David J. Moore has quick become one of my favorite movie book authors. On the off chance you didn't snag his previous tome: WORLD GONE WILD, you really should. It's a great-looking omnibus about post apocalyptic films and it deserves a spot on your shelf. That said, he may have even topped himself with THE GOOD, THE TOUGH & THE DEADLY as it is an even bigger and more epic magnum opus this time and it is a thing of beauty. Though there are certainly a lot of publishers still putting out nice hardcover coffee table books, it seems like they are not quite as prominent as they once were. With as much reading as we all do digitally nowadays (online, kindle etc), I wonder of some folks have forgotten (or maybe never known) the pleasure of holding a physical book - let alone a wonderfully assembled, heavy-duty, tactile reference guide such as this.
The book is laid out in a cool, but practical way and is broken down alphabetically and the selection of titles is very thorough. You can tell that this thing was assembled by a huge fan of action films - from the big releases on down to plenty of straight-to-video films I've never heard of (many of which either caught my eye or had been on my "to watch" radar for some time). Lots of artwork, posters and lobby cards from the films have been included as well. Many of them are from Moore's own personal collection too, which is quite cool and shows just how much he loves the genre and how it has been a part of his life for a long time.
As with WORLD GONE WILD, Moore has included TONS of interviews with actors and filmmakers who worked on these movies. Lots of names you'll recognize right away like: Carl Weathers, Fred Williamson, Michael Dudikoff, Lorenzo Lamas, Roddy Piper, Olivier Gruner, Billy Blanks, Reb Brown, Cynthia Rothrock, Zoe Bell, Gary Daniels, Mark Dacascos, Don "The Dragon Wilson", Michael Jai White, Sam Firstenberg, Boaz Davidson, Mark Goldblatt, Phillip Rhee, Leon Issac Kennedy, and there's even a short chat with Wesley Snipes!
There are a bunch more interviews too - with some folks whose names may not be as immediately familiar, but are nonetheless worthwhile like: Scott Adkins, Mike Moeller, Martyn Burke, Loren Avedon, Jino Kang, Ben Ramsey, Daniel Bernhardt, Matthias Hues, Eric Jacobus, Mimi Lessesos, Cung Le, Steve Wang, James Lew, Karen Sheperd, Dale "Apollo" Cook, Darren Shalavi, Matt Mullins, Mathis Landwehr, Taimak, Sheldon Lettich, Jerry Trimble, Marko Zaror, James Bruner, Issac Florentine, Ross Clarkson, Tim Man, Jesse Johnson, Al Leong, Art Camacho, Kane Kosugi, Isaac Florentine, Ernie Barbarash, Bryan Genesse, Michael Worth, John Hyams, Keith Vitali and more.
This is such a solid book - literally (you could really hurt somebody with it - which is fitting) and figuratively. It looks great and feels nice to hold in your hands and flip through. It makes me nostalgic for the VHS era and the days when countless action titles littered the video store shelves of my youth. In this era of streaming media (which I have certainly embraced by the way), THE GOOD, THE TOUGH AND THE DEADLY offers up lots of movies that you may have to hunt a little to find. Stuff that's not streaming and has never made to Blu-ray (they may only be available on out of print DVD or VHS tapes). Films that you may have passed over in the cheapie bin at some point because you couldn't tell if they might be worth picking up. I love books like this because they offer up lots of fodder for film discoveries and plenty of rollicking fun entertainment. Action movies are very much out to entertain you and a lot of these will be new to a lot of people. Moore also conveniently lists the format (DVD, VHS etc) and the company that produced each film to aid in finding them. There's even a nice "Index of Action Stars" in the back of the book that shows what actors have been mention and which of their films were reviewed (plus there's also an alphabetical index of all the movies as well).
As a lifelong action movie fan, I feel like I know a thing or two about these movies, but this book just made me realize how much I still have left to check out.I think there's something in here for even the most hardcore action movies fans to discover, which is pretty neat. And since it's pretty much up to date and not many books like this have been written recently, there are a ton of recent films listed along with the older stuff. Not that any of us have a shortage of things to watch these days, but it's nice to know that there is SO MUCH more out there to be enjoyed. Taschen, eat your heart out - this beast is as good or better than anything you ever did.
You can pickup the book via Amazon here (and you should):