Sunday, June 15, 2014

Top 10 Action Dads

Relationships with our Dads both as Men or Woman can often be tricky and difficult things and this is reflected in movies where Dads tend to get a bit of a rough go of it. Initially, while trying to put together a list for Father's Day, I was finding it a little difficult until I went back to the trusty action genre where, while Dads may often not get it exactly right, as we will see, they are always trying their damned hardest against difficult odds.
Here then is our list of the Top 10 Action Dads!

10. Eddie Marino in Vigilante played by Robert Forster
Ok so again he may fail to prevent the death of his child but Eddie does hunt down the Che Guevara look-a-likes responsible (with the help of Fred "The Hammer" Williamson) and gets all violent and revengy on their punk asses.

9. Rama in The Raid 2: Berendal played by Iko Uwais
Although he doesn't get to see his kid very much in this sequel, Rama does get to hear him over the phone when he sneakily calls home, in one of the film's most heart wrenching and beautiful scenes. It's all been terrible luck really as, in order to protect his family, the initially hesitant Rama agrees to a plan which lands him in prison for an, unplanned, period of over 2 years. Still, don't lie, absentee or not, you'd want Rama as your Dad for when the going got rough.

8. John McClane in The Die Hard Franchise played by Bruce Willis
Although in the first 3 films of the famous franchise McClane gets more grief than praise as a father (somewhat unfairly one might add as he is busy saving people and stopping terrorists) in part 4 he saves and wins back his daughter's affection and in part 5 it's his son's turn. Both of them seemed to have been manipulated by their mother into unreasonably hating their father but I guess conflict eventually leads to contentment when they see him kicking ass and taking names.

7. Henry Jones, Sr. in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade played by Sean Connery
Although he might seem to have been an absentee father, more interested in the Grail legend than raising his son, and although he may initially shout at, question and annoy his son when they are reunited; Henry Jones, Sr. is every bit his son's equal in the adventure stakes, eventually and emotionally reconciles with him, is best friends with the legendary Denholm Elliot and played by James 'friggin' Bond!!

6. Damon Macready (Big Daddy) in Kick Ass played by Nicolas Cage
While many may and do question his daughter raising techniques there is no question that he loves his little Hit Girl more than anything. 

5. Det. Ken O'Hara in Bloodmoon played by Gary Daniels
From frolicking on the beach to sort of "saving" her from, what turns out to be, a confetti bomb at the end, Ken O'Hara is a dedicated and Britkicking father.

4. DEA Agent Phil Broker in Homefront played by Jason Statham
With this and SafeStatham showed his softer side by first playing friend and then, in this, father to a young girl. Not that the criminals think he's soft when he beats up and kills anyone who threatens and then kidnaps his daughter. She's hardly a slouch in the fisticuffs stakes either as it is her take down of a brat, belonging to the junky sister of one of the crims, that sets this whole unfortunate ball rolling.

3. John Matrix in Commando played by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Another Dad off to save a kidnapped daughter but this time it's Arnie and he's enormous, greased up with enormous weaponry. You get in his way and you're toast and toast is what most people have for breakfast however John Matrix eats green berets for breakfast and right now, he's very hungry!

2. Clifford Worley in True Romance played by Dennis Hopper
In the ultimate act of bad assitude and fatherly love, Clifford Worley buys his son Clarence and his new bride, Alabama, time to escape and pays with his own life but not before delivering one of the finest scenes ever written for the screen opposite the legendary Christopher Walken.

1. Bryan Mills in Taken played by Liam Neeson
Neeson as Mills takes the top spot because despite his daughter being an absolutely annoying, reckless, hair brained, little tit who is indulged by her awful Mum and rich Step Dad, all of whom hate the sensible, stable, hard nut Mills, he still tears Paris a new arse hole and kills a million Albanians just to get her back. Now THAT's a father!

Honourable Mentions
Lincoln Hawk in Over The Top played by Sylvester Stallone
Technically more of a sports, contest, road movie, drama, action film but Hawk is doing it all to get his little boy away from the evil grasps of Robert Loggia even if he has to tear the sleeves off every jacket the kid's got to do it!

