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The Bandit Escapes The Bandit Escapes

A comedy and action blend works so very well in 1977's Smokey and the Bandit because of its breezy pace and natural charisma of its stars. Of the latter, Burt Reynolds, who passed away yesterday at the age of 82, is obviously the film’s chief virtue.

The Car and Motorcycle Shuffle The Car and Motorcycle Shuffle

I wish I could speed through Paris on a motorcycle at a hundred miles an hour and not worry about hitting a kid or a dog or something. Walking around at a shopping centre after seeing 2018's Mission: Impossible—Fallout, I felt irrationally frustrated by all the obstacles preventing me from moving faster. People…

Sidelined Steel Sidelined Steel

I’ve always thought Maureen O’Hara could have been a great action heroine. You can see it in 1952's At Sword’s Point, a swashbuckler with terrible dialogue and tone deaf direction. But it has some marvellous production design and some really great sword fights.

When a Boy's Fancy Turns to Fighting! When a Boy's Fancy Turns to Fighting!

When a boy can’t have sex or masturbate, what else can he do but fight? 1966's Fighting Elegy (けんかえれじい) is the story of an earnest Catholic lad desperately picking fights all over town. It’s part of an effort to curb all the nervous energy that seems to build up after he vows not to pleasure himself. Set in 1935 on…

Thunder, Muscle, and Ships Thunder, Muscle, and Ships

The end of the world is a really colourful, light hearted adventure in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok. Far from the layered family drama of the first film but a lot better than the weak sitcom tone of the second film, this third entry in the Thor series directed by Taika Waititi is about as far from grim as you can get for a…

Nuclear Platinum Nuclear Platinum

Normally I’m not a big fan of product placement but I was happy to be seduced by 2017's Atomic Blonde into having a glass of vodka on the rocks. This stylish solo directorial debut by former stuntman Kurt Johnstad is a cool, neon painted contemplation of Charlize Theron’s beauty most of the time, and the rest of the…

Death Walks Across the Desert Death Walks Across the Desert

A man drags a coffin through a muddy grey town. This is a Spaghetti Western, not a Hammer horror film, but it’s the introduction of Gothic horror imagery and atmosphere into a Western that explains much of the appeal of 1966’s Django. The second half of the film is in some ways less interesting, becoming more of an…

A Useless but Blood Filled Corpse A Useless but Blood Filled Corpse

Now for a bad movie I can appreciate. 2005's BloodRayne is almost as notorious as its director, Uwe Boll. The dialogue barely makes sense and seems half the time like no two characters can actually hear each other, make up and costumes are plain and cheesy, the action sequences feature the actors moving slowly and…

The Gender of the Past and the Future The Gender of the Past and the Future

What does it mean for a larger than life character to be transgender while not being a transgender stereotype? 2014's High Heel (하이힐, literally "High Heel" but marketed by the trans-insensitive and grammatically awkward title in the west Man On High Heels) is about a legendary cop, renowned by gangsters and colleagues…

The Most Vigorous Vampires are Golden The Most Vigorous Vampires are Golden

Van Helsing's work is never done. It's not until 1904 that he finds time to tackle China's vampire problem, an adventure depicted in 1974's The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. A collaboration between Britain's legendary low budget horror studio, Hammer, and Hong Kong's legendary Shaw Brothers studio, the film…

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