Roll ‘Action!’


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This fine six-film box set is an over­due cel­e­bra­tion of a writer, pro­ducer and di­rec­tor who has al­ways pre­ferred re­veal­ing char­ac­ters through drama rather than ex­plain­ing them through di­a­logue. Hill’s dis­tinc­tive vis­ual style and flair for action are am­ply demon­strated in this se­lec­tion.

Di­a­logue is min­i­mal in The Driver (1978), star­ring Ryan O’Neal as an ace get­away driver and Bruce Dern as the de­tec­tive on his trail – and some of the best car crashes ever filmed. Hill cited Xenophon as in­spi­ra­tion for The War­riors (1979), his ar­rest­ing cult pic­ture of ri­val New York street gangs.

The Long Rid­ers (1980) fea­tures real-life broth­ers David, Keith and


Robert Car­ra­dine, Stacy and James Keach, and Den­nis and Randy Quaid as the Younger, James and Miller broth­ers. It fea­tures a ter­rific Ry Cooder score, as does Hill’s Viet­nam al­le­gory South­ern Com­fort (1981), a pow­er­ful, at­mo­spheric drama of a Na­tional Guard unit lost and im­per­illed in the Louisiana bay­ous.

Ex­treme Prej­u­dice (1987) sets up a mythic con­flict be­tween good and evil, as per­son­i­fied by a dogged Texas Ranger (Nick Nolte) and a drugs baron (Pow­ers Boothe). It is tough and vi­o­lent, like many Hill movies, but not as much as Johnny Hand­some (1989), star­ring Mickey Rourke (pic­tured above with Ellen Barkin) as a dis­fig­ured crim­i­nal who un­der­goes plas­tic surgery.

The set in­cludes trail­ers and an in­ter­view with Hill.

18 cert Based on a James Ell­roy story, Ayer’s dis­ap­point­ingly con­ven­tional thriller de­picts Los An­ge­les as a city rife with po­lice cor­rup­tion. Reeves is im­pres­sive as a mav­er­ick vice squad de­tec­tive drink­ing heav­ily since the death of his wife. The action se­quences, which are many and vi­o­lent, are well staged.

15 cert A hith­erto blind con­cert vi­o­lin­ist en­coun­ters wor­ry­ing vi­sions af­ter re­ceiv­ing a cornea trans­plant. There are some good things in this lat­est adap­ta­tion of an Asian hor­ror film: eerie vi­su­als, im­pres­sive sense of fore­bod­ing. But Alba's usual flat per­for­mance kills the pic­ture dead within 20 min­utes.

18 cert Scot­land is placed un­der quar­an­tine when mil­lions are in­fected with a fa­tal virus in Mar­shall’s ris­i­bly scripted, fre­net­i­cally edited and weari­somely fa­mil­iar fu­tur­is­tic yarn.

Di­rected by David Ayer. Star­ring Keanu Reeves, For­est Whi­taker, Chris Evans, Hugh Lau­rie

Di­rected by David Moreau, Xavier Palud. Star­ring Jes­sica Alba, Parker Posey, Alessan­dro Nivola

Di­rected by Neil Mar­shall. Star­ring Rhona Mitri, Bob Hoskins, Adrian Lester, David O’Hara, Sean Per­twee, Malcolm McDow­ell

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