Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Goldfinger (1964)

007's third outing is where he truly became a cinematic icon.  Boasting even more action and spectacle than the previous two, Goldfinger is quite simply iconic.  Great villains, great girls, great action, this set the template for the character.  Let's take a closer look.
  • This is one of those films that is honestly a little hard to discuss, simply because just about every aspect of the movie has been looked at from every possible direction.  It truly laid the groundwork for the rest of the series in terms of story structure, tone and content.  If Dr. No was a spiced up detective story and From Russia with Love was an adrenaline fueled Hitchcock film, Goldfinger is pure over the top escapist fantasy at its bear-best.
  • Right from the start, things are a little more heightened and over the top as the first five minutes of the film give you a sexy woman, Sean Connery getting an utterly cool movie star entrance, a peppy fight in a bathroom and even something getting blown up real good.  And all before the great Shirley Bassey theme song.
  • The screenplay is a terrific adaptation of the novel, keeping the basic plot setup and events (James Bond vs. a deranged rich guy who wants to rob Fort Knox in order to increase the value of his gold) but adding some cool cinematic touches that make it work as a fun action movie.
  • Connery is just utterly cool here, I don't think he even raises his voice once for the entire running time, even when trying to bargain with the bad guy.
  • Gert Frobe is fantastic as Goldfinger, over the top but in an oddly restrained way.  Harold Sakata is equally effective as our henchman for the evening, Oddjob.  Together they make for a formidable villainous duo with Frobe exuding a ruthless intelligence and Sakata just being awesomely intimidating.
  • Gotta love just how casually Bond screw with Goldfinger's card cheating scheme and then moves on to seducing his girlfriend (Shirley Eaton).  Naturally this leads to another iconic moment when Bond finds Eaton covered in gold paint.
  • Always found Bond's crack about The Beatles to be amusingly odd.  So sad when you see sixties icons opposed to one another.  Can't we all just get along?
  • Love the gadget laden Aston Martin, yet another iconic bit of the film.
  • I don't know how director Guy Hamilton and company did it but they somehow managed to make a golf game tense and interesting.  Hell, it might be the best damn sequence in the entire movie in terms of sheer viewer joy.  Connery and Frobe just play the whole thing wonderfully.
  • Bond tailing Goldfinger works fairly well, giving Bond a chance to show off some of his car's gadgets when he meets Tilly (Tania Mallet), the sister of Jill, our golden girl from Miami.  The ensuing stuff at Goldfinger's factory is quite good with a fantastic car chase (they keep it short and sweet and the ending is fun) and the famous scene where Bond is nearly cut in half with a laser.
  • Honor Blackman is pretty solid as main Bond Girl Pussy Galore.
  • To be honest, the film does sort of drag once Bond is captured and taken to Kentucky.  There are plenty of good moments but it's a little odd to have a James Bond film where Bond more or less sits on his ass for a good stretch of time.  Hell, he only really becomes active in foiling Goldfinger's plan after the man has already broken into Fort Knox.
  • The twist of the bad guy merely irradiating the gold in Fort Knox as opposed to trying to steal it is quite neat.  I also get a kick out of Goldfinger's long speech to the gangsters.
  • The funny thing about these gangsters though is just how hammily jumpy they are.  I'd like to think that most mobsters are made of sterner stuff.  Wouldn't surprise me if Goldfinger decided to gas them all after the meeting just so he wouldn't have to listen to them anymore.
  • The film picks back up at Fort Knox with a nice showdown between the army and Goldfinger's men while Bond fights with Oddjob before trying to stop an atomic bomb from going off.  The fight is suitably epic, I'd say it matches the fight with Grant from the previous film.
  • The epilogue with Bond fighting Goldfinger on a small plane is a nice way to round things up and the death of the villain is quite satisfying.
Goldfinger represents the moment where the James Bond films became iconic.  The film has some flaws, yes, but it's still a top notch spy thriller with loads of great moments and a pair of awesome bad guys.   Goldfinger is the culmination of the development set up by the first two movies.  With the character and formula for the series in place, the makers of the movies were set to try and top themselves.

The Films of 1976

1976 was sort of a mediocre year in some ways and a very good one in others.  Let's take a closer look.

The Best:

10. Breakheart Pass

Fun western murder mystery with Charles Bronson.  Not essential (this was a sort of lean year, as I think you can tell) but fun enough.

