Book Review: World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies

Published: 2014

Author: David J. Moore

Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

I’ve been doing this blogging thing for nearly 8 years now.  I first started out on, but then a couple of years ago I got this new website to launch my new blog.  I have to say:  It’s been pretty gratifying that I get to talk about movies quite a bit.  Obviously, I’m not the only one out there that does this, and I’m not even the biggest name.  In fact, I’m small potatoes compared to some of the bigger bloggers out there.  Even so, I consider it a privilege to be able to do this.  Over the past couple of months, I’ve gotten some pretty big opportunities to expand on what I’ve been doing here.  I’ve gotten interviews and screened independent films that haven’t been released to the public yet.  It’s been humbling and a very eye-opening experience.  While I don’t see a whole lot of replies to my posts, I know they are being read, so to everyone that’s been reading my stuff, I am truly grateful to you.  I’m also grateful to folks like David J. Moore for giving me opportunities to expand beyond just doing reviews.  Thank you, everyone.  With that said, I’ve never really reviewed books before.  This site is about movies, so reviewing books seemed a little strange.  Then again, I’ve done reviews for some video games, so….I don’t really have an excuse.  It’s a new and exciting challenge that I look forward to doing in the future at some point.  It gives me great pleasure to present to you my review for David J. Moore’s World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies.

The first thing you will notice when you pick this thing up is its size.  It’s a hardcover and it weighs a good 2-3 pounds.  It’s also 432 pages which includes the forward as well as the acknowledgements and interviews index.  So….what’s this book about?  It’s a guide to movies set in a post-apocalyptic world.  The post-apocalyptic film is one of the most popular genres of film and novels and generally involves people trying to survive in a world that’s gone to hell.  One of the things that Mr. Moore has mentioned in the book is the various types of apocalypses that would render the planet nearly uninhabitable.  Everybody knows about the zombie apocalypse, which has been done to death.  As has the nuclear apocalypse.  There are obvious exceptions with movies set during or after those particular incidents.  However, there are a great many more kinds of end-of-the world scenarios that you may not have heard of.  I certainly didn’t until I read this book.  For example, there’s the whole Rapture apocalypse in which Jesus is supposed to return and lift his followers to Heaven.  Movies like Left Behind and This Is The End are just two examples.  You’ve also got your Alien Invasion sub-genre with movies like Independence Day and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  David has actually compiled a list of each sub-genre within the post-apocalyptic arena and the movies for each sub-genre.  You will periodically see the same movie in a different sub-genre.  Why?  Because a lot of these movies don’t necessarily fit into just one particular category.  The list that Mr. Moore has compiled is extraordinarily impressive.  I was fairly familiar with the post-apocalyptic film, but not to this degree.  I really had no idea how extensive the genre was.  It’s incredibly massive.

Mr. Moore spent 8 years and thousands of dollars tracking down and reviewing over 800 movies for this guide.  Based on that alone, I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of post-apocalyptic movies.  There’s a lot of information in here.  His reviews are listed in alphabetical order and he has a unique score that he gives each movie.  Instead of your typical 1-10, or 1-5, he has symbols.  The first is the nuclear sign which indicates that you should avoid the movie like the plague.  There’s a gas mask which indicates a movie of questionable quality, but has some redeeming value.  A gas can says that the movie isn’t for everyone, but some people will like it.  The Safe Zone is a good bet that most people will enjoy the movie.  The nuclear explosion is a film that comes highly recommended.  As you would imagine, when dealing with the post-apocalyptic genre, you’re going to have a lot of movies that just flat out suck.  There are going to be reviews in this guide that not everybody is going to agree with.  There’s quite a few that I don’t.  For example, there’s a movie called Kampfensage or The Challenge, which is a post-apocalyptic martial arts film.  He give it the nuclear symbol.  Personally, I would have given it a gas can.  It’s not going to be for everyone, but I enjoyed the hell out of it.  On the flip-side, there are a number of reviews that I do agree with, like Cyborg with Jean-Claude Van Damme.  Excellent film.  It’s a perfect example of the genre and is one of my favorite movies.  So, yeah, not everybody’s going to see eye-to-eye on things, but I think this world would be quite boring if we all agreed with each other on everything.

