Screen Junkies » John Woo Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Sun, 14 Sep 2014 20:59:28 +0000 en hourly 1 The 7 Greatest Undercover Badasses in Movie History Fri, 01 Feb 2013 02:04:32 +0000 Lee Keeler In honor of the crime thriller Snitch...

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Back-stabbing revenge, gut-wrenching suspense and putting a bullet in a trusted confidant: all in a day’s work for an undercover badass. From Serpico to Donnie Brasco, the hallmarks of the covert hero require deep emotional commitment, a versatile wardrobe and the ability to blend in with questionable fortitude. That ability will come in handy for Dwayne Johnson’s character in the upcoming action-thriller Snitch. In the film, Johnson plays a father who is forced to infiltrate a drug cartel in order to clear the name of his wrongly convicted son. And as with the other undercover badasses on this list, one wrong move could cost him his life.

In celebration of the release of Summit Entertainment’s crime thriller Snitch, opening in theaters February 22nd, we’re proud to bring you seven of the greatest undercover badasses in movie history.

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed

By the time the American remake of Infernal Affairs rolled around, DiCaprio was already widely-celebrated for his skills; but it wasn’t until audiences saw him doing push-ups between prison bunks that he carved out his first proper badass. Given the circumstances, it could have been easy for any actor to overplay the role of William Costigan, but DiCaprio brings a level of grace and sadness to level off the character’s grit and ferocity. Even more badass: DiCaprio actively declined campaigning for any awards for Best Supporting Actor that year as to avoid stepping on the toes of his co-stars.

Johnny Depp, Donnie Brasco

Getting in “too deep” is a common theme in many undercover films. After all, putting yourself at risk is what going undercover is all about. But what happens when you form a legitimate friendship with the men you’re supposed to be infiltrating. Things quickly get complicated for Donnie Brasco when he realizes that doing his job will most likely result in his friend’s death.

Toshiro Mifune, The Bad Sleep Well

Mifune’s performance as Koichi Nishi is a rarity in that it doesn’t employ the slam-bang tactics of many of his cohorts seen on this list. His stoic nerd slowly unveils the vengeance of a son scorned by one of the most powerful corporations in Japan through tactics of seduction, espionage and psychological torture. Mifune played numerous lively punkers in his lifetime, particularly in the realm of samurai lore, but this character seethes in his rage, striking only after his prey is at the brink of madness. Case in point: Nishi corners one of his targets on the window ledge from which his father died, calming the man down by offering whiskey that he later reveals is “poisoned”. The mark collapses, driven insane by the ordeal. Nasty!

Keanu Reeves, Point Break

This is simple story about a former Ohio State quarterback named Johnny Utah. For an F-!B-!I!-Agent!, Johnny maintains the most suspicious bromance with Patrick Swayze’s Bodhi this side of “Brokeback Mountain”. He allows his bleach-blonde nemesis to escape an aqueduct face-off, jump out of an airplane and eventually surf himself to death. At various points in the film, Bodhi’s potency in performing extreme sports counteracts the hobbling ethics of Reeves’ lawman. Johnny, like, totally buries his heart at wounded knee.

Kevin Spacey, The Usual Suspects

Have you ever seen Kevin Spacey try to act like a badass? It doesn’t work. But Spacey as a schlepp? That’s Oscar gold. The writing/directing on “Suspects” lay formidable groundwork for Spacey to perform as the keystone for an impeccably oddball cast. His bumbling Verbal Kint acts as a tender foil to a constant stream of roughneck freakouts. With little more than his wits, this badass knows that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing Chazz Palmenteri that he didn’t exist.

Chevy Chase, Fletch

Light years ahead of the Twitter-quip generation, Chase is at the peak of his powers, dishing out maximum smarm before turding up his career with JTT movies. What makes this role fairly badass is that it is one of the last of a dying breed: that of the snoopy, investigative newspaper reporter. What makes it particularly badass is that Chase has a ball conjuring up characters with names like Dr. Rosenpenis, Dr. Babar and Mr. Poon. The actor has gone on record as saying this was his favorite role, given that director Michael Ritchie often took multiple takes and allowed Chase to riff with whatever came off the top of his dome.

Nicolas Cage, Face/Off

“Castor Troy” is a pretty distinct – if not altogether awful – name. Despite this and other cringe-worthy moments that face-swipe to show affection, Nic Cage keeps John Woo’s ‘97 hit from teetering into cornball territory. Cage’s Castor Troy is the kind of guy who can talk an undercover agent into sucking his tongue. He poses as a priest so he can plant a dirty bomb and goose choir members. He switches sunglasses for no reason. And he delivers a more badass John Travolta impersonation than Dana Carvey.

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Woo’s ‘The Killer’ To Be Remade In The Third Dimension Mon, 31 Jan 2011 22:05:45 +0000 Penn Collins John Woo's 1989 'The Killer' is being remade in English and given the 3-D treatment.

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John Woo’s 1989 The Killer, remains, two decades later, one of the most lauded and iconic entries into the Asian “shoot-’em-up” genre. So naturally, it’s being remade in English and given the 3-D treatment. This announcement from the dubiously-named Essential Entertainment (via Deadline) states:

Essential Entertainment has joined Lion Rock Productions in its remake of THE KILLER in 3D, currently in pre-production, which will be directed by John H. Lee (A Moment to Remember, Saying Good-bye Oneday) and written by Josh Campbell. Jung Woo-Sung (Reign of Assassins, The Good, The Bad, The Weird) will star in this English language re-telling of John Woo’s iconic action masterpiece, with additional cast to be announced shortly. The film will be produced by Woo (Face/Off, Mission: Impossible II) and Terence Chang under their Lion Rock Productions banner.

Of course, the release doesn’t say what the movie is actually about, so allow me: A hitman grows weary of his profession, and, during a crisis of conscience, accepts one last job in order to collect money to right a wrong he made earlier in his life.

While remakes of this type have been all over the map, the remake of Infernal Affairs into a quiet little film called The Departed may have gotten studios back on the bandwagon that they were quick to hop off of in the late 1990′s. Further, given Woo‘s track record recently, it could be seen as a blessing that he isn’t sitting in the director’s chair on this one. Perhaps the hiring of John H. Lee will save moviegoers from the agony of another Paycheck.

The producers have appeared to stay true to the film’s roots in another regard as well, hiring a domesticall unknown Asian actor in the lead. While this move may wind up hurting the film’s marketing efforts, it suggests that the project won’t be reduced to another watered-down American action film, instead relying more on the sensibilities of its Asian roots.

Quietly, dove wranglers and gold-plated pistol manufacturers rejoice.

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