Hey, do you remember the movie “FOLKS!”? Early 90s movie starring Tom Selleck as a guy down on his luck who keeps getting the shit beat out of him due to his parents’ meddling in his life? Well, if you do, I think I may have found the action movie equivalent to it…
Parole Violators is a low budget DTV action flick from 1994 starring stuntman Sean Donahue, and is directed by his father Patrick, also a stuntman. In it, Sean plays Miles Long (No Joke!), a former cop turned Vigilante/Host of the TV show “The Parole Violators”, which follows recently paroled criminals who are about to commit crimes, or… violate their parole. When he learns of the recent release of gangbanger/pedophile/rapist Chino (because he couldn’t just be a gangbanger), he becomes furious. And when Chino kidnaps the young daughter of his cop “Girlfriend” Tracy (I’ll explain in a min), they team up to take him down for good.
If I could ask the director one question, and one question only, it would be… “Do you hate your son?” Like seriously, the amount of stuff he puts his son through throughout the movie has me wondering if he even likes him at all. Falls, beatings, car crashes, etc… Name it. He makes his kid do it all. And I know Sean is probably a capable enough stuntman, and was more than willing, but jeez… There’s filmmaking, and there’s abuse. And this film greatly blurs the line between both.
Now, let’s talk about the recipient of all the abuse, Sean Donahue. A stuntman with 40 credits to his filmography, including stuntwork on such illustrious low budget films as Firepower with Chad McQueen and Gary Daniels, Hitman’s Run with Eric Roberts, and Class of Nuke ‘Em High II: Subhumanoid Meltdown, just to name a few, Donahue also starred in a few films prior to Parole Violators, such Roughcut with the late, great Richard Lynch, Fighting Spirit with Loren Avedon, and Blood Hands. So he wasn’t new to acting. I haven’t seen any of those… yet, but watching Parole Violators, it’s easy to see why he never caught on as an action hero and went on to bigger budgeted movies.
Honestly, I think it’s because the guy just looks like the farthest thing of what you would consider an action hero to look like. Seriously. He has the looks of a confused Parker Stevenson, the body of a buff Martin Short, and the wardrobe of a homeless Jerry Seinfeld. He looks more at home playing Onlooker #2 during a fight scene in a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. But here he is. Playing the hero. Miles Long. All 3 foot 2 inches of him. A pint sized hero who gets the living shit beat out of him all movie. No lie, this guy gets beat up so often Moe Howard rose from the dead to offer him the part of “Larry Joe” in a new Three Stooges short. I’m telling you, when it comes to taking a beating, Sean Donahue makes Bruce Campbell look like Donald Sutherland as “The Clumsy Waiter” in “That’s Armageddon”.
For real. And all the stunts during the action sequences look like those wannabe “Jackass” videos where one kid dares his buddy to do something really painful and stupid, just recorded with shittier cameras. I wouldn’t be surprised if alot of the stunts where accomplished by yelling at Sean Donahue “Just do it! Stop being a wuss!” Insane, I tell you. Insane. Often more than once, Miles gets thrown off a mountain, run over, shot, falls through a tree, falls off a roof, thrown out a window, and beat up 242 times.
And his “girlfriend” Tracy is no better. I keep putting quotation marks around girlfriend because I’m still not sure of their relationship. Do they love each other? Do they hate each other?, etc… I guess they were going for that witty banter between antagonistic lovers that you found in something like “Romancing the Stone” or “Moonlighting” but plays more like a shitty and more annoying action movie version of “The War of the Roses”. But yeah, she gets the shit kicked out of her too. Not as badly as he does, but she gets a pretty close second place. It gets to the point where you even start to feel bad. I wanted to jump through the screen and yell “LEAVE HER ALONE!” Poor Tracy. She gets beat up so bad, she makes Ronda Rousey feel better about her last UFC fight.