9. The Omen

Any other year this would be either on my worst list or guilty pleasure list but this sort of cheesy Exorcist cash-in is a fun horror flick from Richard Donner that has good work from Gregory Peck and some memorably gruesome death scenes that get it a space in the top ten.

8. Taxi Driver

As with Raging Bull in 1980, this is an example of a very, very good Scorsese film that I saw once and really don't need to experience again.  Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel and Jodie Foster are stunningly good in their roles and the bloody climax is still one of the most gruesome things Scorsese has given us... Well, that and the sight of Jonah Hill's junk in The Wolf of Wall Street.  Actually, that might be more horrifying than anything on display in Taxi Driver now that I think of it.

7. Silent Movie

Mel Brooks' most inventive comedy is this satire of Hollywood that is done without any sound.  An all-star cast and some great sight gags highlight this clever, hilarious movie.

6. Logan's Run

Logan's Run is an endlessly entertaining sci-fi flick starring Michael York as a young man who lives in a world where nobody lives past age 30.  Part of the big boom in science fiction during the decade, this features some nice f/x work and good acting from the cast.  It's not the best thing you will ever see but it's still solid entertainment.

5. Assault on Precinct 13

John Carpenter's second movie is a nicely paced action movie about a bunch of cops and criminals trapped in a small police station being menaced by a psychotic gang.  More or less a re-working of the basics of Rio Bravo, this features some nice action beats, a killer score and one of the most shocking kills in film history when a young girl gets shot dead by the gang.  It's not the best Carpenter film out there but it's a lean, mean thriller all the same.

4. Murder by Death

I'm not generally the biggest Neil Simon fan out there (truthfully, I find most of his work to be a little too cute for its own good) but this spoof of classic detective novels is hilarious.  Sporting all all-star cast playing famous detectives from fiction only with slightly changed names (Sam Spade is Sam Diamond, etc.) Simon assaults the audience with a barrage of puns and jokes, most of which hi9t their mark.  Of the huge cast, I especially enjoy Alec Guinness as a blind butler, Peter Sellers as the Charlie Chan-esque detective and Peter Falk as Sam Diamond.  It's a really funny film.

3. Rocky

Sylvester Stallone's breakthrough came with this fantastic boxing drama that's both a moving inspirational tale and a fantastic sports movie.  Chock full of good performances (even Burt Young, who I normally can't stand, is good here) and iconic moments, this is one of Stallone's best.

2. St. Ives

I'm a sucker for a good detective story and this one certainly fits the bill.  Good work from the cast (Bronson gives a nicely relaxed performance, as does John Houseman) and some fun cameos from future stars (Bronson is menaced by a young Jeff Goldblum and Robert Englund) make this a nice, breezy lost gem.

1.  The Outlaw Josey Wales

The best film of 1976 is this fantastic western from Clint Eastwood.  A simple take of revenge on the surface, it's also a nice meditation on the importance of having connections with other people and making peace.  Pretty much as close to an anti-war film as you will ever get from the man.  Clint does a fine job of directing things as well as acting and it not only works as a fairly serious Western but it also delivers the usual funny/cool Clint moments his audience expects.  I actually think this is better than Unforgiven in many ways.  The appearance of a few Eastwood regulars like Sondra Locke help give the film a more personal feel.  Just a fantastic film that should have gotten more attention when it was released.

The Worst:

Burt Reynolds' sequel to his pretty damn good flick White Lightning is an overly long, poorly shot action film with some admittedly nice boat stunts making things somewhat tolerable as Reynolds go4es after an old friend played by Jerry Reed who also did the theme song for the movie.  It's not the worst thing we will see from the man (Oh believe me, it gets much much worse) but it's still a pretty huge letdown considering how sharply made the first film was.

The sound system used for the theater and the huge cast is pretty much the only reason to sit through this long, cliched WWII film that has a story that was about twenty years past its sell-by date.  Hell, most of the acti0on is stock footage anyway which makes the entire affair seem somewhat pointless.

This is the way Hammer Films ended.  Not with a bang, but this damp squib of an Omen/Rosemary's Baby cash-in that really only comes to life when Christopher Lee is onscreen.  Shame, really.

It pains me to put an Eastwood film in this section but the third Dirty Harry movie really does seem to just slog through the motions.  Apart from a fun opening where Harry foils a robbery as only he can (driving a car into the store and shooting everybody) and the pretty solid stuff with Eastwood and new partner Tyne Daly, this one just goes through the paces.  Hell, the main villain is barely memorable enough to warrant and cool death he gets.  A LAWS rocket for the guy whose name we can barely remember?  Man!

