How Do The 3 Seashells in ‘Demolition Man’ Work? 3 Ultimate Theories!

3 Seashells

So, did Sylvester Stallone ever figure out how the “Three Seashells” work?

Sylvester Stallone giving props to the three seashells.

Sylvester Stallone is unarguably an ultimate action movie all-star. From Rambo to Cobra to Over the Top, he’s about as bankable as they come. Here at the UAMC, one of our all time favorites is Demolition Man (1993), which stars Stallone with Wesley Snipes and Sandra Bullock (and everyone’s favorite lil buddy Rob Schneider).

One mystery though has plagued fans of the flick for years… What are the three seashells in Demolition Man and how do they actually assist with taking a dump? Ultimate Action Movie scholars have long pondered their actual role in the defecation process. And now we present our top three theories.

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1) It’s a Prank They Play on Everyone

Ha-ha. You just got unfrozen after 40 years and now you’re an easy target for pranks and jokes. Judging from Rob Schneider’s face punch-ability, this seems on brand for the guy.

Sandra Bullock and the rest of the crew also seem to enjoy Stallone’s confusion just a little bit too much, considering he is technically a criminal and trained in 1980s butt-kicking, I wouldn’t recommend messing with the guy too much.

So, mildly possible. Although probably too complex of a joke for those future knuckleheads to pull off.

Is Sandra Bullock Sylvester Stallone’s Daughter in Demolition Man?

2) Some sort of bidet effect

This seems to be the consensus online. This would make sense as Stallone, a sensible man of his time would probably be just as confused with an actual bidet – much in the same way Crocodile Dundee was confounded.

However this still leaves many questions. If it is indeed some sort of spray, where does the water come from and how are three identical shells useful? If the future people are so advanced, why don’t they just use bidet technology that has already existed for hundreds of years.

More likely than a joke, but not quite reasonable enough to hold water.

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3) People Don’t Poop in the Future

Finally, what if we told you that the three seashells aren’t the real mystery here? What if they’re really just more of a distraction from the horrifying truth? What if we told you that, in the future, people just simply don’t poop?

Think about it, Demolition Man is a movie that takes its future-self not too seriously. It’s not a dystopian mess that most sci-fi flicks are quick to create. It’s cleverly thought out and features some other odd elements that would make something like this possible.

  1. They don’t have sex. When Stallone tries to cozy up to future-Sandra Bullock, she gets excited and puts on her intercourse helmet before explaining to him that due to the risk of sexually transmitted diseases the exchange of bodily fluids is strictly taboo. They’ve moved past the good ol’ fashioned American way and into a weird new, cleaner and safer space. Why not do the same with pooping?
  2. Taco Bell is fine dining. Perhaps the one element people always seem to remember about Demolition Man (besides that Wesley Snipes is just quite simply one of the most ultimate bad guys of all time), is the odd fact that Taco Bell has won the “franchise wars” and is now considered high dining. It doesn’t state that the food quality is any better, it’s still a fresh-mex concoction that undoubtedly would wreak havoc on the general population as their favorite dish. How would this be possible if the painful act of Taco Bell-induced purging had not been removed? If pooping is indeed bypassed in the future, Taco Bell could easily be seen as the meal of choice.

So, those are our theories here at the Ultimate Action Movie Club. Would love to hear yours. How do you think the three seashells work? Let us know in the comments!

5 Things Guaranteed to Make Any JCVD Movie Ultimate

Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Formula for Ultimate Awesomeness.

I finally had a chance to burn through the entire first (and only) season of Jean-Claude Van Johnson on Amazon Prime. While I enjoyed it, I was expecting something different. I was hoping for the ultimate JCVD experience, and what we got was an introspective look at Jean-Claude Van Damme’s humble beginnings, his career and some action. It was fine, but it wasn’t ultimate enough. That got me thinking – what would make the ultimate JCVD movie? I came up with these 5 things guaranteed to make JCVD movies ultimate and awesome!

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1) Twins

One Jean-Claude Van Damme is great, but two JCVDs is even awesomer! Wait, is awesomer a word? Probably not, but who cares! Beginning with Double Impact (1991), JCVD has played twin characters in 4 movies – the others being Maximum Risk (1996), Replicant (2001) and The Order (2001). He also played two characters in Universal Soldier (1992), but they were technically the same person. He did it again in Jean-Claude Van Johnson and there have been rumors that he’ll play a twin again in the next Expendables movie. Want to make it even more ultimate? Triplets! 

Jean-Claude Van Damme Wanted to do a ‘Triple Impact’ Sequel to ‘Double Impact’

2) Plausible (yet budget friendly) science

Timecop (1994) relied on one of the ultimate sci-fi staples – time travel. But, time travel movies can be expensive, especially if you go forward in time. By setting up rules that time travel to the future couldn’t work because it hasn’t happened yet, they were able to keep the budget low while capitalizing on a high-value scientific plotline. Same is true with Universal Soldier (1992), Replicant (2001) and Cyborg (1989). Want to make it more ultimate? Time traveling, reanimated clones!

The 10 Best Jean-Claude Van Damme Action Movies Of All Time

3) Splits

There is no move more polarizing for a man than the splits. Some see them as a strange thing for a man to do, others view it as the ultimate in muscle control. Either way, JCVD is the master of the splits. It would be hard to say how to make JCVD splits more ultimate than this – splits between two moving trucks. Maybe two planes?

The Top 100 Ultimate Action Movies of All Time

4) Dry, cool wit

Say what you will about JVCD’s acting abilities, for me he is the master of the dry, cool wit needed to be an action hero.  For me, the “I guess I should have told him to ‘freeze’” line in Timecop is the ultimate JCVD line, followed closely by “Take your fancy clothes and your black silk underwear and go back to Disneyland” in Double Impact (1991). But, if one were, to say, write the ultimate JCVD line, they could leave it in the comments.

