The Mechanic

Charles Bronson had a long career staring and co-staring in a bunch of great movies. “The Dirty Dozen.” “The Magnificent Seven.” “Death Wish.” “Hard Times.” One of my personal favorites is “The Mechanic.”

Never heard of it? Well, it’s coming out on dvd on October 8th and you owe it to yourself to at least check it out.

Bronson is a hit man… perhaps the best in the business. If he takes a job, the target is as good as dead. Jan Michael Vincent is the son of a mafioso who becomes Bronson‘s protoge… not knowing that Bronson has recently murdered his father…

The Mechanic” was directed by Michael Winner [who also directed Bronson in “Death Wish“] with a flair for action without compromising the story. [The opening scene shows Bronson setting up a hit and goes on for several minutes without a word of dialogue!] And although I won’t give it away, be prepared for a great “surprise” ending!

I’m looking forward to adding “The Mechanic” to my dvd collection. Watch it once, and odds are you will too!

The Mechanic” rates an A

Diesel’s Streak

Vin Diesel has a great streak going… Pitch BlackThe Fast and the Furious

…and now XXX.

All of these films are/will be in my dvd library.

With talks of sequels for both Pitch Black and XXX, Vin could actually join Sean Connery, Sly Stallone, and Harrison Ford who all have had TWO movie franchises going at the same time!

XXX works. Diesel is more than believable as the extreme sports junkie recruited to become a government agent. The set-up and “training” sequences are really fun and include some of the best scenes in the movie. [And ya gotta love how they show a James Bond type trying to survive in this “new world.] Samuel L. Jackson is always a plus and I hope that we get to see more of him [in action] in the sequel.

Vin Diesel‘s next film could be the sequel to Pitch Black followed by the sequel to XXX. Both of these are fan favorites so it looks like the streak will continue to grow…

… and so will my movie collection!

The Signs are There

The signs were all there.

M. Night Shyamalan had already written and directed the oh-so-cool “Sixth Sense” and the well done “Unbreakable.” Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix were set to co-star. M. Night was back as writer and director. The trailers were full of suspense, and left you wanting more. Yeah, the signs were all in place for a winner.

But you never know.

I saw “Signs” yesterday and it’s been on my mind constantly since. The story does involve aliens.. but probably not in the way that you’re expecting. It’s as much about family, redemption, and faith as it is aliens… and it is scaryvery scary at times! But it will also make you laugh, move you to the verge of tears, and more than likely leave you feeling very happy for seeing it.

This is my favorite movie of the year thus far. It rates a solid “A.” I think you’ll enjoy it to because…

… the signs are all there!

Mike Zeck’s “Get Carter” Prelim

If you’re looking through the SZ Art Gallery in order, then you saw Mike Zeck’s finished Jack Carter piece. [If you haven’t then you’re still in for a treat!] Mike also sent me this prelim that he worked up before doing the final version. Man, is he great or what?
Mike accepts commissions and you can see more of his work at his site. Please tell him I sent ya [and let us see what YOU get]!
– Craig Zablo (July 20, 2002)

"Reign of Fire" Rocks

I went to “Reign of Fire” hoping for an action-packed roller-coaster ride. I wasn’t counting on it, but I was hoping.

Reign of Fire” boasted a screenplay by three people [Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka, Matt Greenberg], that I’ve never heard of, starred Christian Bale, and Matthew McConaughey [neither considered “A” list stars], and was directed by Rob Bowman [who didn’t impress me with the “X-Files” movie]. The odds were that the film would be entertaining at best… the odds were wrong. This film rocks.

Bale did an excellent job in his role but McConaughey OWNED every scene he was in. The direction, production values, special effects were all top notch. I must admit that the ending did let me down a bit but not enough to stop me from adding this baby to my library when it is released on dvd.

Reign of Fire” rates a B+.

Sly by Sergio Toppi

Sergio Toppi is one of the Italian masters that people like Frank Miller, Bill Sienkiewicz, Mike Mignola, Walt Simonson, Mike Zeck, and many others go crazy for. Big John Beatty was raving about how nice this piece is when he saw it. And who could disagree?

It is pen and ink on Bristol board, about 13″ x18″ and it is currenty available for sale from Enrico who operates Red Sector Art. Enrico has one of the nicest art sites on the web. He respresents a wide variety of excellent artists (many are available for commissions) and his Frank Zappa site has provided me with the inspiration to put up a permanent StalloneZone Sly Art Gallery! (E-Mail me if you would like to contribute.) Check out Enrico’s Red Sector Art  and please let him know that you learned about it from the StalloneZone!

– Craig Zablo (April 28, 2002)

Artwork © Sergio Toppi

Hellboy Goes Green

Ain’t It Cool News has reported that the Hellboy movie based on Mike Mignola‘s fan favorite character, Hellboy, has been greenlit. Guillermo Del Toro (“Blade II“) is set to direct. Despite earlier reports that Vin Diesel might play Hellboy, it appears that Ron Pearlman will get the role instead. This is cool for a number of reasons, the first two being that 1) Pearlman was the first choice of both Mignola and Del Toro and 2) Pearlman is so right for the role! Filming begins this winter in Prague! You can get full details here.

Hellboy is one of the few comics that I buy EVERY time it comes out. Mignola never disappoints. Here are a couple of trade paperbacks that could help you get up to speed if you’ve missed out…

Hellboy: Seeds of Destruction

Hellboy: Conqueror Worm

Hellboy: Odd Jobs

I’m really excited about the prospects for the movie Hellboy. Del Toro is a fan of the comic, Mignola is working closely with him and Pearlman completes the trio. This could be really cool. I’ll keep ya posted!

