Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Raid: Redemption (2011)

The Raid (Indonesia, 2011) - Color, Director(s): Gareth Evans
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 18]
Approx. 101 min.

Z-rating: 5 out of 5 stars for pure non-stop balls-to-the-walls ACTION

Cheese Factor: 0 out of 5 stars for being a hardcore, brutal action flick

Been awhile since I've reviewed a really good action movie. Part of that is because I started a new blog and I'm trying to decide whether I want action movie reviews to be on that blog or this one. Another thing is that I haven't seen too many good action movies as of late that were really impressive. A majority of Hollywood action movies are filled with huge explosions and endless gunfire, which could be fun if that's what you're looking for, but doesn't always make a good action movie. Everything changed when I saw The Raid.

This movie starts off with a guy getting up early and doing his morning work out. We see that he's a cop and he heads out shortly after. He goes to meet up the rest of the team and a group of about 20 men are preparing to raid a building, that's more like an impenetrable fortress, owned by a crime lord. The tenants are a combination of low income citizens hiding from the government, drug addicts, and his criminal lackeys. Everything starts off well as the team enters the building and sweeps the first couple floors with little to no trouble. The crime lord uses little kids as lookouts and the shit really hits the fan when one of the spotters notifies the boss of the special unit's presence. The crime lord then gets on the loud speakers and offers anyone who kills them a chance to stay in the building free of rent. From there on out, it is literally balls to the fuckin walls ACTION. With pretty much everyone in the building looking for them, they have to shoot and fight their way out in order to survive. Apparently, it was an unsanctioned mission so there will be no reinforcement coming to help. They're stuck inside the building, completely surrounded by the enemy, and they're all being hunted down one after another.

I really can't help but rave about how damn good this movie is. Very rarely do you see such a brutal, fast-paced, action film. Even though "fast-paced" is used to describe every movie that you see a commercial for, a lot of the movies just have a couple good action sequences padded with a bunch of dialogue. This one starts off with a little bit of build up but once it starts to escalate, it does NOT let up. The action moves at such a grueling pace that there is very rarely a dull moment once it starts rolling. Great mix of gunfights, knife fights, and hand-to-hand combat. If you're looking for excitement, this movie has it ALL!!!

Nudity: With the exception of some nudity perhaps. This wasn't the kind of movie that needed any nudity in it.

Gore: No guts spilling out but there was plenty of blood. What I liked about this movie is that it shows people getting shot in close quarters. Most of the time in action movies, people are shot and they go down. Then when another character runs up to their body, some blood is shown covering the shirt. This movie has a guy getting shot at point blank with a handgun. Brutal. Not gory but definitely brutal....

Awesome: to the MAX!!! This is one of the best action movies I've seen since Rambo. While the 4th Rambo movie has some scenes where people are ripped apart by a mounted .50 cal-machine gun, it didn't have as much variety as this movie does. Rambo was a bit slow to start and most of the best action is at the end of the movie. This one starts to build up and never really lets up once it starts rolling. All-in-all, I have to say that this is one of the BEST action movies I've seen in ages. (Sorry Expendables!)  The part where that one dude fights off an entire hallway filled with people using a baton and combat knife is just so bad ass, you have to see it to believe it. My recommendation? Go buy it the moment it drops on DVD and Blu-ray next week on August 14th.

The Man from Nowhere (2010)

The Man from Nowhere (South Korea, 2010) - Color, Director(s): Jeong-beom Lee
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 18]
Approx. 119 min.

Z-rating: 4 out of 5 stars for good action with great story

Cheese Factor: 1 out of 5 stars for trying to balance a sweet story with a violent one

Well, I think I should start off by saying that I probably would've liked this movie more if not for the fact that I had recent watched The Raid: Redemption. This was still a very good movie that balances emotion with action but The Raid just raised the bar for action movies SO high that my expectations were a little skewed when watching this one.