Guilty Pleasures:

I've written about this weird little gem before but it really is worth tracking down just so you can say you saw it.  Brainwashed kung-fu guys who are unstoppable, the worst performance of the Dragon Lady stereotype you will ever see (the only plus is that the actress is actually Asian) and some pretty good action highlights this one.

Once again, Dino DeLaurentiis proves that when you want a thoroughly enjoyable movie that is also a huge, steaming pile of monkey crap, he's the go-to guy.  The classic 1933 movie is given a 70's upgrade which amazingly enough makes it even more dated than the original.  The joys are too numerous to lists in a short review but I will try: We get Jeff Bridges looking like a homeless man, Charles Grodin horribly miscast as an evil corporate guy, Jessica Lange falling for a giant ape played by Rick Baker in a pretty damn good costume, two seconds of the worst giant ape robot I have ever seen, an amazingly inappropriate death for Kong that makes Sonny's death in The Godfather look tame and some of the cheesiest f/x I have ever seen in a big budget movie.  Leave your brain at the door, bring your sense of humor and have a blast.

1976 wasn't the best year for film but it was damn sure one of the most entertaining.  For the most part, things moved along fairly well with some underdog hits and a few stinkers.  Good stuff to be had.  Until next time...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

1993: The Best

Now for the really good stuff...

10. El Mariachi

Robert Rodriguez's debut film is a strong, no BS action movie about a guy who only wants to be a guitar player who gets caught up in a dangerous case of mistaken identity.  The usual Rodriguez touches are there for the most part: sparse, lean script told in a succinct manner, tightly edited and flashy action scenes, some nice camera work and just a touch of actual quality character work.  This is a hell of a debut for the man and his output would only get better.

9. Jurassic Park

Steven Spielberg had a grand slam of a year with 1993.  Not only did he finally win some Oscar gold for Schindler's List, he also churned out the most successful and highly anticipated movie of the year.  Jurassic Park is a bright, thoroughly entertaining roller coaster of a movie with a nice cast of solid character actors (Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill are quite good, as is Richard Attenborough), a great John Williams score and some incredible dinosaur f/x courtesy of Stan Winston and ILM.  Granted, there are some flaws here and there.  The Attenborough character is a bit neutered from the Michael Crichton novel, as is some of the gore (which made it into the Roger Corman cash-in Carnosaur the same year) and the finale is a little anticlimactic but the film is still very strong.  Hell, the T-Rex attack alone makes it one of the best things ever made!  It's not quite the Jaws of the 90's, but it's fairly close.

8. Demolition Man

The other guy in 1993 who had a great one-two punch of a year was Sylvester Stallone.  I've spoken about both of his films from that year in detail but Demolition Man tops Cliffhanger just by sheer virtue of having a more clever screenplay, a better villain in Wesley Snipes and Sandra Bullock.  What can I say?  There wasn't a better girl-next-door type in the mid 90's than her.

7. Red Rock West

This one is sort of a cheat on my part as while I tend to put films in the year they got a U.S. release, this one didn't hit the theater stateside until 1994.  that being said, this is one of the better neo-noir films you will ever see with nice world from Nicolas Cage as a drifter and Dennis Hopper as the killer he impersonates and later has to deal with.  The plot is your basic setup with a guy coming into town and falling in with an untrustworthy woman who wants him to help her kill her husband.  The twist of the whole thing is that at first, Cage is hired by the husband to kill the wife.  It's a very clever, genuinely entertaining movie that manages to take a fairly standard story for the genre and give it a fresh feel.

6. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

While Batman Returns might be my favorite live action Batman film (with the 1989 flick a close second), this is probably the best overall interpretation of the character.  An extension of the awesome animated series that premiered in 1992, this finds The Dark Knight going up against a mysterious villain who is picking off mobsters and has a connection to his past.  Voice acting is superb with Kevin Conroy making both Bruce Wayne and Batman his own but the real gem is Mark Hamil as Joker.  Incredibly, Luke freaking Skywalker manages to not only outdo Heath Ledger, but Jack Nicholson as well!  The story itself is wonderfully basic and the action is outstanding, not to mention a little bloody at times.  It's a really terrific take on the character.

