produced, directed, written, and music composed and performed by John S. Rad
worked on for 26 years, completed in 2005
re-released by Drafthouse Films
Originally DANGEROUS MEN played at four theaters in the Los Angeles area in 2005 and soon after became a midnight movie phenomenon. It’s now getting a national re-release via Drafthouse Films this weekend, and if you have an Alamo Drafthouse in your neighborhood, it’s probably playing. The late Iranian-American director/jack-of-all-trades John S. Rad created the film, and worked on it here and there for over 20 years. It’s essentially an attempt to make the kind of straight-to-video action film which would have come out from, say, Action International Pictures in the late 80’s or early 90’s, during the period when Rad began production on the film. I’m glad for Mr. Rad that DANGEROUS MEN is getting an audience now, even though he is not alive to see it. However, I’m not sure who the intended audience is for this re-release.
The critical quotes seen on the poster above and below simply are not accurate. Only some MST3K fan who has not really seen many straight-to-video z-grade action films would consider this “mind-boggling WTF-ery.” Yes, the film is technically slipshod in many ways, but clearly Rad had had some experience in film-making. Despite the cut-in dialogue and the laughable fights and the odd fetishistic emphases here and there, this is NOT really an “outsider” film like MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE. Anyone who’s seen, as I have, dozens and dozens and dozens of the kind of z-grade action fodder reviewed at MONSTER HUNTER blog will wonder what is supposed to be WTF about this film. I’ve seen Ed Wood’s name mentioned, but if we want to mention Wood, this would be more akin to JAIL BAIT than to Plan Nine. The folks at the Drafthouse-Ritz in Austin show much more radical and incompetently-surreal films than this during their VIDEO VORTEX screenings, and compared to a film by a Nick Millard or even an Andy Milligan or a Doris Wishman or a Lou Campa or a Coleman Francis or a Godfrey Ho, this plays like a TV movie. Let’s not even mention something like BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL, which really IS mind-bending and a piece of WTF-ery.
If you are a serious fan of Z-grade VHS action films, you will enjoy this….I certainly did…and I’m glad it’s getting exposure. Maybe it can function as a kind of Trojan Horse of the multi-plexes if anyone bothers to see it. Maybe those who see it will start looking for films starring Ted Prior or Frank Stallone…or renting the straight-to-video things Steven Seagal has been making.
However, if you are expecting something gloriously radical or something which is truly a piece of “outsider” film in the way a Nick Millard or Andy Milligan film or MANOS or Dwain Esper’s MANIAC or NARCOTIC is, this is not that. Find a copy of BLONDE ON A BUM TRIP or RED ZONE CUBA or RUNAWAY NIGHTMARE or borrow one of Ray Dennis Steckler’s porn assemblages instead. I enjoyed DANGEROUS MEN, but it does not live up to the hype.