The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Enemies Closer and In the Blood Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz on 08.25.2014
“August Awesome” concludes with reviews of Enemies Closer (2013) and In the Blood (2014), plus a B-Movie News Roundup, two more batches of Things to Watch Out For This Week, and more!
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #321: Enemies Closer (2013) and In the Blood (2014)
Awesome August: Week 4
Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has no interest in getting a tattoo, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number three hundred and twenty-one, Awesome August concludes with reviews of the 2013 Jean Claude Van Damme movie Enemies Closer and the second Gina Carano starring vehicle In the Blood (2014).
Enemies Closer (2013)
Enemies Closer, directed by Peter Hyams, is a solid, low budget action thriller that doesn't try to be anything beyond a low budget action thriller. It features B-movie legend Jean Claude Van Damme as a villain and Tom Everett Scott, of That Thing You Do and An American Werewolf in Paris, as one of the stranger action heroes of the last decade. I mean, when you think of action hero I seriously doubt anyone thinks "Tom Everett Scott."
Scott is Henry, a forest ranger with a badass military past. After a bad mission, Henry decided to get out of the military and retreat to King's Island, a remote island Maine state park that doesn't allow visitors after dark. One night, after a long day preventing visitors from bringing beer into the woods and rescuing a woman (Kayla, as played by Linzey Cocker) from a dangerous hole in the ground, Henry meets Clay (Jones), a man claiming to be lost. Henry doesn't exactly trust Clay but, because it's his job, Henry tries to help Clay figure out where he needs to go next. While asking Clay some standard questions Henry realizes that Clay isn't as helpless as he seems to be. Something is off about the guy. Henry takes out his trusty knife to defend himself if need be. Clay pulls out a gun.
While Henry and Clay fight inside Henry's cabin, trashing the place, Xander (Van Damme), a weird beard psychotic vegan environmentalist drug dealer, is searching the Island's perimeter for a downed airplane that is chock full of heroin. After killing multiple border agents while disguised as Canadian Mounties, Xander and his team of fellow drug dealing mercenaries steal a boat (Xander kills a loud drunk fat guy off screen and steals his fishing boat) and start searching for the plane. The initial search stops when Xander's one scuba diver is shot to death when Clay, while taking Henry out in the woods to die, ends up blasting Xander's diver in the chest with a shotgun. Suddenly, the plane search turns into a deadly hunt as Xander, who knows about Henry' military past, tries to capture the forest ranger so he can dive into the muck and retrieve the heroin.
Now, Clay and Henry make for a strange team, as Clay wants Henry dead. Clay is the brother of a soldier that died while under Henry's command in the Middle East. Pissed off about his brother's death, Clay came to King's Island to track Henry down and make him pay. Henry, of course, has his point of view and wants Clay to know that his brother died in a botched mission and that it was all just a big mistake. Henry is sorry about Clay's brother's death and thinks about it every day, but Henry doesn't see himself as a bad guy. He was just a soldier, along with several others, trapped in a bad situation. Henry tries to make Clay understand his side of the story, but Clay wants revenge and doesn't give a hoot about Henry's feelings. Henry and Clay do end up teaming up, though, when it becomes obvious that a partnership is the only way they'll get off King's Island alive. The phones are down, cell phones don't work in the woods, and outside of the one old guy who lives on the island year round (old Mr. Sanderson, as played by Christopher Robbie) the island is uninhabited. So Henry and Clay team up and take on Xander and his band of killers.
The first thing you'll likely notice about Enemies Closer is that it's slickly paced and just looks better than most modern low budget action thrillers. Director Hyams, who once again acted as his own director of photography, knows how to shoot action and fight scenes and make them look bigger and, at times, scarier, than they have any right to be. Xander's attack on the border patrol building is a brilliant scene that easily moves from strange comedy to brutal action without missing a beat. And every forest scene is full of dark blue lighting that would fit in a Friday the 13th movie. The forest on King's Island is a dangerous place at all times. Hyams also knows how to make Tom Everett Scott look like a formidable action movie threat. Scott never gives off a badass vibe, but when he starts fighting it looks like he's been doing action roles his whole career.
You'll also notice that Hyams doesn't flinch when it comes to action movie nastiness. When Xander cuts a guy's throat you see damn near everything including gushing blood. And the multiple neck snaps that the movie has are brutally beautiful, especially the last one. I do wonder, though, why we don't get to see Xander kill the fat drunk guy. That seems like a mistake, especially considering all of the other stuff we get to see.