And their acting is sooo laughably horrendous. Especially Tracy. I haven’t seen a blonde woman act this bad since the blonde lady at the club in “Hellraiser 3″… Damn. How many references is that? I watch entirely too many movies. Anyways, back to what I was saying. Her acting is atrocious. I’d be surprised if she got any work after this…
And the acting is made even worse by the shitty dialogue. *SPOILER ALERT* For example, she kills a henchwoman by shoving her head into a protruding nail and responds with the pun: “I hope you had your tetanus shot, bitch!” Wait a min, what? “I hope you had your tetanus shot, bitch!”?? No “Nailed you, bitch!”?? It was an perfect set up! And you go with that?? Fucking amateur hour. Arnold Schwarzenegger is sitting somewhere shaking his head at your missed opportunity as he comes up with 8 different puns that could’ve been used.
And the action. Just alot of your standard fist fights, slow as molasses car chases, and bottomless clip shootouts. Difference here is these scenes go on FOOOOREVER! Every sequence feels at least 10 mins long. Shit is excruciating. Imagine a 10 min long action sequence with boring cinematography and average choreography. Now imagine getting sequences like that over and over again throughout the course of this movie’s 87 min running time. Shit sounds excruciating, right??
But you know something? Even after everything I just said… I. LOVED. THE SHIT. OUTTA THIS MOVIE! I had a grand old time watching this crap. I laughed so hard and heartily during this movie. The climax alone had me in tears. It was beautiful. The terrible dialogue. The awful acting. The painful stunts. It all made for such a rewarding experience. When this was done, I immediately wanted to watch it again. That’s how much fun I had. I think I even had a better time watching this than the new Mission Impossible movie, and that movie’s beyond fucking awesome!
I think what I loved about this movie most though, is the heart that went into it. The “We tried our best” aura that hangs all over the proceedings. And I respect that. Their best was awful, but I respect it. I mean it. When the credits started rolling, and a 90’s freestyle song started playing, I clapped. I clapped with the biggest kool-aid smile I could muster. It’s not everyday you get to see Good Bad movies as Good Bad as Parole Violators.
So if you’re into that, order a pizza, grab some booze, hunker down and have a ball. It’s the least you can do for all the bodily harm Sean Donahue endured to make this. All the multiple contusions, various abrasions, broken bones and…
Full movie is available on YouTube
Dwayne Johnson continues his quest to star in every movie ever made with Skyscraper, a old fashioned, big budget summer action flick that plays like “Die Hard” meets “The Towering Inferno”.
In it, Dwayne Johnson plays Will Sawyer, a former FBI agent who loses his leg in a rescue mission gone wrong. 10 years later, he is now a security consultant tasked with inspecting the world’s tallest building in Hong Kong, a state of the art skyscraper called The Pearl. Along for the trip is his wife Sarah (Neve Campbell), who was also the surgeon that saved his life 10 years prior, and their 2 children. During their time there, a ruthless gang of terrorists take over the building and set fire to it, framing him in the process. With his freedom in jeopardy, and his family in danger, Will takes matters into his own hands, and does whatever it takes for him to save the day…
This was a fun ride. I had a blast watching this. I didn’t mind the cliched plotting. God only knows how many Die Hard ripoffs we’ve been saddled with. One more isn’t gonna kill us. And honestly, this is one of the better ones. It’s doesn’t quite reach the fun heights of great Die Hard ripoffs such as Sudden Death or Under Siege 2, but it’s fun as is. Frankly, it’s a lot more Towering Inferno than it is Die Hard, though. It’s more concerned with running, jumping and falling than it is fighting, stabbing and shooting. But that’s not a problem at all, because all those scenes are tense as hell. Some stuff, I found myself gripping the armrests on my seat. Yeah, this flick has great scenes of tension in it.
As far as acting, Dwayne Johnson is his usual strong, likable self. The man just oozes charisma, although he’s more serious in here than he is in his previous movies. He’s very believable as a father and husband who just wants to save his family. The kids are very likable too, which is a relief, since kids can be painfully annoying in movies like these. I liked them though. They were fine. The bad guys are typical mustache twirling bad guys. No real impression made here.
The real bright shining spot in here though, is Neve Campbell. Ms. Sydney Prescott herself. God, it was great seeing her back on the big screen being a badass again. Earlier in the film, we’re told that her character Sarah is an ex-military medic who did 2 tours in Afghanistan. So when the poo goes down, you’re already waiting for her to dive right into action and kick a little ass. And that she does. Man, it felt great to see that. Campbell’s character of Syndey from the Scream movies redefined the final girl for a new generation, giving horror fans a take no shit character for the ages. So it was so good to see her back to kicking ass again. Now, I wanna see a whole movie with Neve being a badass. She’s still got It!
