Nobody Can Stop Gina Carano In The Trailer For Daughter Of The Wolf!


Seriously, Gina Carano kicks so much ass!

She managed to survive starring in one of Steven Soderbergh’s worst films and has gone on to become one of my favorite action movie stars.  Though she may be best-known for her supporting roles in Fast & Furious 6 and Deadpool, Gina Carano’s best work is usually found in an underappreciated genre films like In The Blood and Scorched Earth.  For me, there’s little that’s more empowering than watching Gina Carano single-handedly take down an army of mercenaries and evil-doers.

The trailer for Carano’s upcoming film features her doing what she does best.  This time, she’s a mother trying to rescue her child and it would appear that screen veteran Richard Dreyfuss is playing the bad guy.  Carano vs. Dreyfuss?  I wonder who will win that one.

Here’s the trailer for Daughter of the Wolf!

Film Review: Deadpool (2016, directed by Tim Miller)


Deadpool_posterWade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a mercenary with a sense of humor and a heart of not quite gold.  When he is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he leaves his girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), and agrees to allow a secret organization to experiment on him.  They will cure his cancer but, in return, they expect him to serve as a super powered slave for their own clients.  After being severely disfigured by the sadistic Ajax (Ed Skrein), Wilson develops a super human healing ability.  Eventually, Wilson escapes but now fears that he’s too twisted to return to Vanessa.  Taking on the identity of Deadpool, Wilson tries to track down and get his revenge on Ajax (real name: Francis).

From the moment I heard that 20th Century Fox was producing a Deadpool film, I had only one request: “Don’t fuck it up.”

After all, there is a reason why Deadpool is one of the most popular characters to come out of Marvel’s later period.  He’s certainly the best thing that Rob Liefeld has ever had a hand in creating.  First introduced in New Mutants and subsequently used in the various X-books before getting his own ground-breaking series, Deadpool has earned the right to be known as “the merc with a mouth.”  Deadpool was popular because, out of all the characters in the Marvel Universe, he alone understood that he was in a comic book.  He would frequently break the fourth wall and talk about how ridiculous life as a comic book antihero was.  At a time when almost all other super powered characters were presented as being grim and troubled, Deadpool was the often vulgar antidote to comic books that took themselves too seriously.

(My favorite Deadpool moment was when Deadpool had been once again incorrectly assumed dead.  When Blind Al told Weasel that Deadpool was dead, the footnote at the bottom of the panel read, “Guess the series is over!”)

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I saw Deadpool last weekend.

They did not fuck it up.

My biggest fear was that the Deadpool movie would present a neutered or toned down Deadpool but there was no need to worry.  Though the film’s plot may be a standard origin story with a revenge subplot tossed in, Deadpool distinguishes itself by staying true to the character’s anarchistic and self-referential humor.  This is not a case of Dolph Lundgren putting on a trenchcoat, driving a motorcycle, and calling himself the Punisher.  And it is certainly not a case of the strange character that Ryan Reynolds played in X-Men Origins who was supposed to be Deadpool but definitely was not.  Deadpool allows Deadpool to be Deadpool, right down to the red uniform, the broken fourth wall, and the R-rated humor and violence.  Deadpool earns its R rating and wears it as a badge of honor  This is not a movie for children.  Everything that most heroes do and say off-camera, Deadpool does and says for the entire audience to see and hear.

That's not Deadpool!

That’s not Deadpool!

That's Deadpool!

That’s Deadpool!

Deadpool ends with the promise of a sequel, perhaps one that will include Cable.  Since Cable is one of my least favorite Marvel characters, I hope that the sequel will at least see the return of Colossus (rendered by CGI and voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Briana Hildebrand), both of whom make welcome appearances here.  Negasonic Teenage Warhead especially deserves her own spin-off film.  Let her blow up shit for two hours.  I’ll watch.

Also, if the sequel has to feature Cable, I hope it will also include Dr. Bong.  Deadpool needs all the help he can get!

