Impact’s Mike Leeder puts down the remote control and puts on his reading glasses to peruse a little light reading before bedtime: ‘The Good, The Tough & The Deadly‘…
The Good, The Tough & The Deadly is a massive study on action and martial arts movies. Clocking in at 560 pages, the book compiles reviews from author David J Moore, Zack Carson, Mike McBeardo McPadden and the man they call Vern (Ain’t It Cool News, Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass Kicking Films of Steven Seagal and Yippie Ki-Yay Moviegoer) as well as interviews with a number of actors, actresses, directors, choreographers and Coordinators and more who have made a mark on the action and martial arts genres.
David J Moore’s book impresses for a number of reasons, not least of which being its weight: filled with interviews, reviews and photos it could be used as a deadly weapon in an action movie itself! The cover artwork – reminiscent of a thousand 80s VHS covers – sets the tone and got me some bemused looks as I sat down in a hotel coffee shop to take a look at the book. Several coffees later and with a big smile on my face I closed the book and reached for the laptop to order copies of several films that were featured in the book that I didn’t have in my collection. (Mr Moore I shall sending you the bill!)
The book begins with a Foreword by veteran Stunt Maestro Craig R Baxley, director of classic’s Action Jackson, Stone Cold, and of course Dark Angel, and it’s no average “this is a great book, read it‘ foreword. Baxley talks about his enthusiasm for the book and the action genre, while dropping snippets of cool stories from his own life in action, as he discusses work on Predator, Action Jackson, Dark Angel, Stone Cold and more…(Mr Baxley we need a book about your life and times!)
This is all followed by an introduction from the book’s author and driving force David J Moore who talks about how his fascination with action and martial arts genre began, and what these films mean to him. He touches upon the process of putting together the project and why certain stars are featured in the book and why certain people aren’t. This is focused on the action hero, not the actor who occasionally plays the action hero and while it explores the martial arts genre too, it can’t cover everything or everyone from that genre and it’s those that got the international attention and impact that are covered.
There’s more than a thousand reviews in the book, including a brief mention of what format they watched the film on be it DVD or VHS… Bloodsport to Double Impact, Tango & Cash to Terminator, Above the Law to Zero Tolerence and almost everything in-between! The reviews vary from a quick overview to a more in-depth review. Although there are a few films I think deserved a bit more of a detailed discussion, it’s all good and it’s interesting to see how the various reviewers appraise certain movies. There are some movies that you would expect a negative or positive review for, that are reviewed here and have me wanting to re-visit and re-evaluate. (Have I really been under-appreciating Van Damme’s Derailed movie for all these years? While the slick DVD premiere Time Cop 2: The Berlin Decision – which I really rate – is dismissed as a bore?David, I will be waiting outside for you to settle this like men!) A number of the reviews are also enlivened by some choice quotes from the movies themselves.
Among the interviews there’s fun and informative chats with Action Jackson and Apollo Creed himself Carl Weathers, American Ninja Michael Dudikoff, Angel Town and Nemesis star Olivier Gruner, One Million Klicks’ hero Mike Moeller, Avenging Force Director Sam Firstenberg, Undisputed and Ninja helmer Isaac Florentine, King of the Kickboxers Billy Blanks and Loren Avedon, Bloodsport 2‘s Daniel Bernhardt, Strike Commando‘s Reb Brown, China O’Brien herself Cynthia Rothrock, Dark Angel‘s Matthias Hues, Kill Bill‘s Zoe Bell, Drive‘s Steve Wang, fight choreographer James Lew, Triple Impact‘s Dale Cook, Fist of the North Star‘s Gary Daniels, Boyka himself Scott Adkins, Kickboxer 2‘s Sasaha Mitchell, director Jesse Johnson, Only the Strong‘s Mark Dacascos and the late Darren Shahlavi (Ip Man 2, Bloodmoon) and many more.
The Good The Tough & The Deadly gets the thumbs up from Impact – we’ll be revisiting many a movie featured in the book after reading it. Congrats to David and his team for providing a great ‘high impact high octane’ reading experience!
The Good The Tough & The Deadly is available to order from; http://www.schifferbooks.com/the-good-the-tough-the-deadly-action-movies-stars-1960sa-present-5871.html