Adoration of Action or Fond of Fury:
Love Letters To My Favorite Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi Flicks…
Love is in the air over here at ‘Back OnLine. Back On Duty’. In honor of the upcoming holiday, I've decided to express my love… for action movies. Following (in no discernible order) are my personal love-letters to several action movies covering the span of the last 30-ish years.
So, get your house coat on, grab your chocolates, warm up some soup, light some candles, fire up the Boys II Men album, burn some incense, open a bottle of wine, light more candles, hide your pets from harm/love’s way and let the good times roll. It’s about to get hot in here…
Judge Dredd (1995)
Oh Judge Dredd, how I love thee; let me count the ways…. Um… Dredd was released in 1995. It was directed by Danny Cannon of ‘CSI’ fame. The screenplay was written by Steven E. de Souza. De Souza is responsible for screenplays to films like 48 hrs., Die Hard and Die Hard 2. The cast includes Sylvester Stallone, Max Von Sydow (The Exorcist), Armand Assante (Striptease), Jürgen Prochnow (Das Boot), Diane Lane (The Perfect Storm), Angus MacInnes (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) and James Remar (Dexter’s Dad). The beginning story crawl was narrated by James Earl Jones. The score was composed by Alan Silvestri (Back to the Future). Stallone’s Dredd costume was designed by Gianni Versace. With all this ungodly talent from all these brilliant people involved with this movie, how could this movie have not succeeded?!
This film belongs in my category of “Loud and Obnoxious” films. ‘Loud and Obnoxious’ is a term of endearment I use for action movies I love. Other notable films in this category include The Matrix (see below) and Predator (also below). I really give a lot of credit to Alan Silvestri’s score on this film. It gives me goose bumps more than any piece of music I've heard before or since. Follow this link for a more in-depth look at Judge Dredd and my comparison of it to Dredd 3D (2012) right here at ‘Back OnLine. Back On Duty’.
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
First Blood Part II is by far one of my favorite action flicks (hence why I’m waxing nostalgic about it). I’m sure I've watched this movie 58,000 times over the course of my life. It never gets old. I still wanna see Rambo stab Murdock in the gut at the end. Everything about this movie screams ‘AWESOME’. I’m no expert on the Vietnam War, by any stretch of the imagination, but POWs still there in 1985 seems like a bit of a stretch. As a continuance of Stallone’s salute to our boys who fought during the Vietnam War, this flick still rouses (LOL) my patriotism. I remember his speech at the end like it was just growled out by him: “I WANT…WHAT THEY WANT, AND EVERY OTHER GUY WHO CAME OVER HERE AND SPILLED HIS GUTS AND GAVE EVERYTHING HE HAD, WANTS: FOR OUR COUNTRY TO LOVE US…. AS MUCH AS WE… LOVE IT…THAT’S WHAT I WANT…..”
To this day, every time I tie my shoes (which admittedly isn't that often), I hear Jerry Goldsmith’s score playing from the scene where Rambo is in the mission-prep montage. Muscles and bullets and boots OH MY!
BOM BUM BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’d be a blasphemous Pirate-Cat-Hooker if I didn't mention my love for this cinematic masterpiece. Paul Verhoeven explained this movie as “American Jesus”. I’m not too fond of that notion but I love this movie, real hard. I’m sure Brobocop (the fine proprietor of this site) will agree with me that this movie is awesome. It has aged exceptionally well over the years. Be sure and check out the unrated cut of this if you haven’t already. Poor Mr. Kenney gets shot for what feels like 30 minutes by ED-209 in this cut. Plus Murphy’s demise is a lot more graphic. The satire seems just as poignant today as it did decades ago. You have no idea how much I miss the 80’s. I first recorded this flick from CBS on my VCR as a kid. I watched it a million times. Years later when the DVD came out, I saw it for the first time in all its glory. The (extreme) violence and profanity threw me off, LOL. I had memorized the PG-TV version of the film. It didn't take long for me to memorize the R version. One of my personally most quoted films of all time, Robocop will always hold a special place in my chest cavity…
So, how does one put into words the awesomeness that is Predator? A team of commandos, with more bullets than ANY elite force should EVER have, embark on a mission in a jungle and find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior with a woman’s reproductive organ for a mouth. Another multi-faceted, multi-layered, over-the-top, uber-quotable “Loud and Obnoxious” flick, Predator makes me smile. I mean, where else can you see a 250lb man cut a palm tree in half with a Gatling gun (aka Minigun)? In a land where a man’s worth is measured by his testosterone level, bicep size and size of his… weapon, Arnold Schwarzenegger is King. This movie is an excellent exercise in 80s excess, boasting more rippling muscles, bullets, bad one-liners, grenades, RPG’s, bullets and bullets and more bullets than anyone can shake a severed, disembodied spinal column at. I think this film finds a lot of people in their prime. The planets must’ve aligned. (Earth aligned with Uranus).