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A Very Red Band Deadpool Trailer for Christmas


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Twentieth Century Fox has had a stranglehold on the film rights to one of Marvel Comics’ biggest properties: the X-Men and every character associated with them. So far, the studio has only taken the core X-Men and Wolverine properties and adapted them onto the big-screen to mixed results. Some fans of the properties have even come to see the Fox vision for these mutant characters as tame and water-down version of the classic comic book characters.

One such mutant character which had languished in development hell within Fox was the character of Deadpool. The so-called “Merc with a Mouth” had an off and on development cycle throughout the years. The character finally appeared in the forgettable Wolverine stand-alone film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The character was played by Ryan Reynolds and just like another superhero film (this time for DC as the classic character of Green Lantern) he starred in, this one bombed and he was starting to be seen as a curse on superhero projects his named gets attached to.

If there was one major effect that Marvel Studios’ success with their Marvel Cinematic Universe has had with the rest of the Hollywood studios was to force them to treat their comic book property licenses seriously. They had to embrace the comic book nature of the properties they held the license to and work with it instead of against it.

It looks like Fox might be doing just that with their R-rated attempt at the Deadpool live-action adaptation starring the star who campained long and hard to produce and star as the title character: Ryan Reynolds. If the tone we’ve seen with the Comic-Con trailer and this latest red band trailer is any indication then the Ryan Reynolds superhero curse could be ending in early February of 2012.

Deadpool is set for a February 12, 2016 release date.

The (Official) Deadpool Red Band Trailer


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Fox has released the trailer for Marvel’s Deadpool, which comes out next year. This is the same trailer that was shown at the San Diego Comic Con earlier this year, and is in crystal clear HD. For those who aren’t aware, Deadpool is the tale of Wade Wilson (no relation to me, mind you), who is dying of cancer and elects to join a program similar to the Weapon X one that created Wolverine. When he’s given the same healing factor as Wolverine, Wilson takes his new-found abilities and becomes Deadpool, the Merc With a Mouth, weapon-wielding extraordinaire. The movie has the potential to be great or maybe not, considering how hard they’re trying to appease their target audience. It hits just about every mark, with it’s breaking of the fourth wall and comic elements. It’s also great to not only see Ryan Reynolds reprising the mishandled role from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but finally having it done in a way that at least comes close to the comic origins.

Why is this a Fox production and not a Disney/Marvel one? Well, for one, Fox already had the character. Two, I don’t think Deadpool fits into the wholesome do-gooder world that most of the Marvel Heroes and Heroines inhabit. He’s more like Stitch in comparison to the other Disney Characters.

Deadpool also stars Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano and T.J. Miller. Enjoy.

Film Review: In the Blood (dir by John Stockwell)


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Do you remember Haywire?

Haywire was an action film that came out in 2011.  It briefly got a lot of attention because it starred MMA fighter Gina Carano in her feature film debut and it was directed by Steven Soderbergh.  I have to admit that I didn’t care much for Haywire.  Some of that is because Gina Carano herself didn’t seem to be a very good actress but my main issue with the film was with Steven Soderbergh.  Don’t get me wrong — I know that Soderbergh can be a genius.  However, he’s also a remarkably pretentious filmmaker.  Sometimes that pretension works, like with The Girlfriend Experience.  But, in the case of Haywire, all the pretension served to do was to make a thin story even more annoying.

John Stockwell, on the other hand, is a director who is the very opposite of pretentious.  Whereas Soderbergh often makes genre films that try too hard to be art, Stockwell makes genre films that are so unapologetic about being genre that they often become art despite themselves.  Stockwell may never be as acclaimed as Soderbergh but, on the whole, he’s a much more consistent filmmaker.

Take In The Blood for instance.  In the Blood came out earlier this year, got thoroughly mediocre reviews, and disappeared from theaters pretty quickly.  When I watched it last night, I had very low expectations.

But you know what?

In the Blood isn’t bad.

In fact, it’s a perfectly entertaining and, ultimately, rather empowering film.

In In The Blood, Gina Carano plays Ava.  Ava, we quickly learn, has led a difficult life.  Raised in extreme poverty by a father who taught her early how to fight and how to defend herself, Ava is a former drug addict.  When she goes to rehab, she meets and falls in love with fellow addict Derek (Cam Gigandet).  Once they’re both clean, Ava and Derek marry despite the concerns of Derek’s wealthy father (Treat Williams).

