90's ACTION! DOUBLE WORKOUT:TC 2000 (1993, 91 min.) on YouTube for the first time.In the year 2020 the environment is so polluted the rich and powerful move underground, leaving the surface world to the poor masses. "TC 2000" doesn't show you the luxurious living quarters of the richest 1% because, well, that'd cost money. Instead this direct-to-video action flick focuses on the weapons-free, cybernetics-enhanced ass-kicking police force in charge of keeping the outdoors riffraff from entering the laser-protected entries into the inner sanctums. The best cop in this security force, Jason Storm (Billy Blanks), suffers a devastating loss when his partner Zoey (Bobbie Phillips) dies under mysterious circumstances. The security Controller (Ramsay Smith) turns Zoey into a new-and-improved 'TC 2000X' cyborg. Her first assignment: track down Jason (who quits the force and leaves) to eliminate him, then infiltrate the surface resistance leadership. Because, to no one's surprise, the Controller has ulterior motives he won't share with his boss (Douglas Lennox's Overlord) about TC-2000X's true purpose.The producers lucked out in getting some outstanding locations (an abandoned missile silo, two giant factories, etc.) and minimal-but-well-integrated effects work to get above-average background bang for their fighting budget. It's nice to see Bolo Yeung ("Enter the Dragon," "Bloodsport") playing a good guy for a change, especially when he and Matthias Hues (the drug dealing alien from "I Come In Peace"/"Dark Angel") go at it. Bobbie Phillips' facial expressions when Zoey's humanity struggles with her cybernetic program are too funny for the wrong reasons, which just adds to the cheesy fun. And the sexy homoerotic montages of shirtless Billy Blanks and Bolo Yeung training together (54:45), then teaching a primitive version of Tae Bo to fat out-of-shape extras (1:02:48)? The hotness! :-) Recommended. Luis Llosa's THE SPECIALIST (1994, 110 min.) on DVD for the first time.From its theatrical trailer this one feels like Sylvester Stallone's version of Arnold Schwarenegger's "Eraser" (a lower-tier mid-90's vehicle for an aging action star to cash in on the nostalgia of his older, better movies) with a heavy dose of post-"Basic Instinct" Sharon Stone sex appeal thrown in for good measure. But you and I see James Woods ("Cop"), Eric Roberts ("Star 80") and Rod Steiger ("The Amityville Horror") in the credits and we immediately know where the real sizzle in this reel's coming from. Woods is on fire in this one, barking orders and being abusive to everyone around him as it there weren't any cameras around (get it? :-P). He's technically the henchmen working for a Miami drug lord (Steiger) and his a-hole son (Roberts), but every time James is not on screen kicking ass it's obvious from whom the movie derives most of its energy from.Combined with a too-classy-for-this-joint musical score by John Barry and above-average practical pyrotechnic explosions, and "The Specialist" is way better than it has any right to be considering the leads don't meet until an hour into the picture (electronic device communication advances the plot) except for an antagonism-setting prologue that looks/feels like amateur hour. Not the finest work by either Stallone or Stone, but their chiseled bodies during the love-making shower scene are eye-opening highlights for an 'R' rated studio action pic. Biggest set of balls in "The Specialist" (besides Woods')? Producer Jerry Weintraub listing six relatives as 'Assistants to the Producer' in the credits, because NEPOTISM-RULES-HOLLYWOOD-SPLOITATION! :-(
Nikita a.k.a. La Femme Nikita (1990)I was originally going to watch Point of No Return because it was available to rent on Amazon and I love convenience, but then as luck would have it you can pick up the blu-ray of La Femme Nikita for $5-6 so I'll have to get my Bridget Fonda fix later on from Little Buddha or something. Of course I'm not going to complain about Anne Parillaud. I like Innocent Blood as much as the next man.What can I say, it's a great movie. This is Luc Besson at during peak years (although I honestly don't like The Fifth Element). I don't want to bash the guy or anything but I do feel like in the last 15 years or so he's been recycling a lot of his previous works in his writing. I really enjoyed Nikita though thanks in large part to great performance from the three leads who keep grounded what could maybe be a ridiculous premise in turning a young addict criminal into an elite assassin and secret agent type.
