What is it? A boxer is chased by a mysterious assassin.
Why see it? It may have just missed the cut on my list of 2023’s Best Action Movies, but don’t let that dissuade you from checking out this fun, thrilling gem out of South Korea. The writer/director of The Witch franchise can do no wrong in my eyes (even if part two is a step or two down from the first), and while his unrelated latest is lighter in both its action and density it’s still a highly entertaining ride. Credit Kim Seon-ho for bringing the charm and personality as a mysterious killer who provides both minor laughs and bloody kills — one third-act set-piece is a very good time for fans of the red stuff. The film doles out the details slowly keeping both the protagonist and the audience unsure of what exactly is happening, and it pairs well with the action set-pieces erupting at a steady rate.
The Sea Shall Not Have Them
What is it? Two World War II tales from director Lewis Gilbert.
Why see it? Michael Redgrave and Dirk Bogarde headline The Sea Shall Not Have Them, a suspenseful thriller that sees four British airmen shot down during the war. They float in a raft, adrift in the ocean, while both Allies and Axis search for them — and the secret one man holds. The lesser known Albert R.N. is a tale more akin to Stalag 17 as it focuses on a wartime escape from a POW camp. The problem? There’s reason to suspect one of the prisoners is actually a German spy. Both films are solid wartime tales worth watching.
Blood Feast [4K UHD]
What is it? A gory remake of a gory cult classic.
Why see it? H.G. Lewis’ original cult favorite is a cheap, campy romp that, let’s be honest, isn’t good. This remake steps things up in many areas with a slightly higher budget, slightly better performances, and slightly better gore, and the result is a slightly better film? The story changes are an upgrade as well, but we’re still left with a film — played mostly serious this time out — that exists solely to get a rise from genre fans. Tastes vary, and if you like the red stuff paired with dirty talk and a full embrace of an unrated atmosphere, this is a remake you just might enjoy.
[Extras: Uncut and theatrical versions, featurette, music video]
What is it? A doctor without borders (but with mad action skills) discovers a conspiracy.
Why see it? Max Zhang doesn’t get the love he deserves for some pretty stellar action chops, and part of the reason why is his tendency to pick mediocre projects. He had a great run with bangers like SPL 2, Ip Man 3, and The Brink, but his last gem was 2018’s Master Z. Since then? A whole lotta meh. We get two pretty solid bouts here in the third act, but too much of the action is generic shootouts and poorly crafted/shot/edited fights. Getting to that third act, though, is a slog of extremely messy exposition.
Your Lucky Day
What is it? A winning lottery ticket attracts violence, deception, and death.
Why see it? When a businessman gets loud about his winning ticket, a thug in the convenience store with him decides to make his move. Things go downhill from there as others inside and a few nosy nasties from outside turn the store into a den of splatter and deceit. The late Angus Cloud stars as the thug who kicks it all off. It’s a solid enough thriller within its confined setting, and while there are plenty of betrayals none of them are exactly surprising. Fans of the setup will enjoy the show, though.
Also out this week:
Four Daughters, Inside the Mind of Coffin Joe [Arrow], Jennifer Eight [Scream Factory], Kindergarten Cop [4K UHD], Lone Star [4K UHD, Criterion]
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