Rockie’s Vulcan Video Staff Picks #9
Rockie has been working at one of the last video stores standing, Vulcan Video in Austin, TX, for nearly a decade. The best part about working there is being able to share a recommendation with a customer. Sure, some of his recommendations have been shot down in flames, but the ones that hit always make it well worthwhile. For his Staff Picks, he has a few selections mined from the mighty Vulcan Video.
Rappers as actors?! Nas and DMX? Hell you say?! While the acting chops are not quite up to snuff, that does not stop Belly from being a beautiful work of urban art. Music video director Hype Williams makes his big screen debut with this gritty film about drugs, gangsters and redemption. Every shot in this film moves with such style and grace that you can easily forgive its shortcomings. As a Hip-Hop fan, seeing a verse from Nas' song "One Love" come to life as a scene in this is a dream come true. Oh yeah, the opening sequence using the vocals only track to Soul II Soul's single "Back to Life" belongs in the Library of Congress.
I do realize that everyone has seen Bloodsport so this is for the two people on Earth that have not. Van Damme and Cannon films collide to give us a hilarious and wildly entertaining film. Supposedly based on true events (yeah right) in martial artist Frank Dux's life, Bloodsport shows us the deadly full contact tournament known as the Kumite and Frank's determination to attend and win it. At a perfect run time of 1 hour and 32 minutes, Bloodsport gets right to it. You see Van Damme's ass, bones pop out of legs and a young Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker) is in full pursuit of our hero the whole time. Classic Canon Films action that should not be missed. Remember: "Chong Li is weak in the gut."
Kill Zone 2 (2015)
This is martial art cinema porn. Thailand, Korea and China with their distinct martial arts styles are on full display in this top tier action title that is hands down in the Top 3 for 2015. Each style, brandished by action stars Tony Jaa, Jing Wu and Jin Zhang, gets tons of love and exposure. The finale in this thing deserves awards for fight choreography because all of the actor's styles are on screen at once in one fight! Worth all your time for the final fight alone, but completely inspired throughout, do not miss Kill Zone 2. Oh, and seeing the first one is not needed, you can dive right in and have a complete blast.
Summer Wars (2009)
But I don't like anime! Well, you'll love this film damn it. It's a story about family that transcends the cartoon world it is bound to. When the family's uncle allows a program that the entire world utilizes (think Facebook x 100, one that could manage traffic lights and airplanes) to go rogue, everything goes belly up and creates global chaos. It is up to the family that created it to save the day. This rather large family must battle a crazy A.I. as a unit, bringing them closer together in the process. It's hilarious, intense, and rather heartwarming. If it moves you, I highly recommend director Mamoru Hosoda's entire filmography, because each film is loaded with the same amount of heart.
48 Hrs. (1982)
Nick Nolte, who sounds like he eats cigars, and Eddie Murphy, in his prime, collaborate to catch a dangerous murderer in a Walter Hill action-comedy. A hard-edged commentary on race relations as well, 48 Hrs. is a knockout that balances jokes, gunplay, racism, and fist fights perfectly. An odd marriage for sure, but trust me, this stew is cooked wonderfully and has aged rather well. Like Blazing Saddles before it, this is a film that could only exist in the decade of its release and should never be duplicated. Of course, now that I have said that, I'm sure some ass will try to remake it. Send all hate mail my way should this ever occur, but know this: the original isn't going anywhere and you should add it to your collection.