February 25, 2018


Starring a variety of proverbial ass-kickers. Various Directors. (1975-2005/950 min).

It never fails...whenever my wife and I grocery shop each weekend, there's a point when we look at the price of an item on our list and our jaws collectively drop. For example, there are some weeks when cows have apparently been put on the endangered species list and we're expected to pay seven bucks for a pound of lean ground beef. That's usually when we decide Taco Tuesday will be just as enjoyable with the fattier packages, getting twice as much meat for our money.

Sometimes you gotta go with quantity over quality.

Similarly, this 3 disc collection of action epics from Mill Creek doesn't include any stone cold classics, but there's a plethora of Sony-released pictures featuring some former heavy hitters. We get some Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Samuel L. Jackson, Rutger Hauer...we're even reminded that Jan-Michael Vincent once had a film career.

Jamie Foxx boasts how his recent Oscar win allowed him freedom to choose his roles. Josh Lucas can barely contain his amusement.
The set contains nine action films of varying quality. Spanning three decades (though most are from the 90's & early 2000's), none are career high points for any of these guys, but for second-tier action, there's a lot of bang for your buck. Vertical Limit and the Rutger Hauer cult favorite, Blind Fury, are probably the best of the bunch, though time has been kinder to Schwarzenegger's mega-flop, Last Action Hero, than critics were back in '93. It's still an overlong, bloated mess, but certainly better than anything Arnie's lent his name to lately.

"That's the way to Grandmother's house."
Universal Soldier: The Return and Silent Rage serve as amusing reminders that we once threw away good money to catch Van Damme & Norris in theaters. Into the Sun is one of Seagal's better straight-to-video efforts (though that's still faint praise). S.W.A.T. and Stealth are typical of modern day action in the post-Fast and the Furious era: sexy stars, ultra-cool characters, plenty 'o pyro and plots you'll forget within minutes. Finally, 1975's White Line Fever evokes fond memories in yours truly, who used to frequent his local tri-plex to catch a variety of b-movie bonanzas.

Too bad they couldn't have thrown-in something from Stallone (like Lock Up or Cliffhanger). That would have made this set a virtual who's-who of big-screen brawn. But as it is, the 9 Lives Movie Collection delivers a lot of bullets, bombs and broken bones for the money. It's a perfect bundle of beef for taco night.

DISC 1: S.W.A.T., Stealth, Vertical Limit
DISC 2: Last Action Hero, Universal Solder: The Return, Into the Sun
DISC 3: Blind Fury, Silent Rage, White Line Fever


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