The biggest news of this news though would have to be the fact that original stars are set to reprise their roles now 20 years after the original sci-fi martial arts action classic first created a surprise box office sensation.
OK, so we can at least breathe easy knowing that Keanu Reeves will in fact be in this new version of The Matrix. We’ve also gotten confirmation of Carrie-Anne Moss’s involvement, so we can assume that Reeves will reprise his role as Neo and Moss will indeed be Trinity.
No word yet on Laurence Fishburne though as his character shouldn’t – theoretically – have a role in a direct sequel. But that’s a pretty easy fix for a sci-fi franchise. Many online have theorized that a younger Morpheus could be in the cards, but for the sake of fan-service, you’d like for Fishburne to be included in some way.
In some ways, it’s been a long 20 years since the Wachowski brothers first released The Matrix back in 1999. Both are no longer brothers, as they’ve both transitioned and are now simply referred to as ‘The Wachowski’s‘. They’ve enjoyed a great deal of commercial success with the two Matrix sequels – Reloaded and Revolution.
As well as a moderate degree of commercial and critical big action flicks like V for Vendetta, Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending. No word on exactly why Lana Wachowski will be operating solo without the involvement of her sister Lily Wachowski at this point as they’ve been a writing and directing partnership all the way back to Assassins.
It has to appear though that the number one reason why The Matrix is getting a reboot right now absolutely has to be because of the success of the John Wick franchise. I won’t go as far as to say that “the John Wick movies are basically just The Matrix movies” or anything like that because they are both unique – and The Matrix especially stands out for its pure sci-fi-ness and world building.
BUT – they do share similarities. And many similarities besides the fact that they both star Keanu Reeves as a character with cheat codes enabled who doesn’t say much and looks badass wearing black.
While the two franchises might be aware of each other though, it’s unlikely that The Matrix will go all John Wick or anything. But it is proof that perhaps The Matrix was deserving of a longer run than its original three movie trilogy. So, we’ll watch closely as this reboot develops.
Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page or in the comments below!
Get all your 80s and 90s action movie ultimateness here!
We’re back! After a brief hiatus, the Ultimate Action Movie Club website is back online, updated, new and improved. We’ve cleaned up the page for much better site speed and a better viewing experience.
The Ultimate Action Movie Club was founded by a group of friends who simply loved to rent an old action movie VHS and watch it over pizza and beers on a Saturday night. We’ve tried to remain true to the club’s origins and share our mutual love of the most ultimate movie genre.
While we don’t have any official club rules or anything, we are always open to others who wish to contribute however they can. We have a great group of writers, editors and contributors who do some awesome work covering ultimate action movies.
If you’d ever like to reach out and see about contributing as well. You can follow the info on this “write for us” page!
And as always, you can reach us on our Facebook page or in the comments below!
I’m a comic book guy. A pretty thorough one if I say so myself. Every Wednesday, you’ll find me at my LCS (that’s local comic shop for you non comic book people) checking out the latest tales from my favorite heroes, such as Superman, The Punisher, and so forth.
I love comics so much, that as I’m typing this, I’m listening to the Avengers: Endgame soundtrack (Track 28 – Portals to be exact). Although, to be fair, I don’t know everything about everything when it comes to comics, but I know enough about enough. One thing I didn’t know about was the character of Accident Man.
But that’s ok, because there’s one man who did know about him. And that man is Scott Adkins.
“After his ex-girlfriend is murdered, notorious hitman Mike Fallon, known to the underworld as Accident Man for specialty in making his hits look like accidents, seeks out those responsible to personally deliver his own brand of vengeance…”
Accident Man was the brainchild of British comic writer Pat Mills. Published in the early 90s, it became the favorite comic of young action movie enthusiast & future action icon Scott Adkins. He vowed that one day, if he were ever to become an actor, to make a movie based on the comic and play the character. So props to Adkins already, for being a man of his word.
Another word Adkins is synonymous with is action. And boy, do we get some mind blowingly great action in this one! Adkins and his frequent collaborator, the great action auteur Jesse V. Johnson, bring you some of their finest work. A movie that follows in the awesome tradition of great British crime thrillers like Get Carter & Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (just to name a few) while retaining its comic book style from the source material.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this amazing cast and the colorful character they bring to life. Characters such as Mick &Mac. Jane the Ripper. Carnage Cliff. Finicky Fred. You may come for the action, but you’ll love it for these characters and the world they inhabit.
