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The B Action Movie Thread
CONTEMPORARY ICONS VOL 1 PART 2: SVEN-OLE THORSEN



Getting steady work in the movie business often takes long hours of enduring endless auditions, and for many women endless hours of sleeping with producers. But some actors have figured out a way to bypass that nonsense and sustain a career by being good friends with a superstar. This was the shrewd strategy undertaken by Sven-Ole Thorsen, who has spun his friendship with Arnold Schwarzenegger to appear in many of the most beloved films of the last quarter century.

Whether he is playing a “mercenary” in LETHAL WEAPON or “Henchman #2” in LETHAL WEAPON 3 Thorsen is often only given precious few seconds to apply his trade. But he’s been able to take the material he’s been given and make wonders happen. His iconic status can clearly be justified by his following credits:

THE RUNNING MAN: Providing Richard Dawson with all the security he thought he needed, Thorsen is lineless for most of this story about the most violent game show since “Password.” What’s remarkable about his performance is the sensitivity displayed when he backs down from a fight with Arnold simply because his boss made a harsh insult involving Sven’s possible steriod use. Don’t feel bad for Sven, he would later utilize his skills as a security guard in MALLRATS.

CAPTAIN POWER AND THE SOLDIERS OF THE FUTURE: In the late 80’s Sven took a break from the world of film to play Lt. Tank Ellis in this short lived Saturday morning sci-fi extravaganza. The show’s hook was that toys could be purchased and used by children (and sad adults) to interact with the program. When the bad guys appeared on screen you could shoot them and vice-versa. Why this idea didn’t catch on I’ll never know. Who among us would not want a device to shoot our televisions when “Will and Grace” is on. Sometimes just changing the channel isn’t good enough.

HARLEY DAVIDSON AND THE MARLBORO MAN: Not many men in this world can say they have stood side by side with Daniel Baldwin wearing matching leather trench coats while firing automatic weapons at Don Johnson and Mickey Rourke. Thorsen can say he did just that in a performance that was cut tragically short due to a shotgun blast to the chest from Big John Studd.

HARD TARGET: This time Thorsen once again lets his wardrobe do the talking as one of the hunters who vies for the honor of killing homeless advocate Chance Boudreaux. I always felt bad for the guy in this film because he is shot a half dozen times by Van Damme and THEN is kicked in the face. Sorry ‘bout the shirt indeed Sven.

ON DEADLY GROUND: As Michael Caine’s pain dispenser Otto, Thorsen takes silent joy in torturing an old man who threatens to expose Caine’s plan to cover Alaska entirely in oil. But when you help kill an acquaintance of Steven Seagal you best be prepared to suffer a massive beating. A beating delivered by the hands, coincidentally enough, of Steven Seagal.

GLADIATOR: There aren’t many things Thorsen has over his good buddy Arnold, but one thing he can brag about is appearing in a Best Picture winner. Who better to play the role of Tiger, who duels with both Russell Crowe and the animals who share his name, in one of the film’s most thrilling sequences. Again Sven shows his vulnerability as he stares up at Crowe’s Maximus and with only his face expresses the emotion of “Please don’t cut my head off.”

I’d like to think that when all is said and done Thorsen can look himself in the mirror and realize that he was more than just a friend of Arnold. He has left his own mark on the world of film and can truly be called a Contemporary Icon.
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That was a great read.

The list is a little selective though. What about Thorsen's major role in Best of the Best 4, and his scene-stealing turn as "Machine Gun Mongol" in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle? Not to mention co-starring with the governor of Minnesota in Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe.
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I'd like to use the Contemporary Icon pulpit to go over a few highlights of an artist's career and then let others mention what they find special about that particular artist.

I'll take your word on BEST OF THE BEST 4 for it is the one chapter in that saga that I have yet to see. Part 3 left me with mixed emotions but should I see part 4 pop up on cable I'll give it a try for Sven, and I guess Ernie Hudson.

I also haven't seen ABRAXUS, though I love the plot:

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An alien "policeman" (Abraxas) arrives on Earth to apprehend a renegade of his own race who impregnates a woman with a potentially-destructive mutant embryo.

With Sven playing a character named Secundus how bad could it be?
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Moltisanti, you kick ass. You left one of my favorite Sven performances off your list: Bodyguard for Guado from Ace Ventura in A Low Down Dirty Shame. How about that movie? I fuckin' love it. Keenan Ivory Wayans' homage to film noir and the detective genre scores. I always wanted a sequel: A Low Down Dirtier Shame, but alas, it wasn't to be. Instead he went ahead and made Most Wanted which disappointed the hell out of me.

