Load up on guns and bring your friends: Twenty great action movie ensemble casts

When we saw the cast that Sylvester Stallone assembled for war machine throwback that is the upcoming “The Expendables,” well, we were just giddy. It didn’t matter that Stallone’s recent writing projects (“Rocky Balboa,” “Rambo”) were as predictable as a sunrise and safe as houses – he has put together the single biggest cast of ass-kicking movie stars we’ve seen in decades, possibly ever. Indeed, as we looked back at great action ensembles from the past, we discovered just how infrequently the big stars worked together for an action movie. It happens all the time for dramas (two words: Oscar bait), but one quick look at the ‘80s in particular will tell you that action movies, by and large, are a single man’s game.

However, there are times when movie stars have forsaken the lion’s share of the spotlight in order to deliver something special, and so we salute the great guy movie ensembles of years past. In the interest of full disclosure, once we discovered that the list was going to consist almost entirely of war movies, westerns and sequels, we decided to play around a little bit with the definition of “action movie.” To the point where it included Tim Burton and Steven Soderbergh. Don’t judge.

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Cast: Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Brad Dexter
The Plot: A village of farmers, frequently raided by a group of bandits, recruits a group of gunslingers to defend their town.
The Back Story: In the 1950s, it wasn’t exactly the easiest task to get the average American to go see a Japanese film, no matter how great it may have been. Fortunately, director John Sturges was up to the task of seeing Akira Kurosawa’s “The Seven Samurai,” and upon doing so, he saw elements in the story and characters which would translate well to the Western genre. Boy, was he right…and if his instinct for hot properties was good, then his gift for casting was downright remarkable, given that the only truly top-shelf actor in the cast at the time was Brynner, who was riding high on the Academy Award winning success of “The King and I.” Combining these upstanding gentlemen, the inspiration of the original source material, and the classic score by Elmer Bernstein, and you’ve got yourself one of the greatest Westerns of all time.
The Money Shot: There are a lot of great small moments leading up to the big showdown between the Magnificent Seven and the despicable Calvera (Wallach), including the classic knife-throwing sequence that introduces Coburn’s character, and, indeed, the grand finale offers several immortal death sequences. None, however, match the power of Calvera’s final seconds onscreen, specifically his stunned reaction to the fact that Chris (Brynner), despite his earlier retreat, has not only returned but, indeed, successfully taken him down.

The Great Escape (1963)

Cast: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasance, James Coburn, James Donald
The Plot: A group of Allied prisoners plan a daring escape from a supposedly escape-proof German prison.
The Back Story: Remember what we said about Sturges’s gift for casting? It wasn’t a one-off, as this ensemble clearly demonstrates. Based on a true story, utilizing Paul Brickhill’s book of the same title as its inspiration, “The Great Escape” was adapted somewhat from its source material, pumping up the importance of the Americans in the story and adding a bit more motorcycle action. The latter was reportedly done at McQueen’s request, but whoever came up with the idea deserves a round of applause, as it makes for some of the film’s most exciting moments. Ironically, “The Great Escape” got more shrugs than kudos upon its original release, but it has since gone on to become recognized as a classic.
The Money Shot: When Hilts’s mad motorcycle ride through Germany ends abruptly when he attempts to jump the fence into Switzerland, only to get caught in the barbed wire. That’s got to hurt…

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Anne McDaniels on the red carpet

07 August 2010 - Beverly Hills, CA - Anne McDaniels. Comcast Entertainment Group TCA Cocktail Party held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Photo Credit: Michael Jade/AdMedia

The sexy Anne McDaniels makes an appearance on the red carpet at the Comcast Entertainment Group TCA Cocktail Party held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. We got some beautiful photos of Anne in New York back in 2004 when she did a Featured Model shoot for Bullz-Eye. Anne is now an actress in LA and she’s working on various film and TV projects. Meanwhile, our TV man, Will Harris, is in LA covering the TCA tour and providing all sorts of updates on the upcoming TV season.

Check out more red carpet photos of Anne after the jump.

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Product review: Bluebeard’s Revenge

Ever wonder what it would be like if your facial hair stopped growing or maybe just slowed down a bit so those tough shaves were a part of the past? I had not thought about either of the two but now with Bluebeard’s Revenge shaving cream it could become reality for many of you “real men” out there!