Now, the movie does have a few bad spots. For one, what exactly is Henry's military background? He refers to himself as a "frogman," but what does that even mean? Is he an underwater demolitions expert? The DVD case and imdb.com claim that Henry is an ex-Navy SEAL. If he is an ex-SEAL doesn't that mean he was in the Navy or the Marines? Sailors and Marines don't refer to one another as soldiers, and as far as I know SEAL and other Special Forces operators refer to themselves as operators. Henry talks often about being a good soldier, etc. So what did he do in his military career?
The plane crash that opens the movie is a bad spot, too. Even if the plane didn't have a transponder wouldn't someone have noticed the crash and notified the federal authorities? Why are the border patrol agents dealing with the plane crash? And why aren't there more forest rangers working on King's Island? It's a big place and it has lots of visitors. How the heck is one guy going to watch all of it?
Van Damme is hilarious as Xander. He's a brutal killer and a drug dealing scumbag, sure, but he's also fun to watch. How often do you see evil vegans running drugs and killing people? There are times where it seems as though Van Damme is just fucking around as Xander is just so dang strange, but the man does get results. You can see why he has dedicated henchmen.
Tom Everett Scott is very low key as Henry. He doesn't overplay the character or make Henry seem more than he is, something you don't see work all that often in the action movie world. Scott also makes Henry's "boy scout" mentality seem refreshing. I wouldn't mind seeing Scott tackle this kind of role again with a different director, just to see if he can do it again.
Orlando Jones does a decent job as Clay, although I would have preferred to see him as a more overtly dangerous revenge seeker. Jones never looks like a wimp but, at the same time, he never looks like much of a killer, either. He does have good buddy chemistry with Scott, though, so at least that works. I would like to know why Jones is listed as one of the movie's producers. How the heck did he score that gig?
And then there's Linzey Cocker as Kayla. She's cute and has some chemistry with Scott, but the movie never really capitalizes on that chemistry. True, the big twist at the end sort of negates the need to exploit that chemistry but it would have been nice to see them flirt a little more.
Enemies Closer is a nifty low budget action thriller. It's worth tracking down and checking out. It's a little strange at times, sure, but it's still quite good. Good job Peter Hyams. Good job. And welcome back.
See Enemies Closer. See it, see it, see it.
So what do we have here?
Dead bodies: 10+
Explosions: A big one at the end.
Doobage: A plane crash, a backpack full of beer, trash collection, stew talk, a vicious martial arts attack, computer keyboard to the head, throat slitting via broken CD, multiple head butts, silent neck breaking via leg scissors, more neck breaking, a dangerous hole in the ground, canoe talk, boat stealing, off screen fat drunk guy killing, a hidden knife, apple eating, phone shooting, a brutal living room brawl, iron to the face, a shootout in the woods, suffocation, a hidden kayak, tree branch through the neck, grass eating, wild fruit eating, shotgun stealing, house shooting, multiple weird speeches, knife to the chest, watch fire making, rock to the head, a booby trap that sends a knife into a guy's throat, a sinkhole with a shark stick in it, knife through the back of the neck, tape bondage, oar to the body, a double cross, terrible handgun shooting, drugs, a tree fight, anchor attack, a gas leak, a flare, and an exploding boat.
Kim Richards?: None.
Gratuitous: Tom Everett Scott as an action hero, Jean Claude Van Damme as a bad guy, Jean Claude Van Damme dressed as a Canadian Mountie, Jean Claude Van Damme refusing to wear leather and professing to being a vegan, Orlando Jones, apple eating, a hidden kayak, Jean Claude Van Damme going batshit, knives, a double cross, terrible handgun shooting, and an exploding boat.
Best lines: "By the way don't let anyone see that flask," "Exactly what part of ‘I'm fine' don't you understand?," "Hey, what the fuck, Frenchie?," "I'm going to lose my feminist card for this," "Looks like you brought a knife to a gun fight," "Did you learn about honor in prison?," "Eh, shit happens," "Whatever you guys are up to do it now, just don't litter in my park," "So, who the fuck are they?," These fellas want a bite? I'll give them a mouthful!," "A knife? What the fuck am I going to do with a knife?," "Where did they go? Kiss my geriatric ass!," "Come on, wake up. You can't die yet. You won't give me a chance to kill ya," "Should have killed you when I had the chance!," and "Fucking gasoline! I knew it would ruin everything!"
