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‘Dangerous Men’ and 6 Other Wild and Crazy Examples of Action Dads Cinema

'Dangerous Men' and 6 Other Wild and Crazy Examples of Action Dads Cinema

READ MORE: Watch: ‘Dangerous Men’ is the Most Perfect Film You’ve Never Seen in Bonkers NSFW Trailer

This coming weekend will see the long-awaited release of “Dangerous Men,” an action film oddity/achievement that took 22 years to complete and another decade to hit screens. It’s a combustible aesthetic assault of machismo, vengeance, non-arousing sexuality and unspeakable anti-logic, framed in a sweat-choked L.A. otherworld that’s filtered through the unique mind of Iranian-American outsider filmmaker John S. Rad.

Brimming with ideas and dialogue grown from a primordial alien id, “Dangerous Men” is like no other experience you will ever have with a movie. BUT!… against all odds, it’s representative of a secret genre that is only now creeping its way into the limelight; a decidedly ’80s cinematic sub-sub-sub-category that we lovingly refer to as “ACTION DADS!!!” If you’re like me, you thrill to heroic, no-rules masculinity defined by the low-budget passion projects of amateur director/stars who’ve gained their experience through a lifetime of street smarts rather than some namby-pamby bullshit film school. These middle-aged men triumph over their advancing years by establishing themselves as straight-to-VHS karate masters and vigilante supermen. 

These are the ACTION DADS.
The following movies are just a sampling of the rugged, often bizarre, always bare-knuckled joys that only the Action Dads can provide:

“Rock House” a.k.a. “Deadly Addiction” 

“Rock House” nails so many ’80s renegade cop cliches that it basically acts as the bible on the genre. Every villain has slicked-back hair, every police captain is busting a blood vessel, and every female character has an all-bikini wardrobe. The man who wrote, produced, directed and starred in this under-appreciated wreck is Jack Vacek, a lanky rage-dealer with the easy charm of the guy your mom brought home last Saturday night. Essential. (Dir. Jack Vacek; 1988)

“Miami Connection” 

The most well-known of the Action Dads films, the popularity of “Miami Connection” does nothing to diminish its power. If you’ve somehow avoided it, you’re clearly just not interested in a synth-rock band of adult Tae Kwon Do orphans who battle a bloodthirsty wave of cocaine-dealing motorcycle ninjas. Your goddamn loss, buckaroo. 

“The Crime Killer” 

6’4″ and Greeker than a barrel of baklava, writer/director/star George Pan Andreas pilots this rampager about Zeus, a renegade cop who’ll stop at nothing to clean up the streets. When Zeus isn’t effortlessly eradicating all crime from Los Angeles, he’s stealing the president’s wrist watch, or engaging in witty exchanges like: “Why you got to talk to me this way, Johnny?” “Because… we’re never in the same place once.” (Dir. George Pan Andreas; 1985)

“Geteven” a.k.a “Road to Revenge”

In the finest ’80s movie of the ’90s, real-life LA trial lawyer John De Hart financed/cast himself into action history as…yep, a renegade cop bent on taking down corruption in his city. Along the way, he’ll sex up a jacuzzi, battle satanists and teach a bar full of hillbillies how to dance “The Shimmy Slide.” Featuring a genuinely incredible supporting performance by master actor Wings Hauser, who may have smashed all his belongings and his agent’s face before filming was complete. (Dir. John De Hart; 1993)

“Operation Las Vegas”

Starring fading leading man Richard Harrison and filmed by a Frenchman who couldn’t believe he was ACTUALLY IN LAS VEGAS! A female ninja kills a window washer by karate-chopping his bicep. Fight scenes are sped up for maximum viewer palpitations. Most of the actors look like they’ve recovering from a stroke and are now waiting for their nap. A true masterpiece. (Dir. N.G. Mount; 1990)

“Samurai Cop”

Any fan of 20th century video violence has to acknowledge the blazing potency of “Samurai Cop.” Joe Marshall is feared throughout the underworld for his martial arts prowess and sensual skills. He’s brought to LA to singlehandedly annihilate organized crime. No problem. Unlike the other entries on this list, this wasn’t the first rodeo for filmmaker Amir Shervan, yet it’s absolutely exploding with unrelenting male power fantasies and wiener references, making it a pinnacle of the Action Dads universe. In fact, the legions of “Samurai Cop” fans grew so massively that a sequel was made… this year. Co-starring the late, great Robert “Maniac Cop” Z’dar in his most powerful and nude role. (Dir. Amir Shervan; 1991)
…Again, these and the mighty “Dangerous Men” represent just a handful of the myriad untapped pleasures available to anyone diving headfirst into Action Dads territory. But if you have the courage, a pizza and a VCR, you’ll be rewarded beyond your wildest, dadliest dreams. You’ve been warned…and you’re welcome.

“Dangerous Men” opens in limited release this Friday, November 13.

Zack Carlson is a programmer for Fantastic Fest, a producer and the author of “Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film.”

READ MORE: Watch: Exclusive Clip from Rediscovered 80s Flop ‘Miami Connection’

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