5) A massive fighting competition

Bloodsport (1988) launched JCVD’s career, and it also birthed a common thematic element for many of his movies – the fight competition. Several JCVD films, including Kickboxer (1989), Lionheart (1990) and The Quest (1996), had him fighting his way to the top of some type of competition. From a production standpoint, it makes for a budget-friendly project because you only have to build one set and bring in new competitors. Plot wise, it can get a little boring. You can only look at groups of people chanting KUMITE for so long before it gets old. Want to make it more ultimate? Timecop back to a fight competition, to fight your twin!

Bonus: Dancing!

Here’s the pitch: Jean-Claude Van Damme is William “Splits” Moreau, a former Muay Thai kickboxing champion who joins an elite squad of mercenaries hired to protect the world from time-traveling prize fighters. After being abandoned by his team and left for dead in a 1990s underground martial arts tournament, Moreau is reanimated as a cyborg fighter in present day Thailand. He remembers only two things – how to kill and how to mambo. Bollywood ending!

Article by Eric LaRose – a Wisconsin-based connoisseur of action, horror and sci-fi movies from the ‘80s and ‘90s. A former journalist and podcaster, Eric wrote the ending to the Toxic Avenger Part 4, but the only person who will back up that claim is his wife.

Let us know what you what you think in the comments!

Lionheart (1990): Van Damme’s Forgotten Masterpiece

Lionheart takes on Bloodsport for JCVD Supremacy

With Jean-Claude Van Damme’s recent revelation that later this year he will begin filming Lionheart 2, a direct sequel to 1990’s stellar Lionheart, I thought it was a good time to revisit this classic JCVD flick.

Many fans rightfully consider 1988’s Bloodsport Van Damme’s masterpiece. I couldn’t agree more. To make a sports analogy, if Bloodsport is Michael Jordan, Lionheart has to be considered Kobe Bryant. It’s a 1A/1B situation. Many action actors would love to have the movie listed on their head shot.

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Solid Martial Arts Action

Lionheart doesn’t try to add too many plot elements into the mix; it’s a hand-to-hand, martial arts action movie first, second and third. There’s no love interest, no slain karate master to avenge, no sidekick to train, and no yelling police chief (although it does co-star Harrison Page, who played one on the criminally underrated 80s TV show Sledge Hammer!).

Lionheart came in the midst of Van Damme’s career apex (1988–1995), when he starred in the following: Bloodsport, Cyborg, Kickboxer, Lionheart, Death Warrant, Double Impact, Universal Soldier, Nowhere to Run, Hard Target, Timecop and Street Fighter. Physically he looked great (age would take a tremendous toll on his face over time), he moved exceptionally well, and the fighting scenes are arguably better than any other put to film that year; Steven Seagal’s Hard to Kill is its only real competition.

FUN FACT: Lionheart also has the distinction of being the first Van Damme film where his character has a French surname (Lyon), which immediately explained his thick Belgian accent and allowed audiences to accept he “could have” been American in many of his movies, albeit with a French lineage. (In case you were wondering, the others were: Deveraux from the Universal Soldier series; Boudreaux from Hard Target; Dubois from The Quest; Moreau from Maximum Risk; Lefevre from Legionnaire; Garrotte from Replicant; LeBlanc from In Hell; Frenchy from Soldiers; Vilain from The Expendables 2; and Frenchy from Full Love.)

But let’s get back to Lionheart, shall we? Oui.

The 10 Best Jean-Claude Van Damme Action Movies Of All Time

You Know The Story

The plot of the movie is simple enough to follow: a French legionnaire deserts his post and heads to America. Here he finds his sister-in-law in dire straits financially, so he resorts to illegal street fights as a way to earn money to support her and her young daughter. Cue the action!

Lionheart boasts a who’s who in terms of recognizing several actors who make you want to shout out “I know that guy”. In addition to the aforementioned Harrison Page, the movie has Michel Qissi (who would find immortality as Tong Po in the original Kickboxer series); Billy Blanks (Tae Bo marketing guru); Jeff Speakman (ahem); and Brian Thompson (the Night Slayer from Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra). I would be remiss if I didn’t include Abdel Qissi among these gentlemen. He is the younger brother of Michel Qissi and looked like a clone of Andre the Giant when he opposed JCVD in Lionheart.

Worth a Revisit

The Top 100 Ultimate Action Movies of All Time

While it never won any awards, Lionheart did earn eight times its $3 million budget. I just wonder why it took more than three decades to make its sequel. Regardless, I can say with certainty that I’m among its target audience. (And if you’re reading this, I suspect you are, too.)

I’m glad that at this stage of his career, JCVD is giving fans what they want: a co-starring role in the Kickboxer reboot; a self-depreciating title role in the short-lived Amazon series Jean-Claude Van Johnson, where he mocked many of his most famous films; and this, the long-awaited sequel to Lionheart.

Let us know what you what you think in the comments!

CONFIRMED: John Travolta and Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst Filming New Action Thriller

Here’s everything we know about ‘MOOSE’

Awesome! Early rumors have been confirmed that John Travolta (best known for Saturday Night Fever as well as Ultimate Action Movie Classics such as Broken Arrow and Face/Off – read more here) is indeed teaming up with former Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst on a new action thriller ambiguously titled – MOOSE’.

Not too much is known about the project, but it is indeed happening and already in production in some undoubtedly mysterious backwood locations in Alabama. Here’s what we can tell you.

Fred Durst is Directing

Mr. Durst, the rap-rocking singer of Limp Bizkit – a well-known 90s/early 2000s MTV commodity with several hits including Rollin’, Break Stuff and Nookie – actually, already has two directorial credits under his belt: The Education of Charlie Banks (2007) and The Longshots (2008).