But wait, there’s more!  In addition to all the reviews that Mr. Moore has done, he’s also managed to get interviews with a large number of directors, actors and other filmmakers.  For example, he’s gotten multiple interviews with Albert Pyun, which really gives you an insight into how his experience with the Hollywood machine has been.  You get a lot of nifty little details and anecdotes.  He’s also interviewed actors like Richard Norton, Michael Pare, and Fred Williamson.  Some of these interviews last two pages or more.  The level of detail in this book is extraordinary.  Believe it or not, there’s still more.  In addition to the interviews and the reviews, there’s a lot of photographs and artwork for certain movies that a scattered throughout the book.  Some of them are in foreign languages and some in English.  It’s really interesting to see some of the marketing campaigns that foreign markets employ.

In addition to being very informative, World Gone Wild is also entertaining at the same time.  For example, Mr. Moore has also taken looks at some of the more……adult-oriented films.  These are not the films you want your kids to watch until you’ve had The Talk.  I just think it’s really hilarious that the post-apocalyptic genre would also include movies from the adult film industry.  I may have to search these out….for research purposes only, of course.  Unfortunately, the ugly reality of the post-apocalyptic film genre is that a lot of these movies that are mentioned in the book, are either out-of-print or very hard to find.  Companies like Shout! Factory have been doing a pretty decent job of finding some of these movies and giving them a proper DVD/Blu-Ray release.  Now, Mr. Moore has probably missed a few movies here and there, but in a project of this scale, it was going to happen.  Regardless, World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide To Post-Apocalyptic Movies is the most extensive look at the genre that I have ever seen.

The amount of detail that Mr. Moore goes into describing each kind of apocalypse as well as the extensive interviews that he’s conducted are nothing short of amazing.  If you are a big fan of post-apocalyptic movies, I urge you to seek this out.  It is currently available for 34.99 or your regional equivalent.  If you live in the states and are an Amazon Prime member, you can get the book for 26.63USD.  Regardless, this book comes highly recommended.  Check it out.


Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars

Released: August 2017

Directors: Shinji Aramaki, Masaru Matsumoto

Rated R

Run Time: 87 Minutes

Distributor: Sony Pictures

Genre: Action/Science Fiction/Animation

Casper Van Dien: Colonel Johnny Rico
Dina Meyer: Dizzy Flores
DeRay Davis: One-Oh-One
Luci Christian: Carmen Ibanez
Justin Doran: Carl Jenkins

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating:  Am I missing something?  Is there some reason why 2017 is the year of the number 5?  Since the year began, we’ve seen franchises reach their fifth entry or higher.  Underworld, Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Alien Covenant(Prometheus doesn’t count as an Alien movie), and now, Starship Troopers.  I understand Transformers and Pirates.  Those franchises are extremely popular and make a lot of money.  Underworld surprised me, because the 4th movie didn’t make a whole lot of money.  It wasn’t a complete flop, but it did not impress.  Prometheus did well enough to re-ignite interest in the Alien franchise, so that one I can also understand.  But, how in the hell did we get a FIFTH Starship Troopers movie?  Last time I checked, nobody asked for it, and yet here we are.  So….how is it?

3 years after the events of Invasion, Johnny Rico finds himself demoted and assigned to a boring outpost on a Mars colony.  Why?  Apparently he allowed a Bug Queen to get to Earth before destroying her.  As a result, he was punished.  Finding himself training new Martian recruits, the space station that they are on comes under attack from Bug plasma that’s coming from Mars.  Apparently, nobody knew about the sneak attack the bugs made on Mars, except for a small number of people that include the newest and youngest Sky Marshall.  Forced to abandon the space station, Rico and his recruits find themselves stranded on the surface of Mars.  It’s not the worst setup in a science fiction film.  In fact, I found it pretty interesting.  However, the film falls back on tired and boring cliches that really feel out of place in a Starship Troopers movie.  It’s not the first film that deals with a government conspiracy to annihilate a colony that’s being insubordinate.  When you discover the reason why something like this is happening, it really takes the edge off, because it’s so damned stupid.  It’s a semi-decent premise that’s botched by some really awful writing.

