Saturday, June 3, 2017

Junesploitation Day 3: Revenge!

Let the revenge fit the crime!


  1. Walter Hill's BULLET TO THE HEAD (2013, 92 min.) on HBO Go for the first time.

    When his partner (Jon Seda) is murdered by the employers that hired them to kill a corrupt New Orleans cop (Holt McCallany), veteran hitman James Bonomo (Sylvester Stallone) reluctantly teams up with Washington D.C. detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) to get revenge on those that wronged him. Cue the running gag of Bonomo brutally beating, shooting and/or blowing-up his way to the top of the Big Easy's crime ladder as Kwon (in town investigating his former partner's suspicious death) tries in vain to keep the hitman from breaking the law. Even though he's past his prime, director Walter Hill ("The Warriors") can still pull off a mean and nasty little revenge action flick like the best of them. Hill and walking-with-swagger Stallone are helped by Jason Momoa playing a henchman who loves his work and a good challenge. When Keegan and Bonomo eventually start swinging axes (COBRA-V-AQUAMAN-SPLOITATION!) I felt conflicted because, even though Sly's the hero of the piece, Momoa is such a charismatic badass I didn't want him to lose.

    I haven't seen the 1990 John Woo movie that this one is a remake of, but in its own way "Bullet to the Head" evokes Honk Kong cinema's ability to marry lack of logic with kinetic action sequences. An amusing time waster.

    1. are you talking about Bullet In The Head? i don't think Hill's movie is a remake of it. according to IMDB, Bullet To The Head it's an adaptation from a french graphic novel titled Du Plomb Dans La Tete (litterally, Lead In The Head)

      Bullet In The Head makes no mention of the comic book

      either way, Hill's movie is a good time waster, as you said

      haven't seen Woo's movie, but it sure looks like a Woo movie, so... fun :)

    2. Woo's movie is a weird one. It's never quite clear what it wants to be. It's half Deer Hunter and half balletic action movie and the combo usually feels pretty jarring. That said, it's well worth a watch.

    3. You're right, kunider, my bad. I'd always assumed Hill's movie was a remake of Woo's based on how similar the titles sounded. Actually that elevates Hill's flick a couple of notches up if it's a graphic novel adaptation. :-)

  2. Welcome Home Brother Charles (1975)

    Many thanks to Patrick for recommending this blaxploitation revenge flick, because it really is something fascinating. According to imdb, this is the only film the lead actor did. What a shame, because he's terrific. Charming, charismatic and cool. I won't reveal what the film's twist is, but it's so crazy and you just have to see it! It kind of becomes a horror movie. has a one week free trial so you can check it out for no charge.

  3. Death Sentence (2007)

    Not even the ever-reliable Kevin Bacon can quite save this one. At least three or four different movies fighting at once here, and it is disappointing because there is plenty of potential. Good to see James Wan outside of horror territory but his affinity for plenty of excessive gore and violence is still in full effect.

    A missed opportunity but still glad to have seen it.

  4. The Virgin Spring (1960)

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman, this movie would go on to be the inspiration for The Last House on the Left. As such it's not spoiling much to say that when two teenage girls go out to deliver some candles to the church only one of them is going to be making it back.

    Bergman is a director I've only really come to appreciate recently just due to never having been exposed to many of his movies before. I'm sure they aren't all classics, especially given how many movies he was cranking out for a good stretch of years, but I've really loved what I've seen so far. I especially love his pre-color work since he somehow manages to make black & white look even more stark than usual.

  5. Foxy Brown (1974 dir - Jack Hill)

    This is a movie I more loved in moments rather than a whole, but damn those moments. Grier trashing her brother's room, or delivering a gift, the bar fight, Pam Grier's entire wardrobe and Sid Haig's hat.

  6. Revenge Of The Nerds (1984)

    1984 synopsis: At Adams College a group of bullied outcasts and misfits resolve to fight back for their peace and self-respect

    2017 synopsis: At Adams college, a group of athletic students band together to purge their campus of a group of habitual sex offenders led by rapist, Lewis Skolnick.