But speaking of action, let’s get down to it, shall we? Johnson and his fight choreographer, the incomparable Tim Man, create some of the most blistering fight sequences we’ve seen so far in action movies. Adkins, Johnson, Man and the rest of their team are truly going for the jugular in trying to create some of the best action they’ve done so far. The standout sequence for me has to be the 2 vs 1 fight between Adkins and White & Park. Watching 3 titans of martial arts action go at it is nothing short of amazing. Just the picture perfect definition of ultimate action!
Any nitpicks? The final fight between Adkins & Johnston feels off for some reason. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still an awesome fight. But it just feels like they’re going at a slower pace. I’ve seen people say that it’s because Adkins had to “hold back” because Johnston wasn’t “as skilled” as he is. But if you’ve seen her work before, you’d know that’s big ole heaping of horse crap that’s being spewed there.
What I’m wondering is if it had anything to do with those tight ass leather pants they put her in for the scene. Because if it did… Maybe they should’ve put her in something looser or at least less constricting? I don’t know. Still a great fight though.
But all in all, this was an awesome comic book adaptation that should be seen by action & comic fans alike. So, instead of watching Avengers: Endgame for that 137th time, try watching Accident Man instead. Adkins & Co. deserve it.
Let us know your thoughts on Accident Man on our Facebook page or in the comments below!
Following up the First Wave, here are more action movies to premiere at Fantastic Fest 2019.
So, the big highlights from this second wave rollout is definitely going to be Rian Johnson’s premiere of Knives Out, which stars Daniel Craig and an ensemble cast of some pretty big names. While Knives Out is part mystery, thriller and comedy – it can definitely be considered action!
But, that’s not the full rub of it. The rest of the list does include some more action movie premieres for Fantastic Fest. We have some new international names to check out, a really cool sounding documentary exploring the Kung Fu action-sub genre, and a very awesome sounding VFW by Joe Begos.
If you are checking out the festival in Austin, Texas, these action films will certainly be of our ultimate interest.
Algeria, France, Qatar, 2019
North American Premiere, 139 min
Director – Amin Sidi-Boumédiène
In the midst of the Algerian Civil War, Lotfi ventures into the desert with his lifelong friend S., who hopes to find and kill the elusive, dangerous terrorist Abou Leila.
France, USA, 2019
North American Premiere, 50 min
Director – Seth Ickerman
The wild sequel to the Carpenter Brut music video, “Turbo Killer,” shoots you into a turbulent psychedelic adventure of galactic hunters tracking down the soul of a spaceship set to a killer synthwave soundtrack.
IRON FISTS AND KUNG FU KICKS
North American Premiere, 107 min
Director – Serge Ou
From the Shaw Brothers to THE MATRIX, this wild documentary tells the story of how kung fu films conquered the world from the 1960s to now.
Special Presentation, 130 min
Director – Rian Johnson
In attendance – Director Rian Johnson
From acclaimed writer, director Rian Johnson comes KNIVES OUT, a fresh and modern take on the classic “whodunnit” mystery genre.
PHIL TIPPETT – MAD DREAMS AND MONSTERS
International Premiere, 80 min
Directors – Gilles Penso & Alexandre Poncet
After their documentary CREATURE DESIGNERS – THE FRANKENSTEIN COMPLEX, French journalist Alexandre Poncet and filmmaker Gilles Penso deliver an in-depth, sad, and beautiful documentary about the stop motion and VFX artist Phil Tippett, a man who changed the landscape of visual effects in film.
US Premiere, 90 min
Director – Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
In attendance – Director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
Somewhere in the future exists THE PLATFORM, a vertically tiered prison where the upper levels have access to exquisite food and the lower levels fight for survival. Level assignments are random, but how long can a prisoner’s luck hold? One man is about to find out.
World Premiere, 92 min
Director – Joe Begos
In attendance – Director Joe Begos
In the near future, a new drug called Hype has turned America into a war zone. The addicted are more mutant than human, and they’ve set their sights on assaulting a VFW post in Joe Begos’ star-studded latest.
Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page or in the comments below!
Universal’s decision to cancel the release of The Hunt has sparked a pretty major debate among film fans as to whether the decision was a justified one.
The high concept horror satire centered on 12 strangers, who awake in a clearing only to discover they have been chose to be hunted in a game devised by society’s rich elite.
Universal decided to cancel the release of the film in the wake of widespread negative press, most notably from President Donald Trump, who branded it “racist” in a scathing tweet.
The Hunt is Taken Down
“After thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film,” the studio said.
“We stand by our film-makers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”
In all the furore surrounding The Hunt, one important fact appears to have been lost: that Jean-Claude Van Damme made pretty much the same movie more than 25 years ago.
One of JCVD’s most popular movies, Hard Target starred the Muscles from Brussels as Chance Boudreaux, an out-of-work Cajun United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance veteran hired help a woman search for her missing father.
Chance soon encounters Lance Henriksen’sEmil Fouchon, a wealth sportsman with a decidedly sinister hobby that sees him hunt homeless ex-soldiers for sport with his friends.
Chief among these friends is Arnold Vosloo’ Pik van Cleef, one of Fouchon’s larger-than-life cronies and a regular participant in his hunts.
Van Damme’s character soon finds himself taking on Emil and his army of fellow hunters in a high-kicking thriller directed by none other than John Woo.
Woo worked closely with Sam Raimi on the project, who was hired as a consultant to help oversee the production.
A high concept actioner that helped Woo gain valuable experience before going on to work with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage on films like Broken Arrow and Face/Off , Hard Target won praise for its action set pieces while Van Damme also earned acclaim for his efforts.
Not that Van Damme or Woo are all that positive about the movie, looking back.
“Hard Target was a bad script, but we had some great action scenes, and John Woo made me look like a samurai with greasy hair,” Van Damme later recalled.
“In some ways, quite a troublesome movie to make, but I’m rather happy with the way the action scenes turned out,” Woo noted.
The first major Hollywood film made by a Chinese director, Hard Target may not be as fondly remembered as TimeCop or Kickboxer but it’s a worth addition to the Van Damme canon, featuring kick-ass action, some neat stunts and a few memorable villains to boot.
Let us know your thoughts on The Hunt and Hard Target on our Facebook page or in the comments below!
From John Woo and Jean-Claude to Roel Reine and Scott Adkins…
On August 20, 1993, general American audiences were blown away by the release of action megastar Jean-Claude Van Damme’s newest spectacle Hard Target. Helmed by asian action maestro John Woo in his English-language debut, Hard Target was a helicopter kick to the face in terms of hardcore, ultimate action.
But after it’s success, Woo and Van Damme went their separate ways to deliver us their next ultimate action classics. Woo with Broken Arrow and Face/Off (read my ultimate review of it here) and Van Damme with Timecop and Street Fighter (it’s an ultimate action classic. Not up for discussion). And as they went further along in their careers, it seemed they would not reunite to give us the sequel we so anxiously wanted.
Then, in 2016, we were blindsided by the news that a Hard Target 2 was on the way. Immediately, my heart did a backflip. But alas, there was a catch. Hard Target 2would not feature the epic re-teaming of Van Damme and Woo, but the combo of ultimate action legend in the making Scott Adkins, and the king of the DTV action sequel himself, Roel Reine (seriously, look at the credits on his IMDb and see how many 2s & 3s show up next to a title).
Now, as I’ve said before, Scott Adkins is my favorite action star working right now. And Roel Reine has made some quite impressive action movies over the years (looking at you, The Marine 2). Will this team up of talents give us the same quality kick to the face that the original did? Let’s find out!
“After accidentally killing his best friend in a match, disgraced ex-mma fighter Wes Baylor finds himself in Thailand fighting on the underground circuit. But when mysterious businessman Jonah Aldrich (Robert Knepper) approaches him with a million dollar offer, he just can’t refuse. Unfortunately, he learns to his horror that he’s just agreed to participate in a prestigious hunt. And he’s the game. Now, in the fight of his life, Baylor must utilize all his skills to show the hunters why he truly is… the Hard Target.”
