The Good, the Tough & the Deadly: Action Movies & Stars 1960s-Present by David J. Moore
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
In an unparalleled achievement that celebrates the machismo and badassery of the action genre’s impact on cinema, David J. Moore’s The Good, the Tough & the Deadly: Action Movies & Stars 1960s-Present unloads years of extensive research and passion in this masterwork that not only glorifies the men and women that headlined these films but, the very distinctions that make a proper action film what it is. Recalling his own influential experiences with the genre during the concurrent video store boom of the 1980s and golden era of the action star, Moore rightly fawns over the bullet-blasting rage of Rambo and Michael Dudikoff’s martial arts geared American Ninja franchise while, making strong cases against the likes of Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon) and Bruce Willis (Die Hard) for falling short of bonafide action hero iconography albeit starring in some of the genre’s most influential works. Collecting upwards of 1,500 reviews on beloved Bronson beat’em ups to contemporary direct-to-video efforts that continue to honor the intense physicality of onset stunt work over CGI tinkering, Moore examines each film with a thoughtful appreciation and balanced overview that brings worthy attention to its stars, many of which never rightly earned their proper due. Featuring invaluable contributions from Vern (Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal), Mike “McBeardo” McPadden (Heavy Metal Movies: Guitar Barbarians, Mutant Bimbos & Cult Zombies Amok in the 666 Most Ear- and Eye-Ripping Big-Scream Films Ever!), Zack Carlson (Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film) among others, the mammoth 500+ glossy paged hardcover edition includes colorful imagery and poster art from the likes of Action Jackson, Death Grip, Pray for Death and many other action favorites.
Littered with countless, but not limited to, interviews with Carl Weathers (Predator), Michael Dudikoff (American Ninja), Director Cedric Sundstrom (American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt), Phillip Rhee (Best of the Best), Daniel Bernhardt (Bloodsport II), Darren Shahlavi (Ip Man 2), Wesley Snipes (Passenger 57), Taimak (The Last Dragon) and Screenwriter James Bruner (Missing in Action), Moore’s recorded sit-downs with these titans of the genre collects fascinating insight into the making of their respective films and retrospective look backs at their careers that would have otherwise been possibly lost to the sands of time. Akin to Moore’s essential post-nuke movie encyclopedia, The Good, the Tough & the Deadly: Action Movies & Stars 1960s-Present is a Herculean effort of testosterone-infused depth that deserves a spot on every serious film fanatics bookshelf.
Available now from Schiffer Publishing, The Good, the Tough & the Deadly: Action Movies & Stars 1960s-Present can be purchased via SchifferBooks.com, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and other fine retailers.