So, have you all seen the new Deadpool movie? Pretty rad, right? Makes you want more doesn’t it? Unfortunately, there won’t be a new sequel for a at least a while. Even with rumors of the next Wolverine film being R-rated, that’s still not quite Deadpool material; he’s unique. In order to be that, you need a solid mix of action, comedy, drama, and a complete disregard for the art of modern filmmaking. Here’s a list of movies you should see if you enjoyed your favorite foul-mouthed anti-hero and are hungry for more.
CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE (2009)
It goes without saying that yes, you should probably see Crank before seeing this sequel. But it’s this sequel, however, that dials everything up to 11. These films star Jason Statham as Chev Chelios, an ex-hitman who refuses to die after being poisoned in the first movie and then having his heart removed in the second. Interested? The running gag of these films is that Chelios must conduct random acts of violence against himself in order to stay alive. In the original, he had to do crazy stunts to keep his adrenaline up. In the sequel, he had to electrocute himself constantly. It’s absurd and blatantly defies all reasonable logic for any regular film. The people who made this gem are renowned for breaking many conventions of camera work, story, and production all in one go. It was even said that when they were approached for a sequel to the original, they wrote the most ridiculous and offensive think they could thing of and were approved without a second thought. Still not convinced? The second film has an original soundtrack performed by THE Mike Patton of Faith No More doing comedy riffs on guitar. It has to be seen to be believed.
GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE (2011)
You must be wondering, “Are you serious?” The answer is yes, yes I am. Unlike Crank: High Voltage though, you don’t have to have seen the original (nor should you.) That said, this film IS directed and written by the same guys as Crank and that’s all the more reason to see it. Have you ever wanted to see “We did not give a single fuck” the movie? This is the one. Nicholas Cage plays the titular Ghost Rider, real name Johnny Blaze, a stuntman turned evil soul-sucking demon after signing a contract with the devil. The original film tried to take this premise seriously, but it was only this sequel that just said “Screw it, let’s just do some weird shit.” And weird shit it does. Watch as you see the single most awkward-to-watch action scene as Cage gyrates in position for no reason while random baddies shoot at him. Watch as he hams it up by yelling at another baddie and then takes off into one of the most absurd “transformation” sequences you’ll ever see in a “superhero” film. Watch as they carry out an over-the-top fight in a quarry with a Bagger 288 and rocket launchers. Then watch on as the film quickly tries to resolve itself after a tense third act and then suddenly realizes it’s out of money and concludes everything over the course of a rather short car chase scene. It’s glorious. Still not convinced? Idris Elba plays a Frenchman in the film and serves as Ghost Rider’s semi-sidekick.
What if I told you that you can watch a film where Captain America and the Transporter hang out in a bathroom at a party, snorting cocaine off of a painting while talking essentially about banging Jessica Biel? For the whole film. That’s right. This is the only non-action film on the list but it’s a doozy. Chris Evans is a burnt out, drug addicted loser who lost his girlfriend, London (because the film takes place in New York and they just felt like confusing you with the title) and finds out she’s leaving and throwing a going a way party he wasn’t invited to. So what does he do? He randomly invites his drug dealer (Jason Statham wearing a silly wig) to come with him to the party and potentially crash it. And so it goes, they retreat to her swank-ass bathroom and hide while lining up blow and talking to a handful of the partygoers while going over topics between silly anecdotes about rice preservation and BDSM to more serious issues about how to say “I love you.” The tone is all over the place, but the pace continues on via well-placed cutaways and flashbacks. It never quite gets boring, despite a boring premise. Need more convincing? Well, besides seeing a nearly nude Jessica Biel in multiple sex scenes, you also get to see Dane Cook get punched in his goddamn face.
A BETTER TOMORROW II (1987)
Now we’re getting a bit more cultured here. This is an older Cantonese film by the legendary John Woo starring the also-legendary Chow Yun-Fat. Once again, seeing the original is unnecessary (and actually hard to find) so don’t worry about it. You can get maximum enjoyment from this film by watching it dubbed in English, as it epitomizes the age of bad dubbing from back in the day. That said, Chow Yun-Fat’s character is a the twin brother of a dead character from the original film, running protection in a Chinese restaurant for the local mafia. There’s a particularly spectacular scene where he forces a gangster to eat the restaurant’s rice, at gunpoint, with the police present. Fucking savage, yeah? Well, it only gets better. Forget about the plot. Nothing can prepare you for the final scene in which he and his relatives take on the triads in their home country. What do they do? Well I don’t want to spoil it, but in about a 15 minute span, they single-handedly murder about 100 people in an overly long shootout inside a house that can’t possibly hold that many people. It has to be seen to be believed. Need more convincing? You shouldn’t, I wasn’t making up anything about that final scene.
TANK GIRL (1995)
Finally, here’s a film about a comic that was made back in the day before studios had any fucking clue how to make films about comics. To make it worse, they were making a film about Tank Girl, a comic that was, for the most part, utter nonsense anyway. Starring Lori “No-Thats-Not-Gwen-Stefani” Petty as the titular Tank Girl, a rogue who takes on a water-mongering conglomerate because reasons. I mean, the film does try to give you an excuse but it’s pretty half-assed. She doesn’t even get her tank until halfway through the film, but it hardly matters. The sheer lunacy of half-baked plot point after half-baked plot point is enough to keep you guessing alone. Comedy is practically her weapon as she delivers quip after quip, never taking a single situation quite too seriously, in order to survive the random situations she gets herself into throughout the film. Hell, the film breaks into a well-choreographed musical number somewhere in the middle with no other reason other than “they goddamn felt like it,” and I’ll be damned, does it work in the context of the film. Still not convinced? Here’s a threefer. First of all, Malcolm McDowell is the villain and continues to be the villain even after being decapitated at some point. Secondly, it’s one of Naomi Watts’ earliest roles, and she considers it to be both the worst of her career and an embarrassment, which just has to be seen now, doesn’t it? Thirdly, Ice-T plays a mutated kangaroo. Why are you still here and not watching this?
There you go, a few films to scratch that Deadpool itch. Are these films the same? Not at all. Are they unconventional treasures you have to see to believe? They absolutely are! If the words “Zany” and “Wacky” sit well with you, check out these films. They are a blast in their own right, and are now retroactively better in the new, post-Deadpool world. Enjoy!