Moose, which is also written by Durst along with whoever the heck Dave Bekerman is, tells an part-autobiographical story of a obsessed action movie fan who turns from your run-of-the-mill backwoods stalker into, apparently, something much more sinister. And that wayward stalker, ladies and gentlemen, is none other than the great Urban Cowboy himself.

John Travolta as “Moose”

Little is known about just what type of character Travolta is being asked to play. But judging from some behind-the-scenes photos acquired by The Irish Mirror, Travolta looks to be a mullet-headed weirdo who can be seen wearing some sort of civil war era battle fatigues. As a man known for his looks and occasional serious acting accolades, Travolta seems to be on an action movie bender so far in 2018 with two other credits also in the works.

Oddly, both other projects are action-y car and boat racing flicks, Speed Kills and Trading Paint, with the latter having just been completed a few weeks ago in the same area of Alabama.

Devon Sawa – Ultimate Action Hero

For Ultimate Action Movie fans, the real intrigue in this project is the inclusion of a “celebrity action hero” who is apparently the object of Moose’s infatuation. Said action hero is set to be played by Devon Sawa (best remembered as Alex Browning in Final Destination and Casper in Casper) and goes by the UAMC-approved name of ‘Hunter Dunbar’.

So, hopefully if Moose turns out to be a un-thrilling dud (which we’re going to assume it will be), we can at least see some made-up action movie scenes from whatever awesome action movie Hunter Dunbar fictionally stars in.

What are your thoughts on John Travolta and Fred Durst’s new mysterious project? Let us know in the comments!

Rambo: A Love Letter to Sylvester Stallone’s ‘First Blood’

First Blood (1982): My First Ultimate Action Movie

Whether it’s your first word, first step, first kiss, first job, first date, etc., life is about milestones. Why are high school reunions fairly well-attended? People are nostalgic. They want to remember life way back when. They wax poetic about their younger days when life was simpler.

But this site is The Ultimate Action Movie Club. You didn’t come here to wax poetic; the only waxing we do here is waxing on and off — so we can make our way through a gauntlet of better-trained Kobra Kai bullies. But I’m getting off topic.

The First of Many Ultimate Action Movies

Allow me to me re-focus and get back to today’s topic: What was the first ultimate action movie that you can remember seeing? For me, this is an easy question to answer. I was approaching my eighth birthday in October 1982, when First Blood was released nationwide in theaters. I can recall how excited I was when my dad (a Vietnam veteran himself) told me he was going to take me to see the movie. As an Italian guy who idolized Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky saga, this was a special treat to see him in another role, albeit an action one.

Simply put, the experience would change my life, particularly how I consumed movies. As cool as I thought the animated world of G.I. Joe was at the time, it was minor league compared to the offerings of the then-modern cinema.

Rambo’s First Blood

With three sequels and several spoofs of the franchise already publicly released, it’s easy to forget First Blood’s humble beginnings. In the 1970s, David Morrell was a professor at Penn State in State College, Pa. Some students enrolled in his class were veterans of the American conflict in Vietnam and repeatedly challenged his classroom authority. Why should they do what a college prof told them to do after what they had seen and done? Morrell would use that emotion and pen a novel about a Vietnam veteran pushed a little too far by a small-town sheriff, himself a Korean War vet. With no wife, kids or real family to speak of, lead character John Rambo viewed Col. Samuel Trautman, his commanding officer in Vietnam, as a father figure. He recruited and trained him, and it was proven countless times that he was the only person whom Rambo trusted.

Getting the novel made into a movie proved quite difficult, as its rights were bought and sold in Hollywood several times. Actors became attached and unattached, but Sylvester Stallone had the foresight to see gold among coal. He rewrote a lot of the movie’s script to make Rambo a more sympathetic character; his kill count for the movie is one, and even that was incidental. Richard Crenna was literally a last-minute casting choice for Trautman after Kirk Douglas quit the project over a script debate. He and Brian Dennehy (cast as Will Teasle, the town’s sheriff and the movie’s antagonist) were all brilliantly cast. While it doesn’t get credit as a cast member, the physical setting of the movie — the cold, damp, wet forestry of Hope, British Columbia, Canada — is like a character unto itself. Rambo has to combat it as much as an army of National Guard soldiers and the town’s small police department.

All because he wasn’t allowed to eat in the town.

My Ultimate Hope

TANGENT TIME: A) My father has never had a flashback or suffered any PTSD as a result of his combat experiences (that I know of). I never appreciated him taking me to this movie until years later. B) Before I married my wife, she and I discussed where we planned to honeymoon. She was born in Canada, and was determined we honeymoon there. I really didn’t want to go there, but proposed a compromise: If she agreed to visit Hope, the town where First Blood was filmed, I’d book a honeymoon in Canada. In 2002, the 20th anniversary of the film, we toured all its filming locations. The film is quite nuanced for an action movie. It’s not mindless; character motivations develop, the plot thickens, and you genuinely root for the protagonist. As great as I think it is, I genuinely don’t feel it gets nearly the credit it deserves.

Well, I guess you could say I drew “first blood” with this post. Now, I ask thee: What was your first ultimate action movie that you remember watching?

Let us know what you what you think in the comments!

A Wish for Death: Ranking The Original ‘Death Wish’ Movies

Because Charles Bronson Wishes Death On Us All

The Death Wish movies hold a special place in my heart. My all time favorite action franchise in my all time favorite action sub genre, “the vigilante”, this is the series that defined Charles Bronson as one of the greatest action stars of all time, let alone the 80s.