    1. Lol - safe to say that movie hasn't aged well!

  7. Pietà (2012)

    Going all the way back to the original 1960 version of The Housemaid Korean filmmakers have pretty much been at the forefront of making movies about revenge and family issues. Pietà is about Kang-do, a young man who does collection for his loan shark boss. The people who can't pay (which is pretty much all of them because interest ends up being 10x the original amount) have to sign insurance policies and are then crippled in various ways by Kang-do in order to collect. For the most part he tends to go about his job displaying little in the way of emotion. He doesn't take pleasure out of crippling people but he doesn't shy away from it either. One day a strange woman shows up claiming to be the mother that abandoned him birth and things go from there.

    Typical for the genre, the movie takes a number of turns, some expected and some unexpected. What really anchors it though are the two lead performances. Lee Jung-jin does a solid job as a sociopath whose emotional barriers slowly get broken down but Jo Min-su is amazing as the woman who may or may not be Kang-do's mother who vacillates between seeming frail and possibly somewhat broken, and firmly in control, sometimes within the space of a few seconds.

    Well worth watching, it's available for rent on various streaming services.

  8. The Exterminator (1980)

    My movie clock still hasn't adjusted to certain types of movies, I found The Exterminator really disorientating. It could be because Glickenhaus filmed and edited everything in what felt like real time, or story points I would have expected sooner were way later, almost like after thoughts.

    However, the shots of a crumbling broken and sleazy 70s NY were effective, and the above doesn't take away the general nuttiness of casual flame thrower, meat grinders, the reapeated line, 'you want the clean sheets' and the most out of place opening song I have come across. It would be on a future watch when I can settle into this movie and know what to expect, I may enjoy it more.

  9. Eye of the Tiger (1986):

    Gary Busey goes all Death Wish with the help of Yaphet Kotto and a Columbian drug lord who is Totally For Sure Not At All an actor doing a bad Tony Montana impression. From the director of Vanishing Point, my pick for Cars Day tomorrow!

    And yes, they play the song.

  10. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

    Probably one of the more polite and delightful murderous revenge tales your ever going to find. A classic British story of denied inheritence.

    I have had a deep affection for this movie for many years. It's one of my favourite Ealing comedies, and has mostly to do with the fact that Alec Guinness plays all nine of the unfortunate members of the Ascoyne family, he has this amazing Dickenisan quality that I will never tire of. While I didn't love the amount of narration in the movie, I still found movie just as charming and delightful as ever.

  11. A Bittersweet Life (2005)

    My first viewing. Between the bouts of bloody violence, it's more of a melodrama (noir?) at it's core and the scenes I'm coming away with are the ones where the lead man is struggling with loyalties being shattered. Very good movie, and I'll have to sleep on it a few times before knowing exactly how good.

  12. Payback (1999)

    Payback promises dirty thrills by starring a “bad guy” who gets bloody revenge on other bad guys. But honestly, Mel Gibson’s character is just a few shades meaner than most protagonists in action movies – and he’s downright weak sauce compared to the antiheros from Rolling Thunder and The Exterminator. There is some fun to be had here, but it comes from Gibson using his brains rather than his brawn as he outwits the various mobsters and dirty cops gunning for him. Brian De Palma fans will enjoy seeing Gregg Henry, who hams it up playing a real sleazeball. And James Coburn has fun playing a whiny mobster. I particularly liked the music score by Chris Boardman, which reminded me of Lalo Schifrin’s work.

  13. The Mutilator (aka Fall Break) (1984)

    Pretty good slasher film that goes from 0 to 100 very quickly, and then takes a very long time to do anything interesting. It's not amazing overall, but it has a moment halfway through that's pretty great, and an ending that's close to Pieces level crazy.

  14. Savage Streets (1984)

    I decided to pay a visit to one of my revenge favorites. While not the best performance of her career, Linda Blair proves that she's not the lady to mess with after a group of sleazy high school boys (portrayed by a bunch of thirty-somethings) go after her sister and best friend. With over the top acting, hilarious one-liners ("Go f**k an iceberg!") and some catchy John Farnham tunes, you have one of the most entertaining films from the '80s exploitation era.

