoke other American New Wave films from Bonnie and Clyde to the Getaway rather than the style he's known for. That said, the film is full of his style and acute eye for details that humanize his characters and films overall.
Jun 21, 2017 7:19 AM
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I hate to mar this awesome thread with Transformers bilge, but this clip is exceptionally awful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92-wuSlMvCM

The aspect ratio is less coherent than Anthony Hopkin's "did this for the paycheck" delivery. It changes as often as Bay's hyper editing. Imagine watching this on IMAX. This is sure to cause side splitting headaches, particularly with the scenes involving heavy Bayhem.
Jun 21, 2017 11:42 AM
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MKS
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Feuer und EisI hate to mar this awesome thread with Transformers bilge, but this clip is exceptionally awful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92-wuSlMvCM

The aspect ratio is less coherent than Anthony Hopkin's "did this for the paycheck" delivery. It changes as often as Bay's hyper editing. Imagine watching this on IMAX. This is sure to cause side splitting headaches, particularly with the scenes involving heavy Bayhem.

Bay discussions are among my favorite had in this thread. Say what you will about the guy and his films, but he generates passion!
I'd heard about the shifting aspect ratio but never imagined it would be shifting every other shot. I have a high tolerance for such a thing but even in that clip, it was starting to jar me out of it. I think it would be less an issue in an action scene because there would be more to distract me but here... Oof.
Jun 21, 2017 8:29 PM
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MKS
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I dug the Inglorious Bastards. It's lesser Castellari but I think much of why his films work is present and this film cribs from his own the Big Racket almost as much as it does the Dirty Dozen.

I think the weakest aspect on display here is that, whether through budget or simply unwise choices, there are next to no blood squibs in this film. Given that Castellari is like the lovechild of Leone and Peckinpah, robbing his violence of it's bloody brutality undercuts his actions as much as it would Peckinpah. I talk a lot about "weight" when I discuss action and I think there are a lot of ways that that films can attain that or undercut it. Audio, blood and rhythm are the primary ways I think action films find that weight and certain filmmakers gravitate towards each aspect and Castellari is a master of the last two, so utterly removing blood seems to sabotage the scenes to a greater degree than it seems that it should but I think that is because he uses blood for punctuation, just like Peckinpah. Lacking that pause, as the camera lingers on the squib, restructures the rhythm of the action.

It's still cool but not AS cool as Keoma or Street Law.

Interestingly, I don't think that this film was nearly as influential to Tarantino's similarly named film as a half dozen other war Romps that I've seen. There's one broad stroke that's in place, and one of the more clever plot points here, that bled into the film.

I really need to watch Cross of Iron.
Jun 21, 2017 9:51 PM
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MKS
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Ironically, I'm watching the documentary Western, Italian Style (1968), in which Castellari is interviewed and asked about violence in his films and says that his films are light and that he stays away from blood and brutality. He says "it does fascinate" him and maybe he'd like to but that he's more about "fun." This is all before any of his films that I've seen but it's crazy how little what he states about his career at the beginning applies to the sensational and provocative nature of his more famous films.

Solid doc so far and short.
Jun 21, 2017 10:53 PM
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MKS
Feuer und EisI hate to mar this awesome thread with Transformers bilge, but this clip is exceptionally awful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92-wuSlMvCM

The aspect ratio is less coherent than Anthony Hopkin's "did this for the paycheck" delivery. It changes as often as Bay's hyper editing. Imagine watching this on IMAX. This is sure to cause side splitting headaches, particularly with the scenes involving heavy Bayhem.

Bay discussions are among my favorite had in this thread. Say what you will about the guy and his films, but he generates passion!
I'd heard about the shifting aspect ratio but never imagined it would be shifting every other shot. I have a high tolerance for such a thing but even in that clip, it was starting to jar me out of it. I think it would be less an issue in an action scene because there would be more to distract me but here... Oof.

The shifting aspect ratios were distracting, but I'll admit I chuckled when the robot tackled angry Marky Mark.

