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» TMO Talk » Media Junkies » what have you been reading and watching (Page 21)

 
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Author Topic: what have you been reading and watching
Physic
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I would guess at this one. Robert DeNiro as the cross-dressing captain is fantastic..
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Deep Freeze
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I watched Fast & Furious at an 11.30am showing on Saturday morning. More of the same. Vin Diesel seems to have got even larger. His arms are enormous. Paul Walker is still wooden.
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Ringo

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I might go and see that tomorrow. Is it worth seeing?
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Deep Freeze
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I don't know. Probably not. None of them are, really.
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Thorn Davis

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As I mentioned on the gaming thread, I watched Virtuosity off of XBox live on Easter Sunday, when I was trying to pick something that would encourage giggling and shouting among a bunch of hangovers. One person protested that he "didn't think the movie would be bad enough", an anxiety that turned out to be lacking in foundation.

If you thought the classy crime movie American Gangster was the first time Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington went head to head, then you were mistaken. Nonetheless, they'd probably want you to think that because at it's best Virtuosity is an exercise in taking two multiple-Oscar winning actors and exposing them to one crushing humiliation after another.

Crowe is a computer program composite of over 200 hundred serial killers, although the dominant personality among those seems to be a screamingly camp nacissist with a passion for green suits. At one point I feared the movie would be unwatchable because Camp Russell Crowe was making me wince so completely. Snatching a computer-generated rose out of the air, or catching a glimpse of his face on TV and saying "I- I'm beautiful!" or strutting down the street to the bee gees in a purplish suit, he fails to generate any menace at all. Whenever he tries to be frightening he just looks like a colossal bender.

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Denzel Washington doesn't fare much better. At the start of the movie he's playing a VR game, and his character is dressed in a purple Nazi outfit so tight that he can't run properly. Later, he's plugged back into the VR machine and we see a shot of his real world self strapped in and running in mid-air, his fists and legs pumping at nothing.

There's not much to say in terms of plot. Someone lets Crowe out of his machine for no reason, and then they're astonished because he goes on a killing spree. Convict Washington is the only one who can stop him, because in the game he failed to stop him. Washington's strategy is solely to shoot Crowe over and over again, which doesn't even work and it's hard to see why Washington is the only person who can do this. At one point Washington is accused of a murder he obviously didn't commit, and they send a SWAT team after him. At this point he's in the same building as Crowe who's taken a whole TV studio and is executing people one after the other. The SWAT team exclusively attempt to shoot Denzel, despite the fact that at best he shot one person, by accident and he clearly didn't even do that. Still, to keep the drama going they target him, and not the man shooting people live on telly.

Among all the duff lines and plot idiocy there is one extraordinary moment in a nightclub, which represents the very peak of Russell Crowe's degradation. Having recorded a bunch of screams for his 'symphony' Crowe stands over a bank of motion operated synthesisers a does a weird dance that's a cross between The Robot and the Elvis Pelvis. It's an extraordinary moment, made sidesplittingly hilarious by the fact it's Russell Crowe disgracing himself in this manner. I tried and tried to get a clip of this from YouTUbe, but it's nowhere to be found. The best I can manage, is this scavenged image that may not even work:

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Tilde
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Denzel?... Crowe I could understand but... Denzel. Fucking hell.

[ 15.04.2009, 15:40: Message edited by: Tilde ]

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Amy
Transatlantic temptress
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Physic, I absolutely LOVED Stardust!
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Thorn Davis

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Watched Taken yesterday, which is about Liam Neeson killing France. Simple, ludicrous, button-pushing premise executed delightfully well. Liam's daughter is abducted by people traffickers within minutes of getting off the plane in Paris, so he heads over there himself to begin the butchery.

From there, it's one splendid scene of bone-cracking violence after another, as he beats, blasts, crashes and tortures his way to the top of the prostitution ring. It all seems quite familiar, except that it's Liam Neeson doing all this, rather than Seagal or whoever, and it's a great casting decision. He's charming enough that the violence isn't alienating, but even better is the way he towers over everyone else in the film; a giant carving his way through East European weasels.

Towards the end it shifts from a horrifyingly plausible portrayal of seedy brothels to an absurd Bond-villian style auction house but by that point you'll either be completely on board, or bored to death. It has a scene where Liam kicks someone so hard in the nuts, their legs fly out behind them. I enjoyed it immensely.

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mart
Wearing nothing but a smile
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I was down in London at the weekend and am gutted that I didn't stay for another couple of nights. Tonight at the Vue cinema in Leicester Square they're showing a charity screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, which I'm sure we've talked about before on here.