Now, to answer my previous question right off the bat: No. Hard Target 2 doesn’t equal up to the ultimate action awesomeness that was the original. But, that’s not to say it’s a bad movie. Truthfully speaking, Hard Target 2 provides enough awesome action moments to be a great flick on its own.
Let’s start with Adkins. Adkins once again shines not only as an action performer, but as an actor as well. His portrayal of Baylor as an individual tormented by the death of his friend by his own hand really gives the movie a heart and soul amidst all the carnage. Non-stop slam bang action is cool and all from time to time, but it’s nice to have some heart once in a while. And Adkins conveys that beautifully in his performance.
Backing him up is the menacing Knepper as Aldrich. He’s perfect as the main creep who sets the hunt in motion. We also have action fave and Jango Fett himself Temuera Morrison as Madden, Aldrich’s right hand man. Morrison is as awesome and badass as usual. The camera loves him and audiences just can’t get enough of him. The man is a treasure.
Then finally, we have the intensely beautiful, beautifully intense badass Rhona Mitra as Sofia. Mitra undoubtedly walks off with the movie as the best, most badass character in it. She is the pitch perfect definition of ultimate action badassery. This woman deserves her own action franchise at this point. Somebody give her a franchise!
A lot of credit must go to director/cinematographer Reine for running such a tight ship. He handles the action very well and sets up some great shots too (All about that slow motion shot of Mitra walking away from an explosion). His style evokes more memories of 300 than Woo, but that’s fine with me. As long as it’s staged and choreographed well, and I can see what’s happening (looking at you, Olivier Megaton). Speaking of great shots, the movie is absolutely gorgeous to look at, especially on blu ray. Reine has a great eye and catches the beauty of the jungle well. Kudos.
And now we get down to the nitty gritty: the action. And this one has some fine action, if you ask me. Fights. Shootouts. Chases. Explosions. Really good stuff. With Adkins present, you know you’re gonna get some great fight scenes, but you also get some great stunts too. He must’ve been feeling very Jackie Chan like with this one, because you can clearly see that is Adkins himself doing a lot of his own stunts. Reine made sure the camera was right in Adkins‘ face to capture all his death defying work, and the movie is so much better for it. Also, mega points bestowed on Adkins & Co. for getting that awesomely perfect mid-air split kick. So amazingly badass!
Are there any nitpicks? Just one major one for me. *SPOILERS* During the climax, Baylor has to take on a small group of fighters. One of them is international badass Jeeja Yanin, star of the ultimate martial arts action classic Chocolate. They put her front and center too, so I’m thinking “Aww man! This is gonna be good!” He then proceeds to destroy the group, including Yanin, within 2 mins. Really? You get Jeeja Yanin to face off against Scott Adkins at the climax of your movie, and you just have him steamroll over her like nothing?? What the hell, Reine??
But other than that setback, the movie is a pretty awesome action movie. It doesn’t quite match the ultimateness of Van Damme/Woo classic, but it does more than enough to carve its own path. I recommend it.
Let us know your thoughts on Hard Target 2 (2016) in the comments below.
Speaking during a TCA Summer Press Tour visit (via Den Of Geek) the show’s creator Rob McElhenney revealed the Rocky IV and Creed IIstar would be playing on his action movie persona for the guest role.
According to McElhenny, Lundgren will play the part of Johnny Thundergun, in a call back to the season 11 episode Thunder Gun Express, which saw the gang try and fail to watch the latest summer blockbuster – also titled Thunder Gun Express.
Wesley Snipes. The name is synonymous with action, charisma and a kind of winning smile we don’t see much anymore. His issues on and off the set have led to a career outside of the spotlight but he will always be remembered for classic roles in such movies as White Men Can’t Jump, Demolition Man and of course Blade.
His turn as Blade, a half-human/half-vampire anti-hero, became the stuff of legend. I can still recall waiting in a massive line during the first weekend of Blade 2. It was an event. And this was all before the superhero wave of the early 2000s.
After the disappointing third film and the forgotten television series the character disappeared into the shadows from whence he came. Rumors persisted though. The new Marvel Cinematic Universe was rife with bigger stars and more impacting story lines. And the call for the return of Blade began quietly but grew throughout each phase. Wesley Snipes creating waves of excitement with hints of meetings at Marvel.
