Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Action/Adventure - Robert Ham ""

Friday, September 12, 2014

Underrated Action/Adventure - Robert Ham

Robert Ham’s lifelong obsession with cinema began one fateful afternoon watching Hannah and Her Sisters in a Seattle theater back in 1986. Since then, he has cultivated a career as a freelance writer, covering arts and culture for such publications as Paste, Portland Mercury, and Wondering Sound. He also started up his own film blog, Biocarbon Amalgamate, which is nowhere near as good as this one and doesn’t even dare try to be.
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The Living Daylights (1987)
Seems like folks would like to forget Timothy Dalton’s stead as James Bond, but I have a soft spot for the Welshman and his work in this film and Licence To Kill. He doesn’t have the swagger or joie de vivre of the folks who have played the character before or after, but he brings a sly wit to the role that I really appreciated. Dalton really shined in his first installment, mostly when bantering with Joe Don Baker and Maryam d’Abo, but it was also a thrill to watch him in the great action sequences peppered throughout. This might not be as underrated as I think considering it’s $191 million take at the box office and relative critical success, but when Peter Travers lists this as the third worst Bond film, I feel like I’m all alone in my appreciation of this little blockbuster.

Firefox (1982)
Not the first movie anyone would think of when surveying the filmography of Clint Eastwood, but I think it’s a splashy, tense picture that, although dated, is very much in love with the possibilities of modern technology. A chilling film to look at now considering how much closer we are getting to the existence of super planes like this in our Drone Age. At the very least, it’s just a lot of fun to watch ol’ Clint play the action star after years of Westerns, cop flicks, and diversions like Any Which Way But Loose.

The Numbers Station (2013)
Here’s a film that was rather dumped into the world last year with zero fanfare and quickly shuttled over to DVD/Blu and on demand services. I was curious as a fan of a fascinating and strangely chilling CD set The Conet Project, which compiled recordings of these mysterious numbers stations. It turned out to be quite a thrilling and knotty little picture with John Cusack ably taking on the part of a government operative fighting to protect himself and the woman reading these odd number sequences over a shortwave frequency.

Haywire (2011)
This did relatively well in the theaters and did get some critical love, but I’m really hoping this finds a second life via DVD/Blu as it is a cracking action flick. And a rare one with a woman taking the lead. It’s directed with Steven Soderbergh’s requisite visual flair while also carrying with it the energy of the original Bourne trilogy and some of the best modern Bond films.

Dredd (2012)
A cult classic right out of the gate, Dredd tanked at the box office and was quickly yanked from theaters as it underperformed. Such a shame as its one of those films that soars in the big screen setting. Unlike the horrible Sly Stallone attempt at bringing this British comic book icon to movie theaters, this one held true to the source material. Judge Dredd is brutal and unforgiving, and you never once see his face. With all the action relegated to one troubled apartment complex, the scenes are tense and claustrophobic. Throughout, Dredd proves himself to be an unrelenting force of nature, shooting and punching and kicking his way to the top floor.

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