Details here.

Clip of the film here. If you can't watch the whole thing, go right to the end to see how they did the giant boulder scene -- amazing.

I would love to see this at the cinema. Somebody else go for me.

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Thorn Davis

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I would love it if Lucas and Spielberg sued them for that and made explicit their true natures as money grubbing shitbirds. It would be so perfect.
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Black Mask

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quote:
Originally posted by mart:


Clip of the film here.

I think that clip's probably sufficient. I can imagine the charm of watching a bunch of 13 year-olds mugging their way through an entire poorly-lit, badly-focussed movie palling pretty quickly.

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sweet

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mart
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I know what you mean, though I've read that, watching the whole thing, you end up really rooting for the kids, that the suspense is actually about how on earth are they going to film the next tricky scene (the truck bit, the submarine, etc.), rather than the story itself.
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Black Mask

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quote:
Originally posted by mart:
I know what you mean, though I've read that, watching the whole thing, you end up really rooting for the kids, that the suspense is actually about how on earth are they going to film the next tricky scene (the truck bit, the submarine, etc.), rather than the story itself.

They've certainly proven themselves to be resourceful young men. If nothing else that movie'll serve as an especially elaborate application form when applying for a job as a runner.

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sweet

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Thorn Davis

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I'm in two minds about this as an achievement. History attests to the fact that they're far from the first young folk to make a movie with zero resources. Apart from making a small splash in the gorehound market, no-one really cared about the staggering ingenuity and commitment that went into Peter Jackson's Bad Taste. The only reason this garners so much interest is actually because of the least impressive thing about it: that it copies another movie in its entireity.
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Black Mask

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quote:
Originally posted by Thorn Davis:
The only reason this garners so much interest is actually because of the least impressive thing about it: that it copies another movie in its entireity.

Surely that alone is impressive. If I'd managed to get my hands on a whip and a fedora at age 13 I'd have been overwhelmed by my achievement. These kids doggedly put together an entire movie, sets, props, shots... there's obviously something wrong with them. But then, even that's impressive, getting three autistic kids with the same obsession living together in the same neighbourhood.

[ 28.04.2009, 07:06: Message edited by: Black Mask ]

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sweet

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Thorn Davis

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In other words, if they'd spent seven years making a film from an original script, with stunts and FX that were pulled off with the same level of ingenuity, there's no way they'd have a charity screening in Leicester Square.
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Black Mask

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quote:
Originally posted by Thorn Davis:
In other words, if they'd spent seven years making a film from an original script, with stunts and FX that were pulled off with the same level of ingenuity, there's no way they'd have a charity screening in Leicester Square.

Pretty much. It'd end up in 3-minute segments on YouTube, with morons commenting LOK UR MOV3S DA BOM. HOOZ DA HOTTE I WUD DEF TAP DAT ASS LOL222 Where it would belong.

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sweet

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mart
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quote:
Originally posted by Thorn Davis:
The only reason this garners so much interest is actually because of the least impressive thing about it: that it copies another movie in its entireity.

I disagree. I think the interest is the human interest, the charm of the story. These are 11-year-old kids, man. They've watched this amazing film. One of them says, hey, wouldn't it be fun to shoot our own version? They all say yeah! They reckon they can do it over the summer. It takes them seven years to do it. They don't give up. They keep at it. By the end, Indy has real stubble, whereas at the beginning it was burnt cork. You see these kids grow up, on screen.

That's why it's such a great story. By recreating another film shot-for-shot, they've set themselves a remarkable challenge, and they've met it. If they'd made their own story, it would probably never have occurred to them to try and shoot a scene where a kid gets thrown under a truck, or to consider the possibility that they could actually wangle it so they could film with a real submarine -- they would probably have never scripted it in the first place.

The Peter Jackson film you mention (and which I have seen) is of course a great achievement, but it's made by a guy obsessed with cinema, with film. It's inevitable, if you like, that he'd become a filmmaker. The film is a career move.

These kids, well, they're just kids. They're not obsessed with filmmaking. They're obsessed with making one film, for fun. Seven summers of teenage fun. How magnificent is that?

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Black Mask

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quote:
Originally posted by mart:
Seven summers of teenage fun. How magnificent is that?

meh

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sweet

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Thorn Davis

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quote:
Originally posted by Black Mask:
Surely that alone is impressive. If I'd managed to get my hands on a whip and a fedora at age 13 I'd have been overwhelmed by my achievement. These kids doggedly put together an entire movie, sets, props, shots... there's obviously something wrong with them. But then, even that's impressive, getting three autistic kids with the same obsession living together in the same neighbourhood.

