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Zorro

Z marks the spot, occasionally.


Action

Rod Lott
It wasn't too long ago you could find crap copies of 1975's Zorro in the dollar-store DVD bins. For a Blu-ray release, Somerville House has cleaned it all up digitally, improving everything but how dull it sometimes is.
 
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Expendables 2

Bigger, better, badassier.


Action

Rod Lott
Preceding the start of The Expendables 2 is an ad for its tie-in video game. Why bother playing such a thing when so many sequences of the the movie make you feel like you're doing so already? I mean that as a compliment, because as directed by Simon West (The Mechanic), the sequel’s 15-minute prologue is so unrelenting in nonstop action that it’s likely to turn you giddy.
 
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Outlaw Brothers

Kickin’!


Action

Rod Lott
In the heyday of DVD, 20th Century Fox brought a lot of contemporary Asian actioners to disc in affordable, collectible editions under the “Hong Kong Legends” banner: Eastern Condors, Magnificent Butchers, Knockabout, In the Line of Duty 4, City Hunter, Naked Killer, My Lucky Stars. Watching The Outlaw Brothers reminded me of those glorious times.
 
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

Spins a web, familiar size.


Action

Rod Lott
I still don’t know why Hollywood felt that Spider-Man, all of 10 years young, needed to be remade — I suspect it has to do with selling toys. Enough of calling The Amazing Spider-Man a “reboot,” too; this is a remake through and through.
 
Friday, November 9, 2012

Maximum Conviction

And minimal competence.


Action

Rod Lott
In Maximum Conviction, Steve Austin forever speaks like there’s a pinch of Skoal eating through the corner of his bottom lip, but I have no idea what’s going on with Steven Seagal’s accent attempt: Southern? Cajun? Ebonics? An overly phlegmy head cold? Your guess is as good as mine, and unfortunately, I’ve seen the movie.
 
Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gone in 60 Seconds: Car Crash King Edition

For pure automobile action, it’s ‘Gone,’ baby, ‘Gone.’


Action

Rod Lott
Compared to its 2000 big-budget remake, H.B. Halicki's Gone in 60 Seconds is deficient in slickness, star power, performances, plotting and humor. Yet the 1974 indie original decimates the Hollywood version as an all-around entertainment. Why? Two simple reasons, boiled down to numbers: some 500 vehicles wrecked and a 40-minute chase scene.
 
Friday, October 19, 2012

Flying Swords of Dragon Gate

Proves Kong is still king.


Action

Rod Lott
Although my bank account thinks otherwise, I miss the early-aughts craze of DVDs, in which one count upon pristine prints of one martial-arts film or another hitting store shelves. Many of them starred Jackie Chan or Jet Li.
 
Monday, October 8, 2012

Sudden Death / Live a Little, Steal a Lot

Robert Conrad as you've never seen him before: in two movies!


Action

Rod Lott
To my knowledge, no one ever said, “I can’t wait for the new Robert Conrad movie!” That could be because so few knew he made movies. After all, Conrad spent the bulk of his long career on the small screen, in the likes of The Wild Wild West, Black Sheep Squadron and a highly memorable ad campaign for Eveready batteries.
 
Monday, October 1, 2012

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1

And stumbles.


Action

Rod Lott
In 1986, writer and artist Frank Miller changed the comic-book industry forever with the four-issue series that became the graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns. Its sour disposition and gritty attitude was arguably the darkest depiction of Batman the world had seen, paving the way for the caped crusader’s move to big-screen blockbuster three years later.
 
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sitting Target

Bring me the head of Jill St. John!


Action

Rod Lott
In the case of 1972's Sitting Target, the title refers to Pat Lomart (Jill St. John, Diamonds Are Forever), the wife of rough and rugged Harry (Oliver Reed, Gladiator). The opening scene finds her visiting him behind bars, where he's being held for murder. Since he's liable to get 15 years, she can't wait for him, so she's filing for divorce.
 
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Naked Angels

This biker flick has no clothes.


Action

Rod Lott
For his productions, Roger Corman knew the market value of a great title. Naked Angels is one of them, but in the case, but it’s like putting icing on a pile of dog poop.
 
Monday, September 10, 2012

Safe

Because ‘Safe’ doesn’t play that way, it succeeds.


Action

Rod Lott
Because she has a photographic memory for digits, 11-year-old Mei (newcomer Catherine Chan) was kidnapped and taken from Beijing to Brooklyn to "count" for the Chinese Triads, like a pint-sized accountant who needs no calculator.
 
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Quick

Quick! See ‘Quick’!


Action

Rod Lott
Pop quiz, hotshot: What American movie would the South Korean filmmakers of Quick would like you to believe it emulates? The answer is not difficult, because it's written right on the box: Speed.
 
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Viral Factor

Warning: This Asian actioner can be infectious.


Action

Rod Lott
Directed by Dante Lam (The Stool Pigeon), the action-thriller The Viral Factor revolves around the world’s last two surviving samples of the smallpox virus, one of which is an arm’s length away from being used to develop a biological weapon to unleash of five of the world’s seven continents.
 
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hercules, Samson and Ulysses / The Slave / Sandokan the Great

Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?


Action

Rod Lott
Swords and sandals: Once a matinee mainstay, the adventure subgenre is now all but extinct, kept alive by the occasional Conan movie or Titans clash. DVD helps, too, such as three new offerings from Warner Archive.
 
Thursday, August 16, 2012
 
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