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Facebook Page!
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And please check out my interview with director Brett A. Hart about the Ain't It Cool internet show and more!
Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 1
-The Walking Dead Season 4: The fourth season of the mega hit zombie show saw quite a few things, like the deaths of both the Governor and of Hershel. It also saw the continued existence of Carl, one of the most annoying kids in the history of television. The last episode of the season was pretty messed up, with Rick and everyone else captured and stuck on a train car. With the start of season five only a few weeks away what better way to get back into the swing of things than with this DVD set?
-Sons of Anarchy Season 6: Seasons six of the Sons of Anarchy saw the show kill off psychotic retired US marshal Lee Toric, brilliantly played by Sean Finnerty hisself Donal Logue. Yeah, Ron Perlman was killed off, the Irish were killed off, and Jax's wife Tara was killed off, too. The Toric thing was a much bigger deal, at least for me. He was such a great character and was a real threat to the SAMCRO gang. He also could have starred in his own spin-off. But Logue had to go do season two of The Vikings so he had to leave the show. Fuck. So what if he had a drug problem, killed that hooker, framed Tara, etc.? You have to look at the bigger picture. Toric could have killed off half the gang. That would have been awesome to see. I say FX figure out a way to get Logue out of Gotham and tell Kurt Sutter to bring Lee Toric back. The world needs him!
-The Twilight Zone 1980's: The Complete Series: The 1980's version of The Twilight Zone wasn't as well received as the original Zone but it has grown in stature over the years. This DVD set features every episode produced for the 1980's reboot along with some special features (I believe the great Wes Craven provides an interview about his participation on the show. That should rock). And I believe that this set features the produced episodes in their original one hour versions, so be aware of that.
-Revelation Trail: The low budget zombie western is a genre that's become slightly more prominent the last few years, so in a way Revelation Trail looks like a movie we've all seen before several times. However, Trail here just looks better than most, so based on that fact alone this is most definitely worth a rental of some kind. And how can you not dig that DVD cover?
-Heat Stroke: This lowish budget thriller features Stephen Dorff and Peter Stormare, although based on the plot and the trailer below it looks like we get more Stormare than Dorff. And that's okay, because Stormare is always worth the price of admission.
-Blood Glacier: This is some sort of low budget Austrian horror flick, something you don't see all that often, so based on that it's worth checking out. And I believe this did play in a few actual theatres several months ago, so there's a chance that you may have seen it already. Anyone out there see this?
B-Movie News Roundup
-Bradley Cooper as Mack Bolan? Really?: Well, that didn't take long. Bradley Cooper is set to be Mack Bolan in the proposed Mack Bolan movie franchise. I didn't see that coming.
Cooper is a generally good choice, though. He's an A-list star, so his presence in the proposed movie will bring added exposure to the Bolan character and may bring more people to the book series, which is still kicking ass and taking names (go to any book store with a big selection of paperback books Bolan will likely be on the shelves somewhere. Bolan books can also be found in K-mart and in some drug stores). And Cooper, who is starring in American Sniper for Clint Eastwood, does have a credible action background so it's not like the producers are giving us some lame ass as Bolan. As long as Cooper beefs himself up a bit he'll do fine.
So where is the first movie going to go? Are we going to see Cooper's Bolan take on the mob or are we going to see Bolan in full on "one man war against terrorists" mode? It sounds like we're going to get the terrorist fighter version of Bolan, which means we're also going to see the Stony Man Farm and Stony Man leader Hal Brognola. Who the heck is going to play him? And what kind of villain is Bolan going to take on? Just how "international" is this movie going to be?
I really hope that this series actually happens. Since it doesn't look like we're going to get another The Expendables movie the action movie loving world is going to need Mack Bolan. Again, hopefully this thing happens.
If Cooper ends up leaving the role because of "scheduling conflicts" or some hooey who will the producers get? Who else resembles Bolan enough to work?
-Minority Report the TV show?: It sounds like director Steven Spielberg wants to adapt his Tom Cruise starring sci-fi action flick from the early 2000's into a TV show and that's a good thing. With Falling Skies set to end next year and Under the Dome slowly flaming out and Extant dying right before our eyes big Steve needs to do something to keep his hand in the sci-fi TV world. Minority Report is a good piece to exploit.