Do or Die (1991, dir. Andy Sidaris)Starring two of the biggest stars of the 90's, Erik Estrada and Pat Morita!In the opening scene, the big bad guy (Morita) lets the leading ladies know that he's hired six teams of assassins to kill them. So no need to worry your pretty little head, there's the whole movie spelled out in the first scene. Of course, between the assassination attempts there's cars, planes, gadgets and quite a bit of T&A. It's a Sidaris movie, after all.The first three or four Sidaris joints were fun (in their way), with Hard Ticket to Hawaii the definite highlight, but these latter ones carry diminishing returns. Best thing about the movie is the bad guy's computer display, which shows a list of the assassin teams, and when a team is killed (spoilers!), it erases them from the screen accopanied by an explosion graphic and sound effect, and moves the rest of the list up. The graphic is sloooow and it's shown each and every time from start to finish. The more times they showed it, the more I laughed.
Bonus: Lookwell (1991 pilot, dir. Egbert Warnderink Swackhamer Jr.)Was hoping there would be some action to justify watching this today. Surely a short car chase counts?A pilot for a comedy show that never got picked up, written by Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel and starring Adam West (R.I.P.), Lookwell is about a washed-up actor who used to play a cop on TV and is having trouble letting go of the excitement, so he tries to help the police solve crimes, whether they want his help or not.There's a few fun jokes and West is having fun in the lead role, but I don't think it would've become a favorite show of mine. And yes, that is the real name of the director.
Most of the time the director used his initials (E.W. Swackhamer), and he was a prolific TV director. From "Spider-Man" to "Law & Order," "Quincy M.E." to "McCloud," the man was a human post office: he delivered.
I know, he was credited with his initials in Lookwell too, but when I saw his full name in IMDb, I couldn't resist using it here.
90's ACTION! BONUS (because MIKKO-VIINIKKA-SHOWED-ME-THE-WAY-SPLOITATION :-D).Jack Sholder's GENERATION-X (1996, 87 min.) on YouTube for the first time.It's fitting that FTM's new podcast is about a Joel Schumacher-directed 90's "Batman" movie. This TV pilot for a never-made live-action "X-Men" TV series is so blatantly stealing its look and purposeless Dutch angles from "Batman Forever" (along with Matt Frewer embarrassing himself trying to imitate Jim Carrey's take on The Riddler) it's amazing DC and Warner didn't sue Marvel and Fox for IP theft. Even as its using the exact same mansion locations as the Bryan Singer "X-Men" movies, director Jack Sholder ("Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge") shoots everything in "Generation-X" to look as cheap and underwhelming as Roger Corman's unreleased "Fantastic Four" feature (a fitting comparison since Corman's New World made both). And sorry, Jack, but no way the man who directs mutant bullies to give new student Skin (Agustin Rodriguez) a 'titty twister' from hell isn't aware that the Freddy Kruger flick he directed is as gay as the outfits Emma Frost (Finola Hughes) wears as the Xavier School's administrator. Seriously, the cast of Netflix's "GLOW" is out-glammed every time Frost changes outfits and strikes a pose (which is every other scene she's in).Other than Frost, Jubilee (Heather McComb) and Banshee (Jeremy Ratchford, who voiced the same character in the early 90's "X-Men" animated series) there isn't a recognizable mutant character in this flick. Cerebro looks like a low-powered UHF TV station control room, and the plot involving a mad scientist (Matt Frewer) controlling people's dreams is as underdeveloped as the personalities of the handful of mutant students (six of 'em... in the whole school!) who never cut loose and/or show-off their powers. That "Generation-X" feels like a cheap "NOES" copycat (complete with swear words and recycled "Hellraiser II" background assets) tells you how low in the totem pole of action/storytelling quality control comic book adaptations ranked in the 90's. All that said, if you have two minutes of free time, please click the YouTube link above and move the scrolling bar to 41:22. It's the funniest minute and 23 seconds of unintentional "Inception"-stole-this-idea-but-didn't-do-it-better laugh-out loud humor I've experienced in a long, long time. I shit you now, and you're welcome. ;-P
NOT! I shit you not.
