I just checked out VFW, the latest from director Joe Begos (Almost Human, The Mind’s Eye) who returns with, in my opinion his best film yet! This sweet little gritty love letter to John Carpenter, which calls back to his classic ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ in big way, is also a blood soaked love letter to some older actors/action stars of yesteryear. We’ve got icons Fred Williamson, William Sadler, Stephen Lang, Martin Kove & even George Wendt from ‘Cheers’ to make this bar room brawl even more authentic!
The story kicks off on a special birthday night for VFW bar owner “Fred” and his tight knit gang of bad ass war veterans. The evening quickly turns into wild all-out battle for their lives when a teen punk rock girl crashes their party with a sack full of ‘hype’. This new drug basically turns people into demented maniacs, with a hunger for more hype at any cost. The evil punk drug dealer, desperate to get his valuable stash back, sends his gang of gnarly addicts on a rampage to get it back. When these mutant punks on a rampage storm the bar looking for the teen, the old vets along with a younger soldier get to relive the gory glory years of war one more time. They unleash their pent of rage and fury using every weapon they can get their hands on to protect the girl and try annihilate the horde of drug addled maniacs. However these messed up punks have hype running through their veins and want more, risking anything to their grimy paws on it.
If you’re a fan of old school action flicks from the 70’s & 80’s you’re going to really get a kick out of VFW. The gore is pretty over the top, done in a such a cartoony way that people literally explode on screen. As a fan of practical fx Begos always delivers the goods with some wild splatter, he also keeps the vibe placed firmly in the golden days of the action era, with not a cell phone in sight. It also feels like an 80’s flick, with stunning neon lit sets within the walls of the cool old dank dive bar.
The real highlight of this is the cast of old codgers who do the majority of the ass kickin’. It’s absolutely delightful to see the likes of Fred Williamson & The Karate Kid’s Martin “Sensei” Kove in full on action mode as well as Stephen Lang, William Sadler and the younger soldier played by Tom Williamson. They’re all great here and give this film the cred it deserves proving age is just a number when it comes to cinematic butt kicking. I really enjoyed VFW, it’s the perfect modern midnite movie and gets so much praise for bringing in some old icons into the mix of onscreen mayhem. Check this out if you’re a fan of 70’s/80’s cult action horror flicks- And here’s to hoping VFW gets a sequel bringing even more of the bar’s patrons into the fold, hand picking some more old nearly forgotten bad asses to do some damage one last time!
This year has been a good one for hyper crazy thrillers that kick your ass all over the theater- seeing two movies so far that successfully beat the tar out of the audience. The first was the incredible ‘Green Room’ and second being ‘Don’t Breathe’ the new movie from Fede “Evil Dead” Alvarez. Let me tell ya his new movie released this last weekend is a nonstop nail biter! It lives up to the hype. It’s got the grimy goods and then some and you’re not likely to find anyone able to dose off during this crazy ass thriller.
The story is simple, set in the desolate, barren areas of Detroit Michigan, three young burglars plan to rob a down on his luck blind man who’s recently gotten a six figure payment for the death of his daughter. As you might guess things don’t go quite as planned because by now everyone knows blind people are all total badasses. I guess that’s the way it goes down in the movies anyway right? Well this particular blind guy should face off with Daredevil sometime cuz he’d likely give him a serious ass whoopin!
I really don’t want to give away much of the plot as it is full of some interesting twists and turns. What I will say is Alvarez pulls no punches here, much like his ‘Evil Dead’ reboot this one rarely gives you a chance to breathe, only this one to it’s advantage has a much more likable cast. It’s a dark and gritty tale that really excels because of it’s completely convincing actors and incredible set piece. Yeah, the blind man’s old decaying home is a perplexing dark labyrinth of nooks and crannies with plenty of surprises tucked away. You’ll never feel more frustrated about trying find an exit out as this one unfolds. This movie’s got one helluva “final girl” too played by Jane Levy, she’s definitely got the chops!
The “villain” is played with amazing ferocity by Stephen Lang who’s hulking presence gives him an almost superhuman quality. It’s strange too how this movie turns the concept of facing off with a blind person into an incredibly menacing experience. You’d think the opposite but here the fact that he IS blind is one of the most terrifying things about the whole experience. Never has sneaking around been more nerve wracking! This is easily one of the most intense movie theater experiences I’ve had in quite some time.
I highly recommend this one for people who like being on the very edge of their seats with a racing heart for 90 minutes. For those who can’t hack it this one definitely won’t give you the warm fuzzies. The movie isn’t really full of crazy gore or anything like that but it’s a tightly packed mega tense cat and mouse game unlike anything you’ve probably seen before. It’s really one giant epic battle. I’d also like to ad that this ones likely going to go down in history for making you never look at turkey baster the same. That I promise – check this out if you’re feeling like a challenge!