By: Anthony Francis Female driven Action films. Let’s have ‘em. Keep them coming. The good news? Over the last decade or so, mainstream Hollywood has allowed the modern Action picture to warm to the idea of tough-as-nails female-led protagonists. The bad news? Ninety nine percent of them always revolve around a female assassin. Hollywood seems to think that the only way a woman can truly be … Continue reading Review: RANGE RUNNERS is a Tight & Rugged Little Thriller that Entertains
By: Anthony Francis Kirk Caouette has a solid reputation as a stuntman and stunt coordinator. His work can be seen in films and television in projects as varied as “Stargate SG-1”, the Leslie Nielsen version of “Mr. Magoo”, the tv show “Dark Angel”, Brian De Palma’s “Mission to Mars”, and many more. Highly respected amongst the Canadian stunt community, Caouette has been in the business … Continue reading Review: Kirk Caouette’s AMERICAN BADGER is a Good Time from an Action Standpoint
By: Anthony Francis Michael Winner’s Death Wish and it’s sequel Death Wish 2 are two films that COULD NOT be made in today’s political and social climates., the way Winner designed them. 1974’s “Death Wish” gave birth to a true anti-hero (who became a hero, cinematically speaking) Paul Kersey, a man who lost his wife and (eventually, in the sequel) daughter to rapist thugs. Kersey took to … Continue reading WHEN ACTION FILMS HAD BALLS- DEATH WISH/ DEATH WISH 2
By: Anthony Francis “Let discipline shape your spirit and mind… allow this principle to guide you in your journey. Nothing must stand between you and your sword.” The Yakuza was born from two separate groups of outcasts that existed during the Tokugowa Shogunate (1603 – 1868). The “Takiya”, wandering peddlers who traveled from village to village selling goods at markets, and the “Bakuto”, wandering gamblers … Continue reading Review: YAKUZA PRINCESS is Martial Arts & Sword Fighting Bad Assery at its Finest!
By: Anthony Francis An assassin that can subdue his prey in six seconds. An assassin who carries a single-action gun filled with non-lethal bullets. An assassin called “The Fable”. Akira Sato (Junichi Okada) a.k.a. The Fable is a professional killer who is a legend, perhaps even a ghost story, for gangsters in the criminal underworlds. Premiering at this year’s New York Asian Film Festival, “TheFable: The Killer … Continue reading NYAFF (New York Asian Film Festival) Review- THE FABLE: THE KILLER WHO DOESN’T KILL is a Sequel that is Bigger, Better & More Entertaining!
By: Anthony Francis Director Nicholas Barton’s new Western “Death Alley” begins with a dichotomy. The opening credits roll as authentic Old West photography of dead outlaws roll by like a grim slideshow. A proper opening for a film such as this one to be sure, but the Rock & Roll song played over the opening credits is a bit out of place. As a Western … Continue reading Review: In a Time of so Few Westerns, DEATH ALLEY is a Good One
By: Anthony Francis Interesting and well-crafted thrillers are hard to come by these days. Most modern films are too timid in their screenplays and are in too much of a hurry to get to the action. Gone are the days of films such as Sidney Pollack’s “Three Days of the Condor”, John Schlesinger’s “Marathon Man”, or Arthur Penn’s massively undervalued 1985 film, “Target”. Films such … Continue reading Review: Beckett is the Type of Thriller Cinema Needs More Of
By: Anthony Francis A man is being chased. The men after him catch their prey and beat the hell out of him. They are after something important. With a P.O.V. shot of a kick to the face, so begins the new Strike Back Studios production “Overrun”. Omar Zadir stars as Marcus, a former military specialist trained in the Martial Arts. He works for bad dude Ray … Continue reading Review: OVERRUN is an Exciting and Always Involving Action-Thriller!
By: Anthony Francis “I’m starting to learn that, sometimes, there are two truths.” An Action-Thriller based on important history that has something to say. Yes please! “Escape From Mogadishu” was the opening night film at this year’s New York Asian Film Festival and it is one hell of an entertainment: not only on an action level but on every level. This is a film rich … Continue reading Review: ESCAPE FROM MOGADISHU is a Powerful and Stunning Work that will Leave Viewers Riveted!