From there the demand only grew, reaching critical mass at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con when Mahershala Ali was announced as the new Blade. The two-time Oscar winner had pursued the role himself and the reaction was uproariously positive. Even Wesley Snipes gave his endorsement of the move.
How will Ali rank against Snipes? We’ll have to wait for that answer but we can all certainly agree that Ali has some big vampire hunting shoes to fill. Prior to BladeSnipes was coming off films like Murder at 1600 and Money Train. He was a star and after a failed attempt to get a Black Panther movie made he turned his sights towards Blade. A minor character from the comic book Tomb of Dracula, a discontinued horror book that was, at the time, a leftover for niche collectors.
It didn’t matter though. The hunt was on, so to speak, for Snipes and in 1998 Blade, a modern, slick, take no prisoners, one-liner spewing vampire killer was born. Snipes took the name from the comic but almost everything else was born out of the movie.
Snipes didn’t just make Blade a character, he made Blade an icon.
He brought charisma to a character that had no right to have any. An anti-social hermit whose only interest in life is killing vampires could have easily been a dull, empty hero but Snipes gave him a wry, dark sense of humor and an impressive physicality that included sword work, martial arts and a wide array of wrestling moves. Something I can only imagine came from Snipes.
The third film ended up being remembered more for Snipes’ bad attitude and behavior than for its merits (of which there aren’t many). And with that the franchise died but like any good vampire it wasn’t completely dead as the announcement at Comic-Con proved.
Without Snipes, without his talent and charm we would never have known about the potential of Blade nor demanded to see the character again. Will he always remain the best version of the character? Will he be the Christopher Reeves of vampire hunters? Will there be a countless string of actors attempting to top his performance or will Ali quickly overtake him? I’ll certainly be rooting for Mahershala but I’ll never forget the glory of Snipes, the way he caught a pair of sunglasses in the air or his infamous line because no matter what “some motherf**ckers are always trying to ice-skate uphill.”
Article by: Kyle Scully credits his love of action films to a dedicated group of family and friends who fed him a steady diet of macho-nonsense. Thanks to their tireless efforts his interests range from the classics like Die Hard to the wonderfully bizarre like Universal Soldier: Regeneration.
Let us know your thoughts on Wesley Snipes and Mahershala Ali as Blade in the comments below!
I miss Cannon movies. No other company epitomized 80s action movie cliches better than they did. Shootouts, explosions, ninjas, you name it. They gave us the goods in spades. One of those goods was bonafide action star Michael Dudikoff. The star of such action classics as American Ninja 1&2and Avenging Force, just to name a few, Dudikoff represented a new breed of action hero who was primed to take over the action world. But unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be, as Cannon went bankrupt, and Dudikoff’s career took a downturn after that, becoming relegated to the DTV market (Although he continued to make great action flicks there as well).
Now, in this day and age of genuine articles and great pretenders, we await the arrival of a hero & movie to save us. An epic combo package to bring back the heroic nature Dudikoff & Cannon so masterfully gave us. Alas, that combo of hero and movie is here. His name is Scott Adkins. And that movie is Savage Dog.
“In 1959 Indochina, Ex-Prize Fighter & prisoner Martin Tillman must confront the savage beast within as he seeks vengeance against the corrupt powers that be after they take all he holds dear to him…”
Now, ask anybody that knows me, they can tell you how much I looooove Scott Adkins movies. He’s just the epitome of an action star. Quite frankly, if you ask me, the guy is the most complete action star in the world (Ha). And this one is another one in a long line of action movies that proves just that.
But in my opinion, it does more than that. So much more. It quite beautifully brings back that amazing feeling you got when you watched a Cannon/Dudikoff movie. Truthfully speaking, I’ll go as far as to say this is the greatest Cannon/Dudikoff movie Cannon/Dudikoff never made. Scott Adkins as Tillman perfectly invokes the spirit of Dudikoff during the proceedings. That steely eyed look. That super cool demeanor. It’s all there. Adkins is the second coming of Dudikoff here.
