So far, I’ve looked back at my favorite blockbuster and newer horror viewing experiences of the year, so now it’s time to talk about action flicks! In 2017, I discovered some underrated movies in this department, saw some way more well-known ones, dipped into a few new genres and even marathoned the films of a particular 80s and 90s action icon!
I haven’t been watching as many movies lately because we’ve been sitting on Super 8 from Netflix for weeks now and I’ve been watching a lot of TV on Instant lately. But, this week, I got back to it. Most of these flicks I kind of only half watched, but I have good things to say about each of them, so I figured this would be a good post.
Watchers (1988) is kind of ET meets Cujo with some Deadly Friend thrown in. See, Corey Haim stars as a kid whose girlfriend’s dad gets killed by a monster that’s genetically altered to be psychically connected to a super smart dog that stows away in his truck. Michael Ironside also stars as the government guy trying to get the animals back.
I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what else the movie was about because this one got about a third of my attention, but Haim’s charming nature and Ironside’s insanity-bubbling-below the surface both made an impression on me. Those guys are the best.
I was also struck by the weird balance of this movie. I mean, it’s rated R, but the main characters are a teenage boy and his new dog basically palling around and being heroes. But, with blood and monsters. You definitely couldn’t get away with something like this today.
I know a lot of people for whom Flash Gordon (1980) was a very important movie to them growing up, but that wasn’t the case for me. I’m guessing that’s because it came out three years before I was born and thus placed somewhat outside my purview as a kid, but I also don’t remember it being on TV much like a lot of other movies. My only real exposure to the film came from the Queen soundtrack which I’ve heard bits and pieces of over the years and the action figures that Bif Bang Pow made. So, as I was watching the film for the first time, I kept recognizing characters I otherwise wouldn’t have seen, which was kind of fun.
Anyway, I also didn’t know anything about Flash Gordon as a property or franchise, so this was definitely an interesting experience. From what I gathered (again, my attention was split at best), Flash Gordon is a football player who winds up in space with a woman and a scientist where he winds up in the middle of a conflict between Ming the Merciless and…other people.
I may have missed a lot of the details, but I did catch a lot of the great costumes and special effects used in the film. I continue to believe that practical effects age far better than CGI ones, so it’s great to see people figuring out how to make certain things look, like the winged dudes who fly around like Hawkman. I might not have paid much attention this time around, but I will definitely give this one another look when I have a little more time to devote to it.
I wasn’t sure if I had seen The Next Three Days (2010) because it sounded an awful lot like Law Abiding Citizen which also focuses on a man trying to game the system in order to get to someone in prison. While that one’s about a super genius taking revenge on the man who killed his wife, this one is about a regular guy trying to use what he has to break his wrongly incarcerated wife from the clink. Instead of setting up these wildly complicated and impressive plan, Russell Crowe instead uses his iPhone, YouTube clips and talking to a man who had busted out of prison to figure things out.
It’s an interesting angle to take on this type of movie we’ve all seen a few times. Can a regular man really bust a person out of jail? Maybe, maybe not, but this flick offers at least a possible way (technically, he breaks her out of a hospital instead of jail, which definitely makes it more likely).
There seemed to be a pretty big logic gap towards the end when Crowe was ready to implement his plan and decides to simply throw away all his research material. Now, I think this turned out to be a way to distract the police who searched his house, but still, wouldn’t it just be better to burn everything so they have nothing to work with? I don’t know, I’m not trying to break anyone out of jail. I could be wrong and probably am. Anyway, this was a fun little action flick that gets pretty intense at times, especially as plans get foiled towards the end of the movie, but it’s a fun ride to go on.