I was disappointed that even Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, a partial Bay defender, knocked this movie's visuals. I think Bay has gotten better at coherent action over his last few movies (Dark of the Moon, Age of Extinction and 13 Hours hit the right mix between chaos and clarity), so it's unfortunate if this is a step backward in that regard.
Jun 22, 2017 1:01 AM
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MKSIronically, I'm watching the documentary Western, Italian Style (1968), in which Castellari is interviewed and asked about violence in his films and says that his films are light and that he stays away from blood and brutality. He says "it does fascinate" him and maybe he'd like to but that he's more about "fun." This is all before any of his films that I've seen but it's crazy how little what he states about his career at the beginning applies to the sensational and provocative nature of his more famous films.

Solid doc so far and short.

Is that the one included on the Django blu-ray? I enjoyed that one.
Jun 22, 2017 1:04 AM
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MKS
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 46701
Rock
MKSIronically, I'm watching the documentary Western, Italian Style (1968), in which Castellari is interviewed and asked about violence in his films and says that his films are light and that he stays away from blood and brutality. He says "it does fascinate" him and maybe he'd like to but that he's more about "fun." This is all before any of his films that I've seen but it's crazy how little what he states about his career at the beginning applies to the sensational and provocative nature of his more famous films.

Solid doc so far and short.

Is that the one included on the Django blu-ray? I enjoyed that one.

It is indeed. Strangely enough, I watched an interview with Tarantino and Castellari on the Inglorious Bastards Blu-ray in which he mentions some behind the scenes footage of Castellari in a black shirt directing action and just put this doc on by chance following it and it's the very doc Tarantino was referencing. Interesting how Castellari, unlike Corbucci, really looks like he could have been an Italian action star.
My favorite exchange, however, was with Corbucci explaining why they don't record audio and how any nationality of actor could be speaking their own tongue and "that's why I hate westerns." "So what genre will the next film you work on be?" "Western, naturally."
Glad I watched the Great Silence first as they spoiled the hell out of it.
Jun 22, 2017 1:27 AM
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MKS
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"Streets of Fire" is so close to being THE 80s cult classic but it falls far short because Michael Par? is one of the worst, least charismatic actors of all time and Walter Hill is a great ideas guy but his craft is minimalist. The 50s/80s fusion of motorcycle gangs, hair metal, neon, doowop and noir archetypes is almost appealing enough to coast to success with the help of Diane Lane (was there anyone prettier in the 80s?), Willem Dafoe, Rick Moranis and Bill Paxton but the suck that is Michael Par? and Hill's stilted direction (that stripped the film of any memorable violence) bogs it down into a wonderland of what could have been rather than what is.

Had this film been given to a Scott or Carpenter or snagged Tom Cruise, as it so nearly did, I could see this being a ubiquitous cult film when discussing the decade but as is, it rightfully languishes in obscurity.

I still dug it. I'm just frustrated that it wasn't great to the point of feeling pissy.

Now I'm gonna watch the Wild One because I'm tired of seeing references to it and not haven't seen it.
Jun 24, 2017 8:05 AM
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MKSThe Sugarland Express is one underrated film. I blame it entirely on it being sandwiches between Duel and Jaws in Spielberg's filmography or the very fact that it's in his filmography at all

I think it's rated about right, which I see usually around middle of the pack, very good range. I think it's his least interesting film of the 70's (yes, including 1941!), but as you say that's a steep curve. Also, I think that you have to consider not only Bonnie and Clyde, but what it inspired into a pretty sizable subgenre. Sugarland Express is also dimmed by the proximity of films like Badlands as well.

MKS"Streets of Fire" is so close to being THE 80s cult classic but it falls far short because Michael Par? is one of the worst, least charismatic actors of all time and Walter Hill is a great ideas guy but his craft is minimalist. The 50s/80s fusion of motorcycle gangs, hair metal, neon, doowop and noir archetypes is almost appealing enough to coast to success with the help of Diane Lane (was there anyone prettier in the 80s?), Willem Dafoe, Rick Moranis and Bill Paxton but the suck that is Michael Par? and Hill's stilted direction (that stripped the film of any memorable violence) bogs it down into a wonderland of what could have been rather than what is.

