Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Game

I work every Monday night, which means I'm always putting out the New Release DVDs that come out Tuesday morning. Every week, without fail, there are a handful of Direct to DVD pieces of trash that star either washed up has-beens or fresh-faced never-will-bes. This invariably leads to "The Game."

"The Game" is Calvin - the taller, weed-infused, quieter version of me - and I spending the last two hours of the night trying to figure out just what it takes for someone to go from solid working Hollywood actor to Direct to DVD poster child. Then we forecast who's next to make that transition.

Some guys get automatic passes from the scrutiny of two Lackluster Video employees who fancy themselves aficionados when it comes to what is and isn't a good career choice. Guys like Seagal and Van Damme who were clearly passed their prime sometime around the middle of their prime get to skate. They're too easy. The guys who ride shotgun for them are fair game though...

The crazy thing is how quickly it can turn. Take Wesley Snipes.

Nino Brown was a certified, bankable actor throughout the 90's and not just as an action guy either. Snipes did it all from White Men Can't Jump and Waiting to Exhale to US Marshals and The Fan. Then... poof!

Wesley Snipes has had three decent films in the last ten years. They all involved the word Blade. You have to believe he's lobbying hard for someone to make Blade 4: Still More Vampires. But that's it. Everything else has been total crap. How the hell do you go from sharing top billing with Robert effin' DeNiro to The King of Direct to DVD?

And almost anyone is one or two bad movies away from ending up in a Direct to DVD dumpbin at Lackluster.

Man Crush #7 Benjamin Geza Affleck headlined the flaming pile of turd Gigli, had a couple other duds and then BLAM! Straight to the shelves with Man About Town. Not even ten years before kid was snagging an Oscar and starring in space rock movies with John McLain! (I stole that from Kevin Smith...)

And for those who might say, "Yeah, Affleck won an Oscar but it was for writing. He's never been much of an actor," I'll acquiesce and counter with Cuba Gooding Jr.

Remember in Jerry Maguire how the only commercials Rod Tidwell could get were for some local car dealership sitting on top of a camel? That's what Cuba's career is like now. All he gets are those camel commercials. It's either kid-friendly family fun (Snow Dogs, Rat Race) or total crap that you've never even heard of. Shadowboxer? Dirty? In The Shadows?

Which brings us to our favourite forecastee of late, Jason Statham.

I used to love Jason Statham. Past tense. Loved.

Jason Statham in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Jason Statham as Monk in Mean Machine. Jason Statham as Turkish, underground boxing promoter aligned with Mickey the Pikey in Snatch. Hell, even Handsome Rob was fun.

Then came The Transporter. Fair enough. At some point, I'm guessing most guys have a "I wanna do a flick with a car chase, explosions and a fucking kung-fu sequence" moment. Unfortunately, Jason Statham has been having too many of those moments and is walking a tenuous line right now.

Quality turns in decent dramas like London have slipped through the crack. All everyone remembers is Crank and The Transporter 2. Or the super-hyped super-flop War alongside one-time Asian Sensation Jet Li, who fell victim to another pitfall of the movie business - starring in too many movies alongside rappers or former wrestlers.

His latest stop at the box office in In The Name of the King came and went out of theatres faster than you can say "Two tickets please..."

Reprising his role as Handsome Rob in the upcoming vagina waxing tribute The Brazilian Job (I'm not making this up... that is what it's called...) is a smart move as Marky Mark equals box office bucks, but it could be too late.

Death Race, Crank 2 and The Bank Job might seal his fate before we even get there.

Or maybe this week has already done it.

Filmed in 2005, Direct to DVD in 2008.

Chaos starring Wesley Snipes... and Jason Statham.

1 comment:

Newt said...

I did really like The Transporter but he never should have done Transporter 2. That only lead to War and War was horrible. Let's hope that Marky Mark is enough to pull Mr. Statham out of the direct to DVD toilet.