That's why I'm in two minds about it. On the one hand, yeah, if my kids did this I'd be impressed with them. I'd be delighted. But it's something that happens a fair bit in the world: the Hot Fuzz DVD has got Edgar Wright's teenage attempt at making a cop movie with his mates, for example. But had he gone into being a QA tester for Electronic Arts, his film would remained unwatched, and twenty years down the line it wouldn't get a Leicester Square screening, because although it was no less of an achievement (arguably moreso, because he wasn't working from a template) it wasn't done under the banner of a famous film.

Or maybe I'm just jealous because The Great Trainer Robbery is destined to rot on VHS, unloved and unappreciated.

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ralph

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quote:
Originally posted by mart:
How magnificent is that?

Pretty magnificent, mart. Anyone who says otherwise either doesn't remember being a kid or is simply dead inside.
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Black Mask

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You know what could happen? They could all go on to be big-time movie directors and then this abortion will appear on the Special Features disc of their big release, and everybody who watches it can go...'Wow. Their film-making actually got worse!'

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sweet

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Ringo

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After playing through some of the game and enjoying it, I decided yesterday to buy Afro Samurai on DVD. Which, obviously, is totally awesome.
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Thorn Davis

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Following a very boozy Saturday, Octavia and I settled in to watch the entire Transporter trilogy in one sitting, none of which I've ever seen before.

THESE FILMS ARE FRICKEN AWESOME!!! Occupying some netherworld between James Bond and Tom and Jerry, powered along by Jason Statham, ludicrous plotting and splendid action sequences, there's at least one moment of utter brilliance in each film.

The first movie seemed to be a cut above the other two, although there was a sense that I'd been whipped into such a frenzy of delirious excitement by the climax of No.1 that the moments of exposition at the starts of 2 + 3 felt like never-ending moments of drudge and tedium, as I hopped up and down on the sofa shouting "MOAR FIGHTING!! MOAR!!!"

There's a tendency to suggest that these are movies that require you to shut your brain down to enjoy. I disagree. There's at least as much fun to be had from picking out references and inspirations ranging from the predictable (Lethal Weapon, Indiana Jones) to the bizarrely highbrow (a conversation about Madeleines lifted from Proust) as there is from the audacious action sequences.

It's tempting to dismiss them as dumb action movies, but there's a sly wit to each movie. When a villain in 2 is listing off requirements for his henchmen he includes at the end "and a psychotic devotion to following orders" which is the kind of observation you can only deliver with a forensic understanding of action movie conventions.

Onto the specifics of each film, then. The first is the best: a rambunctious, ridiculous romp strung together by Looney Tunes action sequences, the best of which - a fight in an oil slick - is simulaneously camp, hilarious, gay, violent. It's both an homage to the absurdly homoerotic action movies of the eighties, and a Tom and Jerry Cartoon played out in real life. The Stath slips and slides around the floor, as the henchmen are unable to get a grip on him. At one point a guy dives mouth first at Stath's spread crotch. At the end of the scene Stath kisses him on the lips.

There's not a lot the second two movies can do to compete with that, but they try their hardest. Number 2 has a brilliant fight that sees Statham taking people out with a fire hose, whipping it round girders, tying it round ankles, smashing it into groins. Then, when everyone's down and tied up he turns the hose on!!! Yanking them across the floor, pinning them to walls. Absolutely brilliant. Just brilliant.

By the time the third one rolled around, I was starting to feel some level of repetition in the fights, although the films probably aren't meant to be watched in one sitting. Even so, there were some series highlights here, such as Statham's Macguyver-esque resourcefulness in using the air from his tyres to breath, after he's driven his car off a bridge. And then there was the occasional witty choice of music such as I Wanna Be Your Dog, as Jason chases after a car.

So. Yeah. I'm completely sold on Statham as the heir to the Seagal/ Schwarzenneger/ Stallone school of action hero. Really looking forward to seeing Crank and Crank 2.

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Black Mask

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Yesterday I read Bad Vibes by Luke Haines, in one sitting. It's a real page-turner, unputdownable, etc...

It's a memoir of the bad old Britpop days by the former frontman of The Auteurs. It's a swingeing, whingeing, barking, snapping, curmudgeonly masterpiece of a memoir, with Haines' ego on overdrive and dripping with vemom at every perceived and real slight and grudge that he has absolutely no intention of forgetting or forgiving. I found it immensely funny and accurate, but then I was never a Britpop fan. He seems prone to the same sort of enthusiasms as me (anti-art, avant-garde, conspiracy theories, murder, terrorists, utopian movements...) so maybe that helped. It's a full-on rant with the charm of Niven, Stanshall, Mark E Smith or Ignatius J. Reilly.

