‘Killing Ground’ and 5 Of The Best Australian Horror Movies of the 21st Century

One of the most fascinating things horror is how various parts of the world interpret the genre. Whether it is the predominantly outdoorsy horror in America to the supernatural tales from Japan each nation seems to have their own take on terror. One of the most fascinating is countries when it comes to horror movies is Australia. The content is like American horror but their movies have a mean streak that runs through it. A perfect example of this is IFC Midnight’s Killing Ground.

Starring Harriet Dyers and Ian Meadows Killing Ground is about fianc√©s Sam and Ian going on a camping trip together. Worried by an abandoned tent nearby they are shocked to discover a toddler wandering the forest. Pursued by local hunters German and Chook Sam and Ian are pushed to the edge and expose horrifying sides of themselves they couldn’t have imagined before. The feature debut of writer-director Damien Power Killing Ground takes the evil redneck subgenre and gives it the rough edges that only way Australian filmmakers can pull off. In fact, since the year 2000 we have seen a significant uptick in tremendous uptick in quality Australian horror. If you still need more proof here are 5 of the best Australian horror movies of the 21st century.

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Baby Driver, Edgar Wright and 5 of the Best Soundtracks of the 21st Century

After months of waiting Baby Driver is coming out and looks to be a huge hit. As of this writing Baby Driver has an impressive 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and with good reason. Director Edgar Wright’s first foray into straight up action movies is an absolute blast taking classic action film tropes and recreating them in ways never seen before. The biggest reason this all works is the strength of the soundtrack. Mixing a variety of genres tracks such as “Hocus Pocus” by Focus and Bob & Earl’s “Harlem Shuffle” blend seamlessly into what is happening on screen.

As important as the soundtrack for Baby Driver is making it so integral to a film is nothing new for Edgar Wright. Contemporary music has been crucial to his work as early as Spaced and Shaun of the Dead. In fact since the beginning of the 21st century we have seen a bit of a shift when it comes to soundtracks. Very rarely are songs made exclusively for a film but instead are used to punctuate a scene. It has led to not only the discovery of older artists but to exposing classic songs to a whole new generation. Needless to say it’s not only a great time for fans of movies but music as well. So in honor of Baby Driver here is a look at 6 of the best movie soundtracks of the 21st century.
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7 Hip Hop We Need After ‘All Eyez On Me’

It is 2017 hip hop is bigger than it has ever been. No longer relegated to the Bronx in just 40 years rap has become the biggest force in music today. More recently we have seen this once underground movement make the jump to the silver screen. While the first rap film was 1982’s Wild Style movies like Friday, 8 Mile and Hustle & Flow have proven to be hits with critics and fans alike. Most recently we have seen a wave of hip hop biographies getting green lit thanks to the success of Straight Outta Compton. The latest of which being a biography about the legendary Tupac Shakur in All Eyez On Me.

Born to members of the Black Panthers Shakur would get his start with hip hop group Digital Underground. Going solo shortly thereafter he would become one of the most celebrated rappers in hip hop history thanks to his vivid imagery and his ability to fuse social commentary with west coast party anthems. The first victim of the West Coast-East Coast feud #Tupac was a gifted lyricist that reached peaks then unheard of for a rapper. Needless to say when it came to rappers to get the big screen treatment he was near the top. In fact, hip hop is full of colorful characters like Pac that have lived an interesting life too unreal to believe. So in honor of All Eyez On Me, here are 7 rappers that deserve a movie of their own and the perfect scene.

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8 Badass Women To Watch After ‘Wonder Woman’

After bringing in an impressive $11 million at Thursday preview screenings and a lot of positive buzz (93% on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing) DC’s Wonder Woman roared into the box office and became one of the biggest hits of the summer. In fact, it is the highest grossing film from a female director making over $200 million worldwide and it is easy to see why. #WonderWoman has won over audiences with some of the best #action in a #DC film so far, an inspiring hero and the kind of earnest storytelling we don’t see in superhero movies nowadays.

While we tend to think of the female action hero as a rarity they actually have a long history in film. The roots of which can be dated back to the 1933 detective film serial The Perils of Pauline. Since these humble beginnings we have seen women be just as good as men on the big screen. Whether it’s in horror, science fiction or action women have been kicking ass all around the world. So, after you’re done watching Diana of Themyscira tear up the big screen here are 8 badass women for you to check out afterwards.

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5 Superheroines Who Need A Movie After ‘Wonder Woman’ (And Who Should Play Them)

Reviews for Wonder Woman are now coming out and things are looking good. Currently at 96% on Rottentomatoes it is one of the highest rated films of the year. And as silly as it is to say these reviews have me relieved. With this being the latest in the #DCEU and the first female superhero movie a lot was riding on #WonderWoman. If it is a big hit at the box office it would not only be the first critically acclaimed movie for the DCEU but would open the door for more female-led superhero fare in the future.

Perhaps predicting the film’s success Warner Brothers had already announced a #Batgirl movie back in March. They have even taken a book from the Marvel Cinematic Universe by nabbing fan favorite Joss Whedon to write, direct and produce the film. With shows like Buffy and Dollhouse under his belt Whedon working on a film for the Darknight Damsel seems like a perfect fit. Between this and the Margot Robbie produced Gotham Sirens film DC seems to be heavily investing in their female roster of heroes. It’s certainly a solid strategy. With Marvel just now giving the green light for Captain Marvel DC has not only taken the lead when it comes to female representation but set the gold standard if critics are to be believed. With Wonder Woman eyeing a $65 million opening pursuing female superheroes seems like a winning strategy. If DC Films decides to go with this here are five superheroines that would be perfect for the big screen.