By: Anthony Francis An updated version of Charles Dickens 1883 classic “Oliver Twist” redone as an Action-Heist film full of Parkour stunts? I cannot say with any honesty that you “had me at hello” but consider me intrigued! Dickens’ characters have been moved to the 21st century for a film that is silly and completely unnecessary, but one that does have its moments, be they … Continue reading Review: TWIST is a Head Scratcher with some Fun Action and Worth a One Time Watch
By: Anthony Francis Fans of Wuxia style action (such as myself) will be pleased with the new film “The Emperor’s Sword”. Directed by Zhang Yingli, this is a fast paced and action-packed film that delivers some good battles with skill and style while telling a great story that unfolds like an ancient tale handed down for generations to the youth by their elders. During the Qin Dynasty … Continue reading Review: THE EMPEROR’S SWORD will Please Fans of Wuxia Style Action Cinema!
By: Anthony Francis Shane Dax Taylor directed one of the most undervalued films of its decade, 2010’s soulful character piece “Bloodworth” that found Kris Kristofferson as a country singer who returns home to his hometown and the broken family he left behind. The film was a small and moving film rich in character and place and was one of the finest of its year. Proving he could … Continue reading Review: The New Thriller MASQUERADE is Populated by Solid Performances, Tight Direction and a Clever Finale!
By: Anthony Francis “You are committing a genocide on a people you don’t know, for somebody you don’t know anything about. Does that make you feel good?” In the “cannon” (forgive me) of Cannon Films, there are not many action entries that have a statement to make. 1988’s “Mercenary Fighters” is an exciting yet sadly forgotten action film that, inherently, has a bit to say … Continue reading Action Rewind: MERCENARY FIGHTERS with Reb Brown, Ron O’Neal & Peter Fonda is One of the Finest Cannon Films Productions from the Ever so Explosive 80’s!
By: Anthony Francis The most frightening words to hear regarding the trailer for any type of film are, “Based on the video game…”. Historically, video games have not been translated into successful cinema. Most of the lot are simply not good (the “Hitman” films, “Street Fighter”, the “Tomb Raider” films) with a few being completely awful (“Silent Hill, “Alone in the Dark”, and the abomination … Continue reading Review: Netflix’s DYNASTY WARRIORS is a Fun Film that Gives Genre Fans Just Enough of a Good Time!
By: Anthony Francis Rightfully branded “The King of Cool”, Steve McQueen walked it like he talked it. He was not a manufactured Hollywood pseudo-tough guy like we see today. McQueen was the real deal. His characters were hard bred and in his personal life, he lived equally as hard. With natural talent, piercing blue eyes, and enough natural born cool for twenty actors, Steve McQueen … Continue reading Action Rewind: The Best Action Film Roles Steve McQueen Turned Down or Almost Starred In
By: Anthony Francis Liam Neeson has always been a gifted actor and a strong screen presence. He is an actor who can captivate an audience and bleeds that rugged and exciting yet tender persona of actors such as William Holden and Burt Lancaster. In the beginning of his career, Neeson carved out many memorable supporting roles, as filmmakers knew how to use him. In period films such … Continue reading Review: Liam Neeson’s THE ICE ROAD is an Avalanche of Cliches
By: Anthony Francis WHEN ACTION FILMS HAD BALLS- Sam Peckinpah’s “The Killer Elite” (1975) Sam Peckinpah directed some truly classic films and is considered one of the greatest and most unique filmmakers who ever stepped behind a camera. His voice and his vision were completely unique and his imprint on film history is undeniable. Whether his work spoke of loyalty and camaraderie, family and the influence of … Continue reading When Action Films Had Balls! Looking Back at Sam Peckinpah’s 1975 Actioner THE KILLER ELITE!
By: Anthony Francis Charles Bronson was one of a kind. Exuding an undeniable screen presence as a “tough guy actor” (although he could be much more than that), Bronson was unmatched in his time and there shall never be another. He was and is a true icon. Bronson’s stone-cold face and steely glare fit perfectly in the Western genre and served the actor extremely well when playing … Continue reading Ranking an Action Icon: Charles Bronson’s Best in the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s!
By: Anthony Francis There is nothing like a good revenge film. The sub-genre has given us many classics and gave certain actors some of their most popular films. In perhaps the best example, Charles Bronson finally became a bankable lead actor in the U.S. with the “Death Wish” series, films based on his character becoming a vigilante due to the rape and murder of his wife and … Continue reading Review: XTREME is an Unapologetic Revenge Tale with Kick Ass Action!
By: Anthony Francis Writer/director Luke Sparke’s 2018 Sci-Fi Action film “Occupation” was a “Red Dawn”- esque tale of how the residents of a small Australian community band together to fight back against an invasion of aliens. The film contained some decent action but fell prey to familiarity and budget issues. In fairness, the director did a lot with little money, but could not fully capture the flair … Continue reading Review: OCCUPATION: RAINFALL is Designed to Give the Audience a Good Time and it Succeeds!