In this edition of “Cross the Streams” there is a lot on the action front across the streaming services. With The Rock, Cro-Magnon Man, lions, and Denzel! If you’re in the mood for tense, fun, and crazy visuals, check out some of these.
“The Rundown”- In this 2003 film by director Peter Berg, you get everything you need in an action film, likable characters in The Rock, Seann William Scott, and Rosario Dawson. A fun villain played by the legendary Christopher Walken, and one set piece after the other of superb action sequences and smooth hour and forty minute running time that is just enough to leave you wanting more, but satisfied with what you get.
“Training Day”- In the role that won him the Oscar, Denzel rules as this cop who may or may not be on the wrong side of the law as he introduces rookie Ethan Hawke to the world of corruption and street justice. This one is still tense and has a great build-up that leads to an epic conclusion.
“Jessica Jones”- This latest in the Marvel TV series is about as dark as the previous show “Daredevil”, but certainly more mature aka: tons of sexual situations . This follows Jessica Jones portrayed brilliantly and surprisingly by Krysten Ritter as a emotionally scarred P.I. with superpowers. Her nemesis is the wickedly evil Kilgrave (David Tennant) who has the power to force you to do whatever he says. As one of the best and most disturbing villains in the Marvel Universe this one is worth the 13 Episode journey. While it does slow down quite a bit by episode 9, it picks up for the last two to close strong.
“Caveman”- Back in the ancient days of video, I discovered this silly comedy of life in B.C. times. With former Beatle Ringo Starr as Atouk a small caveman with big dreams of winning the affection of Lana (Barbara Bach) while trying to avoid confrontation with the large aggressive Tonda (John Matuszak). It’s goofy fun, with the stop-motion dinosaurs and simple story elements. But try not to quote the 20-some-odd caveman words in everyday conversation.
“The Ghost and the Darkness”- This is an awesome adventure/thriller from the late 90’s, based on a the true story of a pair of lions that terrorized a village. Both lead performances work really well with Michael Douglas as the old hunter and Val Kilmer as the bridge engineer who is ready to defend his work with a rifle.
“Bone Tomahawk”- This wild west flick from last year has a fantastic mustached Kurt Russell as a small town sheriff tracking some kidnapped townspeople who were taken by mysterious natives. It’s a bit of a slog as most of the film is a Lord of the Rings style journey. What helps is the actors who help Russell carry it along, Matthew Fox, Patrick Wilson, and the always enjoyable Richard Jenkins. Just be aware, there will be some grizzly images in the film that will hard to erase from your mind once you’ve seen them.
“The Way of the Gun”- This is one of my favorite lesser known films by “The Usual Suspects” writer Christopher McQuarrie in his directorial debut in 2000. His next would be 12 years later with Tom Cruise in “Jack Reacher” (also underrated). But even this far back you can see how McQuarrie was not content with making a typical action film. Sure there is a kidnapping, car chases, shootouts, bad guys all around, and millions of dollars at stake, but there is so many original elements on these conventional riffs that truly make this film an underrated classic. Plus there is still the outstanding performances by Ryan Phillippe, James Caan, Juliette Lewis, and Benicio Del Toro with some of the best rapid-fire cursing from Sarah Silverman, who’s character name, I kid you not, is ‘Raving Bitch’.
–Robert L. Castillo