  15. Man on Fire (1987)

    From the "Time is Relative" Department: this movie clocks in at a little over an hour and a half, and the 2004 remake runs about two and a half hours. Weirdly, this one feels about an hour longer than the remake.

    Scott Glenn (looking a bit like a proto-Jonathan Coulton with his shaggy hair, scruffy beard, and wire-rimmed glasses) stars as Creasy, the world's most laconic mercenary, hired to protect a 12 year old girl in Italy. An hour-long half-hour into the movie, she's kidnapped, he's shot and left for dead, and it's time for revenge. Slow, methodical revenge. Eventually. Hey, at least at one point Joe Pesci plays Johnny B. Goode on an acoustic guitar, so y'know...its got that going for it.

  16. STRAW DOGS (2011)
    As a huge fan of the original, I thought it would be a good watch but I was SO wrong. I cant find anything redeemable and now I'm the one that wants revenge for having wasted my time watching it

    1. There's a scene where they play "Goin' Down" by The Monkees. That's the one thing I remember liking about it.

  17. Death Wish 3 (1985)

    I had to keep the 80's action coming with this one, and Charles Bronson did not disappoint. I heard them talk about this one on Pure Cinema and I've been meaning to check it out ever since!

    This movie is awesome and it goes from a simple revenge story to a full on neighbourhood war, pretty much between senior citizens and the local street gang. When Wildey gets there, all hell breaks loose. I loved this movie and while Charles Bronson isn't the best actor at times, his Paul Kersey feels like he'd shoot you for not saying thank you when he holds open the door for you. Definitely want to check out the other Death Wishes now!

    1. The "It's my car" scene where he excuses himself from dinner is a classic.

    2. Say hi to Wildey for me. #RIPTheGiggler

    3. Poor Giiggler, he didn't even see it coming. You gotta love a movie where the main character literally has to run home to his apartment to get more ammo at the climax of the film...


  18. I love revenge day. So many options from all eras (era). And then you end making good to mediocre decisions.

    Death Wish (1974)
    A first time viewing and a good experience. When Bronson decides he's no longer taking shit, he's no longer taking shit.

    Big Bad Wolves (2013)
    Your typical beheaded daughter story where the father and a loose canon cop team up to torture the suspect. Has some strange tonal shifts and gets a bit repetitive at times. But overall, worth the watch.

    Kill List (2011)
    Not sure if it's a straight up revenge story, but someone wants people dead. I don't know what it is, but on paper Ben Wheatley and I are soulmates. The topics of his movies, to the tone (at least in the trailers) speak directly to me. However, and although the only other movie of his I've seen is Free Fire, they've all been misfires. I hardly connected with this one and didn't go as far as I expected. And that ending... urgh. But, I can see how others would totally dig Wheatley's style as the movies themselves are well made and the characters are interesting enough. There's just always that little bit that's missing for me.

  19. J.D.'s Revenge (1976)

    I love this movie. I have always been aware of Glynn Turman because of Gremlins and A Different World and wow is he great in J.D's Revenge. The movie is very entertaining and has an interesting twist on a revenge story because the avenger is equally bad as the target of the revenge. The movie wraps up a little too neatly but that's a minor complaint. It really cast a spell on me...just not to the extent of J.D. on Ike :-) Like I'm ok is what I mean. I'm not possessed by a gangster.

  20. The One Armed Executioner (1983, dir. Bobby A. Suarez)
    Lovely Filipino exploitation. A sweet combination of naive and nasty. An Interpol agent with some impressive hair gets his arm chopped off and his wife murdered by some gangsters he was investigating. It reduces him to alcoholism, but he bounces back, learns kung fu and sharpshooting, then lays siege to the crooks' hideout via helicopter. This is really clean and efficient, but by-the-numbers action film-making, if you're feeling cynical about it, but I found it charming and fun more than anything else. Just look at that poster!

  21. Don't Breathe

    I love Fede

    I suppose this is more a vengeance movie than a revenge movie though but I do like it a lot

    1. It is a fantastic movie, I have been meaning to rewatch it.

  22. McBain (1991, dir. James Glickenhaus)

    First it's a Vietnam POW movie, then a movie about a coup in Colombia, for a while it's a road movie on a donkey, then it turns into a New York vigilante movie, before returning to the Colombian coup.