Bronson became an action movie legend as mild mannered architect turned badass vigilante Paul Kersey, who after the death of his wife and rape of his daughter at the hands of muggers, turns to a life a vigilantism to deal with his grief. Now that the remake is upon us, starring fellow action movie legend Bruce Willis, I want to take a look at the entire series, and share with you my thoughts on it and how I rank them. BONUS: review of Death Wish (6) included at the end of the article!

I know I’m gonna have my detractors, but hey, that’s what opinions are for, right??

5. Death Wish 2 (1982)

After the brutal rape and death of his daughter, Paul Kersey arms up to prowl the streets again, this time in seedy LA, in search of vengeance.

I can just imagine your shock. “Death Wish 2 ranked last??” “You ranked 5 over 2??” Yes I did. And I’ll tell you why: Although there is a multitude of badassery in this, it is the least fun of the series. Yes, Bronson is the ultimate badass here, with some of my favorite moments of his career contained in this. But after practically opening up the film with back to back rapes (director Michael Winner went all out), it’s hard to feel good after that, even as Kersey blows away all the scum involved. Really. Those rape scenes are hard to stomach, and afterwards and you just feel… dirty. It hangs over the remainder of the proceedings and really puts a damper in the entertainment factor. Still badass, though…


“You believe in Jesus?”

“Yes I do.”

“Well, you’re gonna meet him”

4. Death Wish 5: The Face of Death (1994)

After the death of his fiancee at the hands of her mob boss ex-husband, Kersey this time takes on the mob in his quest for revenge.

Yes, I rank this above part 2. Why? Because it’s fun! Seriously, I don’t know why people rag on this one so much. It’s not the greatest but at least its directed with some sense of style and flair. And I like that Kersey goes the more sadistic route with his vigilantism, and actually takes pride in his kills. To see him smile as he takes down the creeps who murdered his (5th) love is actually kind of endearing.

Especially when you think about all he’s gone through in this series. Also, I love how creative the kills were in here. Cyanide Cannolis. Exploding Soccer balls. Pools filled with acid. Fun stuff. And it has the late, great Michael Parks as an Irish mob boss. C’mon… Michael Parks, man. That automatically gives it the edge of part 2.


“Hey Freddy, I’m gonna take care of your dandruff problem for you…”

“Nooooooooo *blows up*”

3. Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1987)

After the death of his girlfriend’s daughter due to drug use, Kersey arms up once again, with his sights set on the crack/cocaine trade.

Kersey basically becomes an assassin in this, and I love it! After 3 movies of just shooting random creeps, Kersey takes on the drug trade, going on stealth missions to gather up intel before blowing all the drug pushers away. Sweet! Definitely the glossiest Death Wish of the bunch (although the low budget gives itself away a few times), this is arguably also the best directed film of the series, as Bronson reteams with frequent collaborator J. Lee Thompson to give new life and vibrancy into a series that should have worn out its welcome by now. And we have Cannon regulars John P. Ryan, Soon-Tek Oh, and Machete himself Danny Trejo in a small role. How badass is that??


“How many…”

“How many what?”

“How many children have you killed with this s***!”

2. Death Wish (1974)

After the death of his wife and brutal rape of his daughter, mild mannered architect Paul Kersey becomes judge, jury and executioner as he takes down muggers on the mean streets of New York.

The one that started it all. The debut of Paul Kersey, and the film that shot Bronson into superstardom is in my opinion technically the best film of the series from a storytelling standpoint, as it’s not really an action film, but more a gritty drama about a man who becomes addicted to vigilantism. The film is an allegory about addiction, it’s just Paul’s addiction is shooting muggers. While critics have gone on record claiming Bronson was miscast in the role compared to how it was written in the original novel by Brian Garfield, I think Bronson asserts himself well, and gives one of his best performances ever. And I like how Vigilantism is seen from both sides. 1. As a solution to crime. And 2. in Kersey’s case, a deeper, psychological problem…


[No dialogue, just Bronson wasting some street punks]

1. Death Wish 3 (1985)

After the death of his old war buddy, Kersey wages war on a violent gang of creeps who terrorize the inhabitants of the local neighborhood.

You just had to have known this would be #1. This is pinnacle of not only Bronson’s career, but also 80s action. You can’t talk about 80s action movies without bringing up Death Wish 3. Oh no, siree! Definitely 80s action movie Mount Rushmore. Bar none. I remember I was once accused of watching Death Wish 3 too much. Seriously, how can you watch Death Wish 3 too much?? Not even possible. This movie is such an Iconic symbol of the awesome 80s. And so many great characters. Every character in this movie is memorable: The Giggler, Bennett, The Kaprovs, Rodriguez and his lovely wife Maria. And leading the way is Bronson, at his most badass. Kersey basically becomes urban Rambo in this entry, leaving leaving piles of dead creeps in his path of destruction. Kersey, and his friend Wildey.

Ah yes, the .475 Wildey Magnum. A gun as awesome and iconic as the .44 Magnum from Dirty Harry, that bad boy helped Kersey turn the entire creep population into splattered cherry pie all over those London streets (No, Winner. You didn’t fool anyone into thinking that was New York). As this was the final entry in the series to be directed by Winner, I think we can all say he saved the best for last.


“We’re stealing the f***ing car, what’s it to you?”

“Its my car!”

BONUS: Death Wish (2018)

Surprisingly… I enjoyed it. A very competently made re-imagining of the original, the flick was a lot more serious than that godawful first trailer led us to believe. I like how it posed serious questions about vigilantism. It made some good points from both sides of the argument. The action bits are very well handled, although one sequence devolved into routine as it went along. It also seemed to be more comfortable with bursts of action rather than extended sequences. And that’s ok. Also, being that this is an Eli Roth movie, the bloodletting is maximized considerably. Blood, brains and guts go flying everywhere in here. Complete carnage candy.

