Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Who is more badass?

Richard 'Ninja' Harrison, star of innumerable Godfrey Ho cinematic cut-and-shut ninja epics...like this one.


Richard 'Old Man' Harrison, star of History Channel's 'Pawn Stars' and mainstay of Las Vegas' Gold & Silver Pawn shop?

...I have to say, as much as I love ninja movies, the Old Man's just shading this one for me, probably due to his pearl of wisdom about the prerequisites for calling yourself a man. Having said that, he does lack the ability to disappear into thin air or magically change into a full ninja costume (plus eyeliner) in just a split-second puff of smoke.

Still, this intriguing battle could make the basis for an interesting crossover film...imagine somebody comes into the G&S pawn shop and sells the Golden Ninja Warrior statue. After having had a buddy who is an expert look at it...

...and then totally lowballed the seller on the price...

...the shop buys the statue. Then, having seen said statue on the TV show, the remaining members of the Ninja Empire from which it was stolen resolve to liberate it from the pawn shop by fair means or foul, whereby it is discovered that ninja Richard Harrison is actually a distant relative of the Pawn Stars Harrisons, and he joins his long lost brethren in the almighty struggle to rout the fiendish evil ninjas from Las Vegas.

Think about it...it would be like Ocean's Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen, PLUS Ninjas. What's not to love?

Joking aside, I wonder how much that Golden Ninja Warrior would actually be worth if it ever came on the market? I'm pretty sure it's not made out of real gold, but discerning film geeks everywhere would still want it, that's for sure.

Ownership would also mean you could also totally mug Steven Spielberg off if you wanted to. After all, he only owns 'Rosebud' from Citizen Kane, which I think we can all agree is a distant second in terms of cinematic prestige when compared to the Golden Ninja Warrior statue, and the incredible powers of invincibility and imperviousness to all harm (except a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick) that it can bestow.

Anyway, all things considered, the undisputed winner of this contest is definitely Richard Harrison. Hands down.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

BRONSON'S LOOSE! The Making Of The Death Wish Films

Bronson's Loose! The Making Of The Death Wish Films
By Paul Talbot
Foreword by Andrew Stevens
161 pages B&w
$15.95 US
Published by iUniverse

I've wanted to pick this one up for a while now, but the price was never 'right' for me (more on that later), so
I was very pleased to be able to source a copy from Ebay for under a fiver, postage included.

The book itself is a medium sized softback and just 161 pages thick, but boy does it look cool. Awesome full colour artwork from Death Wish 3, beautifully cropped and composed. As soon as I saw this online, I knew
I wanted it, and I have to say that this is one of those situations whereby you can judge the book by its' cover.

I love the original Death Wish movie, which is an undisputed classic, and I also have a soft spot for the sort of schlocky
action movies the sequels transmogrified into. Also, whilst I know some people can't stand him, I like Michael Winner because he
always speaks his mind, however unpopular that may be. Throw in the extremely colourful duo known as 'The Go-Go Boys' (the Cannon figureheads Golan and Globus),
and you have a very interesting mix.

The one notable absentee in the roster of interviewees is Charles Bronson, for obvious reasons, but I find this just adds to his enigmatic 'man of few words' persona.

It's exhaustively researched, and the author has interviewed a number of people related to the numerous films, including cast, crew, and upper-level production people.
Each film has a dedicated chapter, plus there are two Appendixes which detail the casts, crews, and plots of the films, plus the soundtracks. It's an easy and engrossing read.
Of particular interest are the various rejected concepts for the sequels, and various alternate endings and casting possibilities.

My favourite part? There are loads, but the peach has to be the anecdote regarding the MPAA appeals process for Death Wish 3 '...when director Michael Winner complained that Death Wish 3 was
given an X rating because it had 63 killings while the R-rated Rambo had 80 killings, the woman at the ratings board explained that most of those
killed in Rambo are Vietnamese."

Jaw dropping, ain't it? I think that merits the description 'Cartmanesque'.

Paul Talbot's book really only has one flaw...there's not enough of it! I can quite happily overlook the fact that all the pictures are in black and white, but for
me, this book was over far too quickly. I guess I should just learn to pace myself a little better.

If you like the Death Wish films, this is a must buy...it's that simple. If not, don't.

It's currently available for somewhere between £8-£10 on Amazon, which is a little more reflective of the US dollar cover price of $15.95...I seem to remember it being something like £16 when I first became aware of it,
hence I didn't buy it. Is it value for money? If you like Death Wish, then yes it is. It is a fleeting, all too brief pleasure, but a pleasure all the same.

All in all, I'm really rather pleased with my purchase here. My copy won't be finding itself back on Ebay anytime soon.