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The Future of the Blog and a Brief Update

So, it’s been awhile. After maintaining this blog for five years I took a break. More specifically I moved elsewhere. After an offer in the comment section I moved on to do the Moviepilot/Creators gimmick. All things considered it has worked out. With that said I would like to get back to utilizing this blog in some capacity. So while not my primary source for writing I will try to update this more.

As for what I have been writing, a lot of the same stuff. It can be found HERE.

Have fun, don’t run

— Douchebag Batman

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Wrestling Is Reel- Kickboxer: Vengeance 

Originally the plan was to review Countdown at the end of the month. I was all set to go with that when I saw that not only that Kickboxer: Vengeance was on VOD. A movie with former wrestler Dave Bautista, Jean Claude Van Damme AND UFC fighters? I knew I had to review it. So in a special edition of Wrestling Is Reel I will be looking at Kickboxer: Vengeance.

With big supporting roles in Guardians of the Galaxy and Spectre it is easy to forget that Dave Bautista got his start as a professional wrestler. Starting in 2000 he would make his WWE debut as Deacon Batista, the evil enforcer for crooked preacher Reverend D-Von. Despite this horrible gimmick he would soon rise up the ranks after forming Evolution with Triple H, Ric Flair and The Condemned 2 star Randy Orton. Winning the World Heavyweight Championship at 2005’s Wrestlemania 22 he would consistently be in the main event feuding with legends like Triple H, The Undertaker and John Cena before leaving over creative differences.
After a brief foray in MMA and filming a little movie called Guardians of the Galaxy Batista would return to WWE in early 2013. Initially pushed as a good guy the fans quickly turned on him in favor of underdog Daniel Bryan. A bit of a fiasco Batista would last a few more months before returning to Hollywood to film today’s entry, Kickboxer: Vengeance.

Kickboxer: Vengeance

Wrestler- Batista
Wrestling Moves Used- 3
Real Stars- Jean Claude Van Damme, Gina Carano

Kurt Sloane is there for his brother Eric, a rising martial arts star. Even as he goes to fight in Thailand despite his wishes. When Eric is killed in the ring by Tong Po Kurt looks to Eric’s trainer Master Durand to train him and take revenge against the brutal fighter.

If this sounds exactly like the first movie that’s because it pretty much is. While I expect reboots to be similar to the original they usually add something new to the plot. Instead we pretty much get the same movie but with a grittier aesthetic. Things aren’t helped when the whole thing is oddly edited. While the fights look okay, if a little shaky, things like a tacked on romance come out of nowhere. It is literally two scenes mid-training montage and a “you can’t fight” scene near the end. It’s just a weird choice that is made worse when it looks cheap.

All of this could be forgiven if Kickboxer: Vengeance had a good lead to carry the movie. Who we get is Alain Moussi. A stuntman for films like Brick Mansions, X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Marine 3 and it’s easy to see why his acting roles have been bit parts. Quite frankly he wasn’t really a good actor. And while the same could be said of Van Damme in the original he still had this dumb pretty boy charm that worked. Moussi, on the other hand, seems more like a blank slate. Never emoting to much he just exists to stare blankly and kick things in the face. To his credit he does that quite well. In fact he’s probably one of the more talented movie fighters I’ve seen in awhile. Still as skilled as he is as a martial artist he just can’t carry a full movie. This is especially apparent when he shares screen time with Jean Claude Van Damme.

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Van Damme is perfect as the faux-Mr. Miyagi trainer Master Durand. Instead of being the generic ass kicker we see in most direct to video fare they give the Muscles from Brussels a bit of personality and it goes a long way. Whether on screen with Moussi or Georges St. Pierre he steals every scene he is in. I am also happy to say he can still “turn it on” when it comes to the action scenes. While this isn’t too much of a surprise it’s still nice to see him do martial arts as opposed to run and gun like most of his recent films. Seeing JCVD take on the GSP was the movie fight scene I didn’t know I needed to watch.

In fact the fight scenes are pretty good in general. While hardly the most innovative stuff each fight felt unique from each other. Rarely relying just on martial arts we get a nice of mix of hand-to-hand, weapons and variety in environments. From fights in the hills of Thailand to streets fights on top of elephants (yes that actually happens) the fight scenes are well choreographed and easily the best part of Kickboxer: Vengeance.

Helping the believability is the casting of the other fighters. The biggest of which being Batista as Tong Po. While the role is a bit generic Batista brings the menace and a screen presence to the role that make it stand out. He is able to make every throw and Muay Thai knee look believable. We also have former UFC Heavyweight champions Fabricio Werdum, Cain Velasquez and a non-fighting Gina Carano making appearances. Surprisingly it is former UFC Welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre that made the most impact on me. Given he isn’t the best actor but he is perfect comic relief as the drunk Kavi. He also seemed the most adept at stage fighting. His background in MMA as well as his athleticism had his fight scenes looking the best on film.

kickboxer vengence batista moussi.jpg

One has to have certain expectations Going into a direct to video Kickboxer reboot starring an ex-wrestler and Jean Claude Van Damme. Mostly that it will be a silly action flick not high art. For the most part it delivers. The supporting cast manages to be fun and the action scenes surprisingly work. Sadly the whole thing is derailed by a terrible lead and an overall cheap aesthetic derail the whole thing. Kickboxer: Vengeance can be fun and I think that it has its moments. But in all honesty I might recommend the sequels instead. They deliver the cheesy action you’re looking for more than this did.

Rating- D+

Did you see Kickboxer: Vengeance? What is your favorite Van Damme movie? Let me know in the comments.

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