Training Day Lives Up to Hype

I finally got an opportunity to see “Training Day” — what a powerful movie. No doubt, if you’re a movie fan, you’ve heard the hype. This is one movie that lives up to it.

Denzel Washington turns in a truly Oscar-worthy performance (his best yet, in my humble opinion). Ethan Hawke is excellent as well. While this movie isn’t for everyone, it is for my money one of the best movies that I’ve seen in months.

If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts… if you haven’t, consider it on your next trip to the video store. As for me, this baby is gonna end up in my personal collection!

“Training Day” rates an A+

“Training Day” is a Winner!

I finally got an opportunity to see “Training Day” — what a powerful movie. No doubt, if you’re a movie fan, you’ve heard the hype. This is one movie that lives up to it.

Denzel Washington turns in a truly Oscar-worthy performance (his best yet, in my humble opinion). Ethan Hawke is excellent as well. While this movie isn’t for everyone, it is for my money one of the best movies that I’ve seen in months.

If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts… if you haven’t, consider it on your next trip to the video store. As for me, this baby is gonna end up in my personal collection!

“Killer Inside Me” Coming But Who to Play Lou Ford?

Earlier this week Variety reported that Dominic Sena (“Gone in 60 Seconds”) will direct the 1952 pulp fiction classic “The Killer Inside Me” by Jim Thompson. While I didn’t care much for “Gone in 60 Seconds” because of the story, I am fairly excited about the prospects for “The Killer Inside Me.”

First of all, it’s an excellent book, considered by many to be Jim Thompson‘s best. Stanley Kubrick called it “the most chilling and believeable first-person story of a criminally warped mind that I have ever encountered.” I agree.

But who to play the main character, Lou Ford, a sheriff’s deputy with a psychopathic side? My vote would be for someone totally unexpected… someone like Sylvester Stallone! Fans have been wanting to see him play a bad guy… well, this could be the role. Whoever is chosen should be playing totally against character… someone that everyone would NEVER suspect is a psychopathic murderer… if not Sly then maybe Harrison Ford? At any rate… check out the book!

John Carpenter’s “Assault on Precinct 13”

I’ve been going through some old files lately and came across the picture above. It’s from a movie, directed by John Carpenter, called “Assault on Precinct 13.” Although a real low-bugeted film, it is one of Carpenter‘s best. The story concerns a small group of cops, office workers and convicts fighting for their lives in an abandoned police station under siege by a street gang.

The picture above is of Darwin Johnston who played a real hard case named Napoleon Wilson. I was surprised that Johnston didn’t do more of these types of roles. Tony Burton from the “Rocky” movies co-starred. The movie is worth a look if you enjoy action/adventure.

Two “Matrix” Movies and a “Riddick” Trilogy

“The Matrix: Reloaded” will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 15th which is the same day the film will be released worldwide. Man, I am so stoked for this movie. I don’t see how there is any way that it can be as good as the first… and to think that before the end of the year we’ll also get to see “The Matrix: Revolutions.”

And while we’re on the topic of movies I am really looking forward to… did you hear that Karl Urban, [“The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”] has joined the cast of the “Chronicles of Riddick,” which stars Vin Diesel? Thandie Newton [“Mission Impossible 2” “Shade”] is also in negotiations to join the cast. Thandie and Vin could make for a very interesting pair!

Now let’s see… Two Matrix movies released before the year is over… and a Riddick trilogy which begins filming in June.  Ah… life is good!

Hellboy Next for Del Toro

Countingdown posted an item from director Guillermo Del Toro who said “I hope Hellboy is my next movie… It’s difficult for me to get a $60 million dollar movie financed with Ron Perlman as the star, but I’m not giving up, since Mike Mignola and I think he is perfect for the part. If you want to know what the movie will look like, just go get the comic book. I will be as faithful as I can…Abe Sapien is such a characteristic figure, that we will basically have to do him completely artificial through puppetry and CG, to make him *exactly* as Mignola drew him. But I think his voice could either go the Kevin Spacey way or the Steve Buscemi way. Two total opposites that would nevertheless make the character interesting”. Thanks also to Dark Horizons.

Although there was some speculation early on that Vin Diesel would get the role of Hellboy, I think that Pearlman is also an excellent choice. He won’t bring in the inital crowd that Diesel. would, but if the movie rocks, the audience will find it!

 

Del Toro Wants Perlman for “Hellboy”

Countingdown posted an item from director Guillermo Del Toro who said…

“I hope Hellboy is my next movie… It’s difficult for me to get a $60 million dollar movie financed with Ron Perlman as the star, but I’m not giving up, since Mike Mignola and I think he is perfect for the part. If you want to know what the movie will look like, just go get the comic book. I will be as faithful as I can…Abe Sapien is such a characteristic figure, that we will basically have to do him completely artificial through puppetry and CG, to make him *exactly* as Mignola drew him. But I think his voice could either go the Kevin Spacey way or the Steve Buscemi way. Two total opposites that would nevertheless make the character interesting”.

Thanks also to Dark Horizons.

Although there was some speculation early on that Vin Diesel would get the role of Hellboy, I think that Pearlman is also an excellent choice. He won’t bring in the inital crowd that Diesel. would, but if the movie rocks, the audience will find it!