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Let off some steam, Bennett

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Kowry
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Let off some steam, Bennett

#1

Post by Kowry » May 17th, 2014, 7:13 am

I wasn't one of those who grew up with cheesy action flicks. Never seen a Steven Seagal or Chuck Norris film, and my knowledge on the action genre is fairly lacking. I'm starting this log to explore the genre and fill out the greatest gaps in my action education. This whole thing may be or may not be an excuse to find occasions to drink beer.

I will be mainly focusing on the Action! The Action Movie A-Z list.

Films seen:
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Dr. No (1962, Young)
From Russia with Love (1963, Young)
Goldfinger (1964, Hamilton)
Thunderball (1965, Young)
You Only Live Twice (1967, Gilbert)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969, Hunt)
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#2

Post by Kowry » May 17th, 2014, 7:18 am

The Eon Productions James Bond franchise could be considered the first real action movie franchise (in a more modern sense of the term), so it's a somewhat natural place to start. Kicked this thing off with the first three Bond films.

Image
Dr. No (1962, Young)
Not a bad start for the series. It has some pretty campy aspects, the plot's not very sophisticated and the female characters' function is just to be Bond's fuck objects (and Ursula doesn't really do it for me). But it was an entertaining watch, and as someone noted on the ICM comment section, it has the feeling that they were doing something new for the time. Connery's a convincing Bond despite being a bit smug (think he gets a bit better in the later films). The budget isn't obviously as high as with the subsequent films and though the film doesn't feel cheap, the locations or the action scenes aren't as spectacular. There's a lot of nicely decorated rooms in the film.
Image
From Russia with Love (1963, Young)
Overall I thought this was an improvement over the previous film though there's not the charm of being the first. Connery seems now more comfortable in his role, there's more going on with the plot, the budget has doubled since the previous film so the the locations are more grandiose and the action scenes more spectacular. The fight scene in the train is especially good. Daniela Bianchi is pretty lovely, though I wish her character had more to do.

Image
Goldfinger (1964, Hamilton)
The only pre-Brosnan Bond film that I had previously seen, and didn't care for it much the first time. Liked it more this time around, I guess watching the previous two films helped. Goldfinger is an adequately cartoon-like villain with megalomaniac schemes, played well by Gert Fröbe. The finale with Bond fighting Oddjob is pretty great. There's one kinda minor thing that bring the film down a bit, the two secret service men who try to trail Bond and serve no real function beside being a lame comic relief.

(I was distracted a bit by the Oddjob scenes at first, 'cause I thought I remembered reading about him being convicted for a gang rape. Googled it and turned out it was the actor of Random Task, the Austin Powers character parodying Oddjob, that I was thinking of.)


--------

I will be watching more Bond films, going through them in chronological order. Not really sure whether I'm up to watching each entry or just selecting the ones that are the most acclaimed/essential. In any case I will not be watching the Daniel Craig films which I have already seen and I think of the Brosnan films I'm only interested in seeing Goldeneye (which I may have or may not have seen as a kid).

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#3

Post by SkilledLunatic » May 17th, 2014, 7:52 am

Action! The Action Movie A-Z has good stuff and other stuff. Good luck Kowry!

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#4

Post by Armoreska » May 17th, 2014, 8:10 am

Kowry on May 17 2014, 01:13:51 AM wrote:I wasn't one of those who grew up with cheesy action flicks.
What HAVE you been raised on I'm curious?
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#5

Post by Kowry » May 17th, 2014, 10:51 am

Armoreska on May 17 2014, 02:10:55 AM wrote:
Kowry on May 17 2014, 01:13:51 AM wrote:I wasn't one of those who grew up with cheesy action flicks.
What HAVE you been raised on I'm curious?
Well, mostly me and my brother watched animation when we were kids. Lion King, Aladdin, Disney stuff mostly. I remember when I was seven or eight my friend's dad took us to some Finnish movie, but there screening was cancelled or something like that and as a plan-b he rented Men in Black for us. Think that's my earliest really good film memory. The same friend also got Jurassic Park on VHS, did watch it with him quite a lot of times. Other than that, I don't really have many memories of watching non-kids films, caught up with the most essential films only later in life (e.g. saw Terminator 2 and Aliens when I was 21 or so).

