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Category: Review/Preview

Hollywood Hard Bastards: Volume 6

Gary Jive

Watching berserk action movies every day really makes you notice things – like the dire necessity for an evil henchman training school. Without fail, these useless dunderheads are horrible shots, though they do provide excellent cannon fodder for hard heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1996’s Eraser. In Chuck Russell’s carnage-tastic thriller, Arnie is villain-smiting witness protection agent John Kruger who specialises in ‘erasing’ endangered witnesses, helping them ‘disappear’ to start new lives.

Hollywood Hard Bastards: Volume 5

Gary Jive

Though any Hard Bastard worth his salt usually battles for truth and justice, these chiselled champions do occasionally get fed up with saving our butts and take a vacation over to the dark side. So, breaking us in this week, we have Bruce Willis’ engaging turn as an ice-cold, callous assassin in Michael Caton-Jones’ The Jackal (1997). It’s a neat change for Willis, reining in his usual wisecracking excesses in favour of a restrained, chilling performance as the straight-faced ultimate assassin plotting a high-profile kill, while giving Richard Gere’s ex-IRA sniper the runaround.

Hollywood Hard Bastards: Volume Four

Gary Jive

 rocky II

 If there’s one thing that allows a Hard Bastard to stand head and shoulders above mere mortals, it’s their rousing tenacity. One spartan who exemplifies this trait is this week’s first contender Sylvester Stallone in 1979’s rousing Rocky II. This time, unremitting underdog Balboa struggles with celebrity life after going the distance with champ Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). Losing respect after starring in gaudy commercials and with wife Adrien in a coma, the stuttering stallion decides to reclaim his mojo by arranging a rematch and reducing Creed’s face to mush.

Red Dawn (2012) – Review

Gary Jive

Each time a Chris Hemsworth movie is released, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Antipodean heartthrob has had a curious case of the Benjamin Buttons, seemingly growing younger and less experienced with each role. After the Thor star’s turn in last year’s long-delayed high concept fright-fest The Cabin in the Woods, this week finally sees the release of the similarly long-deferred big budget remake of John Milius’ kids-vs-foreign-invaders flick Red Dawn. Filmed in 2009 but shelved due to MGM’s financial troubles, Director Dan Bradley’s big screen debut has, disappointingly, not been worth the wait.

Hollywood Hard Bastards: Volume Three

Gary Jive

From Kindergarten Cop to Cop and a Half, the nineties were a time when Hard Bastards wanted to show there was more to their repertoire than snapping spines and giving henchmen lead poisoning. No, they wanted to do funny, which is why this week a thoroughly ruffled-looking Sylvester Stallone gurns in the shadow of Golden Girl Estelle Getty in 1992’s Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies) helms this whimsical tale of cocky, streetsmart cop Joe Banowski, whose style is severely cramped by his elderly meddling mother’s unexpected visit.

Side Effects (2013) – Review

Gary Jive

After over twenty years of thrills, chills, sex, lies and videotape, Oscar-winning virtuoso director Steven Soderbergh is finally calling it a day, at least as far as the big screen is concerned. Though his eagerly-anticipated Michael Douglas-starring Liberace HBO TV movie is still to see the light of day, the Traffic director, jaded with the Hollywood studio system, stands firm that psychological thriller Side Effects will be his last ever cinematic release. Thankfully, this beguiling, unpredictable neo-noir proves to be one of his finest works since Ocean’s Eleven and is a more than fitting swansong.

Hollywood Hard Bastards: Volume Two

Gary Jive

eye_for_an_eye

Welcome, combat fans, to part two of my epic, foolhardy crusade! This week, Chuck Norris is icy-cool in Lone Wolf McQuade director Steve Carver’s stylish revenge thriller An Eye For An Eye (1981). Chuck is Sean Kane, kicked off the police force for karate kicking a guy out of a window, instead of reading him his rights, following the murder of his partner. Out for revenge, Kane cruises about in a kickass speedboat, dispensing vigilante justice and inviting tidy female reporters back to his lakeside gaff.

The Bay (2013) – Review

Gary Jive

Yawn! Here comes the latest entry to the tired ‘found footage’ horror canon. Another low budget, purportedly homemade, schlocky fright-fest canon, this one is directed by…hang on…Barry Levinson!?!?

You’d be forgiven for not seeing this one coming but, with The Bay, the Oscar-winning director of Rain Man and Sleepers takes an unexpected, leftfield turn into grisly horror territory. This chronicle of the terrifying chaos that breaks out in a small Maryland seaside town following a gut-churning ecological disaster on Fourth of July Weekend, bears little similarity to anything Levinson has done before. Yet, satisfyingly, it manages to stand head and shoulders above the majority of the dime-a-dozen shockumentaries it looks to emulate. This may, in no small part, be due to the involvement of Paranormal Activity creator Oren Peli, who oversees as producer on an ingenious little picture that cracks the formula to truly make the flesh crawl.