Category: Epic Battles

VHS Verdict: 1992’s ‘Private Wars’ is a Lost Action Movie Gem!

1992’s ‘Private Wars’ from PM Entertainment is an 80’s action fan’s dream come come true. It’s got everything you’re likely to want from the genre and more which was a pleasant surprise as I wasn’t sure just what to expect when I picked this sucker up randomly on VHS recently. From the cover it didn’t look like anything particularly special but within the film’s first 5 minutes or so it was clear this was gonna be a total spectacle to behold. We’ve got a great cast here as well, one of the films several leads is Steve Railsback (Lifeforce, Nukie), who stars as an unlikely anti-hero, a drunken wild card who from the movie’s fully over the top get go sets up the mayhem that pretty much continues to ensue for the duration of the film. Also equally bad ass is Dan Tullis Jr. who you just might remember for his role as “Officer Dan” on the sitcom Married… with Children. He gives the movie a damn fine does of comedy as well as some sweet ass action!

There’s a lot of stuff to fully enjoy here and luckily the pace of the movie rarely if ever lets up. We’ve basically got a wealthy sinister asshole businessman who’s dead set on getting the inhabitants of an old neighborhood to abandon their homes so he can build a huge boring business center there. To achieve his deviant goals, he bribes the corrupt local cops and uses organized gangs to harass pretty much any woman, man or even child who sets foot near them. There’s an incredible sequence that simply must be seen to be believed where the local gangster thugs go on a crazed rampage ruining kid’s toys, jump kicking innocent side walkers, shoving the elderly people, kicking over full trash cans and destroying fruit stands! These guys mean business and they quickly cross the damn line when they set one of the beloved locals on fire. The neighborhood bands together to unsuccessfully try to stop them and soon they look to employ the skills of drunken fuck up tuff guy Steve Railsback to help the cause.

This one’s filled to the brim eratic action scenes, wild explosions, crazy ass car crashes, kung fu mayhem, charismatic characters and some pretty well timed comedy. There’s an totally hilarious scene where the neighborhood watch gets together to audition locals badasses to help them out that’s totally unforgettable. They also seem to love strapping people to the front of vehicles and the surprisingly impressive stunts and explosions make me totally miss those golden years of action movies before everything was done via CGI. Private Wars has true heart as well and throws some pretty sweet nods to ‘Rocky’ when Railsback finally cleans up his act in order to get ready for the final battle with the greedy developer and his goons. It’s the perfect party movie and is truly a forgotten gem of an action movie that’s sure to put a smile on any 80’s action fans face. Seek this one out, it’s totally worth it!!! 

 

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Movie Review: Thankfully ‘GLASS’ is the Opposite of a Marvel Movie!

So there’s a damn big ‘split’ (no pun intended!) in movie goer’s opinions on M. Night Shyamalan’s latest movie ‘Glass’. The long awaited sequel to both ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Split’ has caused a ton of debate online, some think it’s the perfect end cap to Shyamalan’s “Eastrail 177” trilogy other’s think it’s a boring waste of two hours. For me I found it to be a compelling end to the saga, in fact I saw the critics bashing this movie so hard that I was truly expecting the worst going in. I mean Shyamalan’s let me down before in big ways (The Happening, The Last Airbender anyone?) so I was fully prepared to begin my next phase of “hatin’ on the guy” once again. Luckily he stuck to his guns and in my opinion delivered a smart, tense & mysterious movie that feels right in line with ‘Unbreakable’ & ‘Split’. He definitely subverted my expectations, not in the same way Rian Johnson did with ‘The Last Jedi’ but in a way which I’ve come to appreciate early on in M. Night’s career. I was hoping that it would avoid trying to be a “Marvel” movie, something it seems all big Hollywood productions are desperately trying to replicate using a somewhat, imo, tired film making style, mixing their usual “witty banter comedy” with gigantic bloated CGI battles, that at this point makes me begin to nod off in theaters.

