For Your Home Viewing Pleasure: September 3, 2013

Combing Amazon’s latest releases for all the best new action-oriented releases in DVD and Blu-ray.now you see me blu-ray

The biggest release of the week by far is Louis Letterier’s Now You See Me, the magic-themed heist flick starring Morgan Freeman, Common, Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Michael Caine, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco.

How is it possible that a movie featuring Dwayne Johnson, Liam Hemsworth and Emma Roberts didn’t get a wide theatrical release as was the case with Empire State? Maybe it’s because, cool as the movie looks, Johnson just doesn’t fit in with the 70s period piece aesthetic of the film.Revolution_S1_BLU_f

TV-wise, Person of Interest: Season Two, Revolution: The Complete First Season, Spartacus: War of the Damned – The Complete Third Season, Da Vinci’s Demons: The Complete First Season and Sinbad: Season One are all available now.

WB has a 20th Anniversary The Fugitive Blu-ray to check out, but there aren’t any special features listed.

We haven’t seen Mulan: Rise of a Warrior, but seeing this movie for sale on Amazon lead us to the above trailer and now it’s definitely on our to-watch list.hard target blu

Hey, Jean-Claude Van Damme fans both Hard Target and Sudden Death now have fancy new Blu-ray versions. Note that both of these are all regions import discs that come with zero special features, so they might not actually be very fancy.

You guys like multi-packs? We here at Explosions Are Rad LOVE them. As you might expect we’re all over 4 Film Favorites: The Matrix Collection (BD) [Blu-ray] (basically the same thing as the DVD version that’s been out for a while) and the Dusk Till Dawn Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack which features the three movies as well as Full Tilt Boogie, a documentary shot during filming of Robert Rodriguez’s initial film.

We’re also interested in multipacks with less well known films like Echo Bridge’s 8-Film Fast Action [Blu-ray] which includes People I Know, Ordinary Decent Criminal, Malevolent, Albino Alligator, David Cronenberg’s Existenz, B. Monkey, Dolph Lundgren’s Men Of War and Sean Bean’s Bravo Two Zero.sharknado poster

Finally, if you just can’t get enough Sharknado on Syfy, you can now buy your own copy for repeated watching.

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BULLET POINTS: HOT ROUNDS OF INFORMATION GOODNESS

2 guns poster For the second week in a row, an action film won the box office. Two weekends back it was The Wolverine, last week it was 2 Guns! Congrats all around!

gi joe retaliation blu-ray

Speaking of action films making money, THR pointed out that G.I. Joe: Retaliation topped home video sales after premiering last week.

elysium matt damonIf you want to check out 33 images from Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium featuring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, head on over to Hero Complex.

American Sniper bookLike most of the Hollywood news sites out there, Deadline reported that Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks have pulled out of adapting Navy Seal Chris Kyle’s American Sniper for the big screen.

expendables 2 stallone schwarzenegger willis

The other day, Sylvester Stallone announced that Harrison Ford would be replacing Bruce Willis in The Expendables 3. THR reports a rumor that Willis wouldn’t agree to shoot for four days in Bulgaria for $3 million (he wanted another mill apparently). We guess this is what Sly meant when he said “GREEDY AND LAZY …… A SURE FORMULA FOR CAREER FAILURE”

300-rise-of-an-empire

Finally, in news that’s not surprising to anyone, 300: Rise Of An Empire, the navally oriented sequel to 300, got an R-rating from the MPAA. [via SHH]

Rad Review: Parker (2013)

Parker Poster

I’m a big fan of Jason Statham. Not only can this guy rumble with the best action stars in the business (as we’ve seen in the Expendables flicks), but he’s also got a versatility that allows him to work in all kinds of action sub-genres. There’s the high octane craziness of the Crank and Transporter movies, more low key outings like The Bank Job and even a brief foray into fantasy action with Uwe Boll’s In The Name Of The King (the only film of Statham’s I haven’t been able to finish).

Parker fits somewhere in the crime/revenge arena as Statham plays the title character, a thief who gets screwed out of his cut on a job by Melander (Michael Chiklis) and their crew. Left for dead, Statham does who he does best: gets better. After healing up from a gunshot wound, Parker goes on a crusade to get his money back and a little revenge along the way.

parker the hunter

If that character sounds familiar, it’s because Parker has had quite the life in fiction. He started out as a character in novels written by Richard Stark (actually Donald Westlake) back in 1962’s The Hunter. In addition to appearing in 24 novels as a hard nosed criminal who gets what he wants no matter what, Parker made the leap to film in 1966’s Made in USA. Other notable adaptations include Point Blank from 1967 starring Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson’s appearance as the character in 1999’s Payback. As it happens, 2013’s Parker is the first film to actually use the character’s name, the others changed it for various reasons. Darwyn Cooke has also adapted some of the books as graphic novels which have proven very popular and won several awards in the field.

payback

Even though he’s been around a long time, I’m not actually very familiar with the character of Parker. I’ve never read the books or the graphic novels, so my only exposure is the one time I saw Payback soon after it came out. This was before Mel Gibson went crazy and it was still okay to like him. I dug that movie because his character — Porter — was so single minded. He had been similarly betrayed and wanted a very specific amount of money back, no more and certainly no less.

That aspect of the character came through with Statham’s interpretation of Parker in this film directed by Taylor Hackford (Proof Of Life), though they made him a bit softer. He’s got a girlfriend  who he isn’t too bad too and he’s fairly nice to the down-on-her-luck real estate agent played by Jennifer Lopez. Even though he does still use her as a pawn in his game, he’s not a bastard about it. This isn’t a criticism, just something that might not sit well with Parker Purists.

My actual criticism of this movie is that it doesn’t add much to the crime-revenge drama. You get scenes of betrayal and revenge for sure and the opening heist set at the Ohio State Fair was fun, but this movie felt pretty been-there-done-that. There are fun highlights though. Statham throws down a few times, though this isn’t really a fighting movie. He also puts on a ridiculous Texan accent that’s supposed to fool Jennifer Lopez’s character.

Far from his best efforts, Statham still brings this boring and overly complicated script up from where it wold have been with a less dynamic actor. He does the best with what he’s got, but it’s not a whole lot.