    McBain's old war buddy tries to stage a coup against Colombia's oppressive El Presidente and fails, so McBain gathers the old gang together and avenges his friend and finish what he started. Oh, but first they have to raise some money by kidnapping a mafioso.

    It's impossible to get bored watching this movie, there's a hell of a lot crammed into 100 minutes and the body count is high. Plus seeing Christopher Walken, Steve James and Michael Ironside (not to mention Maria Conchita Alonso) team up is a beautiful thing.

    See the greatest scene in the movie (maybe any movie) on YouTube.

    Troma! This is a zero-budget riff on I Spit on Your Grave, but with extra lawyer action. Three men do horrible things to a woman, and spend most of the movie trying to legal-eze their way out of it. The Troma aesthetic doesn’t lend itself well to courtroom drama. By the time the titular revenge happens, most viewers will likely blink and say, “That’s it?”

    Illegal toxic waste dumping brings some recently deceased women back to life, and they do indeed enact revenge. This one is really, really sleazy, hitting all the sex n’ violence notes. Not recommended unless you want to feel gross.

    LAST CALL (1991)
    I used to see these early ‘90s Shannon Tweed erotic thrillers in video stores all the time, but never rented one. I’m happy to report I wasn’t missing much. Shannon Tweed and William Katt (together at last?) get all steamy while taking vengeance on a corrupt real estate developer. It’s the worst kind of DTV flick, sensationalistic cover art (Tweed in her undies while holding a gun) with the actual movie being an afterthought.

  24. SPOILERS for Thriller - A Cruel Picture (1973, Sweden)

    Quentin Tarantino apparently called this the roughest revenge movie ever made. I don't know about that. I wanted the victimisers to suffer more (the principal villain does get a pretty sweet demise) than they did. It's possible he meant roughest in the sense of unfinished.

    Worth watching as an early entry in the rape-revenge genre, but not as discomfiting as films like the original Last House on the Left, despite graphic (you actually see it going in and out) abuse scenes.

    It did make me want to see Kill Bill, which I've never watched. That movie also has a female badass with an eye patch, I believe.

    Next up for me is I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance Is Mine. I spat in someone's gravy once when I was a teenager working as a waitress and this guy grabbed my ass. I'm not proud of it. My male coworkers at this job used to talk about adding butter-flavoured toppings to the food of rude customers. I do not know what they meant by this.

  25. I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance Is Mine (2015)

    Godawful. Makes the 2010 remake look like The Virgin Spring.

    Maybe. I don't know. That film is up next.

    I lost my own virgin spring horse riding when I was about eleven.

    We still keep in touch.

  26. Get Carter (1971)

    This is one of those movies that's been on my list for a while, but one I always forgot about when choosing a movie to watch. I went back to the Pure Cinema episode to get some ideas (because there's no Brown Sugar on Roku?) and I was like, duh.

    The film was wonderful. Michael Caine gives an unforgettable performance, and the setting really adds to the feeling that this is the muck of humanity. For some reason, I had a preconception that there would be way more violence than there was, but it didn't affect my enjoyment of the film. Great ending, as well.

    1. I love that movie. The opening credits are amazingly cool. Has anyone ever made eating soup look as badass as Michael Caine?

  27. Revenge (1990 dir. Tony Scott)

    I wish I'd liked this more. I like Costner, I some Tony Scott, Miguel Ferrer and John Leguizamo show up, Anthony Quinn is there as a Mexican Mob boss. There are lots of good things here. But everything is just so slow and meandering. Costner sleeps with a mobsters wife, with predicable results. Then he goes on a meandering quest for vengeance. I understand there is a directors cut that is 30 minutes shorter, I'd bet that version is a lot better.

  28. Revenge of the Ninja (1983, dir. Sam Firstenberg) on Amazon Video/Starz

    "F*** Jackie Chan. Shô Kosugi is the sovereign ruler of your ass." - RazörFist, Rageaholic Cinema

    This one has it all: the aforementioned Shô Kosugi, ninja police officers, ninja smack dealers, ninja supermodels, ninja tykes, backflipping grannies, deadmeat mobsters, a playground brawl with ethnically diverse toughs, and a fistfight cum car chase cum fistfight cum gunfight cum car chase. God bless Cannon Films.