Isn’t it cool that products like “shaving cream” are developing and specializing to niche clientele? I received a can of Bluebeard’s Revenge and I must say it is the most awesome packaging I’ve ever seen for shaving cream. I mean we are talking a skull and cross bones here my friends. When applying the shaving cream I noticed a subtle soapy smell that made me feel like I was cleaning my face as well. It was easy to apply and the shaves I experienced were smooth and clean. The big claim by Bluebeard’s Revenge is after a month of steady use your beard will slow it’s growth because of a novel topical compound called Decelerine in the shaving cream. I’m not here to tell you whether or not that claim is true but I feel the smooth shave alone is enough to support this product.

  

Friday Video – Green Day, “Before the Lobotomy”

Happy Friday, everyone. If you’re reading this within 72 hours of when it posts, then we’re standing somewhere in Chicago’s Grant Park, caked in dust from the softball fields the south stage bands are playing on. We’ll give you one guess which band we’re most excited to see. (Note: There is no official video for this song, so we settled for this Rock Band recording because it’s the most visually interesting YouTube clip of the song available.)

Oh, and for the people who made this clip, if you’re looking for a new singer, drop us a line. Ciao.


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Jamba Juice now offering the Cheeseburger Chill

If there’s one thing the good people of Jamba Juice know, it’s fruit. So why would they try to get into the burger business? In truth, they aren’t – this video is just a strong right hook at the fast food industry, which has started to encroach on Jamba Juice territory by offering concoctions they try to pass off as smoothies. Those abominations are about as much smoothie as the cheeseburger shake is a burger, and yet, people order them. That got us to thinking, if people are willing to eat fast food smoothies, who would be willing to eat a cheeseburger shake?

1. Frat guys – If fraternities have a reputation for one thing, it’s their filth. It’s not networking, job prospects, close friends, or even great parties. The real frats, frats that people like you and me went to skill with, were disgusting. They had horrific hazing rituals. Their members (my friends among them) would find absurd bets like “who can kill the most wounded soldiers at the next house party.” These guys would love to ingest a cheeseburger milkshake. You can almost guarantee that a brother at your local party school has tried this very thing to rid himself of a nasty hangover or win the approval of the rest of the house.

2. Hot dog stand regulars – At three in the morning, few things sound quite as good as a hotdog loaded down with onions, jalapenos, chili, coleslaw, and healthy squirt of stadium mustard across the top. For some people, that sounds good at nine in the morning. And for lunch. And as a mid day snack. When you’re in such a hurry to give yourself kidney stones, why not slurp the food through a straw, right? Right.

3. Extreme runners – When I first read about Dean Karnazes I was enchanted. The guy lost it at a party, sprinted into the night and didn’t stop running until morning. That was just the beginning of an insane career. He has gone on to compete in marathons and supermarathons, sometimes entering himself in team competitions and running against five other men by himself. He ran 50 marathons in 50 days across 50 states. He’s completely insane, but he keeps his body going by guzzling calories as he runs. He orders pizzas on the go, snacks on eclairs mid-run. He needs the ridiculous caloric intake just to keep his body running. The cheeseburger shake is perfect for this guy – a calorie bomb you can sip as you sprint.

4. Fast Food fanatics – If you’ve seen Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me,” you know there are people in this world that would prefer the Big Mac to a nice hand-pattied burger. For those few people, you can imagine the cheeseburger shake would be the perfect treat. It’s salty, disgusting, and consumable in three minutes or less. What more could you want?

5. Britney Spears – Britney Spears is a wreck. A complete and utter mess of a human being. When she isn’t flashing her hoo-hah or pressing ham for the paparazzi, she’s busy driving with her kids on her lap and having public – very public – psychotic breakdowns. She’s also known to step into gas station bathrooms barefoot. I don’t know what kind of gas stations you go to, but the bathrooms I see at the local Kwik-N-Go are like something from a horror movie. If the walls aren’t smeared in human excrement there’s usually used toilet paper strewn about and a cocktail of bodily fluid stewing in the turlet. If Britney can stomach that mess without so much as a pair of shoes (much less a biohazard suit), you can bet she’d be willing to slurp down a burger shake without thinking twice.

  

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