Supporting him are the iconic Keith David as Valentine, the man who takes in Tillman to be the cooler at his bar and becomes a father figure to him. He’s also the narrator of the movie, and hearing that awesome voice overlay the proceedings was pure magic. You’re a legend, Mr. David. Rounding out the cast is Vladimir Kulich as Steiner, the diabolical head bad guy, badass MMA fighter Cung Le as the cold hearted soldier Boon, the lovely JuJu Chan as Isabelle, Martin’s love Interest, and the spectacular Marko Zaror as Steiner’s main henchman Rastignac, or as he likes to call himself… The Executioner.
And everyone & thing are brought to life exceptionally by the great action auteur himself, Jesse V. Johnson, who perfectly captures the look and feel of a Cannon movie. Although the fight scenes are a bit faster and more “intricate”, if you will, (more on that in a second) than the usual Cannon movie, the action sequences on a whole are pure Cannon goodness.
Now, to put it in perspective, making an action packed period piece on a low budget is no small task, but Johnson executes it all amazingly. But because it’s a period piece, we don’t get the awesome gymkata style of fighting we usually get from Adkins. You can tell he had to tone it down a bit in this one. But that’s not at all a bad thing. Because in this one, even though it’s a more grounded style of fighting, it’s more hardcore. I’m talking bare knuckle, “Hard Times” style of fighting, but with the occasional beautiful kick here and there. And it is awesome! Just brutal, hardcore beatdowns.
But it’s not just fighting in here either. Oh no. We get some awesome, glorious shootouts as well. Glorious by way of Commando and Missing in Action 3. Just Adkins running around killing countless bad guys one man army style. Just beautiful stuff. Beautiful and bloody. And when I say bloody, I mean BLOODY.
Now, here’s a fair warning for the faint of heart. This is one violent movie. VEERRRY violent. I’m talking geysers of blood, severed limbs, decapitations, exploding heads, and quite possibly one of the most brutal and disgusting disposals of the final bad guy in action movie history. I’m dead serious. Top 3 bad guy disposals. Up there with Richter’s death in Total Recall and Night Slasher’s in Cobra. I’ve seen this movie quite a few times already, and yet every time that part comes up, I’m wincing at the screen like “Ahh… Grody.”
Savage Dog. An awesome revival of Cannon style badassness. But, if that wasn’t enough to paint a picture for you, allow me to use broader strokes. When you watch this (It’s currently streaming now on Netflix) just picture:
Dudikoff as Tillman
Steve James as Valentine
Richard Lynch or John P. Ryan as Steiner
Sho Kosugi as Boon
Michel Qissi as Rastignac
Written by James Booth (Writer of Avenging Force, Pray for Death, American Ninja 1&2)
Directed by Albert Pyun
You can’t unsee it now, can you?
What do you think about Savage Dog? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
As a child of the 80s & 90s, I’ve been spoiled by some of the best action movies those glorious decades had to offer. Most notably the movies of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Those 2 icons of action molded the minds of many action fans around the world, myself included.
Unfortunately, we never got the team up movie we so desperately craved from them until 2013 with the prison action thriller Escape Plan. And while the movie itself is very entertaining affair, it is somewhat disappointingly a far cry from their heydays. Like it’s not bad at all. I think it’s a really good action flick. But it wasn’t what we were expecting. What we were expecting was a balls out, non-stop, slam bang, pun heavy action epic.
Needless to say, what we were expecting was something like Hobbs & Shaw.
“After a cybernetically enhanced super soldier makes an attempt to steal a deadly virus, DSS agent Luke Hobbs must team up with his former nemesis, british spy Deckard Shaw to stop him from getting his hands on it and threatening the fate of the world…”
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (or as it’s known in Japan, “Wild Speed: Super Combo“) is the 9th movie in the long running Fast & Furious franchise and the first spinoff. It stars Dwayne Johnson as the Samoan He-man Hobbs, Jason Statham as the British badass Shaw, Idris Elba as “Black Superman” Brixton (his words), and Vanessa Kirby as Shaw’s equally badass MI:6 agent sister, Hattie. And as directed by burgeoning action auteur David Leitch of John Wick & Deadpool 2 fame, it is an 80s action fan’s dream come true.
Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham
Truthfully speaking this is the Stallone/Schwarzenegger team up movie Stallone/Schwarzenegger should’ve given us. It takes not only all the fundamentals we loved about Stallone/Schwarzenegger’s 80s action movies, but everything we loved about the 80s buddy cop action movie in general and maximizes it by 100. Think Lethal Weapon, 48 Hrs, Red Heat, and most importantly Tango & Cash mashed together with a Bond movie and filled to the brim with gamma radiation, and you have Hobbs & Shaw.
And they picked the 2 best people to lead this. Nolte& Murphy. Gibson &Glover. Schwarzenegger & Belushi. Stallone & Russell. Those are the names that are synonymous with buddy cop action. And Johnson & Statham perfectly carry on that tradition. Their back & forth banter is easily the best part of the movie. I could’ve watched them roast each other for hours if that was all the movie was. Real hilarious stuff.
Elba is equally great as the (literal) supervillain Brixton. The man is the epitome of supercool and is one of the best villains to grace the F&F franchise since… well Statham. Some people may be put off by just how ridiculous his character is (they literally show him having a Terminator spine and cyborg Equalizer eyes), but after watching Hobbs shove a torpedo out of the way with his bare hands in the last F&F, I think he fits right in.
He also brings levity to the character as it’s revealed that he was once a partner of Shaw’s and was actually executed by him, leaving him to be “revived” with cybernetic alterations. His feelings of betrayal by his former friend and partner is conveyed subtly but very well, giving this over the top to the point of cartoonish character a bit of solid ground. I know a lot of people wish he would play James Bond, but I think he’s too cool for Bond. In fact, screw James Bond. He’s Black Superman!
But the scene stealer among the cast is most undoubtedly Vanessa Kirby as Hattie Shaw. Man, I was not prepared for the ultimate action badassery that she would provide for us! This woman is a walking, talking death machine. After her impressive performance in last year’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout (which coincidentally starred actual Superman Henry Cavill), I walked out of this wondering if producers were already figuring out which action movie to put her in next. If I were one, I’d be looking for projects right now. She was awesome! Complete and total badass!
And everybody comes off looking great thanks to the amazing direction by Leitch. Man, is he really coming into his own as one of the best action directors out now. He keeps the movie moving at such a fast pace that its 135 min runtime just breezes by. And his sense of style and staging of scenes is impeccable. It has already come to the point in his career that within the first few minutes of the movie, I was saying to myself, “This is definitely a David Leitch movie.” The man has a vision that he communicates so well and thoroughly, and it brings me immense joy to watch a filmmaker I’m a huge fan of come into his own as a true auteur of action cinema. Bravo, Mr. Leitch. Bravo.
And speaking of action, we get a full course meal of superhuman action theatrics. Wanna see Dwayne Johnson send guys flying across the room with a bitch slap? Wanna see Idris Elba catch a car with his hands, then flip it over? Wanna see Statham beat up 10 guys all at once without breaking a sweat? And non-stop car chases, fights, shootouts and explosions? Then you have come to the right show, because all of that is featured here in spades. The level of ridiculous action put a big fat grin on my face. It felt like being a kid again sitting in that theater.
For example: Remember in Captain America: Civil War when Captain America held onto a helicopter with one hand while holding onto the landing pad with the other? I guess Johnson took that as a challenge, because he one ups Steve Rogers himself by holding onto a chain attached to a helicopter while riding the back of a truck doing 100 mph! It’s that kinda movie, folks. And I loved it!
Any nitpicks? The cinematography of the big brawl between Hobbs‘ family and Brixton’s goons slightly bordered a little too close to shaky cam. Like I could see what was happening, but the camera got somewhat “energetic” for a second there. But it corrected itself soon enough for the final chase and fight scene, so no biggie.
But all in all, this was a great throwback to the glorious 80s for me. It may not be the Stallone & Schwarzenegger epic that we wanted, but it sure was the awesome Johnson & Statham epic that we never knew we needed. Just don’t keep us waiting too long for the sequel. Can’t have you guys making the same mistake Tango & Cash did. I need at least 5 more of these, pronto!
What were your thoughts on Hobbs & Shaw? Let us know in the comments below!