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#6

Post by bal3x » May 17th, 2014, 1:16 pm

Kowry on May 17 2014, 01:13:51 AM wrote:I will be mainly focusing on the Action! The Action Movie A-Z list.
Good! I've been working on this list recently, seen most of them (in fact I realized that I had seen a large chunk of these films before... I just didn't keep track of them and didn't pay attention to the titles), there's a lot of crap and very poor quality stuff as well on this list though so unless you want to watch those you need to be selective.

Here are my favorites from this list:

Shoot to Kill
Die Hard
Dirty Harry
Enter the Dragon
Escape from New York
First Blood
The Fugitive
Goldfinger
Predator
Runaway Train
The Terminator
They Live
Total Recall

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#7

Post by Kowry » May 17th, 2014, 2:33 pm

bal3x on May 17 2014, 07:16:01 AM wrote:
Kowry on May 17 2014, 01:13:51 AM wrote:I will be mainly focusing on the Action! The Action Movie A-Z list.
Good! I've been working on this list recently, seen most of them (in fact I realized that I had seen a large chunk of these films before... I just didn't keep track of them and didn't pay attention to the titles), there's a lot of crap and very poor quality stuff as well on this list though so unless you want to watch those you need to be selective.

Here are my favorites from this list:

Shoot to Kill
Die Hard
Dirty Harry
Enter the Dragon
Escape from New York
First Blood
The Fugitive
Goldfinger
Predator
Runaway Train
The Terminator
They Live
Total Recall
Yeah, I'm aware there are a lot of films that mainly have camp value, but that kind of stuff can be enjoyable as well. As I said, I will be checking out some stuff by the likes of Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal for educative purposes (though exactly how much depends on how interesting I find their films). Thanks for the recs, naturally I've seen a bunch of those, namely:

Die Hard (like mainly the first half)
Dirty Harry (good)
Enter the Dragon (okay)
Escape from New York (liked it, haven't seen it in years)
First Blood (remember liking it, been a long time)
Goldfinger (good)
Predator (don't remember much from it)
The Terminator (good)
They Live (good!)

Which leaves me Shoot to Kill, The Fugitive, Runaway Train and Total Recall (the last one is a pretty major gap, I know).

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#8

Post by brokenface » May 17th, 2014, 3:42 pm

you should rewatch Escape from New York and then check out Escape from LA for comparative purposes.

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#9

Post by Kowry » May 17th, 2014, 4:14 pm

brokenface on May 17 2014, 09:42:29 AM wrote:you should rewatch Escape from New York and then check out Escape from LA for comparative purposes.
Not a bad suggestion, that would make a neat double bill (even though I don't have great expectations for LA).

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#10

Post by brokenface » May 17th, 2014, 4:23 pm

LA is not as bad as its reputation - got a fun supporting cast at least: Buscemi, Bruce Campbell, Pam Grier... - but it's a disappointment compared to NY & the special effects used have actually dated it even worse than the older film.

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#11

Post by Kowry » May 17th, 2014, 5:00 pm

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Thunderball (1965, Young)
Though this was a bit bloated. They could have tightened the film up by cutting like 30 minutes from the middle. There are some pretty good scenes, like the cool underwater battle at the end, but too much "filler". Largo was a pretty boring villain, even his handicap was boring. I Also disliked the film's anti-shark sentiments.

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#12

Post by VincentPrice » May 17th, 2014, 9:30 pm

Escape from LA is a LOT of fun, it's very comic book-y and I love the hell out of it.

