One of the first movies I saw in theaters this year was Mortal Kombat and I gotta say, it felt good to be back. Hearing that bombastic MK theme and Hiroyuki Sanada laying down the most badass line of dialogue ever just screamed CINEMA to me. Which is to say I was all too happy to return to the theater for me to be completely objective to the movie. Something stuck out to me that I couldn’t quite pinpoint until I re-watched Mortal Kombat before it left HBO Max last week – how lackluster its fight scenes really are.
At one point in Extraction, Chris Hemsworth presses a dude’s face into an upturned rake. Hemsworth should’ve capitalized on the moment like the most glorious of all character introductions, stating coolly: “Rake. The name’s Tyler… Rake.” Extraction is the kind of B-movie actioner tailor-made for our current stay-at-home viewing impulses, and a particular kind of Marvel-actor brand slowly carving out a genre space in Netflix’s domain. Some of us might crave something with a little more substance, but in the listless routine of our quarantine days, a quick adrenaline fix can go a long way. Continue reading
The teahouse shootout in Hard Boiled ruined me. Good guys, bad guys, guns, an unholy number of bullets, doves— and you don’t get any cooler than Chow Yun-fat duel-wielding handguns while sliding down the stairs. The shootout erupts in a teahouse of all places, the serenity of sipping tea interrupted by all-out violence where bad guys mow down innocent civilians, giving the good guys a free hunting license to unload carnage. The sheer overkill of Hard Boiled’s opening scene is something seldom achieved these days, which is what makes the increasingly over-the-top set pieces of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum such a welcome sight to see. Continue reading
There used to be a time when I craved the summer movie. The fun, the sun, the pure escapism. I hate to say it, but I’ve grown increasingly underwhelmed by the recent summer movie crop. I’m wondering if this is a consequence of a superhero landscape that turns months like February, March, even November into prime blockbuster slates, or if this is indicative of a booming streaming culture where most of us are apt to skip the theater altogether. It might even be a case of poorly chosen IPs recycled to cash-in on existing fanbases.
To renew my faith, I’d like to reflect on a cherished theater-going staple by cobbling together a list of my absolute favorite summer movies, ones I had the privilege of seeing while the going was spectacular. Whether summer movie season is at an end or suffering through a morally bankrupt slump, I’d like to key in on the films that made the whole craze worthwhile. Continue reading
I blame my taste in action movies on Jackie Chan. Police Story 3: Supercop left quite the impression on me as a kid. I grew up during the action boom of the ‘90s. Movies like Speed, Hard Boiled, The Professional, Point Break, and Lethal Weapon (to name a few) were more memories to me than movies. Supercop is a particularly cherished one.
When Jackie Chan is dangling off that helicopter, or when Michelle Yeoh is hanging onto that truck for dear life, I was immediately engaged. They could fall! Indeed they do. When they fight teams of bad guys, it looks like they actually got hit, or hurt. They do, and when you see the end credits, you know that they did many times over. Both Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh did superhuman things, but they always came across as unpretentiously human. To me, that’s what makes a great action film.
I thought a lot about Supercop as I watched Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Continue reading