Instead he creates smaller scale action sequences that feel real, tense and important when they occur. I’ve grown pretty damn bored with the modern superhero movies and their predictable tropes and overuse of green screens & rubbery cartoony CGI action sequences. Glass feels like it could actually happen in the real world and I was pretty scared Night was going to try and tap into that Marvel-esque money making formula that’s all the rage. Thankfully it feels like a natural progression to what came before it, more like a Christopher Nolan style superhero film than ‘Infinity War’ or ‘Aquaman’. That being said I can see how modern audiences conditioned to the ultra fast paced video gamey CGI action stuff would find plenty of reasons to be pissed off at this one. Its a dramatic supernatural thriller with slight elements of the superhero genre sprinkled about, I think ‘Glass’ will surely satisfy fans of the the two previous installments.

That all being said the movie does have plot points I found a bit disappointing. Not because they were bad moves, but because it didn’t go the way I ENVISIONED it to. The movie sets up the audience for things that might not occur at all and this all works as it feels like the real world as opposed to ‘The Last Jedi’ which is based in 100% fantasy in an established universe spanning back to the 1970’s. Shyamalan’s decisions left me disappointed and heart broken, but not in a way that destroyed the film’s appeal to me. It made me want to go back and watch all three in order and the films third act subverts expectations in ways I never saw coming. It feels like Shyamalan wasn’t merely looking to cash in on his new “superhero universe” but rather had a complete story he was willing to start and end. It was bizarre seeing a movie that didn’t feel like it was trying to tease the next installment. It brought back familiar faces from Unbreakable and Split as well and all of them were wonderful in the roles, I’ve got to admit though the characters didn’t do what I’d originally imagined they’d do. Again, I kinda appreciate that.

A few things that bothered me? Wanting more of Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson interacting, but I guess we got a heap of that way back in Unbreakable and there’s some clear problems with how Jame’s Mcavoy’s character was kept imprisoned in the mental ward where the three of them were locked up in. Minor qualms really, my major being one of the key events that occurred at the end left me perplexed and actually quite saddened. Again never expecting they’d go there and go that direction. So all in all ‘Glass’ is one I highly recommend, I give it an ‘A minus’ as it left me thinking about it a couple days later and left me wanting a second viewing now that my expectations aren’t there. Night delivers a beautiful, tense, realistic superhero character piece that fully enhances what came before it. Check it out, but don’t expect your usual superhero flick!

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble: Sam Elliot vs Sasquatch?!!

I’m going to make a prediction here, that the upcoming horror drama adventure movie ‘The Man Who Killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot’ is going to be one of my favorite movies of 2019. This one looks like a ton of fun and it stars Sam Elliot in what appears to be one heckuva oddball adventure. Besides I’m willing to give most any movie that’s got the big hairy ape in it a fair shot. First check out this bad ass poster:

Check out the synopsis:

“The story follows a legendary American war veteran named Calvin Barr (Elliott / Turner) who, decades after serving in WWII and assassinating Adolf Hitler, must now hunt down the fabled Bigfoot. Living a peaceful life in New England, the former veteran is contacted by the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to lead the charge as the creature is carrying a deadly plague and is hidden deep inside the Canadian wilderness.”

This sounds right up my alley and although we didn’t get a glimpse of Bigfoot himself I’m hoping we get a fair amount of the hairy guy and a decent game of cat and mouse between him and Elliot. After doing a little poking around the rumor is the movie is much more of a character piece than a campy throw down with Sasquatch, that’s good to know ahead of time for me at least. This one comes out on Feb 8th 2019, check out the trailer:

 

No New Star Wars Film this Christmas? Wrong! ‘Vader’ Arrives!!