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#13

Post by Lammetje » May 17th, 2014, 10:08 pm

Kowry on May 17 2014, 01:13:51 AM wrote:Never seen a Steven Seagal or Chuck Norris film.
:'( :'( :'(

See my avatar for recommendations. Above the Law is my favorite. B)
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#14

Post by SkilledLunatic » May 17th, 2014, 10:43 pm

Lammetje on May 17 2014, 04:08:22 PM wrote:
Kowry on May 17 2014, 01:13:51 AM wrote:Never seen a Steven Seagal or Chuck Norris film.
:'( :'( :'(

See my avatar for recommendations. Above the Law is my favorite. B)
I'm watching it right now :ph43r:

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#15

Post by bal3x » May 17th, 2014, 11:05 pm

Kowry on May 17 2014, 01:13:51 AM wrote:Never seen a Steven Seagal or Chuck Norris film
may be or may not be an excuse to find occasions to drink beer.
I do wonder how you have managed to avoid both Seagal and Norris IF you drink beer :D

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#16

Post by ChrisReynolds » May 18th, 2014, 3:09 am

I started working on this list when it became official, starting off Above the Law (bad but quite entertaining, and my first Seagal film if you don't count Machete!). It's fun to work on because these films were everywhere when I was a kid but I never made a special effort to seek them out before.

On a Seagal note: this rundown of Seagal's career, bizarre claims and awful behaviour was hilarious.

I still have yet to subject myself to a Chuck Norris film.

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#17

Post by mightysparks » May 18th, 2014, 3:15 am

I've only seen 58 on that list :( I rarely like 'pure action' movies though. Also, Total Recall and The Fugitive ftw.
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#18

Post by SkilledLunatic » May 18th, 2014, 3:37 am

Just watched Under Siege, a Navy Top Gun of sorts. Pretty entertaining and just the fact that we can see Gary Busey and Tommy Lee Jones give the most over-the-top performances I've seen in a while make it all worth it. Also, Gary Busey wears a dress :teehee: Isn't that great?

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#19

Post by bal3x » May 18th, 2014, 10:39 am

ChrisReynolds on May 17 2014, 09:09:13 PM wrote:On a Seagal note: this rundown of Seagal's career, bizarre claims and awful behaviour was hilarious.
Image
:D

Yeah, lots of rubbish in that article I assume, but then again you never know what the truth actually is with guys like this...

And Gary Busey - that's another legend :lol:
Has black belts in all of the following martial arts: budo-jujitsu, capoeira, hapkido, "Jailhouse Rock" and kendo. :o

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#20

Post by Kowry » May 18th, 2014, 11:44 am

ChrisReynolds on May 17 2014, 09:09:13 PM wrote:I started working on this list when it became official, starting off Above the Law (bad but quite entertaining, and my first Seagal film if you don't count Machete!). It's fun to work on because these films were everywhere when I was a kid but I never made a special effort to seek them out before.

On a Seagal note: this rundown of Seagal's career, bizarre claims and awful behaviour was hilarious.

I still have yet to subject myself to a Chuck Norris film.
Ha, that Seagal article was fascinating. His douchiness has no limits. I also had to read some of those other "What the hell happened?" articles.

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#21

Post by Kowry » May 18th, 2014, 1:27 pm

Image

You Only Live Twice (1967, Gilbert)
Starts off with Secret Service faking Bond's death. It's a pretty silly opening that doesn't really serve any great purpose in the film, but it's fun so who cares. When Bond arrives in Japan, the film spends lot of time (amid Bond's usual womanizing and action scenes) introducing cultural stereotypes, that probably were more exciting back in '67 than now. The film never gets outright dull, but there's plenty of stuff that's a bit disposable. Dunno what the relevance of Bond becoming 'Japanese' really was, and apparently all it takes to do that is to wear a kimono and bushy eyebrows, and train a couple of days with ninjas. Bond doesn't even have to try to seduce women at this point, they just fall for him because of his magnetism. Thought Connery was playing his role a bit by-the numbers at this point (though some seem to disagree). Anyway, the action finale is pretty fun (and silly), with Donald Pleasance's Blofield making for a more interesting villain than Largo in Thunderball. Overall I'd place this above the previous film, and a kinda decent entry in the series - and one which I might have enjoyed more if I hadn't watched this so close to the previous four films.

The scores in the films have been pretty solid especially from From Russia with Love onwards. Think my favorite of the theme songs has been You Only Live Twice; not a great song by itself maybe, but fits well with the tone of the Bond saga (as is the case with the other theme songs).

