Often a popular movie will inspire other storylines to reach the silver screen, and it’s easy to see that director/writer Timothy Woodward Jr. was inspired by The Untouchables in making Gangster Land. From the punchy dialogue to its propulsive score, Gangster Land definitely takes a few pages from the Brian De Palmaclassic.
That being said, Gangster Land offers new insight into the genre, as we follow the life of Machine Gun Jack McGurn (Sean Faris, effective at being edgy), a former amateur boxer who becomes Al Capone’s (Milo Gibson) right hand man in 1920s Chicago. McGurn is best known as the orchestrator behind the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and, since I’m not one to give away spoilers, the rest of McGurn’s life is also one for the history books.
The Sopranos vet Jamie-Lynn Sigler plays McGurn’s love interest and Peter Facinelli (Twilight) co-starring as Capone and McGurn’s nemesis “Bugs” Moran. A tip of the hat to Woodward Jr. for casting Don Harvey, who worked with De Palma in Casualties of War, as one of the detectives who tries to put McGurn back on the straight and narrow path (Jason Patric is the other cop assigned to clean up Chicago’s crime ridden streets).
The biggest surprise of Gangster Land is that Milo Gibson, son of Mel Gibson, holds his own as Al Capone, and his scenes with Faris simply crackle. Their friendship and mutual savagery is believable, and their chemistry, along with the joy of watching a solid ensemble go to work, make Gangster Land a highly entertaining watch. It may not have the cinematic mastery or production values of The Untouchables, but few films reach that mark anyway. Gangster Land has enough punches in its arsenal to survive more than a few rounds, and it’s great to see McGurn’s life given the cinematic treatment.
Gangster Land is now out on Blu-ray and DVD via Cinedigm.
Mel Gibson hasn’t been in a pure comedy for years (dating back to 2000’s What Women Want), so it’s great to see him join Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell in Daddy’s Home 2. Gibson stars as Kurt, the tough nosed father of Dusty with John Lithgow starring as Brad’s (Ferrell) over affectionate father.
“Mark and Will when they get going – I’m in this scene with these two guys and they’re just riffing and ad-libbing,” said Gibson directed last year’s acclaimed war drama Hacksaw Ridge. “I cannot keep up with these cats. They’ve got this shorthand going on and I’m like the ballboy at a tennis match trying to jump in on my bit. It’s hilarious to watch them. Most of the time you end up laughing forgetting you’re on screen. So they have to do it again because you crack up.”
Click on the media bar to hear Gibson talk about when he introduced himself to Wahlberg at a restaurant to offer a few kind words:
In celebration of its 35th Anniversary, the Mel Gibson headlined Attack Force Z hits Blu-ray and digital on November 7. Originally released in North America in June 1982, the story centers on a group of commandos who are tasked with rescuing plane survivors on a South Pacific island that’s occupied by the Japanese. Gibson stars as Captain P.G. Kelly in this WWII tale that co-stars Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) and John Waters (Breaker Morant).
Attack Force Z features a new 4K scan and restoration of the film. Special features include the 25 minute segment “The 2-Men Debriefed” which contains interviews with executive producer John McCallum and actors Waters and Chris Haywood. The theatrical trailer and a photo gallery are also included.
“Previous home video versions of this film have looked sub-par,” said Eric Wilkinson, MVD Entertainment Group’s Director of Acquisitions and Sales. “Umbrella Entertainment has done an amazing job restoring this film to its original glory. As a collector of physical media myself, I’m happy to announce that Attack Force Z represents the first of many classic films on Blu-ray that MVD will be releasing in the near future.”
Attack Force Z is available for pre-order on MVDshop.com and Amazon.
When Lethal Weapon was released 30 years ago (on March 6, 1987), it was refreshingly different. Yes, there had been “buddy cop” movies before, but with its bleak outlook, dark humor, and the bipolar pairing of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, Lethal Weapon felt brand new. And it was a huge box office hit. Of course, with success came three sequels, and while they made plenty of money, they hardly felt original, and the franchise’s reputation became a little bit tarnished.
Since Lethal Weapon 4 was released in 1997, there have been occasional rumblings about rebooting the series. And with a Lethal Weapon-inspired TV show on the air, you’d think the timing would be right to bring it back to the big screen.
Unless you name is Richard Donner, that is. Donner directed all four of the Lethal Weapon movies, and he doesn’t want to see the series suffer the same fate as The Omen, another one of his films that was remade (and bombed) in 2006. So his advice to any studio execs wanting to do a new Lethal Weapon movie is simple: Don’t do it! (Click on the media bar below to hear Richard Donner)
Mel Gibson, who was seen earlier this year in Blood Father, is once again behind the camera with the war drama Hacksaw Ridge. The picture, which is getting its share of Oscar buzz, centers on the true story of WWII Army medic Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield). Doss, a pacifist who served during the Battle of Okinawa, became the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor.
An Oscar winner back in 1995 for Braveheart, Gibson also directed the features the overlooked adventure Apocalypto. Making epics these days that don’t deal with comic book characters is a tough sell, and Gibson had to go the independent route with Hacksaw Ridge. Gibson was able to get the financing for his ambitious film.
Hacksaw Ridge, co-starring Sam Worthington, opens in theaters this Friday.