The basic premise is that some whore attempts to steal a batch of heroin from a gang of drug dealers and gets caught up in a sticky situation. Meanwhile, her innocent little daughter is making friends with the local pawnshop owner with a mysterious past. One night, the gang comes for the drugs and ends up kidnapping both the mother and daughter. The pawnshop guy (our hero) has his hands forced when they go to his pawnshop looking for the stash. After getting emotionally attached to the little girl, all he wants is to get her back and he's willing to do ANYTHING to make that happen.

The twist? This gang of drug dealers has their hands in other shady business practices such as child slavery and ORGAN HARVESTING!!! When I heard the premise of this story, I knew that I had to watch it. Immediately. I really liked the way the story builds (even though some people might say it's slow) but organ harvesting was far from what I expected out of this type of movie.

As luck would have it, this guy was ex-military so when he vows vengeance... you know the drug dealer/organ harvesters are pretty much fucked. The only complaint I have about this movie was that they build him up to be this super bad ass, highly trained, black ops type guy but the pay off from his revenge was a little lackluster. I can't say that it was a complete disappointment but I definitely expected his revenge to be much more satisfying from the way they built him up to be some cold-blooded super solider. I have to say though, I think this type of thinking come from American action movies where the protagonist is usually some highly trained ex-military guy who can fire 10 shots and kill a room full of people without so much as a scratch on him. My complaint wasn't that this guy wasn't invincible because I feel like that gave his character a much more realistic feel, but just that they made him out to be a top-level assassin but the way his revenge would play out just wasn't satisfying enough for me. (Maybe I'm just a sadist!) I really would've thought that his plans would seem less haphazard by the way he seems to act so cool when you first see him. A very minor complaint, however, as I did really enjoy this movie.

Nudity: I think you may see a flash of titties when they discover a woman's body in the trunk of a car but it's neither sexy nor arousing.

Unless you're into that sort of thing!

Gore: Surprisingly, not much gore in this movie either. There's plenty of violence and people getting stabbed but not much in the way of guts spilling out all over the floor. Maybe because I'm primarily a horror movie fanatic, this one seems a bit tame in the way of gore. While the themes are violent, a lot of the actual violence is just alluded to and happens off-screen.

Awesome: Pretty awesome. I like how this movie is different from what we're used to seeing. I can really appreciate how they tried to incorporate organ harvesting into the story and that was what really set this movie apart from others in the same genre. Also, like I mentioned earlier, the main character wasn't untouchable despite being highly skilled at what he does. My only disappointment came when they built him up to be this unstoppable force of destruction but the way his plans for revenge play out just wasn't satisfying enough. I was hoping to see something along the lines of Law Abiding Citizen in terms of planning or The Punisher in term of execution.

Like I said though, I feel like I would've enjoyed this movie A LOT more if I hadn't seen The Raid a couple days before it. So my recommendation if you're planning to watch these movies, watch this one first to see how you feel about it. Then go out and buy The Raid: Redemption cause that's going to be MUCH more intense. (DVD and Blu-ray drop August 14th)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Dude Designs

Okay, I'm sure everyone has been hearing the buzz over The Dude Designs' cover for Scream Factory's release of John Carpenter's They Live.

Not only is this the most kick ass cover I've seen any movie anywhere, I looked up the artist and he's probably ones of the coolest guys around. He has a blog here on Blogger as well, (which is where I got the pic above!) and I came across the following video on his Facebook page.

How freakin' awesome is this guy?? I am absolutely LOVING this guy's artwork and the more I find out about him, I wonder why I hadn't heard about him sooner. I only wish that I owned my own film studio or distribution company, I would use this guy for EVERYTHING we do. So to Tom "TheDudeDesigns" Hodge, hats off to you brother!!! The horror/exploitation community NEEDS you, Dude.

Show your support for this amazingly awesome artist by visiting the links below.

******************* - DD's blog - DD's Twitter - DD's Facebook page