So it’s 2018, Christmas time, and I noticed this year something was missing, Star Wars! Yeah we’ve all gotten a bit used to the Star Wars tradition of a new movie during the month of December, at least I have. Last year I was so damn pumped for ‘The Last Jedi’ and even though I personally thought it was a disaster there was still that excitement going into it during Christmas time. Well this year Disney has left us all with nothing Star Wars related this holiday season. But wait…

Luckily someone has stepped in and delivered one hell of a fan film in it’s place. You see, one of the best Star Wars Youtube channels around, Star Wars Theory, has produced a new short film, actually the first part of a series, and it’s fantastic. With a budget of around one hundred thousand bucks they’ve delivered something that in my opinion rivals some of the cinematic stuff, no question. This follows the rage and fury Darth Vader felt after the events of Episode 3 and his relationship explored with The Emperor. I think Disney could learn a few things from Star Wars Theory on how to produce content fans actually want. Eat your heart out Darth Vader fanatics!

 

Christmas Comic Cover of the Week: Lobo vs Santa Claus!!

It’s time too take a look at some cool Holiday themed comic book covers from yesteryear! Here’s a great one waaay back from 1991, the Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special! This crazy Christmas tale feature Lobo as he goes on a hunt to execute Santa Claus, why you might ask? Because the jealous drunken Easter Bunny hired him to do it! A super bizarre Christmas adventure features a total bad ass superpowered Santa to who’s ready to throw down with just about anyone. I love this cover art too by Simon Bisley and the odd disclaimers that can be see on it “Seriously suggested for mature readers” and on the bottom right hand corner reads, “WARNING: Contains Bad Taste In The Form Of Ultra-Violence, Icon-Bashing, And “The Finger.” More Offensive Than Christmas Usually Is.” A total classic 90’s odd ball adventure from DC comics!

 

Wait but THAT’S not all in 2002 someone made this into a damn short film, no kidding check this shit out!!

Star Wars Episode IX: Hopes & Predictions Part 2!

Hey! Here we are with part two of my hopes and predictions for Star Wars Episode IX, this next installment is quite a deal breaker for the franchise’s future. The Last Jedi was a polarizing film and JJ really needs to rope all the fans back into the arena and get everyone to stop bickering and name calling. How’s he going to accomplish this? Well the last installment I focused on Luke, Rey &  Kylo and what I hope to see from them in the next movie, I also included what I think though will actually end up being the case for the characters. One things clear, there’s a lot of fans who’re lacking the enthusiasm they once had for Star Wars, so let’s take a look at some of the remaining characters and figure out just what’d be the winning recipe for Episode IX that just might bring back the disgruntled customers to the franchise!  

Finn

I loved Finn in The Force Awakens, his character was totally likable and his back story was actually pretty unique as well. Sadly in The Last Jedi he was given a pretty uninspiring side quest that went nowhere not fast enough. I continue to think of all the other more compelling scenarios that could’ve been thought up instead of the whole casino thing and that whole being arrested for parking his ship illegally on the beach and thrown into jail thing. Uggh…such bad writing in my opinion. I hope in Episode IX Finn gets a little more respect and is given a more interesting story arc. I also hope he’s given another chance to wield a lightsaber, he’s got serious potential and needs one of his own for sure. In my opinion also he’d be the best love interest for Rey, him and Rose had absolutely zero chemistry.

Prediction:

Finn’s going to be given serious redemption and JJ’s gonna for sure have a rewarding adventure for him to embark on as well this time around. I’m predicting he’ll use a lightsaber again as well at some point in the movie. He’ll also spend a lot more time with Rey as the two of them had sweet chemistry together in The Force Awakens, I’m also predicting they’ll have some sort of love connection, it makes a lot more sense than the whole “Reylo” theory. I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually saves Rey from Kylo in the first lightsaber duel in the next movie. Whatever the case he’s gonna be utilized in a much more compelling way this time around. I’m guessing that his “relationship” with Rose will be headed into the “friend zone” in the next film.