The film does have major issues though, the main one being Bruce Willis himself. During the dramatic scenes, the man is so completely devoid of life at times that I began to laugh. He just seemed sooo bored. Sure, he sheds some tears and gets loud, but it’s obvious the man could care less.

EMOTE, DAMNIT! It was during these moments that I wished Vincent D’Onofrio, who plays Paul’s brother Frank, had played the lead role instead. Willis is a lot more believable during the action scenes, unsurprisingly. But, other than that, I enjoyed this. It moves fast, makes you think a bit, and has some real badass moments. Just wished Bruce Willis still gave a crap about his roles.


“Are you the ice cream man?

“Who the f**k are you??”

“Your last customer..”

Well, that’s my rankings of the Death Wish series (don’t shoot me). A series I hold as near and dear to my heart as my own father and mother. I can only hope the legacy of the original series lives on. Otherwise Charles Bronson may be forced to come back from the dead to hunt us down one-by-one, and none of us want that. (But that’d make a pretty ultimate action movie, so maybe one day!)

Let us know what you think about the article in the comments!

Shoot to Fight in Shootfighter: Fight to the Death (1993)

Bolo Yeung Takes on the Karate Kids.

Arguing about which Martial Arts style would win in a fight to the death was an essential part of my childhood. Kung Fu was the obvious choice if Bruce Lee flicks were anything to go by, but Mike Tyson was a veritable killing machine so Boxing couldn’t be discounted. 

Chuck Norris proved that Karate was nothing to be trifled with and there was also that weird Aikido thing Steven Seagal was known for. Realistically though, it wasn’t until I was in my early teens and I came across tapes of the original no-holds-barred UFC I realised I was completely off track (the dude in the pyjamas won again?).

Until that time, my source of knowledge for which was the ultimate martial arts style came from B-grade action flicks. The 90’s had no shortage of movies featuring different styles battling it out but few were quite as gruesome or entertaining as Patrick Alan’s 1993 gem, Shootfighter: Fight to the Death.

No-Holds-Barred Martial Arts

The film opens in Hong Kong with two fighters duking it out in an underground fighting den. This is shootfighting, a no-holds-barred martial art where honor and respect amongst fighters is paramount. Everyone is there for one thing – to prove their worth for a chance to fight shootfighting legend Shingo (Bolo Yeung). As Shingo and the crowd watches on, one of the combatants gets a little too excited and defeats his opponent… by tearing his throat out (there’s that gruesomeness I was talking about). This act of disrespect displeases Shingo and the shootfighting gods so the offender, Mr. Lee (Martin Kove, although you’ll probably recognise him as the evil Cobra Kai Sensei from Karate Kid), is promptly disqualified and disgraced. But that’s not all. He’s also banned from ever fighting in Hong Kong again, and as a result, from fighting Shingo.

The Karate Kids

Some years go by and Shingo, no longer a hulking cage fighter, is now a hulking martial arts instructor in America. His most promising student is Reuban, a young and naïve Karate school owner played by none other than William Zabka (Karate Kid’s resident badass Johnny Lawrence). But Reuban’s in a pickle.

He owes money to some loan sharks and he’s having trouble paying it back. Cue the return of Mr Lee. After being banned from shootfighting in Japan he did what any budding entrepreneur would: set up a rival shootfighting league in Mexico. He recruits Reuban and his pal Nick to fight in the league under the pretext of earning big bucks, but really, Lee is using the boys to lure Shingo back to the ring for one final fight.

Reuban readily accepts the offer, thrilled to be able to pay his debt back and get a bit of an adrenaline rush at the same time. At first it’s all rosy. Reuban and Nick win a few fights, earn some money and have a good time. Soon enough however Nick realizes something’s amiss and bails. Reuban sticks around and reaches the finals where the true nature of shootfighting emerges. Not only must he now use weapons in the ring, but instead of just defeating his opponent, he’s required to kill them. Luckily for Reuban, Nick has spilled the beans to Shingo and now it’s a race against time for him to rescue the boys and return to the ring to face his arch rival one last time.

Shootfighter: UnCut

In the years since its release Shootfighter has become a cult classic amongst martial arts fans, and for good reason. First and foremost, the film in its uncut form (if you’re lucky enough to find it) has enough bloodshed to rival splatter films of the 80’s. Bones are broken, throats are slashed and blood is spilt in earnest. It’s not quite at Riki-Oh levels, but it’s certainly not something you regularly see in a martial arts film.

It also has the honour of being one of the few films to feature Bolo Yeung as a good guy, and despite having few lines in the film the big fella has a definite presence. As already mentioned, it also reunites the original Karate Kid antagonist William Zabka with his evil Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese which helps up the nostalgia factor. Both give good performances and it’s interesting to note that Zabka kept up with his martial arts training since Karate Kid and it’s evident in his fights. Overall the fight scenes come thick and fast and most are enjoyable if a bit on the bloody side. There’s also an obligatory training montage or two to keep you interested.

Finally, eagle-eyed viewers will also notice a familiar face in the opening fight scene, none other than Joe Son. For the uninitiated, Joe Son is a former MMA fighter, most notable for losing his first UFC match to Keith ‘The Giant Slayer’ Hackney after copping a series of eye watering punches right in the crown jewels. Unfortunately, outside the ring Joe wasn’t exactly a model citizen, I won’t go into details but if you’re up for it his Wikipedia page makes for an interesting and disturbing read.

All up, Shootfighter: Fight to the Death definitely deserves its place as an Ultimate Action Movie. It didn’t help 13 year old me determine which was the ultimate martial arts style but it certainly got a workout in my VCR. Best of all, there’s a sequel!