    1. I love the scene where Kosugi blows caltrops from his mouth, having apparently climbed the building's wall and infiltrated the place with them in his mouth the whole time.

    2. That's a lot of cum, it can't be denied.

      There is an actual cumshot in Thriller - A Cruel Picture.

      I know it's not a competition.

      The Virgin Spring is really slow and Swedish.

    3. The ultimate Ninja film of all time.

  29. Brotherhood of Death (1976)

    "When these brothers stick it to's fatal!
    See them Revenge a Sister's Rape!
    See them Revenge a Brother's Murder!"

    This was a good one. It didn't quite get to the crazy heights i was hoping for but i really liked how it got where it went. Rather than going straight for vigilante justice they first try to use the political process and then they try the non-corrupt police, all unsuccessfully. In the end it truly felt like they had no other choice than to take sweet bloody revenge for their community. I only wished the last act was longer.

    4 out of 6 Charley death traps

  30. Foxy Brown (1974)

    "You take care of the justice... and I'll handle the revenge myself."

    Damn, I LOVED this movie. I am head over heels! I'm really getting into the feel of Blaxploitation cinema. The music alone really gets me excited. Foxy is the ultimate combination of sexy and badass. And what she does to the monsters at the ranch is just what I needed out of revenge day. Pam Grier is amazing. Jack Hill is amazing. This movie is amazing.

    1. There are moments in this movie that just sing! Especially the airstrip sequence. Grier is everything I want in a leading actor; tough and vulnerable. I just can't take my eyes off her.

    2. And Sid Haig makes such an impression in his really limited screen time. He's so great!

    3. Never has a man worn a hat so well

    4. And that's a hell of a beard.

  31. Dig Two Graves (2017) (First time viewing):
    This got on my radar because Ted Levine is top billed. I've been a Leviniac for years so I try not to miss him. He's great as always as a grizzled Sheriff in this standard backwoods thriller. The best way I can describe it is a poor man's Winter's Bone with a dash of voodoo thrown in he mix. Lots of scenes with snakes (I miss Three Step). It's sufficiently creepy and atmospheric. It's fine, you can probably skip it unless you're a Leviniac.

    1. Reply came out in the wrong cocking place again. Second time lucky.

      Yeah, that movie ain't great, but it's given a major boost because of the presence of Ted "Was she a great big fat person?" (#Brompressions) Levine.

      The film would be nothing without him and his warm performance.

    2. Three Step's asking price was too high.

  32. Revenge (1990)

    Ok, what the hell was that? I loved it and I also am sort of embarrassed that I do. It's mean and ugly and almost loses focus of its story entirely in the second hour but it's so Tony Scott (which I usually love), badass Costner, omg Stowe and entertaining per usual Anthony Quinn. Miguel Ferrer rules in this too. I can't recommend this to everyone but it's definitely up my alley. I'm curious to see the much shorter director's cut now. I'm guessing most of the cuts came from the meandering in Mexico stuff in the second half of the movie.

    1. I don't know what it is but I've tried to watch it twice over the years and it's lulled me to sleep both times. I love Costner and Scott, and I recognize Tarantino is a big fan. I need to see it again.

  33. Death Force (1978, dir. Cirio Santiago)

    Fun mix of blaxploitation and gangster movies with a heavy dose of Eastern influence, too. James Iglehart is pretty badass as a soldier whose two friends betray him and leave him for dead; he washes up on an island inhabited by a samurai, who trains him combat. Eventually he comes back to the U.S. ready to settle the score. And by score I mean "cut off heads," because he does a lot of that. This is one of the better Santiago movies I've seen; I really liked it. My biggest complaint is that there's a really terrific 85-minute movie in this 112-minute feature. Everything taaaaakes toooooo loooooong. Super glad I watched it, though, and I know I'll be revisiting in the future.