Had this film been given to a Scott or Carpenter or snagged Tom Cruise, as it so nearly did, I could see this being a ubiquitous cult film when discussing the decade but as is, it rightfully languishes in obscurity.

As far as "memorable violence" goes (it is an action thread), I can see the disappointment, but Streets of Fire is legitimately a cult film. It has adherents. Personally, I just find cocaine psychosis to be terribly fascinating.
Jun 25, 2017 12:24 AM
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MKS
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Janson Jinnistan
MKSThe Sugarland Express is one underrated film. I blame it entirely on it being sandwiches between Duel and Jaws in Spielberg's filmography or the very fact that it's in his filmography at all

I think it's rated about right, which I see usually around middle of the pack, very good range. ?I think it's his least interesting film of the 70's (yes, including 1941!), but as you say that's a steep curve. ?Also, I think that you have to consider not only Bonnie and Clyde, but what it inspired into a pretty sizable subgenre. ?Sugarland Express is also dimmed by the proximity of films like Badlands as well.


MKS"Streets of Fire" is so close to being THE 80s cult classic but it falls far short because Michael Par? is one of the worst, least charismatic actors of all time and Walter Hill is a great ideas guy but his craft is minimalist. The 50s/80s fusion of motorcycle gangs, hair metal, neon, doowop and noir archetypes is almost appealing enough to coast to success with the help of Diane Lane (was there anyone prettier in the 80s?), Willem Dafoe, Rick Moranis and Bill Paxton but the suck that is Michael Par? and Hill's stilted direction (that stripped the film of any memorable violence) bogs it down into a wonderland of what could have been rather than what is.

Had this film been given to a Scott or Carpenter or snagged Tom Cruise, as it so nearly did, I could see this being a ubiquitous cult film when discussing the decade but as is, it rightfully languishes in obscurity.

As far as "memorable violence" goes (it is an action thread), I can see the disappointment, but Streets of Fire is legitimately a cult film. ?It has adherents. ?Personally, I just find cocaine psychosis to be terribly fascinating.

While Sugarland may not be on par with Badlands or Bonnie and Clyde, I think it's far superior than Boxcar Bertha, yet it seems to hold similar stature to that film in Spielberg's filmography relative to Scorsese's. I've actually seen far more discussion of Boxcar than Sugarland, which while I've not seen it called Spielberg's worst, I most often have not seen it called anything at all.
Streets of Fire is cult but it has nowhere the level of acolytes as the films that inspired it. It's not even on par with Hill's other cult films, like the Driver or The Warriors and I think thats in large part due to the aforementioned lead and lack of violence. The film cries out for 80s blood squibs but it gets an approach that rejects any and all serious violence, with Hill rejecting any on screen deaths. Given the aesthetic, it feels strangely soft and toothless, especially coming from such a competent action director.
Jun 25, 2017 5:25 AM
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Stu
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Janson JinnistanAs far as "memorable violence" goes (it is an action thread), I can see the disappointment, but Streets of Fire is legitimately a cult film. ?It has adherents. ?Personally, I just find cocaine psychosis to be terribly fascinating.

In that case, how do you feel about De Palma's Scarface? Not traditionally considered an action movie, I know, but it does have one of the most iconic shootouts ever at the end, so there's that...
Jun 25, 2017 5:37 AM
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MKS
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Stu
?Janson JinnistanAs far as "memorable violence" goes (it is an action thread), I can see the disappointment, but Streets of Fire is legitimately a cult film. ?It has adherents. ?Personally, I just find cocaine psychosis to be terribly fascinating.

In that case, how do you feel about De Palma's Scarface? Not traditionally considered an action movie, I know, but it does have one of the most iconic shootouts ever at the end, so there's that...

