If you peruse this book on a store shelf without bothering to read the introduction first, you may understandably be put-off. After all, leaving out such definitive action classics as Die Hard, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Road Warrior and Michael Bay's entire filmography can only be the work of a true idiot.
But writer/editor David J. Moore is no idiot, so it's imperative to read his intro to understand where he's coming from. Despite its ample and hefty content, The Good, the Tough and the Deadly is obviously not meant to be a definitive look at the entire action genre. Besides, how much more gushing praise for Die Hard do you really need to read?
Instead, this book focuses primarily on the directors and actors who've made action films (classic or otherwise) their bread & butter. From big guns like Stallone & Schwarzenegger down to video store shelf-dwellers like Lorenzo Lamas and Oliver Gruner, the emphasis is on films where weapons & fists take precedence over dynamic characters and narrative. Needless to say, much of the book is loaded with entries featuring martial arts, vigilantes, budget-conscious sci-fi, athletes-turned-actors and damn near everything released by Cannon Films in the 80s.
While each included film is effectively summarized & reviewed by a variety of writers with an appreciation for the genre, the best parts of this book are the affectionate (if not a bit gushing) interviews with various directors and actors, most of whom are past their prime and reflect longingly on a bygone era when their inherent skills were most appreciated.
Most importantly, this is a fun read, whether revisiting beloved quasi-classics or searching-out something that may have escaped your radar. Filled with interesting photos from the past and present, The Good, the Tough and the Deadly is a nifty guided tour through one of Hollywood’s less reputable genres.
PURR...LIKE A GOOD ROUNDHOUSE KICK BEHIND THE EARS