For their honeymoon, Derek and Ava go to the type of Caribbean island where bad things always happen in movies like In The Blood.  They meet Manny (Ismael Cruz Cordova), who agrees to be their guide on the island.  One night, Manny takes them out to a club where Ava ends up getting into a huge fight with literally everyone on the dance floor, including a local gangster played by Danny Trejo.  The next morning, Manny takes them zip lining but Derek ends up plunging from the zip line and crashing down to the ground below.  He’s rushed to the hospital where he promptly vanishes.

Despite being ordered to return to America by police chief Luis Guzman, Ava is determined to figure out what has happened to her husband and she’s willing to beat up the entire island to do it…

Obviously inspired (much like almost every other low-budget action film released over the past few years) by Taken, In The Blood is a familiar but enjoyable burst of pulp fiction.  As opposed to Soderbergh’s approach to Haywire, Stockwell doesn’t worry about trying to disguise the genre roots of In The Blood.  Instead, he simply tells the story and he tells it well.  In The Blood is a film that’s full of beautiful island scenery, villainous character actors, and enjoyable melodramatic dialogue.  The pace never falters and the action is exciting.  In a few years, the club fight scene will be remembered as a classic of action cinema.

And best of all, Gina Carano kicks ass!  In The Blood gives her a chance to show what she can actually do when she has a director who is willing to get out of her way.  As opposed to Haywire, where she often seemed to get lost amongst all of Soderbergh’s showy techniques, Gina Carano gives a confident and determined performance in In The Blood.  After having to sit through countless action films where every female character is either a victim or a pawn, there is something so wonderful about seeing a movie where a woman gets to do something more than whimper and beg.  Regardless of how predictable the film’s plot may be, the fact that it’s a woman — as opposed to a man — who is getting to kick ass (and look good while doing it!) serves to make In The Blood something of a minor masterpiece of the pulp imagination.

If nothing else, In The Blood shows that sometimes it’s best to keep things simple.

Quick Review: Fast & Furious 6 (dir. by Justin Lin)


url-6Thinking back on the original Fast & Furious film, I still find it hard to believe it’s done so well over the years. The longevity of the films owe a lot to the Saw series, which seems fitting considering that the original director of that film will take over the reigns for the next installment. Both series have managed to take events from all of their films and weave this strange tapestry with it. Once you think one story is over, the writers somehow jump back to an earlier scene and pull out a new thread for everyone to follow. Gimmicky? Perhaps, but it works, at least for this tale.

To sum up Furious 6 in a nutshell, Dominic Toretto’s team has to help Hobbs (the lawman who was after them in Furious 5) stop a former SAS agent who is using cars to facilitate his acts of terror. Why get involved, one asks? Hobbs sweetens the deal by showing Dom that his formerly believed dead girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is…wait for it….not dead, and is working with these bad guys.

It’s like General Hospital with Cars. I’m such a sucker for this franchise.

If you’re new to the Furious films, the opening credits sum up the last 5 movies in a Spider-Man 2 like montage. You have your main heroes, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), who are kind of like criminals only they take down bad guys to better others (or themselves). Along with them is Dom’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster), who is the mother of Brian’s baby boy, Jack (not to be confused with Jack Jack from The Incredibles). Then there’s the crew, made up of most of the characters from all of the Furious films leading up to 6:

From 2 Fast 2 Furious, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Tyrese Gibson return as two friends of Brian’s. Tej (Bridges) is the team hacker (wouldn’t be complete without one) and Roman (Tyrese) is the comic relief.

From Tokyo Drift (the 3rd and my personal favorite) comes Sung Kang, who plays Han. While he met his end in that film, every movie after the 3rd takes place somewhere before this film, believe it or not. This makes the ending of Tokyo Drift a little baffling when you see Toretto at the end of it. No matter what the writers decide to do with future installments, they’ll eventually have to circle back to how Dom got there.

From Fast & Furious. (No. 4) – We have Gal Gadot as Gisele, a former IDF member who was an accomplice to a drug cartel leader. Ironically, Gadot actually did some work with the Israeli forces, which I found interesting. She is the only member of that film to come back to the series as Don Omar and Tego Calderon sat this one out.

