‘Rampage’ is a big bucket of buttered cinematic popcorn

Wildly ridiculous and also kind of fun.

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In order to properly introduce Brad Peyton’s Rampage to you, I feel like I need to do it in a “movie trailer voice guy” tone. Are you ready? Let’s go.

“In a world where evil rich corporations are testing chemicals on lab rats in outer space with the hopes of selling wild government contracts, something goes terribly wrong. The chemicals smash into the Earth and infect other animals, which is bad news. How bad? I’m talking about a ten-foot gorilla who smashes everything. A 30-foot wolf who can fly and devour ten men at once! An alligator mixed with a giant lizard who got a Godzilla makeover. It’s bad, baby! Who do you call? Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Davis Okoye. A special forces operative turned primatologist who is friends with the gorilla, named George. Can Davis rescue his friend, and in the process, save the world?!?!?  Continue reading “‘Rampage’ is a big bucket of buttered cinematic popcorn”

Jason Statham: Furious 7 Game Changer

The Fast & Furious series gets meatier and better with each entry. This film got Statham sized.

Jason Statham is the epitome of badass. The Fast and Furious film franchise is the epicenter of ridiculously thrilling action. It’s about time these unstoppable forces met.

In case you have been stuck in an art house film gallery for the past 13 years, The F&F films have taken Hollywood and its audience by storm, turning improbable stunts into a viciously kinetic artform. People try writing them off as childish, hollow and pointless, and they miss all the fun in the game. These are action showcases and if you don’t mind a little family values with your hot rod cars and testosterone packed punches, you may be “furious” enough for Dominic Toretto(Vin Diesel) and his adventures. Jason Statham walking into this pleasure town of chaos is icing on the cake and could make Furious 7 the best in the series.

The 47 year old action star made a blood thirsty cameo appearance at the tail end of Fast & Furious 6 as Deckard Shaw, the revenge seeking older bro of Luke Evans’ crippled baddie Owen Shaw. I don’t know about you but the moment Owen spouted off to Dom about “my brother said you live by a code”, I immediately thought of Statham and his Transporter films. That was the cookie crumble hint being dropped at your feet.

Statham’s cameo also tied the franchise together, placing the Tokyo events in their proper spot and lighting a match on the seventh edition, which takes matters back to Los Angeles before jumpstarting the engine to luxurious places like Abu Dhabi. Director James Wan,taking over for Justin Lin after four films, walked into a treasures chest of action heroes. A buffet of kickass lethal enough to challenge the Persian army(minus the skirts, add tank tops). Why Statham? Well, why the hell do you drink coffee every morning? A dose of Statham is perfect for this world.

Let’s look at the prerequisites to enter the Furious world:

*Bald.

*Badass.

*Muscle bound.

*Good in a fight.

*Cool voice full of one liners.

*Looks good in a suit and tank top

*Very Bald.

Statham passes all tests with flying colors and adds something else. An authentic action star. With no offense to the Rock and Diesel, Statham does this shit for a living and can throw a kick with a smile as fast as he hosts Saturday Night Live or growls for the fans. Statham is the guy who works out with stunt crews in an LA gym and has a framed bullseye in his kitchen. Statham is working out while you are thinking about working out. He is working out while you eat donuts and while you gobble up fast food. He is working on his martial arts when you are thinking about enrolling for a green belt at the local karate class. He lives, breathes and shits action hero bravado. His head is the shape of a bullet and his voice is charming yet sinister.

The juiciest part of his dive here into the fast cars zone is he has never played a villain before. His characters have been far from gracious good souls, but he’s always fought the good fight on film….until now. Statham steps into the action in a big way here. Judging from the eye watering trailers, he gets to tangle with Dwayne Johnson in an office and Diesel on a roof with steel car parts. He also gets to walk into a party in a high rise building and fire a gun into the air ala The Joker in The Dark Knight. Statham is a show stopping presence on film. When I left a Statham film last year and had to use the restroom, I ran into an older film fan as I washed my hands. I asked him about the action banger we just watched in the same auditorium and regarding the British actor, the man simply said “He is something else”. You’re damn right he is. Statham is a special member of the No Bueno Crew.

Furious 7 is special for many reasons, many of them surrounding the late star, Paul Walker. “Pablo”, as Diesel calls his deceased friend, has starred in all seven films. Losing him was the equivalent of a heart losing a fair amount of blood. The engines running dry without as much oil and the transmission failing a few times on a Nissan Skyline. Walker wasn’t the guy you left the movies talking about, but he was also something the films couldn’t live without. The innocent action hero at the center of chaos who also happened to be a great guy in the real world. This film will be a celebration of his work on the film and his life in general. It will also be a celebration of glorious action hero nostalgia, with Statham walking around kicking over trash cans of lighter fluid and lighting the streets with mayhem.