  34. Iron Man 3 (2013)

    Yeah, I'll do an Iron Man movie. But only if it's set on Christmas! Shane Black so, of course it's awesome. Gwyneth Paltrow has never looked better. My son thought this was perfect for Revenge! Day. It's my favorite Iron Man and top 5 superhero movies of all time. 9 out of 10.

  35. Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
    I've always appreciated the look of of director Paul McGuigan's Lucky Number Slevin (AKA The Wrong Man ins some markets). Bold colors, insane patterns, but that's not where the true boldness takes form. That, my friends, is reserved for the absolute tonal shift at the end of the film. I was delighted in the theater when the turn came. I was expecting a twist of sorts, a film can't start with talking about a Kansas City Shuffle and not have me expecting a twist. I, however, was not expecting a different type of movie to step in and gut punch me before sending me out the door.
    It's been a while since I've popped this disk in. I was not disappointed with this revisit.

  36. Bruce Lee Fights Back From The Grave (1976)

    This should have been awesome. Bruce Lee fighting demons and shit! Nope. Bruce Lee really has nothing to do with this movie. I can tell you that stuff happens. There are kicks and punches. There is a reveal that is supposed mean something. I just wanted some Bruce to kick the crap out of some monsters. There's one part in a police station that was hilariously terrible. It doesn't make up for the lie. I feel used. 4 out of 10.

  37. Black Shampoo (1976)

    Starts out feeling a lot like a porno with some of the sex edited out. Has it's moments of zaniness, but is more often pretty stiff and boring. The music flipping from fake Hayes/Mayfield to sappy love themes to some Bernard Hermansploitation during the finale was very amusing. This one just needed to cut loose and it never quite happened. I was still happy to get into some '70s grind after 2 days of '80s picks.

    1. Fun facts: from the director of Joysticks. Shot by Dean Cundey?!?!

  38. Johnny Handsome (1989)

    Observations upon an umpteenth viewing:

    Heist scene is perfect.
    Morgan Freeman is great as an antagonistic jerk and should've played more baddies.
    Over-the-top Ellen Barkin is some wild shit.
    Performances tha Mickey Rourke considers phoned-in are some of his best.
    The "Johnny don't need no mask" story is devastating.
    Rourke's acting after he sees his new face is as good as any I've ever seen. Holy shit.
    Lance Henriksen and Ellen Barkin probably should be married or best friends in real life.
    Cooder's music during the steel mill montage should be in every movie.
    Forrest Whittaker's performance really grows on me.
    Elizabeth McGovern's kinda doesn't.
    Ellen Barkin!
    Ok, McGovern has her moments. "To hell wit you"
    I always forget about the quick scene where Johnny buys guns from a Tom Petty lookalike.
    When the time is right, the original novel will present itself to me in a thrift store.
    Lance Henriksen doesn't work out. He burns calories and builds muscle with raw manic intensity.
    Ry Cooder's was like: "im not using saxophones!! Ok you're right, we need a little sax in there."
    The second heist scene is also perfect.
    Henriksen plays "dumb guy who thinks he's got it all figured out" perfectly.
    This movie handles New Orleans in an understated way that I don't think I've ever quite seen.
    I guess they made up for it with the ACCENTS.
    I like how Rourke and Freeman agree to terms before the climax.
    Every time they call him "geek" is like a knife.
    Understated death scene.
    This movie always delivers.

    1. Sounds like my main man Walter Hill rebounded after the misfire that was Red Heat (1988), right before stumbling again with Another 48 HRS (1990). Given this roller coaster of a track record I'm lead to believe that Trespass (1992) - which I have yet to see - will be well worth my time.

  39. Rolling Thunder (1977)

    Maybe it was the NyQuil talking but this AI joint felt more like something from BBS - an absolute revengesploitation masterpiece - William Dehane is Deshit in a rare (for me) leading role as a returned Vietnam POW who's been tortured past the point of GAF about any kind of pain and when the mission calls for revenge he and war-buddy Tommy Lee Jones are well-prepared for it. Oh and just for good measure let's throw in our hero having a fucking sharpened prosthetic hook for a hand. This movie was brought to my attention by the Pure Cinemacast lads and I am forever grateful - it's a masterpiece guys - check it out if you can (I'd recommend the Shout! Factory blu)!