For the Love of the Con: Fast Eddie and The Color of Money

For the most part, The Color of Money doesn’t feel like a Scorsese film.

That may sound like negative criticism, but I actually like this movie a great deal. Instead, what I mean is that this seems like an anomalous entry in the director’s rich and varied canon. His thumbprint is visible, but it doesn’t seem to carry his DNA. For one thing, it is a relatively conventional movie when the vast majority of his career has been anything but. These are characters that you invest in, that you remember fondly, but they don’t have the intensity or pzazz of those featured in his other marquee titles […]

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Dragon Justice: Fist of Fury

The Big Boss established several rules for making a great Bruce Lee movie, mostly by getting them wrong.

The number one rule, which should have been obvious, would be to make Bruce Lee the focus of the movie. The second rule would be letting Bruce Lee do what he did best, be a cool motherf’er. The third rule: let Bruce Lee do a lot of fighting. While it is impossible to keep Bruce from being cool, The Big Boss fumbles on rules 1 and 3 […]

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Masters of the Universe: Star Wars and the Fall of Grayskull

During their B-movie pomp, Cannon Films were a modest distribution company who far exceeded expectations.

Originally formed by Dennis Friedland and Chris Dewey as a soft porn production company, the struggling duo were forced to sell to Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, an Israeli duo who would tap into the B-movie boom of the early 1980’s. Golan-Globus would achieve immediate success exploring the popular slasher and action genres, creating stars such as Michael Dudikoff (Avenging Force), and eventually attracting some of the industry’s top names thanks to a prolific output of low-budget movies that would turn a tidy profit […]

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Thou Shalt Not Kill: Why The Lost Boys Will Never Grow Old

The mid-80’s was something of a halcyon era for the vampire film.

From Charley Brewster’s neighbour troubles in the Rear Window homage, Fright Night, to Katherine Bigelow’s western-tinged and toothless – in a good way – Near Dark. A number of less-revered, though no less entertaining, films also secured releases, including My Best Friend is a Vampire, starring Robert Sean Leonard (remember him?) and Once Bitten, a film Jim Carrey still dines out on.

Probably […]

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Tease the Dragon – The Big Boss

What was it about Bruce Lee that made him the eternal icon of action cinema?

He wasn’t the first star of the kung fu wave. Shaw Brothers Studio had been steadily churning out heroic martial arts fantasy flicks years before Lee got into the game, and cheaply dubbed versions were already showing up in American grindhouse theaters. He certainly was one of the most talented and innovative martial artists in history, but that alone doesn’t explain it, either.  I break it down to something simpler: Bruce Lee was the coolest son of a bitch ever to walk the Earth. He was so cool that both Steve McQueen and James Coburn were […]

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Into the Jungle: The Story of John McTiernan’s Predator

Back in his action heyday, director John McTiernan was something of an artiste.

For many, he is probably most remembered for genre high point Die Hard, but a year earlier he gave us another action vehicle with a crowd-pleasing twist. A genre crossover which lured us into the safety of Hollywood’s most dependable biceps, Predator would plunge us into a jungle of stifling uncertainty, adopting the form of a stalk-and-slash horror and keeping us very much in the dark […]

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You Only Live Once: How Licence to Kill Dragged Bond into the 21st Century

When it comes to Bond, Timothy Dalton has found himself low down in the pecking order.

As the first actor to fulfil the male fantasies of a generation, Sean Connery will always be regarded as the true original. Roger Moore, whose eyebrow-raising quips were not for everyone, brought a dash a debonair to the character which saw him star in a record-equalling seven instalments […]

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Leave Those Kids Alone: When Cannon Met Death Wish

By 1982, British director Michael Winner was in desperate need of a hit.

Eight years prior he had immortalised western stalwart Charles Bronson by taking his John Wayne act to the streets of New York City. Although the original Death Wish tackled the growing problem of street crime in America, it was denounced by critics due to a vigilante theme that relished in the very violence it was supposed to be condemning […]

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Suburban Monsters: The Double Standards of Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs

They say familiarity breeds contempt, but in my experience the opposite is true.

In reality people tend to fear the unfamiliar, and the more distant a person is the more they have to hide, at least in the minds of those who have been ignored. This is never truer than when a somewhat reclusive neighbour moves into an established community. Before long, suspicions begin to breed and spread, and every little detail becomes a reason for condemnation […]

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