Follow this link for my more in-depth look at Predator right here at ‘Back OnLine. Back On Duty’.
Sin City (2005)
This movie seriously changed my life (Artistically & Nerdily speaking). Frank Miller’s Sin City blew me away. Somehow, I had NEVER heard of those comics up to that point (how sad is that?) and this was my first exposure to this world. Accordingly, immediately after viewing this flick, I went out and bought up every Graphic Novel with Frank Miller’s name on it. Say what you will about Frank Miller, Sin City the comics or movie, but I've never seen better usage of negative space and high contrast, period. Throwing several of the Sin City stories into an anthology situation, I find this movie very well rounded. It also benefited from brilliant casting. I mean, seriously, Mickey Rourke wore absolutely no make-up on set, save for a wig and some Band-Aids. That’s good casting and smart spending. The extended versions of each individual story are now available and I suggest you peruse them post-haste. This film also appears to be the most faithfully recreated in relation to its source material I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. ‘Nuff said.
The Matrix (1999)
The Matrix is another movie I have quoted in times exceeding numbers of 800,000. I could basically recite and partially act-out this entire film. I even created a “Matrix Dance” in honor of this movie. Precious few people have ever been privy to this interpretive dance celebration. I think this movie hit at a time when computer graphics were really starting to get their bearings and it meshed very well. The mixture of Hong Kong style fight scenes with hard/industrial rock, slapped on top of bazillions of slow-motion bullets just makes my heart pound. It’s the same feeling you got as a kid when you broke a window out with a rock and got away with it. That was not a confession and there is no spoon…
Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Obviously, Episode V is not completely full of blood, guts and violence, but that doesn't make it any less awesome of an Action/Adventure movie. Long ago, in a state called California(?), George Lucas actually still cared about this franchise and had not yet sold his soul to the plastic gods of silicone. I've been told by my parents and other family members that I watched this movie 83 times in the summer of ’85. OK so one-ish viewing a day doesn't sound like much, but that’s pretty respectable for a 4 year old, m’Kay?! I’m sure Episode V holds a special place for a lot of you readers out there, so I don’t have to tell you how awesome it is. I much prefer the crazy, sausage-eating, senile Muppet Yoda to the CG green turd of later years. Goes without saying.
Frank Miller’s 300 holds a very special place in my heart. Not only is it an awesome movie based on a Frank Miller book, it’s also the movie I watched with Sarah (my Beautiful Wife) on our first date. Cleverly crafted by Zack Snyder, of Watchmen and the Dawn of the Dead Remake fame (I liked his Dawn, OK?!), it shows a very sexy Gerard Butler rubbing his blood-covered, ab-rippling man-muscles all over some Persians…. Um.. I mean it shows some Spartans laying the smack-down on some foo’s! Yeah, that’s it. Also keep an eye out for Michael Fassbender in the flick as Stelios. Not to get too mushy, but this flick floods me with very fond memories of being such a Nerd and being scared to death of doing something stupid on a date with the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. It’s also just an awesome movie that shows Gerard Butler’s naked hiney on it. What else do you need? I figure that makes this movie the perfect choice and my #1 Action Movie for Valentine’s Day. <Stares off into space with a dumb smile>
Be sure to wash your house coat, throw your chocolate wrappers away, wash your soup bowl, extinguish the candles, turn off the Boys II Men album, safely dispose of the incense, put the wine bottle in the fridge, extinguish more candles and let your cats out of the basement now that we’re done.
So there you have it! Directive 4: (The Insane Ramblings of Frank Browning) thanks you for your kind attention and asks what Sci-Fi/Action/Adventure Flicks make your heart flutter?
SOUND OFF BELOW YOU LOVE BIRDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Frank Browning