As I said, the writing in the film is god-awful.  Most of the characters are so annoying that you can’t wait to see them die.  The only two characters that you really give a damn about are Johnny Rico and Dizzy Flores.  There is a surprising amount of character development there.  On the flip-side, when you realize how and why Dizzy shows up, you’re left wondering what the point was in addition to being creeped out.  So, that basically leaves Johnny as the only character that you can get behind.  Overall, the acting is generally atrocious with some extremely over-the-top acting.  Casper Van Dien returns to voice Johnny Rico.  This is the third time he’s played the character, and you know what?  He’s still got it.  Dina Meyer also returns to voice Dizzy.  She’s also quite good, despite being in the film for only a few minutes.  Everybody else is a complete and utter waste.  It certainly doesn’t help that the dialogue is cheesier than the original film, and the original movie was pretty cheesy at times, but in a good way.  Here, they’re just referencing and repeating one-liners from the original movie, and as such, don’t have the meaning they used to.

This is the second Starship Troopers film to be animated, and honestly, it’s not shabby.  The ship and creature designs are absolutely phenomenal.  In fact, the entire look of the film is really good.  The action sequences are surprisingly intense and well-crafted.  You’ve got big explosions, tons of bugs and some pretty epic space sequences.  That being said, the human character models are awful, with some really terribly lip-synching.  When Dizzy kisses Johnny, it looks like two plastic dolls going at it.  It’s pretty creepy, actually.

Sadly, Traitor of Mars, like all the other sequels, doesn’t get why the original film was so damned good.  The original film, while on the surface, may not have been a terrific movie, it’s when you peel back the layers that you get something extraordinary.  The original Starship Troopers was a satire, going after fascism and the ways we consume media.  The film was a lot smarter than most people give it credit for.  Was it ever going to be as good as the book?  Not a chance.  Honestly, considering how the first film ended, a sequel was not entirely out of the question.  It could have been done very well, if Paul Verhoeven had returned to direct.  Instead, Starship Troopers 2 and 3 got saddled with extremely low budgets which, in addition to a terrible script and horrible visuals, got torn to shred by the audience.  Not even Van Dien’s return as Rico in the third movie could’ve saved it.  Invasion was actually a pretty decent flick.  While some of the animation was a bit….off, it had some pretty spectacular battles, and plenty of the red stuff to go around.  Traitor of Mars could’ve been the sequel to turn things around for the franchise.  Instead, it only hammers home why the sequels sucked.  Honestly, not even the presence of Casper Van Dien and Dina Meyer can save this train-wreck of a film.  Visually, it’s very interesting, but there’s no substance beneath it, and the characters are mostly irritating.  I can’t recommend this one to…well….anyone.  Good visuals and decent action are not enough to raise this film from the depths of mediocrity.

My Final Recommendation: When it comes to the Starship Troopers sequels, Sony should’ve gotten in there and killed ’em all.  4/10.



Savage Dog

Released: August 2017

Director: Jesse V. Johnson

Run Time: 94 Minutes

Not Rated

Genre: Action/Thriller

Scott Adkins: Martin Tillman
Marko Zaror: Rastignac
Juju Chan: Isabelle
Cung Le: Boon
Vladimir Kulich: Steiner
Keith David: Valentine
Charles Fathy: Amarillo
Matthew Marsden: Harrison

The first time I saw Scott Adkins in action was 2006’s Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing.  He played a violent and angry Russian named Yuri Boyka.  That is a role that has really helped launch his career as an actor.  His physicality is extraordinarily impressive.  Not only would he return to play Boyka in 2 more sequels, he would also team up with and periodically take on Jean-Claude Van Damme in several movies, including Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.  If there is a British answer to Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins would be it.  The man brings a level of intensity that I haven’t seen since Van Damme first showed up.  While Mr. Adkins has taken on bit parts in some major movies including Expendables 2 and Doctor Strange, his particular specialty is in the low-budge and independent film scene.  He’s become one of the biggest action stars in that particular arena.  His recent film, Boyka: Undisputed, was released on Blu-Ray/DVD a couple of weeks ago and it was a fantastic film, but he also had another film released this year:  Savage Dog.

