Monday, April 23, 2012

ACTION CAPSULES: Bare Knuckles and Diamond Cutters

Thanks to things like ActionFest and friends who send me box upon box of men's adventure novels, the Summer of Action has basically turned into the 366 Days of Action. Between reading and watching – plus the added factors of real life and, oh yeah, the Stanley Cup playoffs – I realized it's almost impossible to write full-blown reviews of everything I consume.

Introducing 'Action Capsules', a new ER blog segment featuring quickie write-ups of action movies, books, comics and whatever else lands in my hands. First up are capsules of two action flicks worth catching that are currently streaming on Netflix.

Checked out BARE KNUCKLES, an oddball 1977 "bounty hunter stalks serial killer" flick with 70s tv vet Robert Viharo as "Zach Kane" and Michael Heit as a kung-fuing socialite who is actually a disturbed slasher with a mommy complex. A departure from the over-the-top sleazery of his ILSA flicks, it was written/directed by Don Edmonds and is packed with fights and bared boobs and lots of smoking and staring by Viharo. It's like a weird, dark tv pilot filled with gay jokes, kung-fu and blackmailing gangs. Worth checking out.

Had to keep feeding the action jones so I went with 2005's THE CUTTER starring Chuck Norris as an ex-cop-turned-PI, Bernie "Sigfried" Koppel as an Auschwitz survivor/master jeweler and Joanna Pacula as Koppel's niece/biz partner. When an excavation in the Sinai desert yields legendary stones of Biblical origin, they end up (naturally) in Spokane, Washington where Dirk (Daniel Bernhardt) kidnaps Koppel and forces him to cut the stones. When Shep Shepherd (Norris) saves Elizabeth (Pacula) from a diamond heist he ends up helping find her uncle. Director William Tannen (FLASHPOINT, THE HERO AND THE TERROR) keeps the flick moving and the action snappy. Unlike Steven Seagal's recent flicks, Norris knows his limitations and doesn't make his character some sort of indestructible superman who can't be hurt by the younger, flashier Dirk. Fun!

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