You're welcome. Let`s just keep it between us and not get the police involved. Dig? :-P
The World is Not Enough (1999)Call me crazy, but this is probably the Brosnan movie I come back to the most. The highs aren't high, but the lows aren't low. It's "airport novel" level of trashy. Sophie Marceau is smouldering and Denise Richards is peppy. Completely serviceable, would revisit.
I really love Sophie Marceau in this movie!
This is one of the most Entertaining Bonds for me! I've always said it has one of the best Bond girls (Sophie) and one of the worst (Richards). Still love it.
Under Siege (1992)This is such an easy movie to have fun with. But it reminded me more how much I love 90s Tommy Lee Jones. Well actually I usually adore him what ever the decade, but here he is chewing all the scenery and it is glorious. If this movie was just watching Jones, Busey and whoever the guy computer was (best air bunch ever) I would have been equally happy.
U.S Marshals (1998)Keeping the Tommy Lee Train going. I only watched The Fugitive last month, so I watched the sequel. What I liked about this movie is that it kept most of it's egregious, 'hey remember these things from the Fugitive' to the first 20 minutes. Then it turned into a pretty solid chase thriller.
The Replacement Killers (1998)A stylish, action packed American take on Hong Kong action. This is a helluva strong debut film for Antoine Fuqua, and it introduced a wider audience to the awesomeness that is Chow Yun-fat.
Cyber Tracker 2 (1995, dir. Richard Pepin)Oh, just wonderful. If this movie had come out of Italy, it would have been called Terminator vs. RoboCop. It's just a remake of T2 with Don The Dragon playing both Terminators. They imitate the basin car chase, the Miles Dyson death scene, the liquid nitrogen scene, etc.; the cherry on top is that Don's buddies with one of the bald "Trackers" from the first movie this time. PM understand that the only thing you need to make an impressive action movie is tons of exploding cars, and they never skimp on 'em. As legally required of all '90s action movies, Nils Allen Stewart is in it, and it's rated R for "non-stop violence".Dune Warriors (1990, dir. Cirio H. Santiago)Another post-apocalypse picture from C.H.S. This one is another retelling of Seven Samurai, starring David Carradine! I got pretty excited when I realized that was what was going down, because I thought I'd watched all the S.S. adaptations back when Magnificent Seven came out, including the Ferrigno gladiator one and that Russian one. As a perfect reflection of the low rent Santiago/Corman sensibility, I guess they decided seven dune warriors was too expensive, because there's only five of them. The music is by The Score Warriors!!The Immortals (1995, dir. Brian Grant)It's a terrible Reservoir Dogs-alike with a hella souped-up cast: Eric Roberts, Tia Carrere, Joe Pantoliano, Clarence Williams III, William Forsythe, Tony Curtis, Chris Rock(!), and Dermot Mulroney's brother. They're pulling a heist, and the big reveal is that they've all been chosen for the job because they've all got terminal diseases (two of them have AIDS.) What a crazy gang of characters! One of those too-clever-for-its-own-good '90s crime thrillers ala 2 Days in the Valley. (I love those!)Bloodmoon (1997, dir. Siu-Hung Leung)I remember Chaybee being disappointed by this one another Junesploitation as well. Gary Daniels and beloved professional Eddie Murphy-alike Chuck Jeffreys are a cop and a serial killer profiler after a somebody slaying champion martial artists while wearing a yin-yang mask and metal boots. He's also got a metal pointer and middle finger on his left hand! (which are never explained, but he stabs people to death with. We see him doing maintenance on them like Freddy at the beginning of the Elm Street remake.) Chuck's also an aspiring magician. The fight scenes are crazy energetic, including a near-HK level manic final fight with Gary's wife and daughter tied to a bomb on a timer. It should be a classic, but there's too much silly and self-serious case-solving stuff. Frank Gorshin plays the chief of police.
