Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Action/Adventure - Josh Johnson ""

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Underrated Action/Adventure - Josh Johnson

Josh Johnson directed a wonderful documentary all about VHS called REWIND THIS! and it is available digitally with extras here(including the soundtrack which is awesome): It is also now available on DVD and VHS here: 
Follow Josh's exploits on twitter here:  


BIG GUNS aka NO WAY OUT (1973)
Alain Delon once again plays the role of the coolest man to ever walk the earth in this icy descent into revenge. The film plays out like a series of murder set-pieces, almost the action equivalent of a slasher. Highly stylized, sleazy to the max, and pumped full of the kind of weird masculine energy that seemed to permeate the 70's.

Speaking of masculine energy, this movie might hold the record for sweaty, grizzled manliness onscreen. Rod Taylor (!) and Jim Brown (!!) lead a pack of mercenaries (!!!) across the Congo to collect a huge score of diamonds (!!!!). The journey is dangerous, the heat beats down, tensions mount, and the mission spirals out of control. Featuring a supporting cast of people you don't want to get punched by.

THE BLADE (1995)
Tsui Hark had achieved a lot of success both as a producer and director by 1995, but he would throw away the characteristics that had defined his earlier work in this loose reworking of THE ONE ARMED SWORDSMEN. The atmosphere is thick, the environments are muddy and dank. Gone is the elegance and heroism of his ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA series, replaced here with extreme close-ups and frantic editing. The action on display feels like the work of a master who is bored with convention, and eager to experiment with the form. The results are exciting and unforgettable.

We've all seen movies about returning Vietnam vets who struggle to reintegrate into society. What makes this PTSD actioner so interesting is the refusal to portray any of the characters as being of strong moral fiber. The supposed heroes are racists, and their military service seen as ignoble. It's an action film for the post-Vietnam era, and its message is unclear. If I had to guess what it was trying to communicate, I'd say the following: If life gives you lemons, respond with violent retribution.

While it takes place in a sci-fi setting, this is an action movie to the core. Heavy firepower is utilized throughout, and Rutger Hauer is the ideal actor to anchor this explosive take on the "cop out to avenge his partner" movie. In this case, the criminal responsible for taking the life of Hauer's partner just happens to be a freakish monster who is eating peoples hearts. Set in a futuristic London with style to burn, the pleasures of this gem come fast and furious. It didn't catch on at the time of it's release, but the home video market has allowed it to pick up steam over the years. A surefire crowd-pleaser for those with a love for early 90's VHS action.

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