Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Action/Adventure - A.J. Hakari ""

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Underrated Action/Adventure - A.J. Hakari

 A.J. Hakari runs CINESLICE( and can be found on twitter here:
His reviews and general movie chatter are worth a look and I must admit he's turned me on to many a film.


CLEOPATRA JONES (1973) and CLEOPATRA JONES AND THE CASINO OF GOLD (1975)Yeah, yeah, it's a cheat to put two flicks in the same spot. But so help me, I really can't choose which of these blaxploitation-era goodies (starring the late Tamara Dobson as the tough and towering titular heroine) I dig more. The original has a few spots of crude staging, but Shelley Winters hamming it up big time as the villain makes it all worth it. The sequel doesn't have as memorable of a baddie, but it has an exotic setting and polished sheen to compensate. In any case, each of these fun and funky flicks are a pleasure to watch, proving themselves to be more than mere Shaft imitators.

DARK OF THE SUN (1968)The 1960s knew their way around a "guys on a mission" movie, and Dark of the Sun is among the burliest of the bunch. Tasked with rescuing the inhabitants of a village under siege and a huge diamond cache, two soldiers of fortune (Rod Taylor and Jim Brown) head deep into the Congo, where the only justice comes at the barrel of a gun. Dark of the Sun is pretty tough stuff, a flick that doesn't sugarcoat the danger its characters face. The stakes are raised bit by bit, with peril creeping up the charts, until an agonizingly suspenseful midway point that sees rebels closing in around our protagonists as they await the opening of a time-locked vault. Dark of the Sunis a riveting adventure ripe for discovery, teeming with action, smarts, and the technical know-how to make them both get along.

DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE (1995)Calling a well-liked film that topped $100 million at the box office "underrated" is a stretch, I will admit. But while its 1988 precursor continues to be prasied as a genre trend-setter,Die Hard with a Vengeance remains my personal favorite of the entire series. From the banter between Bruce Willis' John McClane and Samuel L. Jackson's reluctant sidekick Zeus Carver to all the challenges incoming bad guy Jeremy Irons sets before them, there's hardly a moment that I don't get giddy over whenever I revisit the flick. Die Hard with a Vengeance expands the franchise's scope without compromising its signature style, supplying fans with a blend of thrills and snark that's quintessential Die Hard.

JACKIE CHAN'S WHO AM I? (1998)Some will point to Jackie Chan's earliest work as his finest period ever. But although the likes of Police Story andDrunken Master do have their place in martial arts cinema history, I have an affinity for that wonderful time in the '90s when endearingly cheesy fare likeWho Am I? arrived to delight a young yours truly. As an amnesiac soldier, Chan goes full Bourne on South Africa in an attempt to piece together his identity. While it's definitely one of the more humorous additions to the man's pantheon of posterior-pummeling, Who Am I? boasts the kind of great fight scenes and awe-inspiring stuntwork that's kept me a Chan fan to this very day.

A cult classic that truly was ahead of its time, Streets of Fire beat Frank Miller to the punch in doing a lighter version of what the "Sin City" comics would do. In a metropolis that's the bastard son of the '50s and the '80s, mercenary Tom Cody (Michael Pare) dives into a seedy world to rescue his pop star girlfriend (Diane Lane). Loads of bullets, neon, and Jim Steinman-penned tunes accompany the journey, which director/co-writer Walter Hill also packs with everything from a teenage boy's wish list (guns, motorcycles, the works).Streets of Fire certainly struck a chord when I first caught it in high school, a self-proclaimed rock and roll fable that I can hit up anytime.

1 comment:

Hal said...

Glad to see Tamara Dobson's CLEOPATRA JONES franchise getting some love. For my money, the original flick is a little better, but I love the mish-mash of genres in the second film, and the great Norman Fell is a hoot as Cleo's new boss. Just two really fun flicks. Great list.