4 items from 2013
Direct to video films have long been a ghetto where low rent productions and long forgotten c-list stars were forced to reside. Recently however a shift in momentum has begun to occur and something strange is happening, some of these films are actually quite good. Now don’t confuse direct to video films with the video on demand platform that is quickly becoming the go to distribution model for indie films. Direct to video productions do not have star-studded casts (at least in a ‘mainstream’ sense) nor do they much fanfare surrounding them. What they do have is freedom.
Director John Hyams quickly understood the freedom and malleability that direct to video presents and has gone about creating some incredibly interesting genre fare. Hyams first two feature length films, Universal Soldier: Regeneration and Dragon Eyes, displayed an acute understanding of the action genre. Both films showcased his talent for utilizing space, »
- Nick Usen
The blokes who flex their muscles in Ultimate Fighting Championship and mixed martial arts events are mostly a larger-than-life blend of showmanship and brawn – which explains why they’re increasingly being snapped up by Hollywood. With more and more Mma fighters moving into the movies, I thought I’d take a look at some of the biggest names to have made the crossover.
Winner of numerous Mma trophies around the globe, Schiena flexed his acting chops in Locked Down as a framed cop who winds up in jail and is forced into cage fighting by none other than Brit hardman turned thesp Vinnie Jones. Schiena retired from sport after breaking both his ankles (ouch!) but has since found his feet on the big screen working with everyone from Pacino to Van Damme.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
Famed for fierce body slams that won him the Ufc light heavyweight title »
- Phil Wheat
El Gringo, 2012.
Directed by Eduardo Rodriguez.
A man crossing into Mexico with a satchel of $2,000,000, and a bloody past, finds himself under sudden attack in the sleepy town of El Fronteras.
Joel Silver has lent his name to some of the most memorable action blockbusters of the last thirty years, including Lethal Weapon and The Matrix. Normally, or at least back in the day, a Silver pic would mean a big budget and plenty of spectacle. In the last year, Silver put his name to a collection of lower budget action films, which despite very limited theatrical releases in the Us, were basically made as straight to DVD. These included Dragon Eyes with Jean Claude Van Damme and Stash House with Dolph Lundgren, as well as El Gringo with up and coming action man Scott Adkins.
- Flickering Myth
Despite my lifelong affinity for the action genre, I'd never encountered the Universal Soldier franchise. Somewhere in the back of my head I knew of its reputation as a Terminator rip-off, but it wasn't until I read Vern's “Action Movies Don't Have to Suck” piece for the Village Voice that I was intrigued enough to seek out John Hyams'& Universal Soldier: Regeneration and Day of Reckoning. Hyams' elegant staging and disarming sincerity offer a refreshing alternative to the action adventure comic book slop dished out to teenagers and poked at by indifferent adult audiences that an entire generation of studio execs have chosen to ignore. Despite their relatively tiny budgets, Hyams' Universal Soldier movies, along with his other fictional feature, Dragon Eyes, are exquisite examples of digital cinema and personal storytelling. Rightfully, these movies should be dime store thrill rides, and in the best possible sense they are. They're also equal parts melodrama, »
- Sara Freeman
4 items from 2013
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