The Perfect Weapon (1991)If someone put Fred Ward and Nathan Fillion in a blender and hit frappe and then poured them into a cocktail strainer and poured every last drop of charisma down the drain, the result would be something very close to Jeff Speakman. Blank as he is (and hoo boy is he blank), dude's got some moves and the movie is a very fun watch.Speakman plays Jeff (a stretch! I imagine he didn't know to respond to anything other than his own name), an expert in Kenpo out to avenge the death of Mako, which is the driving force of roughly 74% of the world's action movies. He does this by hitting many people with sticks and also kicking all of the faces. When he gets to be Action Dude it's fast and fun, when he's asked to emote...let's just say he's a hell of a fighter and leave it at that, he seems like a nice dude.
Great summation of Speakman. I could never make it through one of his joints on HBO back in the day.
Hopping on with JP. The Perfect Weapon (First Time Viewing): Agree with JP 100% on Speakman. Unfortunately this movie is mostly generic, with the exception of the loudest punching/kicking sound effects ever committed to film. I also think Jeff Speakman hitting a bunch of henchman with sticks is kinda cool. Bonus points for use of "I've got the Power" by Snap.
That's a great point, the sound effects were straight out of a Bruce Lee movie. Very weird choice for a 90's movie that wasn't trying to be overtly campy to make.
Stone Cold (1991)This is the first time I've ever seen this. I'm not sure how to... I, uh... Wow. This movie must be seen to be believed. It literally STARTS at Over The Top Crazy and keeps going from there. No one talks like this. No one behaves like this. This movie is so ridiculous, it borders on AWESOME. I'm sure most people have already seen this, but if not, it is EVERYTHING you want in an early 90's action movie. It's a shame they don't make movies like this anymore. I would gladly trade one superhero movie per year if it meant we got another one of these. I'm seriously thinking about watching this again RIGHT NOW.
It doesn't just border on awesome... it IS awesome! Stone Cold is the perfect 90s Action day pick!
Fire Down Below (1997)Sometimes I forget how much I like Steven Seagal as an action star! He’s cool, charming, mysterious, and just enough of an asshole. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also so awesome to watch in a fight scene!I really had a great time with this movie! It had a refreshing plot that wasn’t the typical “drugs” or “assassins” or whatever else. How many action movies are about the bad guys trying to dump toxic waste in the environment? It also has bad guys that are the absolute epitome of scum, which I always appreciate in an action flick. My only complaint is Seagal not seeming at all interested in his own romance (zero sexual tension), but other than that this thing is damn entertaining! Robot Jox (1990)This movie is pretty good! Leading actor Gary Graham was particularly great and really elevated the film. While I love how well they pulled of the effects on a low budget, I must admit the robot action was my least favorite thing in the movie. They moved so slow and usually didn’t do anything particularly interesting. Still, I love that horror master Stuart Gordon decided to make a sci-fi/action robot movie and did as good a job as he did.
I watched Fire Down Below last Junesploitation on this category and really liked it. It's too bad that as you pointed out Seagal was starting to slip at this point because the movie around him is pretty awesome. That truck chase is pretty cool too! Also you realize Seagal did the music right?
That truck chase was fantastic, and I had no idea Seagal did the music! That's crazy awesome.
MONOLITH (1993) Bill Paxton plays a wisecracking rebellious cop investigating a government conspiracy, eventually discovering alien invaders. Paxton’s clearly having fun doing the Lethal Weapon thing, and there are a couple of cool gunfights and chases. The whole thing has the look and feel of a ‘90s syndicated sci-fi TV show, so either that’s your thing or it isn’t. Also, John Hurt plays the villain, and I love that his character’s name is just “Villano.” MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON (1990) The true story of Richard Burton (the explorer, not the actor) and his expedition to find the source of the Nile River. It’s only an action movie in the “wilderness survival” sense, but it was still an engaging tale of old-timey exploration, and how far one man is willing to go to find what he seeks. Not very exploitation-y, but interesting and worth a look. P.U.N.K.S. (1999) Some kids steal a futuristic mech suit and fight an evil scientist. Except, not really. I was expecting superhero action and instead got comedy heist stuff. The mech, which is just a backpack with a bunch of wires on it, could be any old McGuffin the kids are stealing via pranks and shenanigans. Skip this one and watch The Goonies for the one millionth time instead.