5. Groundhog Day

While Ghostbusters is probably the best movie Bill Murray has ever made, this one might sport his best performance.  The late, great Harold Ramis directed this brilliant little gem about a selfish jerk wad of a weatherman getting caught in a time loop while on location to cover Groundhog Day.  Murray is absolutely brilliant here giving a hilarious performance with a natural arc as he gradually figures out a way to get himself free from the loop.  It's a clever, fascinating comedy that is just a joy to watch.

4. The Fugitive

Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones are fantastic in this adaptation of the 60's TV show.  Andrew Davis delivers the goods here with a great thriller with a stellar cast and some enjoyably tense moments.  The real joy of the film is Jones, though, who more or less made his career for life with his portrayal of U.S,. Marshal Sam Gerard.  He really takes over the movie and it's no shock he ended up getting a film all to himself five years later.  Just about everything works here from the usual Chicago locations Davis loves to the confident way the story unfolds.

That being said, if they had to make a sequel, it would have been hilarious if it had just been a straightforward legal drama where Ford sues the cojones off of the Chicago Police Department in the largest civil suit known to man.

3. Tombstone

Sporting an awesome cast, some fun action and a great blend of historical fact with embellishment, Tombstone is a smorgasbord of memorable lines, moments and performances.  I reviewed this one in detail a few months ago so let's just say its really, really good.

2. In the Line of Fire

The best Eastwood flick since the 80's is another great thriller in a year full of them.  Eastwood is great as a tormented Secret Service agent, John Malkovich is even better as the bad guy and Wolfgang Petersen directs the whole affair with a steady hand.

1. Army of Darkness

The third Evil Dead film manages to be the best of the year simply by doing exactly what a fun, unpretentious bit of entertainment should do.  Fast paced (though the longer version is better), funny and genially likable, it sports great KNB f/x and a fun Bruce Campbell performance that has become iconic.  Sam Raimi's stylistic flourishes are cranked up to eleven and the end result is a brisk, fantastic little action/horror film.

1993 was quite the eclectic year for film, as I think I've shown.  Great thrillers, some fun blockbusters and some equally good sleeper hits.  Pretty damn good considering the year that would follow.

1993: Guilty Pleasures

The best of the worst, really.  Sometimes you just have to laugh at the crap.

Bruce Willis stars in this soggy (literally), utterly predictable but at times utterly hilarious thriller about a cop going after a serial killer.  A solid cast is wasted, just about every cliche in the book is utilized but in spite of that it's still one of the more enjoyable bad movies I've come across in a while.

Equally enjoyable is the goofy sequel to the 1991 flick Warlock.  Julian Sands steals the show once again as the title character, this time looking for some sacred druid stones he needs to destroy the world or something.  Genre pro Anthony Hickox directs with his usual competency, the gore is plentiful and things move at a brisk enough pace to where you enjoy the inherent silliness of it all.  I got a weird thing for cheesy 90's horror franchises like this one and the Leprechaun films.

Now for the big two.

I think the reason I enjoy the ninth Friday the 13th movie is the fact that they tried to do something a little different.  Eight films of more or less straightforward slasher action (parts 6-8 play around a little more) and then just an out and out bizarre turn into body hopping, sacred daggers and old family secrets?  Not often a slasher franchise goes off the rails like that for fun!  Jeez, about the only thing I can really gripe about is the limited time Kane Hodder is on screen.  Still, this one is a fun, gory ride that oddly enough is worth seeing in both the rated and unrated versions.  Go for the unrated one first, though.  Trust me, it's worth it.

If not for the totally bizarre Jeff Bridges performance, this chintzy remake of the 1988 original (by the original director, no less) wouldn 't even be worth noting.  Not even for the worst of the year list.  Thanks to Jeff Bridges bizarre accent which could be French or a recovering stroke victim and his cheesy Eurotrash haircut, he singlehandedly keeps the movie interesting.

Funnily enough, he comes off like Donald Sutherland at times which brings us to our other lead.  Kiefer Sutherland does his usual pre-Jack Bauer routine which is basically the same as his Jack Bauer routine, minus the torture scenes.  He mostly act quietly intense, obsessing over his lost love, and wails "No!" here which was more or less Siskel and Ebert's reaction as well).

The only other cast member worth noting, besides Nancy Travis whose character is really only there to make the cheapo horror film ending the film opts for fit into the cliche better, is Sandra Bullock as Sutherland's girlfriend who Bridges abducts and kills off screen.  And even then it's only retroactively notable since 1993 was sort of a breakout year for the actress... Plus she's cute.

