It’s not too often that a movie title can take on so many meanings as a narrative unfolds, but director Ilya Naishuller manages to pull off what might be one of the more entertaining play on words of the year. “Nobody” is a pretty excellent film that, while it doesn’t re-invent the wheel, does a lot with the numerous resources on hand to create a thrilling action film that’s darkly comedic, satiric and presents an interesting conversation about the antiquated concept of the nuclear family.
Director-Writer Brian Metcalf brings with him a strong crime drama that he hands over to a wonderfully seasoned cast of character actors. While a movie like “Adverse” could have stumbled right out of the gate, it manages to only improve by the time the movie has closed and ends as a sharp crime thriller. It’s a bold mix of “Taxi Driver,” and “Drive,” with a nigh unrecognizable Thomas Ian Nicholas staring.
Director William Lustig’s “Vigilante” is a lot like “Death Wish” on steroids. It’s a bonafide mix of a prison movie, it’s a drama about PTSD, a parable about political corruption, and a surefire revenge thriller to the very end. While the aforementioned ends on a twisted note, “Vigilante” is something of a contradiction. It seems to celebrate the idea of vigilante justice and revenge, but it ends on such a low, bleak note where our hero gets his vindication but literally has nothing left in his life.
After the excellent release of the limited edition 2018 print, Code Red delivers a wider and more broadly available upgrade for the highly deserving “Savage Streets.” The 1984 cult classic is still a marvelous gem of eighties exploitation. It channels the classic Youths Gone Wild films of the fifties, and is filled with gorgeous women, roughneck teenagers, and an insanely sexy Linda Blair wreaking pure vengeance against the men that victimized her sister. She does it all with a bitchin’ crossbow, to boot.
1996 was a big year for me. I was thirteen in middle school and my English teacher introduced me and my classmates to the work of William Shakespeare. Although we spent the year working on a project that explored the various works from the playwright, we were primarily focused on “Romeo & Juliet.” We spent most of the year reading the play in class and before the school year let up, my teacher staged her contemporary version of “Romeo & Juliet” for the school that everyone took part in. It was called “Ronnie & Julie.” I loved art but was way too shy to act, so naturally I was in the poster department.
With “A Clockwork Orange,” Stanley Kubrick set forth a high bar and standard upon which all future gang warfare films would be based on. It’s a surprising fact considering “A Clockwork Orange” is not entirely about gang warfare at all. It’s a science fiction, dystopic, thriller about a predator of humanity who gets a taste of his own medicine a hundred fold once he is rehabilitated into a docile animal of society. Or so that’s what we’re led to believe up until the very ambiguous climax where Alex reverts to his classic recurring orgy fantasy.
This year Warner Bros and DC Entertainment has unleashed a flurry of their banner television shows which should help ease the boredom of folks still in quarantine. With a lot of what’s been released, there are long awaited releases, and of course big releases of some of the biggest events of the year. COVID may have ground everything to a halt, but DC is still delivering on animated movies and season sets.
Kazuhiko Yamaguchi’s “Karate Warriors” (aka “Killing Fist and Child”) is a solid action film mainly because of Sonny Chiba, and because Chiba’s charisma makes up for the overall plot’s shortcomings. His mystique is often entertaining and there are also the pre-requisite great fight sequences. Chiba is a force of nature here, and like “Yojimbo” he plays the rival gangs against one another for his own personal sake.