So what kind of show are we going to get? Are we going to get a full on adaptation of the movie or are we going to get something "inspired" by the movie? We're obviously going to get the "cops using psychics to stop crimes" thing, but are we going to get the overall future world that Spielberg depicted in the movie? Are we going to get the high speed highways where no one really drives but everyone flies along via whatever the hell that thing was that provided propulsion for the cars (was it some kind of magnetism? I can't remember)? Are we going to get the ads that fly around people as they walk to the store and whatnot? Or are we just going to get the psychics and some of the "floating computer screen" stuff, stiff we have now seen a million times?
I have a feeling that the show is going to be more about the psychics than anything else. And I wouldn't be surprised if the show starts off as a kind of police procedural that morphs into a standard "long form story" cable show. Of course, I don't think anyone has announced what network the potential show is set to air on. Is it even going to be a cable show? It could end up being a broadcast network show, as they tend to have more money to play with, and a sci-fi show is going to need money in order to do special effects.
So who will star in the show? Will the producers look for a veteran character actor to lead the show or will the producers go for a fresh face young actor? Again, it probably all depends on where the show ends up. If it's a broadcast show the producers will probably go for a fresh faced young actor, but if it's cable a veteran will probably get the call. Noah Wyle would be a good mid-ground choice, as he's a veteran but he still looks kind of youngish. Plus, he's done a great job working in the dirt and muck on Falling Skies. A Minority Report show will probably be a "cleaner" experience, and Wyle probably wouldn't mind that.
Minority Report the TV show could be a worthwhile project. I'll be watching if and when it actually happens. Will you?
In the Blood (2014)
In the Blood, directed by John Stockwell, stars Gina Carano as Ava, an ex-drug addict who has managed to turn her life around and, as the movie starts, marry the love of her life and the man who got her through rehab, fellow ex-drug addict Derek (Cam Gigandet). After a simple wedding ceremony the newlyweds go on their honeymoon on a small island just off the coast of Puerto Rico. The first couple of days are filled with fun, sex, and the usual newlywed hooey. One night, at a local dance club, Ava is accosted by Big Biz (Danny Trejo), a local gangster who likes to get drunk and mess around in dance clubs. In the confusion, Big Biz's henchmen attack Derek, an action that sends Ava into full on ass kicking mode. After destroying several local thugs, Ava rushes Derek out of the club with the help of Manny (Ismael Cruz Cordova), a local guy they met at a restaurant earlier in the day. Manny tells Ava that she was lucky as Big Biz is dangerous. Ava doesn't seem all that fazed, and the next day she goes on another excursion with Derek. It's their honeymoon, dammit. They're going to enjoy themselves.
So Ava and Derek go zip lining over a large gorge, an activity that Derek enjoys quite a bit but Ava can do without (she's afraid of heights). After their first lip line, Manny invites them to take on an even bigger zip line on the island. Derek agrees to take this bigger zip line on; Ava decides to sit it out (she'll watch, though). Derek enjoys the first half of the bigger zip line trip (he records himself via Go Pro cam making funny faces and whatnot), but then Derek's harness malfunctions and he falls into the gorge. Scared to death by what she just saw, Ava goes down into the gorge and starts looking for her husband. She finds him quickly and promptly freaks out as Derek has a massive broken leg. When the ambulance arrives the paramedics tell Ava that they're going to take him to the hospital but, because of insurance issues, she can't ride along with him. After some pointless arguing Ava follows the ambulance via motorcycle. The trip through the busy island streets is treacherous and Ava loses track of the ambulance. Ava eventually gets to the hospital and goes to the front desk to find out where her husband is.
Derek isn't at the hospital. Ava shows the front desk nurse Derek's picture. The nurse doesn't recognize him. So where the hell is Derek? She travels to the other hospitals in the area but they, too, haven't seen Derek. Where the hell did he go? Scared, Ava goes to the police and asks for their help. She tells her story to Chief Ramon Garza (the great Luiz Guzman), who immediately suspects that Derek has been kidnapped. Kidnapped? Who the hell would kidnap her husband? Sure, Derek comes from money but he himself isn't wealthy. His father Robert, played by Treat Williams, is wealthy, but who the hell knows that?