More visually flat than most DePalma films which makes it's excessive length less digestable than desired but has moments and performances worth watching.
Carlito's Way is better.
Jun 25, 2017 6:00 AM
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MKSWhile Sugarland may not be on par with Badlands or Bonnie and Clyde, I think it's far superior than Boxcar Bertha, yet it seems to hold similar stature to that film in Spielberg's filmography relative to Scorsese's. I've actually seen far more discussion of Boxcar than Sugarland, which while I've not seen it called Spielberg's worst, I most often have not seen it called anything at all.

I agree that Sugarland is better than Bertha, but I can't say that I've seen a whole lot of discussion on the latter. I've generally assumed that it was one of the lesser items in Scorsese's canon. Sugarland may have seemed ho-drum in the wake of the outlaw-lovers genre, but I've never seen anyone dog it, like some of Spielberg's worst (Always, Hook, Lost World, The Terminal, etc.).

MKSStreets of Fire is cult but it has nowhere the level of acolytes as the films that inspired it. It's not even on par with Hill's other cult films, like the Driver or The Warriors and I think thats in large part due to the aforementioned lead and lack of violence. The film cries out for 80s blood squibs but it gets an approach that rejects any and all serious violence, with Hill rejecting any on screen deaths. Given the aesthetic, it feels strangely soft and toothless, especially coming from such a competent action director.

One thing that I've noticed about cults is that it's more about passion than numbers. Not many people are into this thing, but those who are will be really into that thing. In that sense, it qualifies. I like the film OK, for being more Hill's nostalgic indulgence than anything else, but the fans of the film that I know are super fucking fans of that movie. I'm too scared to come between them.

Stuhow do you feel about De Palma's Scarface? Not traditionally considered an action movie, I know,

Is it not? I figured that any film with that kind of gunplay inevitably gets an action lapel. And the chainsaw sequence is very memorable, thank you very much.
Jun 25, 2017 6:19 AM
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So Creed was really good. I don't think it's quite at the level of the first Rocky, but it gets closer than any of the other sequels and is a pretty fitting love letter to the series while working as an engaging movie in its own right. I find it kind of interesting how both Rocky and Rambo have taken on somewhat mythical status and how the most recent entries in both series play off that, despite Stallone being in a supporting role here.

I'm posting this in the action thread because of those long take fight sequences. On a technical level these are easily the best fights in the series (I can't speak to the choreography as I don't know much about boxing), and Donnie's flashback to Apollo during the big fight elicited some of the same chills as that moment in the first film's climax when the music flares up.
Jun 25, 2017 9:59 PM
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MKS
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RockSo Creed was really good. I don't think it's quite at the level of the first Rocky, but it gets closer than any of the other sequels and is a pretty fitting love letter to the series while working as an engaging movie in its own right. I find it kind of interesting how both Rocky and Rambo have taken on somewhat mythical status and how the most recent entries in both series play off that, despite Stallone being in a supporting role here.

I'm posting this in the action thread because of those long take fight sequences. On a technical level these are easily the best fights in the series (I can't speak to the choreography as I don't know much about boxing), and Donnie's flashback to Apollo during the big fight elicited some of the same chills as that moment in the first film's climax when the music flares up.

All the Rocky films are great fodder for this thread and Creed is no exception as they are CLEARLY the best fight scenes by far. They bested Rocky Balboa, which recently held that title, by applying visual flair to the gritty, punchy stuff that it did well. Both films had the actors use relatively real punches rather than complete pulls and it lads a lot of authenticity to what's on screen.
Both are gargantuan improvements on the "take turns punching each other in the face" fights of previous films that almost feel like turn based RPG fight scenes.
The original still stands tall and I hold 2 highly, but Creed is comparable. That said, I love the whole franchise and even think Rocky V isn't the worst thing in the world... Its well intentioned but just fails in most ways that Creed does far better.
Jun 25, 2017 10:41 PM
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