It’s hard to believe but it’s been twenty five years since Brandon Lee was accidentally killed while filming “The Crow.” Lee was such a rising talent who wanted to prove himself as an actor more than become the next big action star, and he was well on his way. Lee, like his dad, had to earn a lot of his clout. First: by starring in films in Asia, and then coming to America to try his hand. But unlike his dad, Brandon had the humongous shadow of his father looming over him and he would have had to work extra hard to come out from under it and make Brandon Lee a very different name from Bruce Lee.
After the shocking success of “Deadpool,” it didn’t seem very likely that Ryan Reynolds and FOX would be able to follow up the first act in Wade Wilson’s arc. Lo and behold years later, “Deadpool 2” not only serves as a great second act of the Merc with a Mouth’s misadventures, but it’s just as good as the original. What I liked most about it though is that “Deadpool 2” further bridges the gap between Wade’s universe and his X-Men origins, proving that ironically these films understand the “X-Men” mythology so much more than any of the actual X-Men films combined.
Written by Josh Collins and Steven G. Michael with Collins directing, Fags in the Fast Lane is a low-brow, tongue-in-cheek comedy that goes for a style and universe that would make John Waters proud. The humor and the story are in your face, over the top with just about everything and the glittery kitchen sink thrown at the viewer. The story is one that includes something to shock or offend everyone. The trashploitation sub-genre is well represented here and viewers who won’t have been stopped by the film’s title should find something to have fun with here.
I remember a time where it was nearly impossible to get a film like “Fags” made, but now we’re in a glorious time where the LGBT community is allowed to be fun and unleash their creative visions. “Fags in the Fast Lane” is Andy Warhol, John Waters, Russ Meyers, and a dash of Frank Henenlotter thrown in to a blender and given some pretty fun tweaks here and there allowing Josh Collins and writer Steven G. Michael to go as far out there as he wants. Thankfully he never loses track of the narrative or the film’s genuinely weird sense of humor once. “Fags” is a very LGBT aimed action comedy but it also has an admirable sense of self-awareness always looking for any reason to poke fun at itself.
Whether you love or hate “Batman Ninja,” you have to admit DC is at least going for something completely different and radical this time around. With a different crew and approach toward the mythology, “Batman Ninja” is a unique time traveling tale that finds Batman at his most godlike, worshipped as a near invincible warrior in Feudal Japan. Beautifully directed by Junpei Mizusaki, “Batman Ninja” puts the entire aesthetic of the DC character in to some of the wildest anime filters, and it works most of the time. Some concepts land with a thud, but when “Batman Ninja” soars, it’s quite spectacular.
Rowdy Herrington’s “Road House” exists in that line of the late eighties and early nineties where honky tonk trailer trash chic was in vogue. This is the re-emergence of rowdy bars in that whole period of “Black Velvet,” “Black Betty,” Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Billy Ray Cyrus. It permeates with that exact odor but with Patrick Swayze playing basically your normal everyday enigmatic superhero known as Dalton. Only Dalton. He is so bad ass he has one name, carries a thick reputation, and spends his off time stitching his own wounds in bar room bathrooms.
“Hell to Pay” is chapter two in what is one of the more under appreciated animated DC series currently in stores. While DC mainly focuses on Batman and Superman, we’re given a second shot with “Suicide Squad” who DC is thankfully not above sharing for the home entertainment audiences. After the very good “Assault on Arkham,” the team known as Task Force X return with a premise that—let’s just say it—should have been the premise for the live action movie. It’s a small covert team, they should do small covert operations that involve the DC Universe, for crying out loud.
It’ll take more than a bad movie to bring the “Suicide Squad” down. Deep down there’s still a great movie to be made with this concept. “Assault on Arkham” showed it, and “Hell to Pay” proves it. You don’t have to make this group the center of the DC Universe fighting massive gods. They can just be super powered thugs doing the slimy stuff like stealing Lex Luthor’s chunk of Kryptonite, or breaking in to Batman’s fortress to steal incriminating evidence he has to bring down Amanda Waller. Something neat in the same vein happens in “Hell to Pay” when the group are assigned to track down a maguffin that is both silly and clever.