So then some stuff happens, Ava gets the local media involved, and she calls Robert for help. Robert and his wife Sandy (Eloise Mumford) arrive on the island a day later and give Ava a hand. Sandy is sympathetic to Ava's stress, but Robert is automatically suspicious. Robert figures that Ava killed Derek and this kidnapping story is just a big scheme to get at the family money so she can then drink and snort it all away. Ava, pissed that her father-in-law would attack her with such accusations, tells Robert that she doesn't need his help anymore and that she'll find Derek on her own. Robert and Sandy seemingly leave almost as soon as they arrive on the island and now Ava has to rely on Chief Garza for help. Sadly for Ava, Chief Garza believes that Ava isn't telling the truth and that she did something to cause her husband to disappear. He wants her to confess. Ava isn't going to confess. Ava wants to find her missing husband.
In the Blood, at least in term of its plot, isn't anything new in terms of the low budget action movie genre. Newlywed Americans on their honeymoon are constantly disappearing on tropical islands and someone has to go find them. What makes In the Blood different is that instead of a badass husband looking for his missing wife on a tropical island it's the wife who is a badass and she's the one pursuing the missing party. How many movies feature that particular plot? Damned if I know (the only one that comes close is The Long Kiss Goodnight). And it helps that Carano is the pursuer because, as we see in the club brawl, you just don't mess with Carano's Ava Grant.
Carano does a decent job in her second starring role after Haywire (check out my review of that flick here). She does a great job in her many fight and action scenes and she has a generally warm presence when she's around Gigandet's Derek. She's always smiling, snickering, and loving life. When the movie kicks into "search mode" Carano does an okay job emoting but she has issues with some of the dialogue (some of what she says just doesn't sound natural coming out of her). She's enough of a badass, though, that any weak line reading is a minor issue at best. I also want to say that Carano looks great in a bikini.
The rest of the cast is generally superb. Guzman is quietly sleazy as Chief Garza. You get the sense that he's both on the take and, because he may have been an honest cop at one time, naturally skeptical of Ava's story because he's seen tourists kill eachother a million times. You want to see him find a way to break free of the bad guys that no doubt own him and his police force. Gigandet is fun as Ava's husband Derek. He has real chemistry with Carano and he has no problem being chased after by a woman (how very progressive of him). And Ismael Cruz Cordova is good as Manny the local who turns out not to be as bad as originally thought. You don't trust him all that much at the beginning, but you eventually warm up to him.
Amaury Nolasco is excellent as the mega sleazy Silvio. I'm not sure if I completely buy his backstory and motivation but Silvio, in general, is a good bad guy and he really shines when he tries to exert his influence in a poor village. The way he casually threatens people and tries to influence young boys is terrifying. You don't like him but you see why people would follow him.
Trejo isn't in the movie all that long but does a great job anyway as Big Biz. You will absolutely love what he does at the end of the movie. And Treat Williams does a great job as the asshole Robert Grant. He makes you loathe Robert and you end up wanting to see Ava pound his face in. Too bad it doesn't happen. And Stephen Lang does a great job in his series of small flashback scenes training Carano's young self in the fine art of killing people and whatnot. He's sleazy, too, but in a different way. Watch his scenes and you'll see what I mean.
In the Blood is too long and is a little thin in the action department in the middle. There should have been a few more Carano beat downs. I'm also confused about Ava's choice of footwear through most of the movie. After deciding to go out on her own to search for Derek and getting into multiple street brawls why would Ava willingly wear flip flops? You would think that, after the first fight, that Ava would wear sneakers throughout the rest of the movie since sneakers would be more likely to stay on her feet. You would also think that proper fighting footwear would have been one of Lang's life lessons.
And then there's the big reveal towards the end of the movie where we find out what's really going on. To say that it's underwhelming would be a major understatement. It also sounds a little too sci-fi for this kind of movie. What's wrong with plain old organ trafficking?
All in all, In the Blood is a good low budget action movie. It's too long and needs more violence, but it's still worth checking out. And, once again, good job, Gina Carano. Keep up the good work.
See In the Blood. See it, see it, see it.
So what do we have here?
Dead bodies: 10+
Explosions: A few.
Doobage: A serious home invasion, shotgun attack, a small, beautiful wedding, a honeymoon, a broken down beach house, a fun and sex montage, jet ski hooey, hand shaking, dancing, a massive brawl, serious arm breaking, multiple training flashbacks, zip line hooey including a person falling from a zip line, a seriously broken leg, badass motorcycle riding, a "have you seen me?" poster montage, a zip line threat, attempted rape, face kicking, jumping out of a boat, a major bathroom confrontation, a fruitless search montage, a baseball bat beat down, multiple arrests, grave digging, thumb breaking, shovel through the head, off screen murder, neck breaking, attempted suffocation, snatch sniffing, thigh fondling, a blood transfusion, a hospital shootout, a vicious headshot, exploding gas tanks, a quick "man-on-fire" gag a wicked punch to the face, texting while driving, fruit throwing, machine gun hooey, dancing locals, back breaking, belly slashing, major throat slitting, and seriously corrupt cops.