Tom Mullen in Ransom played by Mel Gibson
Again this is less of an action film and more of a thriller but still prime 90s Gibbo is going to do whatever he can to get his son back. Except, of course, pay the ransom... which he clearly has.

Hope you liked our list! Happy Father's Day to, the real number one Action Dad, Dr.Action! himself a father to 3 very cool girls and to all you fathers out there who diligently, continually rock with very little praise from your significant others or the world as a whole. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Legend of Hercules Autographed Poster Giveaway

In the epic origin story THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, Kellan Lutz stars as the mythical Greek hero -- the son of Zeus, a half-god, half-man blessed with extraordinary strength. Betrayed by his stepfather, the King, and exiled and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love, Hercules must use his formidable powers to fight his way back to his rightful kingdom. Through harrowing battles and gladiator-arena death matches, Hercules embarks on a legendary odyssey to overthrow the King and restore peace to the land. 
In theaters & 3D nationwide on January 10, 2014. 

We have an Official THE LEGEND OF HERCULES Poster Autographed by Kellan Lutz to award one lucky reader! The film also features, one of our favourites, Scott Adkins!

Each household is only eligible to win ONE Autographed Poster via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Only for contestants living in The United States

Watch the official trailer here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 22, 2013

TOP 20 second tier 80s & 90s Action Stars PART 4

Read PART 1 here
Read PART 2 here
Read PART 3 here
Again, in no particular order...
16. Mark Dacascos 
Mark "Drive" Dacascos the part Filipino, part Spanish, part Chinese, part Irish and part Japanese Hawaiian and former karate kid (for real) started acting in the early 90s, first on TV and then in B-Movie American Ninja rip-off American Samurai.  His first starring role was in Sheldon Lettich's 'Only The Strong' which is a combination of Lettich's own Bloodsport and the popular 'criminal school kids' genre from films like The Principle and Dangerous Minds etc
In his best films, his on screen fighting style is as impressive, if not more so, as any of his 80s and/or 90s contemporaries. He continued through the decade with weird teen, kung-fu adventure stuff like Double Dragon, the Brandon Lee looking Crying Freeman and the highly superior Drive.
His similarity to Lee would get him the role of The Crow in the TV Show and he would continue churning out straight-to-video actioners for the next 20 years. Yes he would yo-yo up and down the cast list and yes, you might have never heard of him but he is on this list because his filmography demands to be revisited. His fighting style, if nothing else, can be incredible in the right film.

Must see: Drive, Crying Freeman
Also Suggest: Double Dragon  
Avoid: No Code Of Conduct, Sabotage 

Check out our commentary for Drive

17. Olivier Gruner
Olivier Gruner was born in Paris in 1960, he hit the action scene with a bang in 1990 with Angel Town. Very much like Van Damme, he was brought in with an accent and an uncanny ability to kick villains butts. He also worked with Albert Pyun just like JCVD on the Cyborg-a-like Nemesis, in our opinion, though, it's a much greater movie.
Although Nemesis spawned 3 sequels, Gruner did not return and instead made a string of similar, straight to video/limited release fare for the rest of the 90s for the same production company, Imperial Entertainment.
Gruner is still kicking ass in front of the camera, as well directing, watch out for the forthcoming Gruner starring and directed SECTOR 4, written by friend of the show Richard Pierce.

Must see: Nemesis
Also suggest: Angel Town, Savate, Automatic, Alien Interceptors
Avoid: The White Pony

18. Vanity
Originally on the list, in this place, was going to be Brigitte Nielsen but after a recent viewing of Never Too Young To Die, I felt compelled to change it to Vanity. The sexy Prince prodigy, who was formerly with the band Vanity 6 (Previously 'Hookers' and Prince wanted to call it Vagina), acted in only a few movies before giving it all up in 1997. Three of those films though The Last Dragon, Never Too Young To Die and Action Jackson were all serious ass kickers and although cast, initially, as the girlfriend, sex object or female foil, by the end of the films, Vanity is rough housing it along with the best of them.

