Been a long time without a mega post and today I reached my limit. I couldn't ignore the itch any longer. I had to drop by and dump a movie avalanche on all the good folks of the SMD. Over the last several weeks I've been on an action movie tear. I've been trying to limit my viewing to movies that I either haven't seen before or that I haven't seen in so long that I might as well have never seen them before. I started with the Sensei. He just recently shot a film with Bey Logan and I'd been seeing pictures from on-set for months on Facebook and it made me realize that the last time I had a Seagal marathon was so many years ago (it was 2012, when Seagal teamed up with Stone Cold for the supremely awesome Maximum Conviction) that I was likely several movies behind. For the highlights: I'm fascinated by Seagal's explicit turn to criminal characters. One of the best threads running through Seagal's career is his obsession with codes of honor and complicating the ethical responsibilities of his law enforcement characters (whether he's a cop or in the CIA or whatever), which he frequently dramatizes via organized crime, be it the Italian or the Russian mafia, the Japanese Yakuza, the Chinese triads, etc. However, in Gutshot Straight (where he does little more than a cameo) and Force of Execution, he's a straight up criminal. In the latter, he's a crime kingpin. In something like On Deadly Ground, he's a "good guy" who realizes he's been snowed and actually wasn't all that good. In Force of Execution - and continued through the quasi-sequels A Good Man and Absolution - he's a "good guy" who became so disillusioned that he became a "bad guy" and now is so turned around that he can barely even remember what actually being good means. Very cool stuff. And Absolution is particularly awesome because Josh Barnett has a huge role and does a fantastic job. Like, legit the dude should be doing more stuff good. The weirdest of the bunch was undoubtedly The Perfect Weapon (unfortunately, Jeff Speakman had nothing to do with this one ). @europe1, are you aware of this movie? I think it's got you written all over it. Cartels was pretty good (made much more fun by the appearance of GSP), as were End of a Gun and Contract to Kill. But the standout was definitely Code of Honor. The script got a little too convoluted for its own good, but it's a great spin on the Death Wish type of vigilante story for today's technologized and militarized world. After my Seagalathon, I shifted to JCVD. I've always felt like a heretic, but I can't help it: This guy's movies fucking suck. Most of them are just plain awful and the ones that aren't awful are so clearly subpar products. The cheese makes (some of) them tolerable, and some are even enjoyable, but the only legitimately good movies from his prime are Bloodsport, Death Warrant, and Hard Target. And, even with those three, only in Bloodsport are the fight scenes anything to write home about. His cinematic fighting style has never done anything for me and I absolutely can't stand watching him get the ever-loving shit kicked out of him in every single fucking fight and then just doing a few jumping spin kicks. Of all the big-time martial arts stars, he makes by far the worst movies and by far the worst fight scenes. I rewatched Double Impact and Timecop, which are above-average JCVD fare, but quit after powering through Nowhere to Run and Desert Heat. After Seagal and JCVD, I decided to take a sharp turn into what some of you might consider strange territory, but I have now (re)watched every film in the Fast & Furious franchise (not counting Tokyo Drift). A friend of mine and I saw the original in theaters when we were like 12. After that, I never bothered. I figured, since I'm the most un-car guy on Earth, there'd be nothing for me, but in the last few years, they evidently decided to turn these movies into weird mashups of Mission Impossible and James Bond. The Fast and the Furious was fun to watch because I realized it's literally the exact same movie as Point Break. I mean exactly. (Paul Walker/Keanu Reeves) plays an undercover FBI agent who infiltrates the adrenaline-fueled world of (racing/surfing) to break-up a ring of adrenaline junkie criminals (robbing trucks/robbing banks) only to find himself loving the (racing/surfing) life, forming a surprisingly tight bond with the ringleader (Vin Diesel/Patrick Swayze), falling in love with the woman closest to the ringleader (Diesel's sister/Swayze's ex), and ultimately allowing his love for the life and his bond with the ringleader to dictate his actions over and above his professional responsibilities (Reeves lets Swayze go so that he can die on his own terms and Walker lets Diesel go so that he can give him his 10-second car). 