Saturday, July 12, 2014

1981: Honorable Mentions Part 2

So much quality it cannot be confined to one post!

Walter Hill directs this solid action thriller set in 1973 about a team of National Guardsmen on training maneuvers in the Louisiana bayou.  Things go badly when they antagonize some locals (always a good idea, that) and it turns into a reworking of Deliverance as they struggle to survive.  Keith Carradine and Powers Boothe are good and Hill keeps things moving at a decent clip.  The film is probably a little too blatant a metaphor for Vietnam but it still works pretty damn well.

Solid action flick starring Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson (with Carl Weathers in a supporting role, just in case the film wasn't many enough for you) about a manhunt in the Yukon in the 30's for a trapper named Albert Johnson (Bronson).  Lee Marvin is good as the Mountie leading the hunt and it ends up being a pretty fun, low key action movie.

Albert Finney is quite good in this different take on the werewolf movie in that it's not a werewolf film at all!  It's generally thought of as "the other wolf movie of 1981) since this was also the year of An American Werewolf in London and The Howling, but Wolfen is a solid horror film in its own right.  Finney plays a weary NYPD captain investigating the savage murder of a rich couple that turns out to the the work of a tribe of mystical wolves.  There's some pretty good acting across the board plus some nice f/x work and while the film isn't perfect, it's certainly an interesting change of pace.

The fact that this didn't make the top ten is really more of a statement on how good the films on that list are than anything else.  Directed by Richard Franklin, this is a superb Australian thriller with Stacy Keach as a laid back truck driver who finds himself embroiled in a murder mystery while Jamie Lee Curtis has what I would call a "strategic guest star" role as a hitchhiker he picks up.  The film is nicely shot and suspenseful as all get-out.  More folks should know about this one, it's really top notch.

Coming Soon: The Worst of 1981

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.