Must See: The Last Dragon, Never Too Young To Die and Action Jackson
Also Suggest: 52 Pick-Up, Neon City

Check out our commentary for Action Jackson
Check The Kick Ass Kid out discussing Never Too Young To Die on Drunk On VHS

19. Jeff Wincott
Jeff Wincott knows Karate, Kung Fu and is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, he has also been a stand up comedian, a mime, actually trained as an actor, all serious like, with Stella Adler in New York and is, originally, a Canadian. In his films, in which he normally plays an incredibly angry and intense ass whooper, he does a ton of his own stunts and all his own fighting.
He starred in the detective/cop drama Night Heat for 4 years in the 80s and his first, feature length, action role was in Martial Law 2 next to, none-other-than, Cynthia Rothrock. What followed was the predictable and prolific stream of straight-to-video action films that gloriously littered the 90s.
His stand out classic, during this period, is Mission of Justice, which features some fantastically kinetic, stunt and fight heavy action set pieces. Again, like Mark Dacascos, his fighting style and stunts are arguably faster and more enjoyable than a lot of his A-List contemporaries.
We can't urge you enough to check out his filmography.

Must See: Mission of Justice, Martial Outlaw, Last Man Standing
Also Suggest: Martial Law 2, Open Fire

20. Billy Blanks
Yes, at number 20 with several bullets and a series of balletic high kicks it's Mr.Tae Bo himself, Billy Blanks. Starting out in bit-parts and supporting roles in films like Low Blow, Last Boy Scout, Bloodfist, China O'Brien 2 and Jet Li's The Master, among others, Blanks would get his first starring role in the film Talons of the Eagle opposite Beirut's answer to Steven Seagal, Jalal Merhi and the towering, hairy, villainous presence of Matthias Hues. This would lead to more, martial arts heavy, light hearted, B-action films including two side by side with Roddy Piper. He's mainly retired from films now to teach, train in and make videos all about his famous combination of boxing and Tae Kwon Do - Tae Bo
Some of his 90s output is still very much worth checking out though.

Must See: Talons of the Eagle, Back In Action and Tough and Deadly
Also Suggest: TC2000 and Showdown

Honorary Mentions:
Matthias Hues - The giant, big haired, wide shoulder padded, thick accented one is a staple villain throughout 80s and 90s action and has probably worked, at some time or other, with everybody on this list.
Lorenzo Lamas - A jokey cult action icon all of his very own. From the TV show Renegade to straight to video stuff like The Snake Eater series, the muscular, long haired one's filmography is indeed worth dipping in to from time to time.
Brigitte Nielsen - She has been romantically linked to Stallone, Lundgren and Schwarzenegger, which, let's face it, is probably enough action for a life time but she was also Red Sonja, in Rocky 4, Cobra and played memorable villains in Beverley Hills Cop 2 and Mission of Justice.

So there you have it! All 20! How did we do? any changes? anyone we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
- Dr.Action and the Kick Ass Kid

Saturday, October 5, 2013

TOP 20 second tier 80s & 90s Action Stars PART 3

Read PART 1 here
Read PART 2 here
Again, in no particular order...
11. Roddy Piper
When you look at Roddy Piper's life as a tartan draped professional wrestler turned action star, it's hard not to believe that he really was put on this earth to chew bubblegum and kick ass and I hope nobody ever gives him his beloved gum he's spent the last 30 years looking for.
Since playing the mulleted hero in John Carpenter's classic They Live and wrestling the fantastic Keith David for 6 straight minutes, Roddy Piper carved himself out an action film career during the 80s and 90s that included starring opposite such other action legends as Billy Blanks, Sonny Chiba, Don 'The Dragon' Wilson and Robert Davi.