2 Fast 2 Furious was kind of dumb but fun enough. Starting from 4 on, though, they got surprisingly good. Vin Diesel never really put the kind of time and energy into his physique that he needed to in order to pull off the kind of bad ass tank he's supposed to be, but his acting chops were strong enough to where the character works really well. Paul Walker is just a dumb pretty face and a lame actor, but his character was written well enough to where his puzzle piece fit and allowed everything else to proceed smoothly. Fast Five seems to be the one that gets the most buzz, but I thought Furious 6 was much better. And the loose trilogy formed by 6, 7, and 8 is pretty fucking high-quality action. I'm glad that I have a new franchise to follow and I'm looking forward to seeing where they go from 8. Any of you guys have any thoughts on these movies? After the Fast & Furious movies, I shifted to a Jason Statham marathon. I realized that I'd never actually seen The Transporter or Transporter 3 in full. Sadly, they both stink. First off, in all of contemporary martial arts movies, I think Statham movies suffer the most from shaky cam syndrome. I can barely tell WTF is happening. Second, that French cop isn't just insufferable, he's also unintelligible. I had to watch every fucking scene with him with the subtitles on, and he was fucking speaking English. Third, the chick in the third one was awful and ugly as fuck. Transporter 2 is the only one worth a shit, and IMO it's one of Statham's best films. I also rewatched the Crank movies, which I think are the movies that really give Statham the most space to shine. Aside from the action and the fighting, he also gets to show off his dramatic and comedic chops, and all at the same time. Chaos and War are both worse than they had any excuse for being given the casts - Statham, Ryan Phillipe, and Wesley Snipes in the former and Statham and Jet Li in the latter - but still decent (War is the better of the two IMO). The two Mechanic movies suck. The first one failed to capture the dynamic between the two killers from the original as it struggled trying to decide whether it was trying to be a remake or a reboot. And the sequel has one of the dumbest plots ever. Jessica Alba shows up as a pawn of some criminal. His plan is to send her in as a damsel in distress, get Statham to fall for her, and then kidnap her to get Statham to do a job for him. Instead, Statham learns about his plan to use her to trick him into falling in love with her so that when she gets kidnapped he'll be forced to work for him...and then falls in love with her so that when she gets kidnapped he's forced to work for him. I didn't even watch it long enough to see Tommy Lee Jones, and if I stop a movie before I get to see TLJ, that says A LOT, because I fucking love me some TLJ. Speaking of TLJ, my last little mini-marathon was DDL-fueled. I rewatched The Crucible (such a great fucking movie, right up there with Inherit the Wind when it comes to religion bubble-bursting), Gangs of New York (by far DDL's best work and one of the GOAT performances, not to mention one of the most criminally underrated movies in recent memory), and There Will Be Blood (DDL is incredible but the movie tanks so fucking hard after his son loses his hearing and only comes back to life at the end) before watching Lincoln for the first time. Anybody else see Lincoln? Was I the only one surprised to find that, in a film called Lincoln which was (ostensibly) about Lincoln, Lincoln was at best the second-lead and was unquestionably a supporting player to TLJ's Thaddeus Stevens? @Ricky13, did you watch this one? I imagine you could have a field day breaking down this script. TLJ gets the central ethical conflict, TLJ's decision determines the outcome of the story, and TLJ gets the final emotional uplift. His arc is the film's arc while DDL just wanders around like somebody's lost and confused grandpa telling stories to whoever is around. The only really meaty scenes for DDL were the one where he's talking about the implications of his wartime decisions and the one where he's talking about Euclid. And he knocked them out of the park. But that doesn't a leading star performance make. TLJ was the star of that movie. And he fucking crushed it. I was so happy to see him absolutely dominate that film. Then I was sad when I realized that I didn't even know he was in the fucking movie before I started watching, that DDL got all the praise while nobody bothered to point out that TLJ blew him off the screen. And how ironic is it that DDL, who wasn't the lead, won Best Actor, while TLJ, who was the lead, lost Best Supporting Actor Lastly: Ricky, do you remember when we spent weeks arguing about Sorkin and sexism and I mentioned how it'll be interesting to see what he does with his directorial debut in which his lead character is a woman? The wait is almost over. There's only one Jack Frost. That actually looks pretty damn good. I wish they could've gotten someone better than Pierce Brosnan, but I'll watch Jackie's version of Collateral Damage. I never "got" Emma Watson. Maybe because I didn't care about Harry Potter? Just wanted to go on record to say that, when I get around to watching mother! - which I'll now be watching a hell of a lot sooner than I would've otherwise, assuming I would've even bothered with it at all - I'll definitely be coming back to your thoughts in here.