War In Perpetuity: Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers

In a conversation with Little White Lies in 2017, Paul Verhoeven accused Hollywood of treating the general cinema- going public like idiots. ‘Hollywood thinks audiences are stupid’, he was quoted as saying during a promotional interview for controversial 2016 Isabelle Huppert starrer Elle.

The provocative Dutch director, responsible, arguably, for single-handedly reinvigorating the cinematic respectability of his home nation with auteur productions such as Turkish Delight and The 4th Man, left the Netherlands to work in America due to the backlash […]

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Stand and Deliver: The Rise of The Warriors

No movie oozes cult appeal quite like The Warriors.

Walter Hill’s roguish ballet is as detached from reality as it is packed with legitimacy—quite the achievement for a screenplay of such stark simplicity. Unlike most other gang-orientated pictures, it doesn’t condemn or even sympathise. Its cast of thugs are not the subject of morality plays. They are not analysed or judged for their actions, and there is no Bronson-esque retribution or attempt to provide solutions for this overblown representation of violent youth. Instead, they are accepted as […]

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Dragon’s Ascension: Enter the Dragon

Bruce Lee was on fire in 1972.  Each of his Hong Kong films broke Asian box office records greater than the last.

Naturally, Hollywood wanted in on the action, despite having driven him away years earlier. At the time, the studio heads were reticent to portray an Asian in any more than a supporting role, even to the point of giving the role that was tailor made for Lee, the Shaolin monk in the Kung Fu television series, to David Carradine, a white actor with no martial arts experience. Now that Lee was an international star and a guaranteed moneymaker, Warner Brothers decided to change its tune and offer Bruce his own big-budget […]

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I’d Buy that for a Dollar: Robocop and the Pursuit of the American Dream

Robocop was something of a baptism of fire for filmmaker Paul Verhoeven.

Before making the switch to Hollywood in search of The American Dream, the Dutch director was known for arthouse projects that were very much grounded in reality, and in many ways his debut US production is the very antithesis of all that went before. That’s not surprising given the fact that the movie’s protagonist is a half man, half machine with a spectacularly gaudy 80s costume design, but the overtly comic tone was somewhat determined by outside forces […]

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The Exterminator (1980)

The Exterminator is the very definition of Exploitation Cinema.

Landing somewhere between Rambo and Death Wish, it possesses the justifications of neither, adopting the latter’s quasi-fascist vigilante theme and basking in the thrill of the torture. As far as writer/director James Glickenhaus is concerned, poverty breeds paper-thin monsters who would serve well as target practice in an arcade shooter, and becoming a mindless serial killer is the only way to save humanity from stereotype-led damnation […]

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Heart of the Dragon: Way of the Dragon

So far, my odyssey of Bruce Lee has toured The Big Boss, a flawed film saved solely by Lee’s presence, and Fist of Fury (aka Chinese Connection), a fittingly grand revenge tale with jaw dropping-action.

Even though Fist of Fury was a huge improvement on The Big Boss, I felt the director, Wei Lo, still didn’t understand exactly what he had in Lee. Of course, the only person capable of understanding Lee’s full potential was the man himself, so it was fitting that for his next movie, Way of the Dragon, Lee parted ways with Wei and took directing into his own lightning fast hands […]

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