Must see: They Live
Also Suggest: Tough & Deadly
Avoid: The Bad Pack

Check out our commentary for They Live and the commentary that nearly broke us, The Bad Pack

12. Pam Grier
Ok, so, on first glance this looks a little like I'm cheating. Yes, I know, Pam Grier is mainly known for a string of awesome, action packed, grindhouse Blaxploitation classics in the 70s and this is a list about 80s & 90s action stars and I know you probably think I am just trying to crowbar her into this list because, well, she's my first lady of cinema and she once touched my beard but when you look at her career in the 80s and 90s, you might realise, I am still, right on point.
I am going to list some films now and I dare you to say she doesn't belong here:
1988's Above the Law with our favourite, flappy handed, greasy haired legend Steven Seagal
1996's Original Gangstas with other iconic 70s hero and list member Fred Williamson
1997's Jackie Brown
When you add to that The Vindicator, Class of 1999, Escape From LA, No Tomorrow and In To Deep not to mention the fact that she's awesome, she was one of the first ladies of action and, yes, she did touch my beard, she completely belongs on this list.
I love me some Pam Grier.

Must see: Above the Law, Jackie Brown, Original Gangstas
Also Suggest: Class of 1999 and Escape from LA

Check out our commentary for Pam Grier's films:
Ghosts of Mars
Watch The After Movie Diner's coverage of Pam Grier's appearance at the Lincoln Center:

13. Don 'The Dragon' Wilson
Don 'The Dragon' is an 11 time World Kickboxing Champion turned martial arts movie star best known for the, Roger Corman produced, long running, Bloodfist franchise (ludicrous name considering he's a kick boxer but this is a place that calls a sport predominantly played with the hands and upper body, football so...), Ring of Fire 1 - 3 and Cyber Tracker 1 & 2. He was excessively prolific in the 90s especially, churning out 26 of his 38 credits in that decade alone.
The Bloodfist series is not an ongoing plot, he only plays the same character in the first 2, it's just Corman's gift for name recognition marketing that, despite the change of style and character over the 8 films, they all carry the name Bloodfist and a number. You can normally tell from the subtitle what it really should be called.

Must See: Bloodfist 1-3
Also Suggest: Bloodfist 4 & 5, Ring of Fire 1 & 2

14. Christopher Lambert
Best known as MacCleod from The Highlander films, French American actor Lambert spent a lot of the 90s squinting and looking confused through a series of enjoyable action films (this is due to being near-blind without glasses apparently). After Highlander most people would know Fortress and Mortal Kombat, based on the video game of the same name but he was also in Gunmen, The Road Killers, The Hunted, Mean Guns and Albert Pyun's Adrenaline: Fear the rush.

Must See: Highlander and Fortress
Also Suggest: Gunmen and Mean Guns

15. Gary Busey
Known now for being madder than a box full of pickled March hares glazed in jelly, back in the 80s and 90s Gary Busey tore through the action genre with his wild hair, enormous teeth, gravelly voice and unnerving presence. What's more interesting is that he managed it with one of his feet in the Hollywood mainstream, normally in a secondary role or villain and another of his, no doubt, insane, feet starring in a string of 2nd tier actioners.
Amongst his most well known credits are films like Lethal Weapon, Predator 2, Point Break and Under Siege but you might not know his action man status extends to the B Movie likes of Eye of the Tiger, Bulletproof, Chrome Soldiers, South Beach with Fred Williamson, Breaking Point, Drop Zone with Wesley Snipes, Plato's Run with Jeff Speakman, The Rage with Lorenzo Lamas and No Tomorrow with Gary Daniels and Pam Grier.

Must See: Lethal Weapon, Predator 2, Point Break, Under Siege
Also Suggest: Eye of the Tiger, Chrome Soldiers and Plato's Run

Check out our commentary for Lethal Weapon 1

- The Kick Ass Kid 

Friday, September 27, 2013

TOP 20 second tier 80s & 90s Action Stars PART 2

Read PART 1 here
Again, these are not in any order...
6. Michael Dudikoff 
Most famous for Cannon Films' American Ninja series, model turned action star Michael Dudikoff spent most of the 80s and all of the 90s blowing stuff up and kicking ass in straight-to-video fare. Although none of them were stand out classics of the genre, along with the 5 film strong American Ninja series, there was enough of them for his name to be recognisable to the right set of B-Movie action fans. He often starred alongside Steve James, his co-hort in American Ninja and has studied Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Has been a name mentioned a lot in conjunction with the Expendables films and he himself expressed a desire, in an interview, to appear in part 3. Sadly, it looks like, that hasn't happened.

