GET CARTER (1971, 112 min.) on Netflix Instant for the first time.Youngish Michael Caine plays a professional London hitman who travels to his hometown of Newcastle to investigate the suspicious-to-him death of his brother. By modern day standards "Get Carter" is a super slow burn revenge tale, with most of the action confined to the final half-hour. But damn, Caine's facial expressions as he goes about putting together what really happened (and who was involved) are worth the filler. From looking pleased with himself for bedding an Bed & Breakfast owner to getting teary-eyed while watching a home-made porno film reel, the galaxy of emotions registering in Jack Carter's face are an excellent build-up for the ass-kicking that inevitably follows. Recommended.Andrew Davis' UNDER SIEGE (1992, 103 min.) on Hulu.Now hear me out! Besides being an excellent '"Die Hard" on a...' early 90's action flick that took full advantage of its premise (terrorists hijack a decommissioned military ship to steal its nuclear weapons) and an excellent cast of heroes and villains (Seagal in his prime, Tommy Lee Jones' coming-out party, Colm Meaney, Gary Busey in drag, etc.), "Under Siege" really clicks above its paygrade because the main characters are driven by personal grudges. William Strannix (Jones) is pissed off at the U.S. Government for discarding him after he gave the best years of his life to the agency; getting money for selling the nukes is a bonus for someone who just wants Honolulu to burn to get back at "the man" for spoiling his revolution. Commander Krill (Busey) looks as pleased about drowning his shipmates as he does shooting his superior for dissing him.Even Seagal gets a two-prong revenge backstory that its often overlooked. Casey Ryback not only wants to avenge the murder of the ship's captain (Patrick O'Neal), but it turns out Strannix was the superior officer that gave him bad intel that resulted in Ryback's dismissal from the military. These not-unimportant details are told in dialogue that most viewers often ignore. "Under Siege's" best scenes (Jones ranting while Busey and Meaney can barely contain their laughter, Seagal enjoying knife-fighting Strannix) are fueled by personal animosity that gives the routine terrorist plot an extra kick. It doesn't hurt that Andrew Davis directs like he knows this is his (and Jones') ticket to the Hollywood elite. Highly recommended. J. Lee Thompson's DEATH WISH 4: THE CRACKDOWN (1987, 99 min.) and DEATH WISH V: THE FACE OF DEATH (1994, 95 min.), both on Amazon Prime, for the first time.I hereby declare "4" and "V" the "Beverly Hills Cop 3" of the "Death Wish" series. There's nowhere to go but down after the insane climax of "Death Wish 3," but somehow these movies keep finding ways to make the bad guys such a-holes you can't help but cheer when Paul Kersey (AARP stud Charles Bronson) brings them down hard. Like the fifth "Dirty Harry" movie, though, our aging hero resorts to deadly toys (RPG, remote-controlled explosive soccer ball, etc.) because by the late 80's/early 90's just mowing villains with bullets was passé.For a guy who's always refusing the call to arms (it takes until 50 minutes into "V" for Kersey to even get his puny .38 six-shooter) our hero is sure digging deep to find foes to dispatch. In "4" it's L.A. drug dealers (the final bad guy death is glorious), and in "V" it's Italian gangsters squeezing fashion designers in New York's garment district. Had a "Death Wish 6/VI" materialized it would have probably featured Kersey going after crooked mall cops or out-of-control meter maids. Worth seeing to admire Bronson's stuntman pretend to be the most agile senior citizen this side of Joe Biden. :-O
MANDY (2018, dir. Panos Cosmatos) – With revenge as a theme this month, Mandy was the first film that came into my head. I learned about it from this website, and it has been on my watch list since then. Is there a better time to see it than Junesploitation?There are many aspects of Mandy that linger in my mind. The major one is the colors. Cosmatos created some haunting visuals with the lighting. There is an otherworldly mood to those scenes. The quiet start also adds a great deal to the impact of the film. You know when the revenge section begins when Nicolas Cage starts getting loud. The last aspect I want to bring up is that there is no attempt to explain everything in the film. That was a wonderful decision in the end because it makes the viewer accept the cinematic world of Mandy as it is. Although I am still processing it, I greatly enjoyed the film and look forward to a re-watch. The fact that it feels like a modern film and a throwback is a considerable achievement.
Revenge (2017, dir. Coralie Fargeat)I think I just found my favorite movie of last year.Went to see what else the director has done, and found out this was her feature debut. Makes it even more impressive.
"I Saw The Devil" 2010, Dir. Kim Jee-woon. Been waiting the whole month to re-watch this beautifully brutal bastard of a flick. And it holds up brilliantly. Kim Jee-woon is such an exciting director. He doesn't back off from the ugliness of the story, but still makes it a very watchable and thrilling experience. Gorgeously shot, fantastically acted and an all-round visceral gut punch of a movie.
ALLEY CAT (1982)The release date given on Prime is 1970, but the copyright on the film is 1982. Everything screams 1982 here. Alley Cat is a super trashy female vigilante story in the vein of Death Wish 2. The main difference between the two films is the budget and the talent behind them. After her grandparents are attacked, Belinda Clark goes out into the night to find out who was behind it and make sure there is justice. She has seen too many scumbags let off easy by the courts and has had her own share of unfair treatment by them. Her quest for revenge is greatly helped by being a black belt in karate. Along the way she beats up few wannabe rapists during her nocturnal jogs. Starring in and co-producing Alley Cat is a woman named Karin Mani. While she is not a great actress or on-screen fighter, she does give a spirited performance. Many of the fights were shot at night with minimal lighting, resulting in some dark shots that are not always easy follow. This is the kind of film, however, that is fun to see because of its flaws. With a little of everything, Alley Cat is a good Junesploitation watch.