The film is a rather cynical bit of filmmaking, given the way the director craps on his original piece of work, even throwing in a cheap laugh at the end, but it's still worth seeing if only for Bridges who is off in a far more interesting, entertaining movie.

Coming Soon: The Best of 1993

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

1993: The Worst

Not too much I consider outwardly horrible (most of the bad ones from this year make me laugh enough to rate them as guilty pleasures), but there are a few.

I honestly don't know who the hell thought the world needed a sequel to Stakeout.  The first movie is a solid enough buddy cop film and this one is essentially the same damn film, minus the sexy turn by Madeline Stowe who appears briefly towards the end and a different setup.  In her place, we get Rosie O'Donnell as an annoyingly perky ADA who insists on joining cops Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez on their latest assignment.  Said assignment involves a witness in a mob trial and our heroes trying to keep professional killer Miguel Ferrer from rubbing out said witness.

The chemistry between Dreyfuss and Estevez is just as fun as it was in the first one and Ferrer makes for a fun bad guy (in a nice twist, Dennis Farina appears but as the husband of the witness instead of his typical role) and there are some legit funny moments but O'Donnell just drags the whole enterprise down with a truly irritating performance.  It's not that she's always bad, her standup act was pretty strong and she was fine in A League of Their Own but here she just seems to get in the way.  Add to that John Badham's auto-pilot directing and the predictable script and you get one hell of a pointless flick.

Never let it be said that I let a movie being a huge hit jeep me from not liking it.  Mrs. Doubtfire is essentially a one joke movie stretched over 125 minutes.  Robin Williams plays a soon-to-be divorced father who decides to pose as an old lady housekeeper in order to stay close to his kids.  Pretty much everything about this movie annoys me in some way.  Robin Williams and Sally Field are insufferable (Williams is in full-on annoying improv guy mode and Field is just too unlikable for anyone to believe she landed a guy period, let alone one she's had three kids with).  The plot itself is poorly thought out (voice-over work for a guy as clearly talented as the Williams character is is hard to come by?) and while there are a few funny bits, there is no excuse for a comedy like this to be over two hours.  Hell, having it run over ninety minutes is pushing things a little.  It's not the worst thing ever but good lord, when the makeup f/x is the best part of your family comedy something is wrong.

While the sequels are enjoyable cheese, the first in the Leprechaun series is just a paint-by-numbers horror movie with an admittedly energetic performance by Warwick Davis as the title ghoul.  Jennifer Aniston is the only notable human character and that;s just because she ended up being famous later on but the rest of the cast is so bland it boggles the mind.  The film really is a showcase for Davis who acquits himself admirably, the rest of the film is crap.  Stick to the sequels.

Last Action Hero is my pick for worst of the year, mainly because by all rights it should have been damn good and in my book a good idea ruined is worse than something that wasn't too hot an idea to begin with.  The premise is neat (action film fan gets sucked into an action movie), Arnold is fine and the humor is about what it should be but the way the story plays out just shoots the film right to hell.  The biggest problem is the kid.  Not Austin O'Brien's performance, though he is pretty annoying, but rather the writing of the role.  Just from a common sense standpoint, if you were a kid sucked into an action movie, would you really spend most of your time trying to convince your hero he's a work of fiction and not real?  I don't know how but that pisses me off even more now than it did when I was a teen watching the movie for the first time!  Add to that the rather obnoxious marketing campaign and the oddly depressing tone the film has during the "real world" scenes and you end up with a really huge disappointing misfire of a movie.

Coming soon: Guilty Pleasures

Saturday, April 19, 2014

1993: The Rest

And now, a plethora of adequacy.

Stuart Gordon directs Christopher Lambert in this okay sci-fi action film about a man in a dystopian future imprisoned and his fight to get free.  Pretty standard prison film with a sci-fi setting that is helped somewhat by Gordon's direction and some nice gory bits.

Tom Berenger is good in a fairly standard, meat and potatoes action movie about a sniper and his new spotter going after targets.  Billy Zane is decent as the partner and the action is decent enough.  It's not an essential film, but it's a pleasant enough diversion.

Pretty damn solid adaptation of the John Grisham novel that sports a great cast and solid direction from Sydney Pollack.  Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman are solid but the real fun for me comes from watching kindly old Wilford Brimley play a bad guy.  The rest of the cast, as I said is great with pretty much everybody getting at least one small moment or two to shine.  Gary Busey is fun as a private investigator, Hal Holbrook is fine as the head of the law firm and Holly Hunter is good as a secretary.  Overall, The Firm is an enjoyable bit of fluff.