Must See: American Ninja and Avenging Force
Also Suggest: The Human Shield and Midnight Ride
Check out our commentary for the following Michael Dudikoff film:
American Ninja

7. Michelle Yeoh 
Ok, so maybe it's pushing it calling her second tier as Michelle Yeoh is, now a superstar when it comes to females in Asian action movies and has been, for western audiences especially, since 2000's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. However, from the mid 80s onwards she has been a force to be reckoned with. She has been paired with Donnie Yen, Jackie Chan, Chou Yun Fat, and Cynthia Rothrock and she was a kick ass Bond girl in Tomorrow Never Dies (Brosnan's best outting as James Bond, for my money, mainly because of Yeoh's involvement).
She's never studied any martial arts but does a huge amount of her own stunts and has a dance background from which she draws a lot of her moves. No action list, second tier or not, is complete without her on it.

Must See: Yes, Madam!Supercop, Tomorrow Never Dies and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Also Suggest: Dynamite Fighters, Butterfly and Sword and The Heroic Trio

8. Eric Roberts
One of the most prolific actors working today, Eric Roberts has worked in everything from big budget, A list movies, to shot in a back garden for a few coins and some scraps of beef jerky films. In action films he has been mainly known as a villain, like in The Specialist opposite Stallone but back in the 80s and 90s he made Best of the Best, Best of the Best 2, Hitman's Run and others where he had a rare outing as the good guy.

Must See: Best of the Best, Best of the Best 2, The Nature of the Beast and Runaway Train
Also Suggest: By The Sword, Past Perfect, The Hard Truth and The Specialist 

9. Carl Weathers
While not a prolific action star, Carl Weathers has a few choice roles that make his short resume, very impressive. Starting out in small and sometimes villainous roles in Blaxploitation classics like Bucktown and Friday Foster, he would go on to make his mark in film history playing Apollo Creed in Sylvester Stallone's legendary boxing franchise Rocky. He played the role 4 times between 1976 and 1985 and that lead to a secondary role in Predator alongside other 80s action legend, Arnold Schwarzenegger. After which he got his one, single, starring action role in the brilliant, over the top, Action Jackson. Sadly no sequel or franchise followed and Weathers would find the action film roles dry up but for a moment there he was part of 2 of the coolest action franchises around and had been the lead in his own larger than life, cop, action adventure. Can't beat that really, can you?!

Must See: Rocky 1-4, Predator and Action Jackson 
Check out our commentary for the following Carl Weathers' film:
Action Jackson

10. Rutger Hauer
Although, critically acclaimed, Dutch actor Rutger Hauer has been known for a mad variety of film roles in his time, from the release of Wanted: Dead or Alive in 1986 onwards, he had a 12 year run of being something of an action star.
This was not an unfamiliar world to him as he had started the decade as the main villain in the Stallone and Billy Dee Williams starring action, cop, serial-killer film Nighthawks.
His next role after Wanted: DOA would be that of a blind, samurai sword wielding ex-soldier in the excellent 80s, action adventure romp Blind Fury, where he even got to face off with, none other than, Sho Kosugi!
This would be followed up with the Mad Maxian The Salute of The Jugger, the battle-of-the-sexes-on-the-run adventure Wedlock and then, the best of them all, Split Second in which Hauer turns in a cigar chomping, coffee swigging, wise crack spewing, action machine of a performance, the likes of which Kurt Russell himself would've been proud.
Other roles in things like Beyond Justice, Arctic Blue and Surviving The Game would fill up the rest of the decade.