J.D.'s Revenge (1976)This could've been a good one for Blaxploitation day. Also, I forgot I had seen this before.JD's ghost possesses the main character in order to get revenge on a former associate that murdered him.The main characters doctor was the standout for me this time, and not for his great performance, but for his characters terrible personality! He recommends his patient, the possessed Ike, to just relax and smoke some weed. Then later, after JD via Isaac beats up Isaacs special lady, the Doc assures him that what he did was right. That women like to be smacked around and put in their place. Yikes. Terrible person, worse doctor.All in all, I had a good time watching this.
A Vigilante (2018)This one was a big surprise. Olivia Wilde is the best I’ve ever seen her as Sadie, an abused woman who has tasked herself with helping other abused women get away from their abusers, often through violent means because violence is the only language these predatory fucks understand. What could easily be a cheap Equalizer/Death Wish/Punisher clone is instead a thoughtful, harrowing, effective character study that never resorts to violent schlock and silliness like Peppermint or Eli Roth’s Death Wish remake. It’s a very slow burn (despite the premise this is very much not an action movie), and it plays with chronology in a way that isn’t always successful, but the flaws are easily overlooked when the end product is this good. It’s worth noting that this was written and directed by Sarah Daggar-Nickson in her feature-film debut. It’s an incredibly confident first feature, and I will absolutely be watching to see whatever she does next. I can already feel that this is a movie that’s going to stick with me for a while, there are certain moments and images that have been replaying in my head since it ended. Discovering movies like this that I might have otherwise missed is one of my favorite things about Junesploitation, and I’m grateful for it.
Blue Ruin (2013)Revenge is hard. Especially when family is involved. I try not to think about what I would do if something like this happened to me. So I won't! I imagine living through something like that is worse than dying. The movie does do a good job in portraying how shit would go down. There isn't a lot of exposition. It makes you do the work. Which I appreciate.
Savage Streets (1984)These kids are out of control. Your deaf sister isn't even safe. In fact, she is targeted. There are a couple of moments that you won't believe. Which is what you are looking for in these types of movies. Plus, this one has Linda Blair. And a deaf Linnea Quigley.
Rolling Vengeance (1987)More or less your typical revenge movie. Man has happy life, rednecks being rednecks decide to kill his family and rape his girlfriend, he builds a giant monster truck to completely destroy them... wait, what the fuck? Yep, just your typical revenge film.Rolling Vengeance is a bit slow to start, the action that incites everything not really taking place until around 30 or so minutes in, with the actual revenge coming much later. What it lacks in pace, however, it makes up for with some great characters, including Ned Beatty with a funny haircut as the patriarch of the redneck family, and some killer, if not misplaced, rocking 80s montage tunes.
Lady Vengeance (2005)It's getting to the stage whenever I see Choi Min-sik in movie, my first raction is what did he do!To me this movie is a Masterpiece. The way the tone of the movie changes with the decolourisation. Park Chan-wook is showing off all over the place, but it is still a master class in point of view. Just how he is able to build a tapistry of this community that Lee Young-ae (who is incrediable) is able to build. Even though it feels contained, it's a sprwaling epic movie, because it is built around family. I love modern South Korean film making, some of the best movies have come from there in the last ten years. And Park Chan-wook is one of my favourite directors.
REVENGER (2018) A cop goes undercover on an island prison, seeking revenge on the crimelord who killed his family. This “island prison” concept isn’t fleshed out all that much, just an excuse for action to be set in a Mad Max/Hunger Games setting. The selling point is the martial arts fighting, and it is spectacular. Actor Bruce Khan might look like a soccer dad, but he’s got all the cool moves. His signature attack is simply to kick his enemies in the chest, and oh man it never gets old. The movie loses steam a little in its second, but it’s still a lot of mindless violent fun. Bonus #Godzillasploitation: GODZILLA: FINAL WARS (2004) A lot of fans dislike this one for how outrageous and over-the-top it is, but I love it for those same reasons. There’s nearly no dead space, as something crazy is happening in every scene. When the monsters aren’t fighting, the human superheroes are getting into Matrix-style fights with aliens. Don Frye is especially hilarious with his toughest-of-all-tough-guys act. After having watched these movies all month, bringing back so many monsters for this one meant more, because I could remember which ones they all are this time. This is a “for the fans only” movie, but that I find that endearing.
I Saw the Devil (2010)Kirk, my old friend, haven't you heard the old Klingon proverb that Revenge is a dish best served over, and over, and over again?
Naked Vengeance (1985)In the Let's See How Many Terrible Things We Can Do To A Woman Before She Snaps Competition, this might be the frontrunner. The two things I learned were never help anyone and take things into your own hands. Also, if you ask men for help, they will ignore you. Or help you then take advantage of you.
Payback (1999, Theatrical version)I’ve always liked this movie since I first saw it in theaters. This time was no exception. On this viewing Gregg Henry stole the show for me. His jerk character is one of the all-time greats. I’ve never seen the director’s cut. Does anyone have any preferences? Is it worth watching?
Worth watching the director's cut? Yes. Better? Not necessarly, it's a different tone
Avengement (2019)I completely forgot to post about this last night, but boy this movie kicks ass. One of my favorite Adkins performances.
The Black Cat (1934, dir. Edgar G. Ulmer)One of my favorite non-monster Universal horror movies. I'm super happy to see this out on Blu-ray now from Scream Factory. I think I like Bela Lugosi more here than in Dracula, which is crazy talk.