And finally from Fast Five, you have Hobbs (The Rock) and his former partner from Brazil, Elena (Elsa Pataky).

So, you have the setup. One of the things to understand about this (and some of the earlier ones) is that you’re working in a “Popcorn Reality”. The action’s all well and good, but in the course of all the driving, you’ll almost expect to see at least one or two action scenes or stunts that just don’t make any kind of practical sense. These GTFO moments are in great supply in Furious 6 – A runway chase that lasts a good 15 minutes, yet seems impossibly long for any plane to actually use for a take off. A “flip” car with the ability to send other cars launching into the air. In any other movie, most people would scoff and walk out. For this, it’s almost the norm and if you don’t care, it’s actually fun. Lin has been able to take the chase scenes about as far as they can possibly go, and I can’t really imagine what else they could try to push things, really.

Of particular note is Luke Evans, who plays the villain, Shaw. I didn’t really care for him in Tarsem’s Immortals, but  was good here, trying to be as much a Bond baddie as he can. Another addition is Gina Carano, who takes the place as Hobbs partner this time around. She’s a bit more light hearted here than she was in Haywire, and gets to showcase her fight skills. However, in a movie that’s already packed with stars performing particular roles, she doesn’t really have much to truly do other than to be Michelle Rodriguez’s sparring partner. Not a terrible thing, just something I noticed.

Is it worth it? Well, considering that most of the movies that came out since Fast & Furious 6 was released haven’t fared too well (Yes, I’m looking right at you, After Earth), it’s a safe bet if you also understand that this all revolves around cars driving very smooth and fast with near unlimited shift points. If you don’t like cars or racing, this might not be your cup of tea. There’s a lot of shooting at some points, which might  round things out for action fans. It’s a quick way to burn 2 hours. If you also managed to see at least the last film in the cinema, then this is a given – though you’ll probably be able to put 2 and 2 together before the story’s half done.

Also, do stick around once the credits start, as there’s a scene that will come up to help lay the groundwork for the next installment.

Trailer: Fast and Furious 6 (Extended First Look)


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During this year’s Super Bowl XLVII one of the films whose trailers were premiered was the latest and upcoming entry to the Fast and the Furious series. Since that day a new and much more extended look and version of that trailer has been released by Universal Pictures for everyone to look over.

When I say extended first look I mean extended. This trailer is over 3 minutes long and pretty much acts like a major sizzle reel that’s usually reserved for special screenings at conventions or trade shows. I was mistaken from the earlier post when I said the film has an M-1 tank in it to ramp up the epicness. It looks more like the newest French main battle tank, the Leclerc. I shall keep my opinion about the French Leclerc to myself….

Now, enjoy the extended first look of Fast and Furious 6.

Trailer: Fast and Furious 6 (Super Bowl Exclusive)


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Fast Five was a big surprise when in came out in 2011. The franchise finally broke away from the street racing template of the previous entries in the series. The huge success of Fast Five meant it had given the franchise a new template by which to keep it going for the foreseeable future.

Fast and Furious 6 continues the action film rebirth of the Fast and Furious franchise by dumping all the street racing aspect of the series and just going all out action. We have Justin Lin back as director with the cast of Fast Five returning en masse. Joining this group is Luke Evans, Gina Carano and Michelle Rodriguez (thought dead after the fourth film). From the Super Bowl tv spot that just got released it looks like Fast and Furious 6 will be even bigger than the previous film.

M1 main battle tank and C-5 Galaxy transport plane means way bigger than a bank vault.

Fast and Furious 6 is set for a May 24, 2013 release date.

Quick Review: Haywire


Note that this probably won’t be the only review for Haywire. I think everyone at the Shattered Lens is going to see it, so it’ll be cool to see what we all thought of it. For any other reviews that come up, I’ll update this one to link to it.