Must See: Split Second and Blind Fury
Also Suggest: Wedlock, Nighthawks and Wanted: Dead or Alive
Avoid: Beyond Justice 
Check out our podcast coverage of Rutger Hauer on The After Movie Diner here:

- The Kick Ass Kid

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

TOP 20 second tier 80s & 90s Action Stars PART 1

It seems like in the 80s and 90s everyone tried their hand at an action film at some time or another. Respected actors like Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Sean Connery, big blockbuster action heroes of the day like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis, comedians like Jim Belushi and Whoopi Goldberg and even odd character actors like Peter Weller, Gregg Henry and Fred Ward.
There were also those legitimate action stars that, while completely awesome, never quite achieved superstar status. They may have come close to, say, the likes of Jean Claude Van Damme or, our old friend, Steven Seagal but sadly just remained under the mainstream radar, never to become household names. I am talking about regular households of course, every name on this list is a household name where we live and, I dare say, where a lot of you reading this live too.
It also goes without saying that any single one of these, or all of them deserve a role in either a future Expendables movie or if they ever get the B-Team Expendables franchise going (how this hasn't happened yet is beyond us!).
So here we go, Dr.Action and the Kick Ass Kid present their TOP 20 second tier action stars of the 80s  & 90s!
(in no particular order)

1. Jeff Speakman
An expert in the visually exciting and fast martial art of Kempo, Speakman, sadly, only starred in one, proper studio film A Perfect Weapon before appearing in a string of films produced by companies like the soon-to-be-bankrupt Cannon and the fine purveyors of straight-to-video, explosive, nonsense PM Entertainment. For a martial arts actor of his day, he's actually not bad at the acting part, as well as having fantastic fighting skill but a lot of his films are hampered by low production values, clunky scripts, directors who don't understand his awesome fighting ability and, in one case, even the appalling soundtrack. His film career will always be a terrible missed opportunity because, given the right partners, he could've been a force to be reckoned with.

Must See: A Perfect Weapon
Also Suggest: The Expert, Running Red and Land of the Free (just try and ignore the worst soundtrack in film history and focus on the awesome fight stunts and Shatner's villain)
Avoid: Street Knight
Check out our commentaries for the following Jeff Speakman films:
Land of the Free
The Perfect Weapon
Running Red
The Expert
Street Knight

2. Gary Daniels
The original Britkicker, Gary Daniels was a black belt in Taekwondo by the age of 12, a 2nd dan by the age of 16 and, at the age of 27, won the Kick Boxing association's California State Light Heavyweight Championship and, In England, the Karate Association's World Light Heavyweight Championship within the space of a month.
He has also studied and employs a mix of Muay Thai, boxing, ninjutsu, Northern Shaolin kung fu and Siu Lum Wong Gar Kune, his preferred discipline.
So, those are some pretty hefty credentials and make for a fast and exciting fighting style on screen. He is let down, a little by, a somewhat slurry British east-end accent and, in earlier films, a stilted and awkward acting style but the one thing you can always say about Daniels is that he is always trying his damned hardest and when paired with other good actors or a director who knows what he's doing with action, Daniels can really shine.
He has made movies consistently for 25 years now and although mainstream stardom has alluded him, he must've been doing something right as he still stars in his own films, has travelled all round the world making them and was one of the extended action star cast of the first Expendables.

Must See: Bloodmoon, Rage and The Expendables  
Also Suggest: Cold Harvest, Fist of the North Star and Riot
Avoid: Witness To A Kill and Queen's Messenger (sadly Gary's bid to have a Bond-esque franchise did not pan out so well as both films are pretty boring and weak)
Check out our commentaries for the following Gary Daniels films:
Cold Harvest (featuring an interview with co-star Barbara Crampton!)
Hawk's Vengeance
Fist of the North Star
and an INTERVIEW with Co-Star of Bloodmoon, fellow Britkicker, Darren Shahlavi

3. Cynthia Rothrock
Cynthia Rothrock is a machine. An owner of over a handful of black belts in a variety of classical Chinese, modern Chinese and Korean martial arts disciplines and was promoted to 7th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan as recently as 2011 at the age of 54.
True action is a genre sadly lacking in women. There are a handful of sci-fi/horror action films which have strong female leads - the Alien, Underworld and Resident Evil franchises for example and TV has had kick ass heroines for years! - Xena, Buffy, Alias etc. but apart from a couple of others, which we will get to later in the list, in the 80s and 90s, Cynthia Rothrock was basically it.
Between '85 and '90, Rothrock spent her time between awesome, kick ass Hong Kong actioners and slowly breaking into the American market. Considering her skill, success in the Asian markets, acting ability and, yes ok, looks, it is just baffling a proper studio didn't snap her up and make her a star. She did, though, have a rapid, successful and prolific straight-to-video career in The States throughout the first half of the 90s, with the quality dropping off pretty sharply after '96. She was often paired with Australian martial artist and close friend Richard Norton. With an appearance in Bad Ass Showdown in 2013 and rumours of a female Expendables movie in the works (Get a script written someone please!!) we are still praying for a resurgence of Rothrock as, like so many on this list, she's yet to get the credit she truly deserves.