Kim Richards?: None.
Gratuitous: Gina Carano as a teen, Treat Williams, a picture of grandma in her wedding dress, Gina Carano smiling, Danny Trejo, zip line hooey gang rape, a seriously broken leg, bullet removal, Luis Guzman, blessings, cockfighting, Gina Carano wearing flip flops, bondage torture, texting while driving, gang leader public outreach, and Danny Trejo taking about the need to have tourists.
Best lines: "You know, you will be a great mother," "Do you know Earl Sanders?," "I am going to fuck you up, asshole!," "You little bitch!," "Most people have a limit they won't go beyond. I'm going to teach you to go beyond your limit," "Survivors have scars. Losers have funerals. You want scars," "I'm his wife!," "What exactly are you doing with your resources?," "Can you get me some tissue?," "My husband is alive!," "Call me," "This bitch has nice tits," "Who, was that necessary? All this violence!," "Bro, your girl hits hard," and "Where are the gringos?"
Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 2
-Cat Run 2: Director John Stockwell is also behind this sequel to his 2011 effort Cat Run, some sort of low budget action movie that I haven't seen yet. Stockwell is a pretty decent director and the trailer looks okay so this is worth renting, just to see if it's something we should all get behind. I mean, what if there's a Cat Run 3? We'll all want to know what has happened so far, right?
-Wes Craven Presents: Don't Look Down: This is some sort of low budget TV movie thing that Craven produced back in the late 1990's. I don't remember seeing it back then, so this is a completely new thing for me. Does anyone remember seeing this back when it aired in, I believe, 1998? Is it good? Bad? Just okay?
-PMS Cop: This mega low budget horror comedy was recently featured on Full Moon's streaming service so if you're a participant in that you may have already checked it out. I love the idea and the trailer below is fun as hell. I'm surprised no one has tried to do this kind of movie before.
-Zombex: This low budget zombie flick features appearances by Malcolm McDowell, Corey Feldman, Lew Temple, and the Sid Haig, so based on that cast list alone Zombex is worth tracking down and seeing. I mean, what exactly are they doing in this movie? The zombies look pretty good, too, so there's that to look forward to, too.
-Bongo: Killer Clown: This mega low budget killer clown movie looks insane. I know that isn't saying much as most mega low budget killer clown movies look insane, but, I don't know, the trailer for Bongo makes me think this is going to be quite a bit better than most. Hopefully, it is.
Who is this week's Douchebag of the Week? Go here and find out!
NASCAR and Indycar thoughts
I haven't been able to watch a full NASCAR Sprint Cup night race at Bristol in several years as I usually have to be somewhere else that night. This year I was able to actually watch the whole race and, for the most part, it was pretty good. There were a few lean segments in terms of excitement but there was plenty of action at the end of the race. Joey Logano picked up his third win of the year followed by Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski in second. The winless Matt Kenseth was third followed by Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch.
Kyle Busch had a bad night, suffering through multiple mishaps and finishing 36th. I thought he had a good shot at winning early on. Then I thought it was going to be Jamie McMurray's night as he led a bunch of laps and looked too tough to beat. I thought Kevin Harvick looked good for a win, too, at least the beginning, but then he wrecked with Denny Hamlin and Harvick had to settle for eleventh. And Kyle Larson had multiple accidents, too, but somehow managed to stay on the lead lap for most of the night and finished 12th.
Carl Edwards, who is officially set to race for Joe Gibbs in 2015, looked like he might have a shot at the win but he ended up seventh. And Greg Biffle, man, how the hell did he finish tenth? And Paul Menard? Ninth?
I felt bad for Marcos Ambrose as he never had a chance the whole night. Something broke on Ambrose's car and he immediately went four laps down. He was never able to recover. I hope that Petty keeps him around for 2015 as I really feel that he's on the verge of getting an oval win and becoming a more consistent threat to win everywhere. He's just missing something at the moment.