I didn’t expect a great deal with Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire. Walking into it, I thought of Steven Seagal’s “Above the Law”, Pamela Anderson’s “Barb Wire”, Bruce Lee’s “Fist of Fury”, Antoine Fuqua’s “The Replacement Killers” and Jean-Claude Van Damme’s “Bloodsport”. All of those films worked to showcase either a martial arts star doing what they do best or a filming technique (in the case of The Replacement Killers’ John Woo love) to audiences. Ultimately, this is what Haywire is. It’s MMA fighter Gina Carano’s spotlight moment, giving her the chance to show what she’s got. In essence, you’re watching an expensive demo reel.

I’ve followed Carano through her MMA fighting career, thanks to a friend who introduced me to the Showtime fighting specials years ago. After her fall to Cristiane Cyborg (who is just as deadly in the ring), Gina kind of stepped away from a bit. I, for one, am happy to see her back in some form or fashion.

And she’s great as an action star, when there’s action happening. There’s just not enough of it, though. Watching Haywire for me was like seeing Jet Li in “Unleashed”. You’re begging for Soderbergh to just let Carano go wild just kick everyone’s ass, but alas, it only happens in short, controlled bursts. Perhaps that’s a good thing, considering that there is something of a story unfolding. When there isn’t any action, Gina’s Mallory Kane makes a brooding face and always looks poised for the next fight.

The movie does two smart things – It lets Carano do her thing, and gives her a cast that tries to help her out.

Soderbergh surrounds Carano with enough talent that you almost forget to concentrate on her and where she’s going. She does okay on her own with her focused stares and cool demeanor, but the supporting cast seems to help out when they can, some becoming human punching bags in the process. No one member of the supporting cast shines, but collectively, they do well.

Like the Bourne films, there’s very little music used during the actual fight sequences. That does help to let you focus on what’s going on in front of you. Musically, I’ll admit I liked it.  Instead of composer Cliff Martinez, who I felt did really well on Contagion, we have David Holmes again who worked with Soderbergh on all three Oceans films. He gives the movie a 70’s spy vibe that hinges on almost sounding like it could be used for the TV show Archer. Make of that what you will. I enjoyed it.

Haywire is the classic tale of a Government Agent on the run from the people who made them what they were. You’ve seen it before. Bourne, every other film like Bourne, and most of the Transporter series. What Haywire tries to bring to the table is someone who happens to be fully capable of taking and dishing the blows that come with the close quarter fight scenes that occur. Carano is easily Haywire’s strongest point.

Here are Haywire’s problems:

– Mallory is cool and all, but don’t expect much in the way of character development. This is an action movie. You’re not going to learn much about Mallory Kane other than she’s lethal and loves her father. That’s about it. If you want character growth spurts, you’re better off watching one of the Awards contenders.

– Don’t expect action all the way through. Haywire has some lull points as with any movie, and at the late night showing I went to, someone was snoring on the left side of the theatre. Be prepared for that.

– The movie has the potential of running a “See Gina Run”, “See Gina Fight”, “See Gina Run & Fight” loop. I personally didn’t mind this at all, but it may see to be a little repetitive to some. The fights are brutal and fantastic and I’d personally like to know if any stunt people were hurt.

Overall, for a January release, Haywire isn’t bad at all. I could easily see Gina Carano doing a few more of these and rising as an action star. Until then, I’ll be heading back to this one pretty soon.

SDCC 2011: Haywire (dir. by Steven Soderbergh) Exclusive Trailer


It would seem that Steven Soderbergh was quite busy doing something small and simple leading up to his upcoming world-encompassing viral apocalypse film, Contagion. He managed to film an action-thriller (still feels new to say Soderbergh and action-thriller in the same breath) starring MMA fighter Gina Carano as the lead. The film’s title is Haywire and from the synopsis bouncing around the film looks to be quite a throwback to the late 80’s and early 90’s action-thrillers where the main lead is a super-spy or operative betrayed by those they work for and must now take them out to save their loved ones.

It’s going to be interesting to see how Soderbergh handles action on the level Haywire seems to be promising in the trailer. Even if he punts that side of the film the cast alone should make this film worth a look when it comes out. I mean outside of Carano there’s Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Ewan MacGregor, Bill Paxton and Antonio Banderas (channeling a wicked imitation of Saddam Hussein’s fugitive beard).

Haywire is set for a January 20, 2012 release date.