Try it.

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sweet

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Physic
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I'm with you on the Transporter films Thorn, ridiculously entertaining considering how absurd they are. If you thought they stretched credibility a little though then wait until you see Crank, it doesn't so much stretch it as turn it into an origami swan.

Crank has to rank as easily the most ridiculous film I've ever seen, much like the Transporter films it still manages to be entertaining though. Even as your brains dribble from your ears in an effort to escape you'll be unable to tear yourself away from the latest ludicrous action sequence..

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MiscellaneousFiles

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quote:
Originally posted by Black Mask:
It's a memoir of the bad old Britpop days by the former frontman of The Auteurs.

Excellent - I'm going to buy this. I used to be a little bit obsessed with The Auteurs in the early '90s.

From Wikipedia:

quote:
However, just as the band looked like 'breaking through' to the mainstream (as other British bands, such as Oasis and Blur were then doing), Haines broke both of his ankles, resulting in the cancellation of much of their 1994 European tour. At the time he claimed "I jumped off a fifteen-foot wall (while) touring, ... to finish the tour and get the insurance" but later, in the sleeve notes to Das Capital, he denied that it was deliberate, writing "I merely drank too much wine and fell over. It happens."

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Ringo

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Went to see Star Trek yesterday. Not bad actually, pretty good. Acting is a bit hit and miss, but more than made up for by the great pacing and exciting action sequences. Leonard Nimoy playing Spock playing Obi-Wan was less than brilliant, and there were a few too many slightly awkward references to the old star trek series and movies. But generally a very entertaining watch. Right up there with Star Trek II I'd say.
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Ringo

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Terminator Salvation - meh
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H1ppychick
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We all locked in.
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Funny, I enjoyed it a lot! I'm thinking Anton Yelchin is this year's Shia LaBoeuf

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i'm expressing my inner anguish through the majesty of song

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Ringo

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I found it really tedious and self-referential to the point of being almost fourth wall breaking. Bale was terrible as John Connor, the directing and script were average at best, and I found the whole thing was just full of cliches and bits obviously stolen from other films. Like the military General who predictably wants to just nuke everything against the advice of everyone else, and the bit where they went to Mordor. And the completely dull and pointless bit right at the end where we find yet another slow fight with a robot in a alightly unlikely industrial complex.

There were a few good bits like the giant robot dealies and the fairly terrifying noise they made (though hard to see how they managed to sneak up on a bunch of people in a wooden shack in the middle of the desert), and CGI Arnie made me giggle with joy.

But otherwise it was mediocre at best. Better than T3 of course, but not by much.

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dang65
it's all the rage
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I was thinking of taking the kids along to see Terminator: Salvation, or whatever it's called, then realised they hadn't seen the other three films yet. What a pathetic oversight on my part. Got all three from Tesco's for 3 quid each and watched them over the last week. What really shocked me was that Terminator 3 was actually very good. I'd always remembered it as being shite. Anyway, the boys are all Terminator fanatics now.

Shame about the terrible Salvation reviews. I'm still half tempted to see it, but it does sound rubbish.

They also asked me what other films Arnie has been in, but I couldn't think of any good ones. Are there any?

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H1ppychick
We all prisoners, chickee-baby.
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Don't listen to Ringo, the film's good. Maybe not brilliant, but a good summer blockbuster.

Re Arnie: The Running Man, True Lies, Predator (off the top of my head).

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i'm expressing my inner anguish through the majesty of song

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ben

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Predator is not really very 'good' but is still somehow essential. Commando is both good and essential. Pretty much everything Schwarzneggar did after going mainstream was crap. Especially True Lies.

Total Recall is okay but hardly classic Verhoeven.

To be honest, you'd have a better hit-rate getting your boys into Steven Seagal. Out For Justice is fifteen billion times better than anything in Arnold's non-Terminator output.

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New Way Of Decay

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I just want to go with Commando for being the ultimate all out, ballsout macho flick of its day. It has possibly the best components for an 80's action flick. Lines like:

"I eat Green Berets for breakfast"

"I love listening to your, little piss-ant soldiers trying to talk tough. They make me laugh! If Matrix was here, he'd laugh too"


"He's still coming the crazy bastard"
but of course, the brakes are cut on the car and its driving downhill.

Seminal.

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BUY A TICKET AND WATCH SOME METAL

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