I didn't get to see the Nationwide race on Friday night but, from what I read about it, Kyle Busch should have won that thing. He led the most laps, he had the field covered, and then he got passed by Ryan Blaney with a few laps to go. What the hell happened there? Was Busch asleep at the wheel or something? I also missed the Camping World Truck Series race, which was rained out on Wednesday and run on Thursday morning. Brad Keselowski won that race. Darrell Wallace was second.
Atlanta is up next for the Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series, with Nationwide racing on Saturday night and Sprint Cup racing on Sunday night. The Trucks race on Sunday afternoon at the former Mosport, the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park road course. This will be the last year for Atlanta racing on Labor Day weekend as Darlington is set to return to Labor Day in 2015 with the Southern 500. Atlanta is set to race earlier in the year, in either March or April.
Over in Indycar, Will Power was set to win yet another race at the Sonoma Raceway road course. He won the pole and clearly had the best car on the track. But then, at around the midway point, Power spun out and had to pit, dropping him back to around 20th. He then spent the rest of the race desperately trying to get back to the front of the pack, where eventual winner Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal, Mike Conway, and Simon Pagenaud were battling for the win. Rahal looked good to pick up his second career Indycar win but he ran out of gas with three laps to go (he was also caught speeding on pit road and was penalized for that). Conway also ran out of gas. Dixon had plenty of gas and managed to hold off Ryan Hunter-Reay for his second win of the year.
The race was pretty boring up until Power spun out as he was just so damn strong. If Power hadn't hit that patch of oil and spun out there was absolutely no way he was going to lose. Power ended up finishing 10th (he should have penalized for pushing both Justin Wilson and Sebastien Bourdais into the wall at the end) and while he's still in the points lead going into the finale at California and he won last year at California there's a very good chance that the Verizon driver might screw up again and not win the championship. Power really needed to win Sonoma.
Tax cheat Helio Castroneves had a terrible day but, because Power had a shitty day, Castroneves still has a shot at the championship. Will he choke, though, too?
Josef Newgarden will be back with Sarah Fisher's team in 2015, teaming up with Ed Carpenter and, presumably, Mike Conway (he hasn't said if he's going to go sports car racing full time in Europe in 2015). I'm shocked that one of the big three didn't pursue him, especially since he's been so dang strong the last few races. Why isn't Michael Andretti firing Marco and putting Newgarden in the Snapple car?
Robin Miller has a piece over at Racer Magazine's website about the potential 2015 schedule and it looks like, thankfully, Texas will have a race and the doubleheader event in Houston will be scrapped. Pocono will also have a different date and New Orleans will have a race. Brazil is set to have a race again, too, and the 2015 season might start in Dubai with a street race. It'll be interesting to see if that actually happens as the series hasn't had much luck scheduling international races the last few years (remember the China debacle?).
California is up next for the Indycar Series. It'll be the last race for 2014. The race is live on the NBC Sports Network on Saturday night at 9 pm EST. It should be a great race. That's my hope, anyway.
Next week: Steven Seagal September begins with Force of Execution (2013) and bonus feature Man of Tai Chi (2013) starring Keanu Reeves!
A Special Note to Readers: I had planned on reviewing more horror movies during Awesome August but it just didn't happen. So, to make up for this column's lack of horror movies, October will feature the usual slasher movies plus "regular" horror movies as second features. I think that will provide a little more balance in an overall sense.
Oh, and it looks like November will feature movies from the 1990's. That's the new plan at the moment.
Well, I think that'll be about it for this issue. B-movies rule, always remember that.
If there's anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I'm always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.
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Tom Everett Scott- Henry Jean Claude Van Damme- Xander Orlando Jones- Clay Linzey Cocker- Kayla Christopher Robbie- Sanderson
Directed by Peter Hyams Screenplay by Eric Bromberg and James Bromberg
Distributed by Lionsgate Rated R for strong violence and language, and for sexuality and drug use Runtime- 85 minutes
Gina Carano- Ava Cam Gigandet- Derek Grant Danny Trejo- Big Biz Luis Guzman- Chief Ramon Garza Stephen Lang- Casey Amaury Nolasco- Silvio Lugo Ismael Cruz Cordova- Manny Treat Williams- Robert Grant Eloise Mumford- Sandy Grant Yvette Yates- Leta
Directed by John Stockwell Screenplay by James Robert Johnston and Bennett Yellin Distributed by Anchor Bay Films and 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
Rated R for strong violence and language Runtime- 108 minutes