Before I start this review I owe David a bit of an apology for putting off this book review, between the Widescreen Festival Judging and scheduled interview commitments, a proper review of a 500 plus page book was not possible. Full disclosure, I decided to BUY the book direct from David, because anyone who has that much passion to write about action needs to be supported.
For action fans, The Good, The Tough & The Deadly is a detailed amalgamation of compiled interviews and film reviews from David. Formatted in an encyclopedia style, alphabetically by film title with an index of stars and titles reviewed in the back, with interviews thrown in. The format alone is really enjoyable, as the reader is able to pinpoint which star and which film they would like to peruse first.
Of course I began my readings with films I have reviewed and people including Cynthia Rothrock and Karen Shepard whom I have had the pleasure to have interviewed. In fact, the real highlights of the entire book are the really detailed interviews of the two ladies, as David really took the time and effort to get inside their mind for action, thoughts on making films in Hong Kong and a bit of competitive spirit between them. Partially truculent interviews are often the most entertaining. That is why I loved interviewing the people like Uwe Boll and Natassia Malthe who are not afraid to speak honestly, rather refreshing in this Hollywood vapid glossing over of action films, and refusing to answer many questions landscape, in fear of stepping on toes.
David's interview with Eric Jacobus is a real gem, and provides an inspiring look at modern day indie film making. After interviewing Eric several times since 2006 I must say each interview I read from Eric, I learn more. David J. Moore goes into a budget detail of 'Death Grip', and Eric, ever honest and open chats about it, the casting, and expense breakdown, quite informative, for readers and perspective film makers alike. Really solid work from David on the question front, and brings out the bearded, yet serious film maker side of Eric.
Scattered through the hundreds of reviews some favorites that stand out are when David J. Moore does not like a film, or a particular actor, even when I completely disagree with him, the honesty of a dislike for a project resonates, and bites like a snake, but perhaps that is his way of telling the people they can be better. An example is Skin Trade, I really liked the film, and thought that Celina Jade offered Tony Jaa a chance to explore his softer side, but David focuses on the non urgency of the action, which is a erudite point perhaps I may have over looked. He lambasted '4Got10' and I really loved what he wrote, clever and honest, it was one of Dolph's more forgettable roles.
All of the reviews are informative, in The Good, The Bad & The Deadly, and there are many amazing action stars are scattered throughout, the one major issue I have with the book is the distinct lack of mention of many of the ladies in these films, and not many lady interviews. Now obviously, 'G.I. Joe Retaliation', was a film that David J. Moore did not like, which I loved, but to completely push aside 5 months of intense training from Elodie Yung with incredibly talented stunt professionals Ming Qiu and Tara Macken is almost like reviewing a restaurant's food without mentioning a signature dish. Where was the mention of the crazy ass performance of a very young, and at the time, non-English speaking Bai Ling in The Crow? Natassia Malthe has been in several action films including playing Typhoid in the original Elektra film and is not mentioned. This is basically my only real complaint about the book.That said, I am sure now David will interview more ladies, because, they are rising in action, and David is always looking to expand his knowledge, by reading The Action Elite! #JujuChan ,#AmyJohnston, #SheenaChou, etc...I am sure will cross his path, one way or another in 2017 as David and I both respect Jesse V. Johnson, and the promotions of 'Savage Dog' and then 'Accident Man' will commence, 'cue dangerous ladies, and maniacal Dan laughter'!
Overall, The Good, The Tough & The Deadly is a thoroughly educational book, especially for those new to action genre. The Good, The Tough, & The Deadly of those books to thumb back and forth through, especially when deciding on a new film to watch. David knows his source material, is highly professional as a writer, shows distinct respect to the actors, is fastidious in organization, and is a staunch promoter of action. I recommend the book as a must buy, with a solid 8 out of 10. Amazon has it as one of the better values. With many of the indie outlets selling the massive hard cover book at about $30 dollars and $4 dollars shipping. https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0764349953/ref=sr_1_1_olp?ie=UTF8&qid=1482957362&sr=8-1&keywords=The+good+the+tough+an+the+deadly
If you would like to purchase direct through the publisher please go to the Schiffer website: http://www.schifferbooks.com/the-good-the-tough-the-deadly-action-movies-stars-1960sa-present-5871.html
Happy new year to all who read Dan's Movie Report! If you want to see action grow, do not complain about it, strive to make it better, buy the books, buy the DVDs, and support the honest, hardworking, and humble stars in the business, if you do not like something speak up, but offer solutions!
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