For fans that missed it the first time, Mill Creek Entertainment re-releases their stellar home version of “Gone in 60 Seconds” but now with a Digital Copy for buyers. Mill Creek is finally entering the digital arena for folks that bypass physical copies, and it’s a wise investment. The new release garners a restored and remastered version of the 1974 action film, and it’s a neat addition to the sub-genre of car based action films. “Gone in 60 Seconds” takes its premise and doles out a very solid and exciting action film with a slew of mesmerizing car chase sequences that are far more engrossing than the painfully inferior remake from 2000.
I think Nickelodeon has things bassackwards when it comes to “Monster Trucks.” In the nineties and perhaps even eighties, a normal company would have released a “Monster Trucks” toy line followed by its very own movie. Instead we have a long gestating kids movie about glowing monsters that hide in trucks that transform in to… monster trucks—or something. And there’s not a toy line to be had. I say that because “Monster Trucks” watches more like a pitch movie for a franchise than it does an actual movie. “Monster Trucks” was created by a four year old (no seriously, look it up), and intended to be aimed at younger kids (Honest) as a sort of pseudo-Transformers. Which in and of itself is pointless when young kids are still very much all about Transformers.
At this point you know what you’re getting with the “Fast and the Furious” movie series, but they also seem to be thinking of new ways to get ridiculous. While you can’t really expect realism with these movies (seriously, gravity does not exist in this world), “Fate of the Furious” reaches new heights of absurdity that it becomes comical; and not the good kind of comical, either. Where James Bond had “Die Another Day” where he surfed a tsunami on a plane door and parachute, “The Fate of the Furious” has its own “jump the shark” moment. But this one involves a missile chasing a car, and Dwayne Johnson merely leaning out of a high speed car and pushing the missile away with his hand, allowing it to divert in to the car of a bad guy. It’s that point where I realized that it’s about time for the series to come to an end.
I always respected how Sylvester Stallone tries to make a lot of his big screen action heroes something of blue collared, under appreciated men who are just working to get by. There was “Rocky” that helped boost how interesting boxing can be, and while arm wrestling never took off in the eighties, “Over the Top” is a decent action film about an estranged father and son making amends. “Over the Top” is admittedly a childhood favorite, and a movie I watched over a thousand times as a kid. Stallone is great, Robert Loggia is great, and director Menahem Globan charismatically films every single instance of arm wrestling as an epic moment of pride, and manhood.
I’m old enough to remember that, despite being a goofy vehicle for the Brat Pack, that “Young Guns” was pretty popular and warranted its own follow up. Now shedding the whole gimmick aside, Geoff Murphy spends his movie following Billy the Kid, as he attempts to hide from the law and make a deal with a new Marshall who swears to release him and let him off without being hanged. Of course he turns his back on the deal, prompting Billy to flee with his gang and his two old friends Chavez and Doc, both of whom are re-introduced as having been caught and imprisoned. “Young Guns II” avoids the goofy opening sequence in favor of a campy shot of a very old Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez in old man make up) who calls a lawyer to meet him in a neutral zone.
This is the story of The Regulators. No wait, this is the story of Billy the Kid. No this is the story of how Billy the Kid met Pat Garrett. Oh hell, it’s all of that and essentially a remake of “The Cowboys.” Rather than a small group of boys who avenge their mentor in a dramatic finale, this group of young men avenges their caretaker in the beginning and we’re stuck with them for the duration. And they do so in a very long and cheesy Western that jumps in and out of so many sub-plots that it becomes exhausting. Christopher Cain’s “Young Guns” is really only a film you’ll likely love if you were between 13 and 19 in 1988. It’s another attempt to tack the brat pack on to a movie genre, and it pretty much fails from the moment we’re introduced to various characters in a goofy opening credits sequence. Every character is essentially some kind of gimmicky contributor to the narrative, only delivering broad Western cliches.
Jean-François Richet’s “Blood Father” is supposed to be considered Mel Gibson’s cinematic comeback as the action hero we all knew and love before… you know. “Blood Father” is one in the many growing titles of fifty something men displaying vigilante justice, and Gibson plays well to type. He’s that crusty fifty something man who often resembles Martin Riggs if Riggs became a convict, and attempted to spend his life redeeming himself or something. Gibson plays Link, an ex-convict working hard to live out the rest of his life as quietly as possible. But things don’t go as planned when his estranged daughter, who is involved with a vicious gangster, shows up at his door begging for shelter. But when her boyfriend is convinced she knows too much, he goes looking for her.
I would have loved to be there at the pitch meeting for “Con Air.” Take “Die Hard,” make the villain John Malkovich and make its two heroes once popular eighties stars, and you have yourself what is a tonally uneven but pretty solid action movie all around. Star Nicolas Cage does double duty camp as hero Cameron Poe, an army ranger who accidentally murders a man while attempting to defend his wife one night at a bar. For some reason this qualifies him to travel on a transport flight to a new prison alongside some of the worst criminals in the world (?). This includes rapists, cannibals, child molesters, and vicious serial killer Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom, as played by John Malkovich.