 

The Remaining Original Trilogy Characters: Leia, Chewy, Lando, R2D2 & C3P0

Oh how I’d love these characters to get their chance to really shine one more time. It’s a shame how they’ve been shoved to the background especially in the last movie. I’m hoping Chewy gets a ton more screen time and is included this time around as a real supporting character. He was barely in The Last Jedi and when he was he was simply utilized for quick “porg humor”. This time I hope he’s actually in on the action, teaming up and sharing the screen with Lando in the Falcon.

Speaking of Lando I’m hoping he get’s more than a quick cameo, give him a substantial role and perhaps pair him up with the remaining classic cast members. I think it’d be interesting if Lando was so angered by Han’s death that he was fueled to want revenge against Kylo. That’s a scenario we could really feel for his character. Also let’s get C3P0 and R2D2 in this damn movie more, am I the ONLY one who thinks these two need more screen time?! These droids are truly iconic & what’d be amazing would be if Luke didn’t die and could be teamed with the droids and Chewy once again. That however for some reason seems like wishful thinking at this point.

Lastly Leia, sadly there’s not much they can really do with her at this point, they’ve got some footage they can splice etc but since she was pushed to the background in The Last Jedi sadly we’re left with whatever JJ’s got in the vaults. I’d have loved to have seen her use the Force in a different way, I think it would have been amazing if it had been revealed that Luke had indeed trained her as a Jedi (like in the Legends/EU material) and she’d pulled out a lightsaber in The Last Jedi rather than oddly flying through space. But hey that’s just my opinion. All in all I hope they showcase the classic characters more this time around-people still LOVE them!! Continue reading

Star Wars Episode IX: Predictions and Hopes Part One!

Ok folks, so obviously we don’t need to discuss ‘The Last Jedi’ anymore, it’s been debated to death! I’ll just say one last time, I thought it was a HUGE disappointment and with each viewing it’s gotten even worse for me personally. That being said, if you think it’s the next best thing since sliced bread I’m not gonna argue with you, it just really a matter of taste. However whatever you think of ‘Episode 8’ one thing is clear, the movie has divided fans & put the Disney Star Wars franchise into serious turmoil. Episode IX is really a make or break film with a lot riding on it’s shoulders. Another major blunder on the last episode of the ‘Skywalker saga’ could seriously tank the whole operation or at least put it under ice for a while if it under performs at the box office. The last thing they need is more bickering, name calling and heated debate within the fan base. So as a reasonable fan of the franchise, who felt that the last installment was the most disappointing sequel in movie history, I’d like to list a few of my hopes and predictions for this controversial movie, Episode IX!

 

LUKE SKYWALKER:

To say I was disappointed with Luke in The Last Jedi is an understatement! Many of us have waited 34 years to see Luke again, one of the most iconic movie heroes in pop culture, as I understand things change sometimes in that amount of time, I think the chance of utilizing Mark Hamill as Luke one last time was fully and carelessly wasted by Rian Johnson. So in Episode IX, I really only have one true hope, that somehow Luke did not actually die. Imagine the excitement in the theater among fans, if someone stepped from the shadows in a pivotal moment, pulled back his hood & revealed he was Luke Skywalker alive in the flesh?! It’d be one of the best twists in the saga and probably movie history. Imagine him igniting his lightsaber to be a real part of the action-fans would go nuts.

Let’s face it, one thing we’ve learned from this third trilogy is that fans wanted more of the original characters, why not utilize them one LAST time instead of hiding them. Rian Johnson kept Leia in a damn coma for most of The Last Jedi, bad move dude! Give us Hamill as the iconic character one last time, let him use his damn lightsaber, stop worrying about him stealing the thunder of the new characters. listen to the fan base like Marvel does. The easiest character to bring back in the next movie is indeed Luke, it makes the most sense, he simply vanished (ahem…with his robotic hand), perhaps he utilized a never before seen force power? Whatever the case, living Luke will be the biggest step in repairing the damage, and who the hell wouldn’t love on last adventure with Luke Skywalker?! This seems like a no-brainer….

