Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Action/Adventure - Todd Liebenow ""

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Underrated Action/Adventure - Todd Liebenow

Todd writes about neglected cinema at his blog Forgotten Films, which I am a big fan of:
He also runs a great podcast about those kind of movies there too and I've been a guest on that show twice(episodes 1 & 12):
Todd has also recently started writing articles for Man I Love Films:
Lastly, find him on twitter here:

Live and Let Die (1973)
Everyone has their favorites when it comes to the James Bond series and opinions vary wildly, but I have always been a bit baffled by the lack of respect that Roger Moore’s first outing as Bond sometimes gets. Moore’s sly wit establishes the new take on Bond early on and it has a wonderful 70’s vibe. On the action front, the speedboat chase goes down as one of the series’ great action moments, plus Bond runs across the backs of alligators. What more could you want?

The Phantom (1996)
Based on the popular comic strip, The Phantom was one of the superhero films that came in the wake of Tim Burton’s Batman. It is a little campy at times but it wisely takes much of its stylistic inspiration from the serials of the past. Billy Zane smirks his way through his performance as “the ghost that walks” and Treat Williams is over-the-top (in a good way) as our villain. Catherine Zeta-Jones is also fun as a sexy sky-pirate.
Condorman (1981)
Disney takes a stab at a superhero flick, long before they acquired Marvel. It’s actually more of a spy film with a comic book writer assuming the identity of his most famous character and getting involved in international espionage. The film features some really fun and cartoony action sequences. Future Phantom of the Opera Michael Crawford is wonderfully dorky in the lead role.

Blue Steel (1989)
Long before becoming an Academy Award winner, director Kathryn Bigelow helmed this tense action thriller. The film primarily works due to two very strong lead performances...Jamie Lee Curtis as a rookie cop who kills a perp on her first night on the job, and Ron Silver as a psychotic stockbroker turned killer who becomes obsessed with her.

High Road to China (1983)
Tom Selleck had to turn down the role of Indiana Jones due to his commitments with Magnum P.I. A few years later he ended up starring in this film, which was clearly an attempt to create an Indy style adventure for him. It does have a somewhat different approach than Raiders did but still manages to create some effective action sequences. Plus, Selleck does make a solid action hero! Bess Armstrong also makes for a feisty love interest while Robert Morley and Brian Blessed round out the strong cast.

The Tuxedo (2002)
OK, I’m not claiming this is some sort of great cinematic achievement. As Jackie Chan films go, it’s no Police Story...heck, it’s not even Rush Hour. It may have a goofy gimmick like magical techno formal wear, but it’s also got some wild Jackie Chan action sequences that are best described as dizzying. I can deal with a silly story as long as I get some fun Jackie action. It’s a guilty pleasure for sure.

1 comment:

AndyHunt said...

Condorman, Blue Steel, and High Road to china. Yep, all most definitely underrated. In fact all three are pretty much forgotten, but back in the days of VHS they were regular rentals for myself and many of my friends. Condorman is certainly a very quirky movie for UK viewers. Michael Crawford was so well known here as Frank Spencer (a bumbling accident prone sitcom character) that many viewing the film had trouble understanding why Frank had suddenly developed an exaggerated American accent.I remember it mainly for its sense of fun. I would compare the sense of absurd action in this film to the latter much maligned Hudson Hawke. Both films know they are nonsense, but have a hell of a time anyway. Unlike most modern action movie blockbusters from the lighter end of the spectrum.