F.T.W. Kid
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Quote:

Originally Posted by FTW Kid

Moltisanti, you kick ass. You left one of my favorite Sven performances off your list: Bodyguard for Guado from Ace Ventura in A Low Down Dirty Shame. How about that movie? I fuckin' love it. Keenan Ivory Wayans' homage to film noir and the detective genre scores. I always wanted a sequel: A Low Down Dirtier Shame, but alas, it wasn't to be. Instead he went ahead and made Most Wanted which disappointed the hell out of me.

F.T.W. Kid

I was really disappointed by A Low Down Dirty Shame. I loved Keenan on In Living Color, but in this film he fails to generate much in the way of laughs, similar to brother Damon's bland turn in The Last Boy Scout.
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No laughs? Are you kidding? Different strokes, I guess. I agree, Damon is pretty bland in The Last Boy Scout but he doesn't ruin the movie at all. It would take a lot to ruin that awesome film.

F.T.W. Kid
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Most Wanted has one of my all-time favourite one-liners...

Wayans is stood on an overhead walkway and he takes out the main bad guy with a rifle before declaring loudly, in his toughest black man voice, "Sometimes I plan shit!"

Also, congrats Moltisanti. Sven-Ole Thorsen is one of the most recognisable "Hey, its that guy!" actors in these kinds of films. Having recently re-watched Harley Davidson and being a long-term fan of The Running Man and especially Hard Target, he's a guy who I love seeing appear cos a) you know he's gonna die (most of the time) and b) when he does, you always wish he'd made it a bit further. That he's one of the first of the "pussies" in kevlar to get dispatched in Harley is a crime.
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Damon being dissed for THE LAST BOY SCOUT? That's my favorite cinema contribution made by a Wayans.

I dug LOW DOWN DIRTY SHAME. I thought it was cool how Keenen went from spoofing stuff like SHAFT and SUPERFLY in I'M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA to making a movie that was a bit of an updated version of those with SHAME. But then between THE GLIMMER MAN and MOST WANTED Wayans started to lose that spirit which truly is a shame (ouch!).
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Quote:

Originally Posted by sackley

Most Wanted has one of my all-time favourite one-liners...

Wayans is stood on an overhead walkway and he takes out the main bad guy with a rifle before declaring loudly, in his toughest black man voice, "Sometimes I plan shit!"

Maybe I should watch it all the way through some day. Did it go to theaters?
I wish Keenan hadn't given up acting though. He was fantastic in I'm Gonna Get You Sucka (one of the funniest movies ever). Now he just produces shitty movies.


In other news I strongly advise that no one watch Mark Dacascos' new DTV flick The Hunt for Eagle One.


This is one of the most boring B movies I've ever seen. None of the characters are given any personality at all and the plot is beyond generic. To its credit the location (Hawaii? Phillipines?) looks good and the action seems fairly realistic in a CNN footage sort of way, although it's anything but cinematic. And Dacascos doesn't even bust any moves. What's the point?
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I was wondering when we'd get your take on that one. I'll be sure to steer clear. Rutger really has the "floppy neck-skin" thing going on in that cover shot.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Moltisanti

Damon being dissed for THE LAST BOY SCOUT? That's my favorite cinema contribution made by a Wayans.

Last Boy Scout is a great flick, but I think Damon is the weakest link. Well, maybe the daughter. Damon just seems ill at ease trying to do serious stuff. You don't really prefer that role over Keenan in Sucka do you?


I'd do a full review for Eagle One but there's no point, and at any rate I wasn't able to stay awake until the end. Hauer is just cashing a check (and seems a bit embarrassed) as a cliche general and captured aviator Theresa Randle is so hopelessly wooden I kept losing her in the foliage. B action fans will know her from Spawn and the Bad Boys films, which evidently weren't a stepping stone to the big time.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Desslar

Last Boy Scout is a great flick, but I think Damon is the weakest link. Well, maybe the daughter. Damon just seems ill at ease trying to do serious stuff. You don't really prefer that role over Keenan in Sucka do you?

They're different types of roles. They're both good but I'll take Damon in SCOUT because he's just the perfect match for Willis' hard livin' private Eye.

Poor Theresa Randle. I remember when she was supposed to be the next big thing before GIRL 6 came out. If only actresses could find a way to not turn 40. Someone tell Viveca A. Fox to slow down her ageing process quick!
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Moltisanti

Poor Theresa Randle. I remember when she was supposed to be the next big thing before GIRL 6 came out. If only actresses could find a way to not turn 40. Someone tell Viveca A. Fox to slow down her ageing process quick!

You're too late on Fox. She's already in her 40s. But that didn't stop her from landing a role in Van Damme's Hard Corps.