Prediction:

Though the idea to bring back Luke in the flesh seems like the obvious thing to do, it’s also what fans at this point are least expecting to happen. What I think’ll likely be the case is that Luke will indeed be a Force Ghost, coming and going throughout the movie to speak to Rey and Kylo. I think JJ will try and excite fans by showing flashbacks of Luke in the past, Hamill de-aged digitally, using his lightsaber and dealing with Kylo when he was in training. He might also throw in Luke’s force ghost in the end to do some sort of force lightning or something snazzy to help out Rey when she’s in a pinch. Though the flashbacks would be interesting and surely enhance the plot, they should have done something like this in ‘The Last Jedi’ to make the Luke / Kylo dynamic hold some weight and emotion. The idea of a force ghost Luke just doesn’t do it for me, bring him back for real one last time for the fans.

 

KYLO REN

So we all know Kylo and Rey will have a rematch but seriously Kylo has already lost at every evil thing he’s attempted, except for killing his dad. So far he seems like a pretty inept villain. I’d at this point like to see the emo man baby actually pull off some sinister shit for once. I’m actually kinda rooting for him, I’m hoping that this next installment can make him into a truly fierce & imposing villain because as it stands right now he’s just a failing bad guy who throws ridiculous temper tantrums. I also hope he stays bad to the bone and is unable to be redeemed, at least then it’d explain why Luke for some reason wanted to murder him in his sleep.

I’d also like to see Kylo with a damn mask again, at least when going into public or battle to protect himself, now that Snoke is gone he can wear that shit like he wanted to from the start without his boss ripping on him all the time. Even better would be if Kylo’s appearance was being affected by the dark side of the force and his face was beginning to look more messed up like Emperor Palpatine. That would add a truly frightening side to the character as someone who was truly evil and past the point of no return. They’ve gotta do something with him to make him a convincing villain now that Snoke is cut in two. I’d like to see Kylo either bite the dust at the end or actually win!

Prediction:

I think JJ will indeed be making some changes to Ren to make him a more fearsome villain, I assume as well he’s got to pull off some truly epically evil stuff as well as beating Rey in a lightsaber battle near the middle of the movie. I mean Rey has got to be defeated at some point to bring some sort suspense to the plot right? So I think Ren will indeed get his moment to win early on, however I think he’ll also get his redemption near the end. I think there’s going to be some other larger threat that will force Ren to become ‘Ben Solo’ again. My guess is he’s going to sacrifice himself at the end for the greater good.

REY

I’d like to see Rey finally have some real struggle, maybe too little too late for anyone to care but in order for me to personally get invested in her character at this point I’m going to have to believe that she’s in some sort of real danger and can actually be defeated. So far she’s been able to pretty much do anything she wants with little to no effort, whether beating Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel the first time, picking up huge boulders to save everyone, being an ace piloting the Falcon the first time etc.

I’m hoping for some real turmoil for her character. At this point I’m not really concerned about who her parents are but it’d be nice for them to explain why she’s been able to kick so much ass without the experience needed to do so. I’m not too invested in her character after TLJ, though I did though really enjoy her arc in ‘The Force Awakens’, but in my opinion she hasn’t had much of a struggle in the first two movies. Everything has come a bit too easy thus far at least.

Prediction:

Rey will indeed do some “failing” finally in the last installment, if not the character will continue to be ridiculed and be called a “Mary Sue” by triggered fans. The movies so far have gotten too much negativity about her character being unstoppable & I don’t think they can just keep having her win at everything. I also think JJ will indeed give us a reason why she seems so naturally powerful, one that I believe he had in mind from the start. I also think Ren was simply lying to her about being a nobody. There will indeed be a big reveal about her past that will explain why she became a bad ass without any sort of training. Yes in the end I believe she will turn Kylo from the dark side and the two will team up against a “new threat” at the end of the movie.

Ok Stay tuned for part 2  cuz there’s lots more to chat about! Let me know what you think & if you are excited for Episode IX!