I'm not particularly interested in checking out Diamonds are Forever after On Her Majesty's Secret Service, - or Never say Never Again - so this will probably be my last Connery Bond. I enjoyed his as a Bond, but he was definitely at his strongest in the first three films, particularly in the last two of them. Think I'll take a little break before watching OHMSS so I won't get too exhausted with these.

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#22

Post by VincentPrice » May 18th, 2014, 1:42 pm

ChrisReynolds on May 17 2014, 09:09:13 PM wrote:I still have yet to subject myself to a Chuck Norris film.
If you need one to start with, Invasion USA is one of the best and is incredibly over the top violent.

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#23

Post by Lammetje » May 18th, 2014, 2:04 pm

ChrisReynolds on May 17 2014, 09:09:13 PM wrote:I started working on this list when it became official, starting off Above the Law (bad but quite entertaining, and my first Seagal film if you don't count Machete!). It's fun to work on because these films were everywhere when I was a kid but I never made a special effort to seek them out before.

On a Seagal note: this rundown of Seagal's career, bizarre claims and awful behaviour was hilarious.

I still have yet to subject myself to a Chuck Norris film.
This was an interesting read. I still feel that most of his early movies are underrated though.
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#24

Post by SkilledLunatic » May 18th, 2014, 3:23 pm

bal3x on May 18 2014, 04:39:34 AM wrote:
ChrisReynolds on May 17 2014, 09:09:13 PM wrote:On a Seagal note: this rundown of Seagal's career, bizarre claims and awful behaviour was hilarious.
Image
:D

Yeah, lots of rubbish in that article I assume, but then again you never know what the truth actually is with guys like this...

And Gary Busey - that's another legend :lol:
Has black belts in all of the following martial arts: budo-jujitsu, capoeira, hapkido, "Jailhouse Rock" and kendo. :o
Mischievous tehe
On the topic of Gary Busey I found this: "In 1997, after recurring nosebleeds, he underwent surgery to remove a golf-ball-sized cancerous tumor from his sinus cavity, and after surgery he underwent radiation therapy." Holy Shit, I had no idea.
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#25

Post by Kowry » May 23rd, 2014, 9:14 pm

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On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969, Hunt)
This is definitely the best of the Bond films I've seen so far. First of all, I think Lazenby is a great Bond. He's certainly less macho and more sensitive than Connery and even a bit goofy at times. The film also seems to be making fun at the whole Bond persona. Diana Rigg is a great Bond girl, and her character actually is pretty well developed compared to Bond's previous love interests. Bond's and Tracy's relationship also adds surprising depth to the film which, surprisingly, becomes touching towards its end. Telly Savalas is really good as Blofield, and his villainous plan in the movie is suitably ludicrous (certainly more imaginative stuff than in the previous two Bond films). The only fault which I found was the pretty confusing editing during some of the action scenes. I noticed that the director Hunt was the editor of the previous films, and now that he was directing, there was some new guy doing his previous job. So I guess that explains it.

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#26

Post by Kowry » August 23rd, 2014, 1:04 pm

Time to revive this thread. Continued my quest through the Bond film, now I'm finished with Connery (no, I'm not going to watch Diamonds are Forever) and started with Moore. Saw these films two weeks ago, so some details can be kinda hazy, but anyway...

Image
Live and Let Die (1973, Guy Gamilton)
Begins stylishly with three assassination scenes of secret agents. You'd think the introduction of Bond in the beginning of the film would have more build-up, especially as this is the first film with Moore as Bond, but it's decidedly pretty non-ceremonial - he's just shown in bed with another of his conquests, business as usual. The film is the first Bond film to have a black villain, and also the first one to have a black "Bond girl": Unfortunately the progressiveness of the latter is badly undermined by the sexist stereotypes - Gloria Hendry's character is supposed to be a CIA agent, but she's incompetent in every way, screaming at the sight of a dead snake and not realising her gun has the safety lever on). At least Yaphet Kotto's Dr. Kananga makes for a convinving, intelligent villain (he also has a fun henchman).