I think though that the cut-off age for actresses is 35, or so I read in a big article in the New York Times a couple years ago. It's difficult to find actresses over 35 with leading roles in major studio productions. There's Nicole Kidman and... maybe a couple others.

I've always thought being a Hollywood actress seems like a rather depressing profession. Even if you have Oscar caliber acting skills you have to flaunt your sexuality as long as you look good, and as soon as you get a little wrinkly you're put out to pasture or stuck in generally crappy supporting roles.
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They should move to europe where there's no stigma there, well, not according to Charlotte Rampling at least.

Just watch Sunset Boulevard for a really depressing look at what happens to an actress when she's no longer in the limelight, chilling stuff.
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Rampling isn't alone, either. Catherine Deneuve and Emmanuelle Béart have said the same thing. European actresses have a much longer shelf life than American ones. It's a crime the way Hollywood still treats women. Once they're no longer useful as the sex object for the hero in an action film aimed at 14 year old boys, there's no more use for them.
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It's even more ruthless the lower you get.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Nigel St. Buggering

Rampling isn't alone, either. Catherine Deneuve and Emmanuelle Béart have said the same thing. European actresses have a much longer shelf life than American ones.

To be fair, they usually appear in small movies where it's not an issue if only a select (older) audience turns out. This happens in the US as well - see Julianne Moore, Sigourney Weaver, etc. It's the massive budget studio pictures that are nervous about older female leads (and I bet it's similar in Europe).

Asia, or at least Japan is the worst though. If you're over 30 you're toast.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Desslar

To be fair, they usually appear in small movies where it's not an issue if only a select (older) audience turns out. This happens in the US as well - see Julianne Moore, Sigourney Weaver, etc. It's the massive budget studio pictures that are nervous about older female leads (and I bet it's similar in Europe).

Asia, or at least Japan is the worst though. If you're over 30 you're toast.

They appear in smaller movies because they have to in order to have a career. Until recently, those movies didn't exist, and actresses over 40 were just over.
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Yes we europeans like our mature(not old...) women like our wine, well atleast the french do...

I was having one of the weird moments where you think of movies you saw as a kid and think did you really see it or was it just a dream....?

Well anyway no it wasn't I wonder if anyone has seen the movie Mirai Ninja? I remember seeing the dubbed version twice as a kid, thought it was really cool then I wonder if i'd feel the same watching it now.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Daughters

Well anyway no it wasn't I wonder if anyone has seen the movie Mirai Ninja? I remember seeing the dubbed version twice as a kid, thought it was really cool then I wonder if i'd feel the same watching it now.
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Can't say I've seen that one. You might want to ask in the Asian film thread.

However, I did just pick up Jackie Chan's latest US DVD release - Thunderbolt. The film itself is from the mid-90s, and perhaps is being released now in the hope that Jackie's racecar theatrics will appeal to the growing NASCAR crowd. More to follow later.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Desslar

I did just pick up Jackie Chan's latest US DVD release - Thunderbolt. The film itself is from the mid-90s, and perhaps is being released now in the hope that Jackie's racecar theatrics will appeal to the growing NASCAR crowd. More to follow later.

Not one of Jackie's best and certainly one of his more serious ones. There are a couple of great stunts though, as with any JC film - notably the scene where a building is being torn asunder and crushed with Jackie inside. Lots of slo-mo and a couple of "did he really just do that" moments. Enjoyable intermittently though, so, if only intermittently, enjoy!
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Oooh, did Thunderbolt street early? I was looking forward to picking this up next Tuesday.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Isao Kanemasa

Oooh, did Thunderbolt street early? I was looking forward to picking this up next Tuesday.



This was my first time watching Thunderbolt (originally '95), in which Chan is an ace racecar driver who gets mixed up with the mob. I'd say it's fairly average for a Chan film. It's more serious than usual, and divides the action 50/50 between martial arts and racing.

The BAD:
The plot is generic at best and occasionally laughable and/or incomprehensible.

The acting is generally weak, especially the corny blond European villain. But that's par for the course in most Chan films. Jackie is decent in a serious role, although his easy charisma is missed.

There's a poorly conceived scene in which the mob attempts to kill Jackie's family, but instead of the intended drama it devolves into a slapstick Buster Keaton routine

The music stinks and kills the mood in the climax.

No special features


The GOOD:
There are two exciting extended fights, the second a wild one in a pachinko parlor that is mostly conducted high above the ground. Also a decent gunfight, although Jackie is absent.

There's a lot of impressive stunt driving featuring various jumps and crashes. Not quite up to the level of Fast & Furious or Driven though, and large portions of the final race are actually a bit dull.


