5 Stars! “Always bet on black.” -Wesley Snipes in “Passenger 57”
By G. Denick TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 6, 2013
I praised the first volume of “Tough Guy Wisdom” for its values of nostalgia, humor, and lessons in cinema history, and I’m pleased to report that Volume Two continues the trend. Aptly named “Return of the Tough Guy”, the title of this volume does a great job of conveying what this collection is all about: it’s a carefully composed book that brilliantly tows the line between parody and heartfelt homage to the genre of action movies. And as any fan of action movies (particularly those of the 80s and 90s) will tell you, that’s what the best of these flicks successfully do- intermingle serious subject matter with hilarity and well timed chuckles.
But that’s not to say that this book only references movies from the 80s and 90s. Like Volume One, there is a wide array of flicks that are included, dating as far back as the 1950s (“Shane”) and some as recent as the last few years (“Fast and Furious”, “Sherlock Holmes”, etc.). Of similar breadth are the tones of the included movies, ranging from the ludicrous (“Snakes on a Plane”, “They Live”, etc.) to the serious (“Taken”, “Ronin”, etc.), to those that perfectly balance the aforementioned combo of explosions and giggles, like the “Lethal Weapon” and “Die Hard” series.
Following the formula established in the first volume, each tough guy quote is accompanied by a description of the setting in which it occurred. This provides wonderful context, prompting your memory. And if you haven’t seen the movie in question, it makes it so that the quote or one-liner actually makes sense to you. Additionally, each quote is followed by two pieces of trivia: one for the movie, and one for the actor in question. This trivia was oftentimes unknown to myself and provided me with a lot of amusement. For instance, did you know Steven Seagal released a MUSIC album in 2004 called “The Crystal Cave”? (Lord, help us!) There is even some interesting trivia in here about the (arguably) legendary fight scene between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David in “They Live” (which was even more famously re-enacted in “South Park” between Jimmy and Timmy).
I was really happy to see that this volume includes two interactive indexes, just like the last book. One index is for movies, the other for actors. What’s really cool about it is that every page number is linked (in the Kindle edition), so you can easily see whatever you’re trying to find, and then just hit “back” to return to the index. It’s very thoughtfully presented, and much appreciated.
This book is highly recommended to any fan of “Tough Guy” movies. If they’re anything like me, they’ll probably be inspired to go onto YouTube to watch clips of some of these classics after reading this book!
Be sure to download the free movie quotes and check out purchasing autographed copies from this site, or get an e-book for your kindle or nook from amazon or B&N.