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.
Tag: Steven Seagal
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.
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.
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.
New Year’s Day, 2013. I’m tired, grumpy and up way, way too early. Pleasingly, the first film out of the Tub of Death instantly blasts away the cobwebs and gets the year off to a flyer. My descent into action movie insanity begins with Joseph Zito’s insane 1985 explosion-fest Invasion USA, the barmy tale of one-man-army Chuck Norris’ attempts to rescue America from a full-on terrorist invasion.
They’re unkillable, unstoppable, unflappable and irresistible. They’re the masters of the outrageous, racking up unfeasibly high body counts, smirking in the face of danger, always ready with a sly quip right before they blow the shit out of absolutely everything. Charismatic, stoic and determined, these Spartans never give up, overcoming unbelievable odds and despicable villains to save the day. They’re cinema’s greatest warriors, titans who walk among us, proving time and time again that there’s no problem, however big or small, that can’t be solved with a hearty fistful of dynamic, pulse-quickening, edge-of-your-seat violence.