The specialty of the franchise is getting bigger with each film. This stunt crew goes big or stays home. The Fast Five entered Johnson’s hulking agent, Hobbs. Statham was teased in the following film and makes a grand entrance in Friday’s clash. When fanboys talk about wet dreams and cinematic collisions, Jason Statham and Fast/Furious franchise ranks near the top of the list. This is the thing that rolls off the tongue at 130 in the morning as you finish an order of tacos and blurt to your friend, “Bro, it would be mad sick if that Statham did one of these movies.” The Furious team is fearless and turns dreamy scenarios into realities.

Show some self respect and check out Furious 7 this week on Blu Ray or DVD. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen the previous six films. This about true action appreciation. If you want realism, turn on the Sundance Channel. If you want balls out visually wasted cinema, buy a ticket for this movie. This is a stand alone adventure and will be given the proper tasting when Toretto answers that phone on his porch and hears a familiar British voice.

“Dominic Toretto. You don’t know me..but you’re about to.”

Jason Statham has arrived, ladies and gentlemen. He was born fast and is furious when he sleeps. Jason Statham. Those two words alone should get your ass in a seat.

The Rock Returning for “Furious 8” is Vital to its success

When the Rock landed in Furious town, the series got better. His return for round 8 is vital.

The Rock and great action films go together like coffee and donuts. Like pizza and breadsticks. Like salty potato chips and french onion dip. Dwayne Johnson’s presence as a beastly hero type is a huge chunk of the reason the Fast & Furious films were kicked up a notch when he decided to shit on Vin Diesel’s day in Fast Five. The news of Johnson returning for the eighth film is the first sign the movie may work as well as the previous three.

Think of that first confrontation between The Rock’s Agent Hobbs and Diesel’s Toretto back in 2011.

Hobbs: “You’re under arrest.”

Toretto:”That’s funny. I don’t feel under arrest.

Hobbs: I don’t give a shit. I’m just here to bring two assholes whose names hit my desk.”

For those of you who have been hanging out in too many stinky French theaters for the past decade, that’s hardcore macho man preemptive asskicking talk. The kind of words shared between two bald sweaty tight t-shirt wearing lions who aren’t going to back down. The Rock changed the franchise, giving it something the first four films had lacked. A true adversary for Diesel. Someone who could lock horns with him(sorry Rick Yune and John Ortiz but you two simply didn’t cut). Diesel couldn’t sneeze and knock out Johnson, and that created problems for our favorite family oriented group of criminals.

There was also the big fight. The clash of the titans, as Chris Ludacris Bridges called it during the promotional tour. The Rock and Diesel going toe to toe and beating the crap out of each other. This is the rare movie event where the hype was matched and maybe exceeded by the actual result. An extended three room battle between two big men. Diesel, a former nightclub bouncer in New York taking on the real life Hulk himself, the former wrestler/college football defensive lineman turned movie star war mammoth, Johnson. Dwayne may have tried to shed the label of the Rock at times, but it’s hard to do when you see how huge he has gotten since he filmed Faster a few years ago.

The beginning of the Rock’s movie career saw him carry his wrestling weight into the cinematic universe. After a little while, he decided to supersize the muscle build, putting on 25 pounds for the underseen and quite enjoyable Faster. Since then, he has redesigned how Under Armour makes their outerwear. His F/F wardrobe consists of black work pants and a large supply of UA shirts that bulge out like a huge rubber band stretching and bending with each curl from a bodybuilder at a gym.

Since the Rock showed up, fought Diesel, and eventually joined his team, the Fast/Furious films were taken to a whole other level. Critics started to take notice. The box office gross went up. When The Rock joins the party, the circus comes to town in a big way. He isn’t just another bald headed menace. He is a whole other dimension.

Remember when Diesel’s Toretto saved him after their fight in Fast Five? Which action film junkie could not? Gunfire, carnage and exploding cars all around Diesel as he walked across a street in a ridiculously clean white t-shirt, extending his meat hook arm down for a wounded Johnson to grab onto and run for cover. It was like a wrestling match tag team action packed induced orgasm for fans of the two guys. An orgasm without a cigarette in sight so all you could do was dry yourself off.

The last two films have seen the Rock and Diesel hook up in different parts of the world and save the day, with the seventh edition showing the entire crew say goodbye to the founding father of tough guy talk and nitroglycerin, Paul Walker. With the blonde haired gent’s passing, the group will soldier on and make more loud, over the top yet wildly enjoyable spring thrill rides. They wouldn’t be complete without the Rock kicking ass in extremely tight fitting sports shirts. It’s like baking a batch of cookies without greasing the pan first. It’s like making decaf coffee. A Fast and Furious 8 without The Rock Says covering the poster in fiery menace would be like passing up a chance to marinate a 20 ounce ribeye.

After Furious 7 grossed a lazy billion, Fast and Furious 8 will ride into theaters on April 14th, 2017. Get ready by revisiting Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, and Furious 7. Or you could just listen to the sound of a souped up Dodge Charger kick its horse legs out nearby.

The countdown to Bald Guy Mania has begun.