As you may recall a little while back, we entertained the idea of Sergeant D’s movie pitch which involved the best/worst of old 80′s and 90′s gritty cop action flicks. The comments of said post revealed quite the appreciation and longing for that genre of film. Well my good friends, I am overwhelmingly pleased to report that gritty overblown cop action drama is alive and kicking. Here’s a look at some recent works of art that you can check out at home or in a theater near you today!
SINNERS AND SAINTS is hard-boiled cop action at its most mediocre, which is to say absolutely fucking perfect. Here’s a quote form IMDB that perfectly encapsulates just how brilliantly generic this film is:
“In the gritty New Orleans underbelly, beleaguered Detective Sean Riley played by Johnny Strong (I couldn’t make this shit up) is trying to cope with the death of his young son and his failed marriage. Facing a probable suspension, Riley is teamed with a young (black) homicide Detective to help solve a series of brutal murders that have plunged the city into a major gang war. “
Genius. You may recognize Johnny Strong as one of the Special Forces soldiers in the film “Black Hawk Down”. Apparently he is legit Alpha as Fuck in real life, having studied several martial arts and obtaining a black belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu, as well as being a self-taught musician who released several albums under real recording companies. His chiseled, gruff, intimidating, yet captivating demeanor make him the perfect “solemn tortured bad-ass” archetype that these movies center on.
Where Sinners and Saints really hits the nail on the head though is when it mixes tired/tried and true 80′s action tropes with some relevant modern touches. Everything from the plot managing to mix the gritty urban setting with shady private military contractors, to the casting of old generic action veterans Tom Beringer and Costas Mandylor alongside the likes of Bas Rutten and Method Man, this movie really does stake its claim among the long line of Cop Action cinema. Check it out on disc or on demand. 3/5 Renegade Cop shootouts!
Gritty Urban Cop: The Movie
Fresh out in theaters this week is SAFE, aka Jason Statham Murders Henchmen Part 23. In all seriousness, the fact that Jason Statham movies are practically a genre unto themselves really speaks to just how relevant he has become among the Action Hero pantheon. Because really, the only thing that truly separated the terribly generic Sly, Arnold, Van Damme and Segal movies from all the other shitty action flicks of their day was the actors themselves. The retarded half-assed story lines were propelled entirely by the charisma of their leading men, which is why I consider macho action heroes every bit as credible and significant as any other srs actor like DeNiro or Bogart (who themselves were typecast into gritty crime flicks for a while in their careers.)
Regarding the plot, Safe is actually a slightly altered remake of a Korean action thriller titled “The Man From Nowhere”. I am aware of this since, as an admitted artsyfilmfggt, I watch a lot of foreign /indie cinema and am often embroiled in pointless IMN-level forum discussions on the “artistic integrity” and the “imperialistic domination” of Hollywood on the global movie industry as they buy the rights to “visionary” foreign films and dumb them down for fat American blockbuster audiences. I’ll say this; I fell asleep during the first twenty minutes of Man From Nowhere, but I was wide awake during every second of gunfire from weapons that didn’t need reloading and every throat punch on an OTW goon delivered by Statham. Just as importantly though, the movie itself is fully aware of the absurdity and impossibility of shootouts in the rich white parts of New York, so it totally has fun with the conventions and even throws in a couple twists and surprises throughout. This is what a matinee action flick is all about. 4/5 Broken Tracheas!
I will never ever get tired of seeing Jason Statham on a genocidal rampage. Charley Bronson would be proud.
Speaking of foreign flicks, this last entry is a hot new import from Indonesia, THE RAID: REDEMPTION (note that the generic add on title was forced onto the producers due to publishing matters, making it completely unnecessary yet at the same time indoctrinating it into the league of great American gritty Action Cop Cinema.) At its core, the raid is a bare-bones martial arts flick. A drug kingpin has made an apartment complex his fortress via Nino Brown, and a crack team of SWAT dudes are sent in to take him down. Shit soon hits the fan however, so the brave officers must fight their way out in order to survive. The big draw for this flick is that it showcases the indigenous Indonesian fighting style of Silat, which incorporates lots of counters and joint locks as well as stick and knife techniques. This all translates onto the silver screen as a fantastic symphony of ass kicking.
Whereas Hong Kong stuff usually separates between hard boiled gun-slinging and Kung-Fu shenanigans, the fact that the characters are literally fighting for their lives with the added element of guns and knives results in some dynamically brutal action. At the same time, this Indonesian film crew wants to make it clear that they are no joke, so the plot takes itself seriously and tries to make logical sense. For example, not until a certain point well within the movie is it clear that this is in fact martial arts film, since the only reason they resort to knives, blunt objects, then their bare-hands is because they run out of bullets. As the story progresses, there are legitimate surprises and revelations that explain why they cant just call for back up or get to tha choppa. Real talk, this aint no bargain bin chop-socky slap boxing ballet, motherfuckers get straight up murdered in this movie. Shit is real. The Raid: Redemption is gangster. 5/5 Sliced Jugulars!
Little Brown Men, BIG DICK COLA
I’m a firm believer in supporting the cinematic arts, so I encourage you all to support these films at the box office, your local media mart, or the streaming service of your choice. If you dig em, don’t be afraid to spread the word, since the combination of ticket sales and word of mouth translates into not just profit, but to the increased possibility of more and better sequels. For example, I just found out that thanks to overall positive feed back, Sinners and Saints 2 is now green-lit for production. As well, The Raid started out as a film fest darling that opened in limited release, but got such a great turnout it went nation wide. Now the producers have green lit both a sequel AND an American remake with a bunch of top flight martial artists, all thanks to viewers like you! Let me know what you think in the comments, and have fun at the movies! Peace.
Can you aware us to more awesome contemporary Gritty Cop Action Flicks? Is Jason Statham the Lee Marvin of the YouTube generation? Have you ever gotten your ass kicked by a 4 foot tall Asian man??