Article by Chris Z – let us know in the comments!

The Ultimate List of the Best Action Movie Hero Names

Action Movie Hero Names You Can Count On.

What’s in a name? A lot, especially when it comes to action heroes. When you think about it, action movie lead character names follow their own unofficial guidelines: first and last names shouldn’t exceed two syllables; they almost hearken back to Westerns; and they have more than a slight tinge of machismo to them.

For this piece, I tried to answer the question: Which character name was the coolest in an actor’s filmography?

UAMC Hero Name Rules

Here are some rules I established:

  1. No actor could have more than one entry. It made it tough for someone like Chuck Norris who has a lot of macho protagonist names, but I worked through it for you people.
  2. If a character was played by two separate actors (“Matt Hunter” was played by both Norris and Michael Dudikoff), it had to be eliminated.
  3. Bonus points were given for a name if it was the lead in a series. For example, as awesome as “Chato” is for a name, it was dwarfed by another Charles Bronson character name because of legacy.
  4. How cool did it sound?
  5. No names from The Expendables series could be used. I’m absolutely certain they were written to be intentionally ridiculous: Barney Ross, Lee Christmas, Yin Yang, Toll Road, Hale Caeser, Billy the Kid, Jean Vilain, Booker, Drummer, Trench, Stonebanks, Doc, Bonaparte, Galgo, Mars … (It’s like Sylvester Stallone wanted to make the most over-the-top action cinematic trilogy of all time, and I’d argue he succeeded.)

What follows is the format I used:

Actor: Character Name (movie or series in which it appeared)

(Note: These are only listed alphabetically by actor name, not by how cool I think they are.)

The Most Ultimate Action Hero Names

Scott Adkins: Boyka (Undisputed series)

Charles Bronson: Paul Kersey (Death Wish series)

Tom Cruise: Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Top Gun)

Mark Dacascos: J.T. Dillon (Instinct to Kill)

Michael Dudikoff: Joe Armstrong (American Ninja, American Ninja 2, American Ninja 4)read more here!

Mel Gibson: Martin Riggs (Lethal Weapon series)

Dolph Lundgren: Wellman Anthony Santee (Army of One aka Joshua Tree)

Liam Neeson: Bryan Mills (Taken series)

Chuck Norris: J.J. McQuade (Lone Wolf McQuade)

Cynthia Rothrock: China O’Brien (China O’Brien series)

Arnold SchwarzeneggerJohn Matrix (Commando)

Steven Seagal: Mason Storm (Hard to Kill)

Wesley Snipes: Simon Phoenix (Demolition Man)

Sylvester Stallone: John Rambo (Rambo series)

Jason Statham: Chev Chelios (Crank series)

Patrick Swayze: Dalton (Road House)read more about this flick here!

Jean-Claude van Damme: Luc Deveraux (Universal Soldier series)

Bruce Willis: John McClane (Die Hard series)

Don Wilson: (TIE) Jack Dillon (Blackbelt); Dillon (Showdown in Manila)

Because this is the internet, either someone will think I omitted someone (I purposefully left out many Asian martial artists, because most of their movie characters were given ethnic names and not really Westernized ones), or someone will disagree with one or more of my suggestions. So, have at it. Let me know your thoughts, opinions, suggestions or disagreements.

Let us know what you what you think in the comments!

Nicolas Cage in ‘Face/Off’ – The 90s Action Hero We Never Knew We Needed (Part 3)


Note: This is part 3 of The Beige Volvo TrilogyRead Part 1 on ‘The Rock and Part 2 on ‘Con Air first!

Well, here we are. The final chapter to this rip roaring saga of mind boggling action! The screaming spartan warrior known as Nicolas Cage gives us this sprawling epic conclusion to the greatest action trilogy known to movie lovers everywhere. THE BEIGE VOLVO TRILOGY comes to an end! And The Cage Man brings a friend, our old buddy John Travolta with him in the 1997 classic FACE/OFF! Let’s dig in.

But you’re still not having any fun!

After testing out the action waters with enormous success, Cage decided to join forces with arguably the greatest action director of our time: John Woo! A team up only the action movie gods could make possible, the sultan of shout combined awesomenesses (I just made up a word) with the king of two fisted gunfire himself. A dynamic match made in action movie heaven! That’s right. What better way to cap off your epic trilogy of supreme badassness than to be directed by the man who turned action into an art form. His operatic bullet ballets are sheer perfection. He directs like the reincarnation of Sam Peckinpah with a dose of Michelangelo and Fred Astaire. As you can see, I worship John Woo movies. And It all started with a little film called Hard Target

From John Woo…

You see, Jean-Claude Van Damme was my favorite action star when I was a kid, so I was always hyped up when one of his movies came out. I remember almost having a heart attack when I first saw the trailer for Double Impact. “What?? Two Van Dammes?? This is the best thing ever!” my 7 year old self thought. So when Hard Target came out, I was begging my dad to take me to see it. And it did not disappoint. 9 year old me was completely blown away. But what’s crazy is… even at that age, I knew the action in it was different than other movies. Just in the way it was handled. Extremely precise. Practically surgical precision. The editing. The cinematography. The staging. Sublime in its execution. Next, I saw Hard Boiled. Good lord! Watching Woo in his element is like listening to Queen for the first time. It was like I had never seen action before. Then Broken Arrow, The Killer, and A Better Tomorrow, etc…

I became hooked on his movies. His output became my drug. So when I heard his next movie was going to star the Cage Man, as well as John Travolta, another one of my favorite actors, I became the rocket man and shot straight to the moon! (Pun intended) This was going to be an event like no other. And during June of ‘97, after the awesome fun ride that was Con Air, but also the incredible let down that was Batman & Robin, I was ready for some slam bang action goodness again. And I sure as hell got it! But first, let’s dive into what this sucker’s about…

Wheeee! What a predicament!