The Substitute (1996)Wow. Always liked this one, but even better than I remembered. Outside of its pretty unbelievable premise, that requires some creative storytelling along the way, this one is almost perfect. Gonna keep this one short, but gotta say that William Forsythe is an awesome wild card of an actor that I've enjoyed for as long as I was aware of actors at all. The whole cast rules. Junesploitation fucking rocks.
Love this movie (the sequels aren't as good but they're often pretty fun too). When I met Forsythe at a con this was the movie I had him sign. He was just as awesome as you'd hope.
Speed (1994)I know we're all big fans of Point Break, The Matrix and John Wick, but Jack Traven is still my favorite Keanu performance. "Cahns, it was full of cahns."Also, has there ever been a better directorial debut from a director who turned out to be....not so good? The only one I can think of is maybe Blomkamp, although even Chappie doesn't sink to the depths of Speed 2.
I tried to watch Speed 2 because it was on Netflix and Sandra Bullock. No success.
All of de Bont's follow ups were dreadful, its quite remarkable. Twister, the Haunting, Tomb Raider. I can't even think of 1 good scene in any of those. It's quite remarkable.
Crime Story (1993)Decent action film has Jackie Chan as a detective trying to solve a kidnapping plot, unaware that his partner is working with the kidnappers. For the most part this is a straightforward police procedural, albeit with some of the action scenes for which Chan is famous. However, there are a few weird slapstick-like moments that would be fine in most Chan films, but feel out of place in this one. There are some spectacular set-pieces, in particular one that takes advantage of Chine demolishing the famed Kowloon Walled City.
(Sigh) That's "China," not "Chine." For once I miss spellcheck...
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996):Not sure all the characterization comes together on this one, which is odd for a Shane Black script. I got the sense that Harlin and Co may have trimmed the idiosyncratic stuff to make it more of straight thriller. Still a lot of fun.
Executive Decision (1996, director Stuart Bird)This seemed really smart when I first watched it. It's no longer quite as smart, but it's ... Kurt Russell... still great. Poops the bed a little in the final reel, but that doesn't matter because of its... Kurt Russell... overall excellence. Rating: Two beautiful eyebrows over a pair of even more beautiful sky-blue eyes up.
Timecop (1994):This is my favorite category of Junesploitation.
This is my favourite category too. If only there were more hours in the day.
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)This was a lot of fun but Shane Blacks script is really what keeps this movie interesting. It makes me wish that this was made today with modern day Shane Black writing and directing, then again I can say the same for a lot of movies. I couldn't decide whether I was super into Geena Davis's performance or not, in one scene she would sell the shit out of being a badass assassin and in the next she would kind of flatten out. When she's badass she's super badass though.
Batman & Robin (1997)The iceman dumbeth indeed.
Air Force One (1997, director Wolfgang Petersen)I'm trying really hard not to be a hipster douchebag here, but this is a comedy, yeah? It's not just me? Some of the scenes in the war room back on Earth with Glenn Close (only a year after Mars Attacks) and Dean Stockwell... President Ford's wife and daughter... I mean, come on, watch this movie again and tell me it's not a Starship Troopers-type satire.It's very entertaining and a lot of fun, although not as much as Executive Decision.Air Force One itself is TARDIS-level yuge. A president could get lost in there if he happened to be particularly stupid, and might never be found again.Reverie.
But Gary Oldman was excellent in this right?
I love Gary Oldman in this.
I'm loath to say it, Matt, but I actually found his performance a bit... hammy.He wasn't required at any point in the movie to widen his eyes and say "Bruce Wayne?" though. That ignominious line was fifteen years in his future.Poor Mr. Oldman. Poor, multimillionaire Mr. Oldman.Choke on your shame, Gary. Choke on it!