Any nitpicks?? SPOILERS: Ehh… Johnson could have done more on the action front. I mean, he has a couple of fights, but only one of them was a real thorough fight scene, while the others felt like minor infractions. Also, he’s not given a final battle. The main bad guy Kores Botha, played by Roland Moller, is considerably a big guy. And evil for evil’s sake. So you feel like you’re being set up for a final showdown between him and Sawyer. Nope. The climactic showdown is a shootout that takes place in a holographic mirror style environment. When this location was introduced, I said to myself “Watch this place get used again later during an action scene.” And what do you know? They used it during the climax. Oh wow, I didn’t see that coming…
Which would’ve been fine, had “John Wick: Chapter 2” had not done something very similar (and better) last year. I mean, it’s not a bad sequence. It works, but I felt it should have led to a final showdown between Sawyer and Botha that never came. Missed opportunity there. But, a final fight does happen. It just goes down between Sarah and a henchwoman. Which I found cool. The wife gets the final beatdown. Only problem was it takes within a car. I was waiting for them to get out to fully appreciate the fight, but they never did. Cool fight, but would’ve been alot cooler if they had gotten out. Oh well.
All in all, I enjoyed this. Great little dumb, fun summer action flick that we don’t really get anymore. Nowadays, it’s all superhero flicks. I mean I love superheroes, but I’ll take a badass hero fighting terrorists to save his family movie over anyone of them with no hesitation.
Especially one where The Rock rock bottoms somebody through a table with one leg.
Skyscraper is an action thriller in the “Die Hard” mold in which a hero with a humongous chest must battle terrorists in a high rise building.
No, I’m not talking about the Dwayne Johnson film. I’m talking about the 1996 action “classic” starring Anna Nicole Smith. Yeah, you read that right. No it’s not a mistake. They made a Die Hard Clone… starring Anna. Nicole. Smith. Because if there’s one thing Smith was known for, it was her action hero physicality.
Smith plays Carrie Wink, a helicopter pilot (smh) who gets mixed up with terrorists who are trying to steal a briefcase containing some nuclear device that’s gonna blow up the world. Or something like that. When she gets away with the briefcase, the terrorists take over the building they are housed in to stop her from escaping. Then her husband the hero cop shows up, and bad guys shoot at him. And she fights them, and they shoot at her. And the main bad guy recites Shakespeare for some reason, and yada yada yada, this movie is fucking terrible.
No seriously, this movie sucks so much ass. Complete and utter trash. No redeeming qualities whatsoever. Even the action is bland. Just alot run and gun stuff, with hundreds of shots letting out at people from guns with bottomless clips but barely hitting any of them. There’s a borderline semi-decent scene in an alleyway early in the film. But that’s about it.
And the acting is atrocious. Every line delivery comes off as if each actor were held against their will and forced to act at gunpoint. And the fucking actor playing the main bad guy overacts without really knowing how to act. He’s like the anti-Joe Pilato in Day of the Dead with Shakespeare quotes. Jesus.
And Anna. Anna Anna Anna. I feel bad to down a woman who is no longer with us, but holy shit… Her acting is God fucking Awful! The blonde chick from Hellraiser 3 gave a better performance than this! And the fucked up part is… her most believable acting in the entire movie is during her sex scenes. You’ll believe she’s fucking more than you’ll believe that she’s having an interaction with people! Smh… But that’s what they hired her for, right??
I mean, it’s a blatantly obvious reason why she was cast (well, 2 blatantly obvious reasons), but c’mon! They really thought we’d be ok with this?? Was Cynthia Rothrock busy?? Yeah, let’s just cast Anna Nicole Smith as discount John McClane in a Die Hard ripoff. What’s next?? Pamela Anderson as discount Dutch in a Predator ripoff?? Go fuck yourself!!