I would say the film's overall tone is somewhat more self-consciously campy and light-hearted than that of the Connery films and stays decently entertaining all the way through. The film has some reused elements from earlier films (e.g. Kananga's Dr No.-esque hideout and Thunderball-esque shark pool), but introduced enough new elements that it just doesn't feel like rehashing. The supernatural element of the film, in the form of a fortune teller working for Kananga (and later seduced by Bond), is pretty goofy but neat. There were some pretty good chase scenes - Bond escaping from the crooks chasing him by driving a worn-down bus through a Caribbean island; and another long boat chase scene near the end. Oh, and I guess the super-annoying hillbilly sheriff J.W. Pepper, acting as a questionably comic relief, must be mentioned. Overall, it's a solid entry in the series. I'd say Moore is also a solid Bond - I don't think he's as good as Connery in his first three films, but he fits the role.

Image
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974, Guy Hamilton)
This films seems to have a pretty mixed reception among Bond fans, some liking it it a lot and some denouncing it as silly camp. I can sort of understand that, as it's probably the silliest entry in the series this far, but it's not like the previous Bond films didn't have camp aspects. Overall I think the film is kinda fun, though there are some aspects that could have been treated better. IAgain, the film is somewhat misogynist (the female agent aiding Bond is super incompetent, getting both herself and Bond into trouble multiple times) and Scaramanga's (yay for Chrstopher Lee!) short henchman isn't the most politically correct character.

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#27

Post by Armoreska » August 23rd, 2014, 1:14 pm

Is there something wrong with Diamonds are Forever? I rather like it
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#28

Post by Kowry » August 23rd, 2014, 1:34 pm

I had heard that it's pretty bad and Connery seems tired. Maybe I've been misled.

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#29

Post by AdamH » August 23rd, 2014, 1:55 pm

Kowry on Aug 23 2014, 07:34:21 AM wrote:I had heard that it's pretty bad and Connery seems tired. Maybe I've been misled.
Worst Connery Bond film IMO. Easily.

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#30

Post by Cippenham » August 23rd, 2014, 4:45 pm

AdamH on Aug 23 2014, 07:55:44 AM wrote:
Kowry on Aug 23 2014, 07:34:21 AM wrote:I had heard that it's pretty bad and Connery seems tired. Maybe I've been misled.
Worst Connery Bond film IMO. Easily.
still worth seeing to complete the set..
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#31

Post by Lonewolf2003 » August 23rd, 2014, 4:47 pm

For a great analyses of the whole Bond oeuvre you have to read Hulk Smash 4 day long essay. After a general introduction he writes about every movie seperately in chronological order. So you don't have had to see every movie of it to read it. And it might be even more interesting if you are watching the Bond franchise in chronological order as Kowry is doing.
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#32

Post by Kowry » September 13th, 2015, 8:20 pm

I guess I could re-activate this thing, as though I really haven't been watching films, it's all the more satisfying to write about those few I have seen.


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The Last Boy Scout (1991, Tony Scott)
A buddy cop film of a kind in the vein of Lethal Weapon and such eighties action films (even though neither Willis' or Wayans' characters are really cops). Willis is in good shape as a washed-up private investigator, Wayans is not bad but unfortunately his character is one of those "wisecracking black guy sidekick" types. Shifts not-always-successfully between darker and comedic moments, but executes the basic eighties action film formula pretty well. Not a bad popcorn film.

Image

The Gauntlet (1977, Clint Eastwood)
Eastwood plays a washed-up cop, that's sent to escort a prostitute to witness in a trial. Violent encounters with a mob and corrupt police force ensue. I think I have stated more than once that I'm not a big fan of Eastwood's directorial work. The Gauntlet didn't make me a fan, but it's a moderately entertaining action flick, where the (at least somewhat self-conscious, I hope) silliness of the plot and the overblown action scenes work for the film. Eastwood is - for the most part - his typical macho persona, he and Sandra Locke make a pretty good pair in the film (they were dating off-set at the time; according to Wikipedia Eastwood was a huge dick to Locke during and after the relationship).

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