Cage plays Castor Troy, a very “eccentric” terrorist who is put into a coma during a confrontation in an airplane hangar with FBI agent Sean Archer, played by Travolta. However, unbeknownst to Archer, Troy has planted a bomb somewhere in LA which is set to go off in a few days. The only person who may have information regarding the bomb is Troy’s imprisoned brother Pollux, who will only speak to his brother Castor. So Archer decides to undergo a procedure that will place Troy’s face upon his, in a covert undercover operation in a state of the art prison to extract the information from Pollux.

Unfortunately, Troy wakes up from his coma, and realizing the situation, has the same procedure done to him with Archer’s face. He also destroys all evidence of who is who, and pretends to be Archer to the FBI and Archer’s estranged family. Now with no way to prove who he really is, Archer must find a way to escape the prison, so he can stop Troy and save his family…

Plan B: Let’s just kill each other

The acting from the two leads here is a scrumptious buffet of phenomenal acting. Cage and Travolta put on an acting masterclass of emotional conveyance. And they are obviously having the time of their lives while at it. This is top notch performing here, ladies and gentlemen. The way they mimic each other’s mannerisms is damn near flawless. Travolta actually goes full Hard Rock Cage here. But the Cage Man is not to be outdone. No no no. Cage shatters the ground and leaves the earth in a mighty superman leap of a performance! Words like amazing can’t do him justice. I get the feeling Cage and Travolta were in a acting duel to the death the way they seem to be constantly trying to one up each other. This is what a battle of performers looks like, people. Acting majors, take notes and pay homage.

But, I would also like to shine some light onto two of the actors supporting them: Joan Allen and Alessandro Nivola. These two back up our leads considerably. Allen gives an incredible performance as Archer’s wife. And she proves why she is one of our generation’s most underrated performers. And Nivola. How did I miss how great you were in this? I guess when you’re a kid you don’t pay attention to stuff like that, but Nivola is amazing. The way he sells Cage as both Troy and Archer and Travolta as Troy is so great, I actually feel bad now for never noticing his performance when I originally saw this. My sincerest apologies to Alessandro Nivola. You were fantastic in this.

We’ll blow some stuff up, it’s more fun!

But it’s time to talk about the action. And in the words of my ex-girlfriend Alex (RIP) after I showed her this for the first time, “They don’t make them like this anymore!” Oh nooo, they do not. Woo had been held back on his two earlier American movies, but after the success of Broken Arrow, he was allowed a lot more freedom to do whatever he wanted. And he did not waste it! Woo imbues his action with such style and grace like no other director before or after him. A greatest action director of all time conversation shouldn’t even be had if his name isn’t brought up in the discussion. And that’s just being perfectly honest. The action in this movie is some of the best action ever shot. The over the rainbow shootout should be shown on replay all day every day in a art museum.

Seriously, it belongs in The Louvre. Also, the opening shootout in the hangar. The prison escape. The church shootout. The speedboat chase. And the explosions. Good God! How beautiful are the explosions in this movie? If the explosions were a woman, they’d be the cover model for sports illustrated swimsuit every year for 10 years straight. This is the pinnacle of action filmmaking. I can go on and on, man. But there are just not enough words in the english language to help me describe just how awesome the action scenes in Face/Off are. Sheer greatness, I tell ya. Sheer greatness.

Cage is King…

Well, my friends. This is it. The end of our journey. This has been a fun ride down memory lane recounting how the Cage Man became the 90s greatest action hero. It has been fun, but kind of sad all the same. Sad because, if you think about it, this was the last great decade of action movies. And The Beige Volvo trilogy represented the last hurrah for great action in the 90s. Nowadays, we do get great action movies like John Wick, The Raid and Mad Max: Fury Road, but those unfortunately are rare occasions.

Now, we get overproduced CG vomit fests or quick cut, shaky cam crap polluting our screens everywhere. Ugh. What I wouldn’t give to go back to those times of crystal clear action. Ah well, at least we have The Beige Volvo trilogy to remind us what real action movies are supposed to look like. So I would like to give a hearty thank you to Nicolas Cage, for giving us 3 movies that truly defined a decade of great action. You were the action hero we never knew we needed, but you were definitely the action hero we deserved.


Let us know what you think about the article in the comments!

Brawl in Cell Block 99: A Modern Ultimate Action Movie

What ‘Brawl’ means for the future of ultimate action.

If you’re unfamiliar, a new actioner is on the scene. Brawl in Cell Block 99, starring Vince Vaughn and directed by S. Craig Zahler, has slowly been burning a name for itself in the modern action movie conversation. So, after a little research and watching Brawl in Cell Block 99 for a second time, I have some thoughts on the flick – and how it came to exist – and what it means for both its makers and the future of ultimate action movies.

UAMC Review

From an ultimate action movie perspective, it’s about as good as you’re going to get by modern (post 2010ish) action movie standards. It’s not classic in any sense, it’s postmodern, it’s genre-bending, it has a star who shouldn’t be an action star. However, it does have fights and violence and one-liners even – and, it’s raw. It’s hyper violent, disturbing and is a slow burn that lasts long after your viewing ends.

If it came out in 1988, it might be considered an avant garde cult classic, but I’d argue not with action movie fans, rather with horror aficionados. If you like action heroes who you can count on to deliver the action movie goods, like Arnold, Chuck, JCVD, Stallone, etc…, you’d be rightfully confused to see them star in a movie like this in their heydays.

The Ultimate Action Movie Club was originally founded by a group of buddies simply looking to get together on Friday nights to watch something awesome, funny, fun and ultimate. Brawl in Cell Block 99 is hardly any of those – but only because it’s simply too great of a modern film. It’s more Taxi Driver than Commando, and for UAMC fans, you should be warned of as much before you dive in.

