District B13 (2004)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

A cop and a former hooligan join forces to stop a disaster. District B13 remains one of the more over-the-top action films I’ve seen in the last 20 years. It’s also on the cheesy and unrealistic side, but if that doesn’t scare you off… buckle up. This movie isn’t even 90 minutes long and the pace is insanely fast. You won’t know what hit you.

Available on Blu-ray from Magnolia.

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Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

Back when this one came out in theaters I was thirteen years old. During the summer my mother would give me $1.50 to go see a movie at the second-run theater at the mall (and to get me out of her hair). I sat through MANY crappy PG and PG-13 films, but this one made me very happy. It’s got martial arts action, monsters, comedy, crazy special effects, lovely ladies, and Kurt Russell hamming up a storm. I revisit it every few years and yep, it’s cheezy as hell, but still a lot of fun. If you haven’t experienced this oddball John Carpenter creation, maybe check it out with the help of your favorite psychoactive substance. Hell, depending on the age of your kids, Big Trouble… just might be fun for the whole family.

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory.

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Lifeforce (1985)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

An astronaut inadvertently brings back… Space Vampires. This is a personal favorite that nearly qualifies as a guilty pleasure. Lifeforce is very over-the-top, and even cheesy at times, but I think you’ll be too entertained to be bothered. This is one seriously fast-paced blast of an action, sci-fi, horror mashup. Directed by Tobe Hooper, and somehow financed by the Cannon Group with a generous budget, plus the cinematography and makeup effects still look great. They even made a 70mm version of the film, which I’ve seen, and the sound design / score were a delight for my ears. This film also features a surprisingly perfect cast, with a standout memorable moment featuring Patrick Stewart. The last reel of the film is just plain bonkers too. Get ready for a good time if you’ve never had the pleasure.

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory.

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Reign of Fire (2002)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

Some executives got together and agreed to green light a $60 million movie that is The Road Warrior + DRAGONS. Yep. As weird as that sounds, it’s pretty damned good. It’s not even rated R, and it’s still an entertaining flick. The CG even holds up 20 years on. Reign of Fire does have some cheesy moments, but all the fast-paced action makes that worth enduring. Oh, and I’m pretty sure that Matthew McConaughey’s look is inspired by Steve Von Till from the band Neurosis

Available on Blu-ray from Touchstone.

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In Order of Disappearance (2014)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This is an excellent Swedish revenge film that was remade as Cold Pursuit with Liam Neeson as the lead. The original stars Stellan Skarsgård, and is just as superior as you would imagine. It’s violent, packed with black humor, and made with a style that borders on art film. Need I say more?

Blu-ray available from Magnolia.

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Clan of the the White Lotus (1980)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Aka Fists of the the White Lotus. “Deadly Needle Kung Fu Against the Invincible Armor of The White Lotus!” Right out of the gate this Shaw Brothers flick will grab you (with it’s crotch). White Lotus features crazy-complex fight choreography, and a good sense of humor too (not in that goofy Jackie Chan / Sammo Hung way either). If you’re not sold before the opening credits are done, then hit stop and go watch a superhero movie. I gave this film a 9 out of 10 rating on imdb.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Mesrine: Killer Instinct (2008)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

The first installment of a two part series on the career of criminal Jaques Mesrine (the second is Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One). This is the French answer to Scarface (1983), but based on true events, and much larger in scope. Other than the usual fake looking gun action, this movie is a total blast. Vincent Cassel is perfect, as usual. If you’d like to see him do something more fun / dumb I recommend you also check out his film Dobermann (looks like it’s available on YouTube if you sign in).

Available on Blu-ray from Music Box.

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The Siege of Jadotville (2016)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

Here’s a solid, history-based war movie. I had never heard of this battle, so this was all news to me. The film features good performances, a fast-pace, and it gets pretty graphic here and there too. This is the first time I realized that Jamie Dornan was a skilled actor. I despised anything to do with Fifty Shades of Grey, but he is truly talented in spite of being involved in a garbage franchise. I recommend checking out Anthopoid and My Dinner With Herve as well. The Siege of Jadotville is not going to move you like say, The Thin Red Line, but if you want some entertaining battle action, it’s a good pick.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Riders of Justice (2020)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer 

This is a surprisingly good, big-budget, action comedy from Denmark. I actually laughed out loud a few times, AND things got pretty gory on occasion. The violence is more extreme than I would have expected from a Scandinavian blockbuster. I love Mads Mikkelsen, but he’s not always in good films. Luckily this turned out to be a perfect choice for him, and a very entertaining movie too.

Blu-ray available on Magnolia.

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Not Quite Hollywood (2008)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

What we have here is a flat-out blast of a documentary about Australian exploitation cinema. It works as a primer on all the excellent weird films that came from the continent, and as an incredibly entertaining experience on it’s own. I was inspired to track down a ton of movies after my first viewing. This is essential Anomalous viewing.

Available on Import Blu-Ray.

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