I know Wolfgang Petersen isn't high on anyone's best director list, but why do I love all of his movies so much?
Damn, I'm really getting in the spirit today. Second double feature!Total Recall (1990)Yeah, I'm an idiot that hadn't seen this until today. I don't know why but I was always putting it off. Anyway, it's basically transcendent. For a genre fan like myself this movie is an absolute gift from start to finish.Double Impact (1991)So I’ve probably seen this movie four times now and because I’m such a huge Van Damme fan, and there’s two Van Dammes in this movie, I basically want this to be my favorite movie. It never even comes close to being one of my favorite Van Damme movies, but I’m always wishing it would. He’s so great and charming here, but I think the movie around him is so uninteresting. The villains are incredibly forgettable and I think the plot is so lame that I nearly always forget what it even is about halfway through the movie. But I suppose one could excuse that because what the movie is really about is watching Van Damme interact with himself we get that and it’s great. I just really wish I liked this more. Oh well!
"Yeah, I'm an idiot that hadn't seen this until today."Secret shame: I've never seen any of the Godfather movies.
That's it, you're both going to bed without supper. Wait 'till your daddy comes home and I tell them how naughty you've been! ;-)
I'll admit, I've never seen the Godfather movies either. I did watch all of the Hellraiser movies though.
I've seen all the Hellraiser movies too. They're awesome, even the one with Jadzia Dax. I think the reason I've never watched The Godfather has to do with the horse's head in the bed scene. I saw that when I was a kid and it repulsed me. Movies can do all sorts of nastiness to humans, but animal cruelty makes me say "Nope. Nossir. This isn't for me."
Red Mob (1993, dir. Vsevolod Plotkin)Crazy Russian action movie about a man who agrees to smuggle guns and drugs for the Russian mob after they take his son hostage. The action is all practical and pretty spectacular, especially a long sequence involving some helicopters near the end. Unfortunately, the story is hard to care about and at just under 2 hours the movie feels way, way overlong. Not the fault of the child actor playing the son, but the American dubbing of his voice makes him unbearably annoying. This was one of Vinegar Syndrome's recent limited run Blu-rays that I think sold out in the span of the day or two, though a few orders were canceled and some might still be available for anyone interested.
Hard Target (1993) The Most Dangerous Game, Cajun'd!Having grown up around the glory of John Woo I have a total soft spot in my heart for his American outings. I love the operatic, over the top action. I love the overwhelming symbolism of the duality between hero and villain. I love the doves. God dammit does Hard Target have all of these things (plus mullets). The Mussels from Brussels brings it and while I don't think this is his best performance or John Woo's best movie by far, watching this was a super fun way to spend an evening. Lance Henrikson steals the show and goes full crazy in his performance, I think they genuinely set him on fire in one scene? Also it was nice to see Ted Raimi pop up. I thought this was awesome and a perfect Junesploitation pick!
PUNCH-THE-SNAKE-SPLOITATION! can't help but improve anyone's Junesploitation! viewing. The only thing that'd make "Hard Target" more awesome would be if Wilford Brimley shouted 'Diabetus!' as he rode on that horse's back. :-P
I oh so wish I was around when this movie was on fthismovie fest. Sadly, I showed up late.
Lionheart (1990)Recommended by Mr. Epler. I had always heard that this was "lesser JCVD", but it's quite the opposite. Maybe it's the tone. The movie starts out strong and dangerous, but becomes more campy as it goes along. Loved the fashion styles throughout. This was that glorious time right between the 80's and 90's and you have a weird mix of both. Also, it had a weirdly present soundtrack. Lots of big crescendos. And of course the action, top notch. If there is something Jean has down pat, it's those roundhouse kicks. But why does he speak French to all the children?
You've got security guards wearing roller blades.
haha It must have been awhile ago that I talked about this! Anyway, I love this movie. It is most certainly NOT lesser JCVD.
Re-watching Desperado. Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek have never been better or cooler. Arguably the same for Buscemi and Trejo. "Did I thank you?" "No." "Ok. I will."