Also, this movie is not only beyond terrible, but actually quite offensive and irresponsible in regards to Anna. Look at this video:
You see that, folks? That is our quite obviously inebriated star struggling to deliver some of the most simplest lines of dialogue. This poor woman had no business anywhere near the lens of a camera. Yet there she is. Not only that, she has 2 extended sex scenes and a scene where she is groped in the nude and basically raped. Real sick shit. I sat there in disgust thinking “Was she even in the right state of mind to agree to this, let alone perform it??” Awful. Just awful. God bless you, Anna. You deserved better than this.
All in all, this movie is a piece of shit. And to think it came from PM Entertainment. I love majority of the movies that came out of that company, but I cannot believe they put this out. Just a dud in all areas and completely exploitive of its star.
Seriously, fuck this movie.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado is the standalone spin-off to the 2015 crime/suspense/drama Sicario which starred Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin. I say Standalone as this is not exactly a continuation of the events of the first film. Also, Blunt’s character Kate Macer does not return for this entry. Instead, this one focuses on the characters of Alejandro Gillick and Matt Graver, played by Del Toro and Brolin, respectively.
After a group of suicide bombers are linked to Mexican Drug Cartels, the president has designated all Mexican Cartels as a terrorist organization. The secretary of defense, played by Matthew Modine, decides to bring in Graver (Brolin) to disrupt the cartels by pitting them against one another. For this, Graver brings in his favored associate Alejandro (Del Toro) to help start this conflict by kidnapping Isabel, played by Isabela Moner, the youngest daughter of cartel head Carlos Reyes, who had a hand in the deaths of Alejandro’s wife and daughter. While the operation is a success, things quickly go left, leading to a series of events that will have life altering consequences to everyone involved…
When the first Sicario came out, I was blown away by the sheer magnitude of greatness that that movie possessed. Truly a modern masterpiece. Sicario was an amazing achievement, particularly the 3 lead performances, the fantastic writing by then debuting screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, the beautiful cinematography by the incomparable Roger Deakins, and the masterful direction by modern auteur Denis Villenueve. That being said, film didn’t really warrant a follow-up, as the ending had an perfect finality to it. So I was skeptical when this one was announced. But I’m happy to say, my fears were put to bed thoroughly, because this movie blew me away just as much as the first one did!
While Villenueve nor Deakins returned, their replacements Stefano Sollima and Dariusz Wolski do a great job taking up the reins. I like that they didn’t mimic Villeneuve and Deakins as much as saw what they accomplished with the first film and just built from there. Sollima imbues the movie with amazing tension and dread. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. And Wolski’s cinematography is exceptional.
There’s not many action sequences, but the ones that are there beefed up considerably from the first one. Not Commando levels of gunfire, but really taut and suspenseful. Kudos to him. And returning writer Sheridan once again works his magic to bring us another breathless screenplay. Seriously, after the first movie, Hell or High Water, Wind River, and now this, Sheridan has definitely positioned himself as one of the best writers working today.
The performances from Del Toro and Brolin really anchor this film. Especially Del Toro, whose character is given a bit more depth than the first one. There’s a scene where he has a conversation with a deaf man using sign language, and when he reveals how he learned to use sign language, I genuinely teared up. It’s so great to see Del Toro spearheading his own franchise. He truly deserves it.
Most of his scenes are shared with the young Moner, and their relationship becomes the centerpiece of the movie. Moner is wonderful as the feisty Isabel. A girl who is aware of her father’s reputation and wears it like a badge of honor, but as the story moves along, she grows more and more despondent of it. And then there’s Brolin. Brolin is having sooo much fun here. He is obviously relishing in playing this type of character. And I’m loving every minute of it. Who would’ve thought that the older brother from The Goonies would become the megastar he has become today? After Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, and now this, this summer truly belongs to Brolin. You’ve come a long way, Brand…
Any nitpicks? The ending. It really leaves you hanging. You’re so immersed into the world and the story that when it ends, you’re like “NOOOO! I WANT MORE!” Hopefully this movie is really successful, because I need to know what happens next! And ASAP! But all in all, I thought this was a more than worthy follow up to its predecessor. I like this so much, I’m still contemplating which one I like more. I’m gonna have to see it again soon to make a decision. Funny thing, I don’t have to see it soon. I just want to.
It’s that good.