John Badham directs Bridget Fonda in this remake of the 1990 French thriller Nikita.  It shares pretty much the same plot and characters.  Hell, even the directors, Luc Besson and John Badham have similar "style over substance" approaches to filmmaking.  Bridget Fonda and Gabriel Byrne are solid here and the action, when it comes, is done in Badham's usual professional, somewhat bloody style. Anne Bancroft and Harvey Keitel are also good in their smaller roles.  The film has pacing issues the original doesn't however.  Badham is generally a solid, efficient director in the Peter Hyams mold but unlike Hyams, his films sometimes get a little too pacy for their own good.  Still, it's worth seeing once, just skip over the romance subplot.  It doesn't really work.

The other action movie spoof of 1993, this one covers the Lethal Weapon films, subbing in Emilio Estevez and Samuel L. Jackson for Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.  The comedic style is more or less what you would expect but the actors play it just right, making the affair an enjoyable one.  I especially enjoy Tim Curry and William Shatner as the bad guys.  Talk about a big serving of ham!

Coming soon: The Worst of 1993

1993: Honorable Mentions

1993 was a fairly average, sort of mundane in a way, year for film with a solid enough cross-section of genres.  Lots of guilty pleasures, some legit awesome movies and of course, some stuff that was good but not enough to make the top ten.

 Let's kick things off with this gem of a kid's film produced by Tim Burton.  Chock full of fun songs and great moments (the stop motion f/x are great too), this ends up being both a great Halloween film and a great Christmas movie.  Good stuff.

 Steven Spielberg really outdid himself in 1993 with two fantastic movies.  Jurassic Park made the cut for the top ten but Schindler's List didn't, alas.  What can I say?  There were ten other movies I liked more.  Still, a stunningly moving film with good work from Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes.  Spielberg certainly earned his Oscar this year, though like Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, I can honestly say seeing it the one time was enough for me.

 Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau always made for a good cinematic duo and Grumpy Old Men is certainly one of their more enjoyable efforts.  Playing two old rivals whose kids end up falling for each other, they have plenty of hilarious moments as well as one or two bits of warm drama and the end result is a thoroughly agreeable comedy.

 I'm a Shakespeare fan and any time Kenneth Branagh takes on The Bard it's bound to yield positive results.  This adaptation of one of the better comedy plays the man wrote features funny turns from just about everybody from Branagh and Emma Thompson to Denzel Washington and Michael Keaton.  About the only real weak link is Keanu Reeves whose natural stiffness doesn't really lend itself too well to the material.  I also think the brief stretch in the middle of the play where it gets deadly serious sort of hurts the flow of the comedy but the film handles it pretty well.

 Not the best of Mel Brooks by a long shot but this is still an entertaining spoof of Robin Hood.  The snarky jabs at the 1991 movie are welcome and Cary Elwes makes for a fun Robin Hood.  You can sort of tell Brooks is running out of material but he manages to make some funny moments that make this one worth the time and effort.

 I've written about John Woo's American debut elsewhere and it certainly could have been better but this is still one of the better Jean-Claude van Damme films.  Great action, especially the extended finale and a fantastic Lance Henriksen performance make this one more than worth whatever flaws the film, may have.

 1993 wasn't just a great year for Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone also had a hell of a year, starting with this good old fashioned, smash mouth action movie that is quite simply "Die Hard on a mountain".  Great action and stunts, a nice villainous turn from John Lithgow and good work from Stallone and it's all held together by Renny Harlin's customary sense of over the top style.

 One of two action movie spoofs that came out in 1993 (the second one I'll get to in a future post), this sequel to the 1991 Top Gun spoof is a fun spoof of Stallone movies with Charlie Sheen funny as hell and remarkably enough, one or two actually good action beats.  I appreciate when a movie that is at its heart and soul a comedy still cares enough to make any action scenes that might pop up as good as they can while still keeping the jokes coming.  This one does it just fine.

If Tarantino had been given the chance to direct this one instead of Tony Scott, it may well have been one of his best.,  As it stands though, True Romance is still a fun, entertaining crime film with an awesome cast, the typical great dialogue you would expect from Tarantino and the stylistic violence you would expect from Scott.  It's actually a pretty damn good mix, honestly.  Gotta love a movie that has such a deep cast from top to bottom and all of the players handle the dialogue well.

Coming Soon: The Rest of 1993

About Me

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