A Critical Appreciation of Explosions: Mad Max

A Critical Appreciation of Explosions continues on in all it’s blood- and gore-soaked glory, this time with another generous contribution from Yaz. 

Mad Max  is an important movie. It launched the career of Mel Gibson– who, psychotic-manchild antics aside, went on to do some absolutely phenomenal work –it helped launch an entire culture of Australian action films, the main character is pretty obviously the inspiration for The Punisher, the entire aesthetic of the Fallout games is a love letter to the film and its sequels, and the final five minutes of it inspired all 12-odd hours of the Saw franchise.

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A Critical Appreciation of Explosions: The Rock

In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.  He said to me, “Yer besht?  Losers always whine about their besht.  Winners go home and fuck the prom queen.”

He was, of course, affecting a Scottish accent and quoting Sean Connery’s character in The Rock but still, whenever there’s a particularly difficult spot in my life, I think back on this line of rhetoric and I stop being such a bitch about things.

Following up on my post about Crank and Yaz’s spectacular post about Robo Cop, here’s my analysis of The Rock for the third installment in our continuing series, A Critical Appreciation of Explosions.


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A Critical Appreciation of Explosions: RoboCop

For the 2nd post in this series, here’s a terrifically well-written guest post from Yaz

If you were to ask me to name my five favorite science fiction movies, the list would go as follows:

A Clockwork Orange. Videodrome. Minority Report. RoboCop. Blade Runner.

 There’s no irony there, no tongue-in-cheek, so-bad-it’s-good appeal. I love RoboCop. It is one of my favorite movies. It’s one of the best action movies ever made and it has a lot of depth to it. Ken Russell (director of Tommy and the film version of Lawrence’s Women in Love) described it as “the best science fiction film since Metropolis.” Roger Ebert compared it to Chaplin’s Modern Times. It’s the director of Showgirls and a cyborg tromping around, spouting monotone one-liners and fighting the most 80’s villains imaginable, but out of it all come some really complex ideas and a startling amount of heart and pathos. It is a great film, and the fact that anyone on Earth could think otherwise, well–that’s the kind of crime not even RoboCop himself could stop.

“I have to go. Somewhere, a critical misinterpretation is happening.”

So come with me, now, to the ruins of Old Detroit, and let’s look at the elements that make this film so damn amazing (and, by the way– I’m going to be consulting the Director’s Cut of the film, which goes heavier on the satire and the blood). Continue reading

A Criticial Appreciation of Explosions: Crank

 The Death Proof series was a hell of a lot of fun to write and research.  Yaz and I did the first one together and after that, immediately started discussing the idea of an ongoing series in a similar vein – the idea being that we critically dissect action films and argue their merits as actual pieces of cinema. 

I’m going first. 

And I’ve got Crank.

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Death Proof III: Gods

Here we are – last in the series, folks.  If you’re still tuning in to read me ramble about this stuff, God love you for it.  And if you really enjoyed it, check out the next series the Desk will be putting up in which Yaz and myself critically dissect our favorite action flicks.  Sort of a sister piece to this series but of a much different tone – the idea being to comment upon the merits (non-ironic use of the word there) of the films themselves as films.  And I’m really excited for that.  Yaz will likely contribute to the first post in the series, being that he’s apparently got one in the chamber and I’m too busy watching Long Way Round this week.

So that’s just around the bend.  But before we get there, here’s the final post in the Death Proof series.  In the first, Yaz and me talked about the faces of our franchises: the Action Star.  Then, I compared the spectacular, revolutionary car chases in Bullitt and the Italian Job.  But let’s break it down a bit further and end praising a few legendary individuals from the field.

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