Must See: Righting Wrongs (AKA Above The Law), Huang jia shi jie (AKA Yes, Madam!) and China O'Brien
Also Suggest: China O'Brien 2 and Martial Law 2
Avoid: The Rage and Honor Series (Rothrock and Norton fail to bring back the charm of China O'Brien) and anything post 1996.
Check out our commentaries for the following Cynthia Rothrock films:
China O'Brien
China O'Brien 2

4. Fred Williamson
Fred "The Hammer" Williamson is a smart, tough man. When, in the mid-to-late 70s, Hollywood was done with the Blaxploitation craze that had, affectively, got it back on its feet, financially, Fred Williamson decided he would, instead, just do it his way.
Doing it his way has given the former footballer turned actor, director, producer and martial artist (Williamson holds black belts in Kenpo, Karate and Tae-Kwon-Do) a long and varied career that continues today. He currently has 8 movies set for release in the next 3 years. At the beginning of the 80s, having made, legendary 70s B-Movie Inglorious Bastards in Italy, Williamson was in Europe starring in, producing and directing a variety of action films, most prominently the Black Cobra series. This would continue into the 90s where he would, eventually, return to America to continue doing the same thing. The most prominent of which was 1996's Original Gangstas in which he teamed up with Pam Grier, Jim Brown, Richard Roundtree, Robert Forster, Charles Napier, Wings Hauser, Paul Winfield and Ron O'Neal to show the world that the old timers have still got it.
He has his famous rules of Hollywood: "You can’t kill me in a movie, I win all my fights in a movie, and I get the girl at the end of the movie, if I want her" and he makes sure, with razor sharp integrity, that he sticks to that. As he is The Hammer, he's doing it his way and it's successful for him then you can't exactly argue and you'll always know what to expect!

Must See: 1990: The Bronx Warriors, Vigilante, Delta Force Commando, From Dusk Till Dawn and Original Gangastas
Also Suggest: Black Cobra, Black Cobra 2 and Black Cobra 3

5. Sho Kosugi
All Japan Karate Champion Sho Kosugi was the go-to ninja during the 1980s. Back then there was an insane ninja craze going on in the second and below tier action world. Godfrey Ho, prolific Chinese director, made no less than 45 films with the word ninja in the title, in the 1980s. You can, however, thank those purveyors of fine bonkers action, Golan and Globus (better know to most as Cannon Films) for giving the west Sho Kosugi. The 1981, Franco Nero starring Enter The Ninja would start Kosugi on an action star career path that would last the next 13 years. Although only making 4 films with the word ninja in the title during this period and none of them directed by Godfrey Ho, weirdly enough, the name Kosugi became synonymous with ninja. So much so, in fact, that when, recently, they tried to reintroduce the genre with Ninja Assassin in 2009 he stepped out of film acting retirement to take his first on screen role in 11 years.

Must See: Enter The Ninja, Revenge of the Ninja and Blind Fury
Also Suggest: Nine Deaths of a Ninja, Ninja 3: The Domination and Pray For Death
Avoid: Black Eagle
Check out our podcast coverage on The After Movie Diner for the following Sho Kosugi films:
9 Deaths of a Ninja
Blind Fury

- The Kick Ass Kid

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stallone in Zurich 2008

People who want to dismiss Sylvester Stallone or action stars do so at their peril. Anyone who has examined the life of these guys or heard them being interviewed knows that they are far more than a clunk headed bodybuilder with an automatic weapon.
Back in 2008 the Zurich film festival hosted Stallone and sat him down for a chat about his work behind the camera. It's fascinating and entertaining. Take a look.