The bottom line:
Definitely worth a rental for Chan followers, but not one you're likely to race to see again
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Desslar

... but not one you're likely to race to see again

And you were doing so well! You're not Paul Ross, are you?
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I still have my VHS dub of the LD, but have been wanting to upgrade to an anamorphic widescreen DVD for a while now. In keeping w/ the spirit of this thread, it's a worthy enough B-movie, I think. The 2 aforementioned fights boast some good Sammo choreography, and the container/house toppling and the police station shootout also stand out for me. Plus, as HK Film Connection once called it, race scenes seemingly directed by Hal Needham on speed.

How's the picture quality on the sucker? Also, where did you pick up your copy? I stopped by a Circuit City on the way home last night in blind hope, but no luck. It'd be good to have it in time for the weekend.
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Better check if it's an uncut version before you buy it, Isao (if it's under 100 minutes, forget it).
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Holy crap, 84 minutes.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Isao Kanemasa

The 2 aforementioned fights boast some good Sammo choreography,

Yes, they're both excellent. Fast and brutal. However it seems that Jackie is doubled at various points due to his nagging Rumble in the Bronx injury. It's never glaringly obvious in the Seagal way, but sometimes you catch a glimpse.

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and the container/house toppling and the police station shootout also stand out for me.

The shootout is quite good and probably the reason for the R rating. It is slightly undermined by the fact that we don't care at all about any of the participants.

Personally I thought the container scene was a misstep. It's played as if it's serious drama, but Jackie getting bounced around like a ping pong ball is more amusing than horrifying. This scene belongs in one of Jackie's comedies.

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Plus, as HK Film Connection once called it, race scenes seemingly directed by Hal Needham on speed.

While the street race in Hong Kong is superb, the real race on the track (actually Malaysia rather than Japan) is a mixed bag. It is extremely dull until the second half, in which suddenly every other car flies off the track or bursts into flames. For some crashes the film is speeded up, giving them a comical Keystone Cops vibe rather than the intended excitement.(reportedly the authorities were concerned about safety) Still, if NASCAR managed to be this explosive I might actually watch.

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How's the picture quality on the sucker?

It looked excellent to me, but then I don't examine the technical side as closely as some people do.

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Also, where did you pick up your copy?

It's kind of an inside job, so to speak.

Did I forget to mention that Jackie himself sings the rocking theme song? Well, "rocking" in the Asian sense.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by tommy five-tone


I stand corrected! Thanks for the link, tommy - I just might have to grab that.

I loved THUNDERBOLT. It's a shame that it's cut, though; I wonder what all got the axe? 110 minutes cut down to 84, wow ...

Has anyone seen the movie BLASTFIGHTER? Pretty crazy movie directed by Lamberto Bava that could be described as the Italian take on DELIVERANCE. It's funny to hear the dubbed dialogue of these guys trying to sound like hillbillies. The movie's about some hard-boiled cop named Tiger who "just wants to be left alone" out in the Georgia wilderness. Of course this doesn't happen. Our sensitive hero tries to save the life of a young deer at the hands of the redneck hunters, who end up killing the deer anyway. This enrages our hero, who proceeds to start a mini-war with the rednecks. This goes back and forth until they push him too far, naturally - resulting in Tiger turning into Rambo and killing dozens of men out in the backwoods for the latter half of the movie. Toss in a futuristic high-powered rifle, the most annoyingly dubbed daughter in the history of anything, explosions, a high body count, some gore, and the worst take on a country music song I've ever heard, which plays constantly and features some chick warbling non-stop about god-knows-what, and you've got a classic. Check it out.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Isao Kanemasa

Holy crap, 84 minutes.

No, no, no. You must be looking at some bootleg version. The new official Region 1 version, as seen in the picture previously posted, is the full 110 minutes.

There is an alternate Japanese cut of the film that reportedly has a different beginning and some scenes shortened.
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Weird. Amazon.com says 84 minutes. I guess I'll find out for myself next Tuesday.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Isao Kanemasa

Weird. Amazon.com says 84 minutes. I guess I'll find out for myself next Tuesday.

In that case Amazon is mistaken. I assure you it runs for 110 minutes. Look at Barnes and Noble's description:
Barnes and Noble
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is anyone else scared by the amount of knowledge about crap movies that Moltisanti has?
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Fazer

is anyone else scared by the amount of knowledge about crap movies that Moltisanti has?

No, and if you were a fan of action movies you wouldn't be either. It's hard to let go of what was THE 80's.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Fazer

is anyone else scared by the amount of knowledge about crap movies that Moltisanti has?

Crap??? I suppose Masters of the Universe is crap? Wait - don't answer that.
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