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Movie Review: “VANish”

Maiara Walsh, Austin Abke, Bryan Bockbrader, Adam Guthrie, Danny Trejo
Bryan Bockbrader

Here’s a tip for those hoping to get reviews of their new indie film by cold-writing movie critics: make sure your movie has Danny Trejo or Tony Todd in it, preferably both. “VANish” has both, and here we are.

“VANish” hits video and on demand this week. Writer and director Bryan Bockbrader tells us that he shot the film in 13 days, which brings to mind the story of how Robert Rodriguez shot “El Mariachi” on a $7,000 budget. The comparison is an apt one, as “VANish” is a warped wet dream of chatty Tarantino wise asses with “From Dusk Till Dawn” levels of bloodshed, and the entire movie takes place inside of a van, hence the capitalization in the title (and possibly a reference to the first half of “From Dusk Till Dawn,” which mostly takes place inside an RV). The majority of the acting fails the plot – and in some ways, the plot fails the plot – but it is a fun distraction, even if it pains us to think of a Tarantino/Rodriguez bloodfest like this as the two-decade nostalgia trip that it is.

College student Emma (Maiara Walsh) is kidnapped by Jack (Austin Abke) and Max (Bockbrader, the writer and director himself). They go to pick up their driver Shane (Adam Guthrie) with the intent of arranging a drop with Emma’s estranged father, drug lord Carlos (Trejo). Emma is not afraid of these guys in the slightest, and tells her dad as much in her kidnapping video. War veteran Jack, however, thinks he has everything under control, but as the job gets botched (on a number of levels), the three accomplices learn things about the other that cause mistrust to settle in. Oh, and did we mention that the damsel in distress is the daughter of a drug lord? (We did.) She is surely a delicate flower, and wouldn’t think of exploiting the circumstances at the first opportunity. Or the second. Or the third.

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Danny Trejo stars in “Dead in Tombstone”

Bullz-Eye.com was on location in Romania for the filming of “Dead in Tombstone” and we had the opportunity to interview the incomparable star Danny Trejo again as you can see below. We had recently spoken with him on the set of “Death Race 3” and this time he had the lead role in the film.

You can’t go wrong with Trejo carrying an action film, and he clearly relishes playing this badass role, explaining how he makes a deal with the devil (Mickey Rourke) and bragging that it’s the only movie where he dies twice. He describes this movie as a “Horror Western” with a large body count. The movie is directed by Roel Reiné who also directed “Death Race 3” and is making quite a name for himself with his action sequences. Check back as we also interviewed his lovely costar Dina Meyer.

It was fascinating to see a Western filmed live. Putting together action scenes involving horses involves a great deal of coordination. Check out “Dead in Tombstone” on Blu-ray/DVD if you’re looking for an action fix.


Trailer and stills for “Machete Kills” starring Danny Trejo

“Machete Kills” will be in theaters on October 11th with Danny Trejo back in the lead role as ex-Federale agent Machete and supported by an impressive cast that includes Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Carlos Estevez (aka Charlie Sheen), Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Demián Bichir, Alexa Vega, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding, Jr., William Sadler, Marko Zaror and Mel Gibson.

We have the trailer along with some great posters and photos of some of the babes from the film, including Michelle Rodriguez, who is accustomed to playing badass characters, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard and Alexa Vega. There’s something about girls with guns so we’re definitely looking forward to this one.


“Death Race 3: Inferno” – The biggest, baddest “Death Race” yet

I was on hand recently on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood for a private screening of the third installment of the “Death Race” franchise, “Death Race 3: Inferno,” hosted by Luke Goss and director Roel Reiné. It was great to see the film after traveling to South Africa to cover the filming of the movie last year. After seeing it, I’m convinced it was easily the best yet in the series. With most of the cast returning from “Death Race 2,” including Luke Goss and Tanit Phoenix, Roel Reiné directing and Mike Elliott producing, all of the pieces were in place for a very successful production, and the end-result was excellent. “Death Race 3” is available in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

This latest version, inspired by Roger Corman’s cult classic, “Death Race 2000,” finds the legendary Frankenstein (Luke Goss) in a new competition, a winner take all race in South Africa. Set in an underground convict prison inside an abandoned Cape Town rock quarry, the extreme action soon explodes out in to the Kalahari Desert, with more explosions, car wrecks and wild to the death chases than you can imagine. he director himself even commented on the sheer number of cameras destroyed in the making of this film.

The Death Race, a brutal prison blood sport that bid the opportunity for prisoners to race for their chance to be released from prison, but it is to the death they must go. This race in turn is broadcast worldwide in this future apocalypse for the sadistic joy of a twisted civilization with a desire for blood thirst. There are some interesting twists to the story, however, and you’ll have go along for the ride to find out what happens.

Rounding out the cast is Ving Rhames and the stellar Danny Trejo, whose real life experiences in San Quentin helped bring a hardened authenticity to his portrayal of Goldberg. I had the opportunity to interview them in South Africa as you can see from clicking on their names above, along with lead actor Luke Goss, Robin Shou and Fred Koehler.

“Death Race 3” also brings an ever greater bevy of beauties on board this time, now with female co-pilots (the Nav Girls) next to the drivers and even one “all girl” race team led by Dutch model Michelle Van Schaik in her acting debut. Hot pit crew girls also prep the outlandish desert cars between races. Bullz-Eye was granted exclusive photo sets of the Navigation Girls, the sexy driver team and the female star Tanit Phoenix (“Death Race 2,” “Femme Fatales”). We also interviewed them all as well, so follow the links above to their photo sets and video interviews.

You can also check out a gallery of all of the unique and badass desert race cars, along with some great slideshows of Tanit Phoenix, Michelle Van Schaik and the Navigation girls posed on the Death Race cars. You can follow all of our “Death Race 3” coverage here.


Bullz-Eye.com interviews Danny Trejo on the set of “Death Race 3”

Here at Bullz-Eye.co we’re huge fans of Danny Trejo. he’s appeared in some great movies over the years, like “Machete” and “From Dusk Till Dawn.” He’s also appeared on some of the best shows on television with “Breaking Bad” and “Sons of Anarchy” among his credits.

We interviewed Danny for “Death Race 2” and now had another opportunity to speak with him on the set of “Death Race 3: Inferno” as you can see in the video below. As you can see he’s a great guy and he’s fun to talk to. Above you can see Danny posing with the lovely Nav Girls from the film.