Vince Vaughn Does Stone Cold

Brawl in Cell Block 99 was both written and directed by S. Craig Zahler (more on him below) and produced by Dallas Sonnier and his production company Cinestate. Sonnier is the lightning rod in the room in this case as his background, if you just look at his IMDB filmography, has a heavy dose of Stone Cold Steve Austin flicks. In case you don’t know who Stone Cold is (maybe read up on pro-wrestlers and action movies here), Austin turned a highly successful pro-wrestling career into a middling successful movie career of straight to DVD releases which – one would assume – at least bring back some return on from his fanbase or else they wouldn’t have made so many of them.

Zahler, who is currently on a meteoric rise following his first feature, Bone Tomahawk, which was met with smashing success (also produced by Cinestate). And now with Brawl’s accolades, seems to have written the ultimate Stone Cold wrestler pic. It stars a hunkering giant skinhead who’s primary scenes center around him smashing skulls, bones, and cars with clubbed fists. Except, it’s not Stone Cold delivering vengeance; it’s the usually fast-mouthed Vince Vaughn, drastically against type, doing his best mono-syllabic wrestler impression.

Having read up on Sonnier, Cinestate and Zahler after an early screening, when I sat down to watch the flick again on Amazon Prime, I simply couldn’t unsee the movie as a badass Stone Cold wrestler vehicle. It has a strong lead character with middle American values (he proudly flies a flag above his front door), fastidious moral compass, an unbreakable marital bond with his wife and a heartbreaking yearning for a fully realized ideal family.

The movie also has very set fight scenes, which may take awhile to get to from the flick’s slow burn pacing, but when they hit, they’re about as gritty, real and even a little bit classic as they come. The camera doesn’t bounce around and move. Cuts don’t hide impacts and blaring lens flares don’t sugar coat good ol’ fashioned beat downs, which Stone Cold (er, Vince Vaughn) delivers with a heavy-handedness which looks as lumbering as the knocks are devastating.

Vaughn is not the fighter he portrays. While Stone Cold paid his dues in the ring for years (a line quipped by Vaughn’s character), Vaughn was popping snide remarks in the 90s in comedies like Swingers and Old School. However, after a largely forgettable attempt to go against type in True Detective Season 2 ultimately failed, Vaughn might have just found the step-in role where he could deliver the goods with a better hand.

Steve Austin’s punches might have landed a little harder in Brawl, but Vaughn’s performance was much better than anything Stone Cold could have mustered. From his expressions to his hunched movements to his well-earned one liners, Vaughn was able to critically recover from any True Detective backlash by putting himself in a cinematic situation where literally the least was expected.

Hyper Violence As High Art

Which brings us to the expectations for this movie. From a financial play, if it was indeed viewed as a wrestler flick at one time or another, the loss of a name wrestling/action brand like Stone Cold would be at best a lateral move to cast an against type comedy actor like Vince Vaughn.

However, this wasn’t just any wrestling pic, it was one written and directed by Zahler, who’s adept genre-re-defining skills were recently displayed in Bone Tomhawk where even the New York Times took notice of the man’s talent. It’s also important to note that Zahler did not write, direct or have anything to do with any Stone Cold flicks or Cinestate projects before Bone Tomahawk.

If Cinestate can be commended for anything (not to say they can’t be commended for a lot), it’s worth applauding the foresight to put resources behind such an up-and-coming commodity which Zahler has returned in spades. Brawl, a movie which would best be expected to return money on its minimal budget (and give safe harbor to a stricken Hollywood name), wound up being certifiably enshrined as a modern art classic.

While the MoMA in New York actually has a pretty full film calendar throughout the year, the sheer thought of an action, horrory, genre flick being even discussed in the circles of high art seems insane. It’s much more ludicrous to see that Brawl was not only discussed, but also screened and even added to a permanent collection.

It wasn’t just high art circles either, Brawl showed up on a surprising amount of best of 2017 lists like Newsweek, The AV Club, Los Angeles Times, Colllider, featured as a NYT Critics Pick and called out by famous directors like Guillermo del Toro.

The Future of Ultimate Action Movies

Which leaves me a little confused, yet very much excited. As the managing editor of the Ultimate Action Movie Club, I’ve devoted a great deal of my adult life to the study of a genre of movies which can fairly be described as mindless. But in a good way, I’d be quick to argue, because it’s part of a rich history of mindless entertainment which is wholly redeeming for the enjoyment, the comradery and the comfort such mindlessness provides.

The UAMC, founded by friends buying bargain VHSs from Blockbuster Video stores before they closed, has always been about those golden years of ultimate action movie classics where the hero kicks butt, usually gets a girl, and saves the world (or at least just America) in the process. It follows political tides, propping Reaganism with machismo while usually lampooning itself in the process enough to always make the message about action, not consequence.

Something was lost for the genre post 9/11 (and with the subsequent rise of self-aware internet culture). Modern action movies now seem to fall into 3 categories: 1) hyper-violent thrill rides like John Wick, 2) campy send-ups like Kung Fury (or the ultimate looking new project Commando Ninja), 3) or these hybrid genre-flicks like Brawl where you can only get your action at the price of something more disturbing.

Gone are the days where ultimate action movie classics like Cobra, Die Hard and Commando could be simply enjoyed for their butt-kicking awesomeness. Although, we’ll stay hopeful that as long as Chuck Norris facts and Van Damme dancing GIFs stay bouncing around on the internet, and pages like the UAMC keep the community alive, ultimate action movies can make a comeback in their most pure, and ultimate, form one day.

And as always, let us know your thoughts in the comments!