Savage Dog is set in 1959 Indochina where a group of criminals have taken control of a local village.  They run illegal fights for money and to fund their operation.  Martin Tillman, a former member of Ireland’s IRA movement and deserter is in prison, but is allowed to take part in the fights.  He’s visited regularly by a local girl, Isabelle who has fallen for Tillman.  After being freed, he goes to a local bar that’s run by a man named Valentine.  After confronting Rostignac, one of the criminals, the bar and its patrons are brutally attacked, leaving Tillman and Isabelle for dead.  The revenge thriller is not a new genre for film.  It’s been around for quite a while.  I’ve seen my fair share and they all seem to follow similar patterns.  Savage Dog is no different.  The story isn’t terrible by any stretch, but it does fall back on some pretty tired clichés.  It also doesn’t help that the film is narrated by a character that ends up dying half-way through the movie….and continues to be narrated by said character.  Your guess is as good as mine.

While the story is predictable at times, what isn’t predictable is the level of violence in the film.  Holy shit does this thing get bloody.  The moment when Tillman picks up a machete, things get dicey(see what I did there?).  Heads are lopped off, people are dismembered and heads explode.  There was more than one occasion when I was like, “JEEZ!”  It also helps that most of the blood effects and gore are done practically.  That is always a welcome thing in a movie like this.  Far too often in big-budget movies film-makers rely on CGI blood.  It’s painfully obvious and it doesn’t really do anything for me.  The action in Savage Dog is visceral and hard-hitting.  With this being a Scott Adkins film, you would expect some pretty good martial arts action, and the film does not disappoint.  You don’t see him or Marko Zaror doing any of their trademark acrobatics, but these guys are clearly skilled and do a phenomenal job.  This is the first time since Undisputed III that Adkins and Zaror have gone up against each other, and it’s just as awesome.  We also have Cung Le take on Scott, which is a pretty decent fight, but the way the fight ends may be controversial to some people.  I didn’t care for the way the fight ended, personally.  Overall, the fight choreography was really good.  No wire work or CGI was used to enhance the fights.  It was grounded in a gritty type of reality, that you usually don’t see in a lot of movies these days.  Unfortunately, the action gets let down a bit by an excessive use of slow motion.  I don’t mind slow motion being used, but it just felt like it was padding out the run time.  Had they kept the slow motion to a relative minimum, the pacing would have flowed much better.

While I don’t necessarily think that Scott Adkins will win any awards for acting, there is no doubt that he has some serious screen presence.  When he’s allowed to go crazy, he goes all in.  When I said that the guy can be intense, I wasn’t kidding.  He really brings it here and it’s actually one of his best performances.  His Irish accent isn’t that bad either.  But you won’t notice it too much, since he doesn’t have a lot of lines.  Marko Zaror has continued to impress me, not just as a martial artist, but also as an actor.  He’s really good at playing bad guys.  The guy that plays the Nazi, Steiner, Vladimir Kulich is very restrained in his role.  I really like it when villains are not played for laughs or go completely over-the-top, unless they are written that way, like The Joker.  Juju Chan plays Tillman’s love interest, Isabelle, and she’s surprisingly effective and gorgeous.  Keith David plays Valentine, the owner of the bar.  What can I say about Keith David, he’s a phenomenal actor.

Overall, I have to say that Savage Dog is fairly impressive as an action movie, a lot more than I was anticipating, actually.  There’s a surprisingly decent, if predictable story, with solid acting involved and some pretty visceral action.  Unfortunately, the film is let down by a number of glaring issues.  One, the narration is completely unnecessary and it doesn’t really add anything to the movie.  It’s more irritating than anything else.  The excessive use of slow motion has a negative impact on the film’s pacing and some characters aren’t given enough screen time or enough material to work with.  Ultimately, I would still recommend it if you are a huge fan of Scott Adkins, like I am.  It’s at least worth a rental.  Savage Dog is currently available only digitally on Amazon Video and iTunes.

My Final Recommendation: Pissing off a character played by Scott Adkins is generally not a good idea.  7/10

Interview with Brahim Achabakkhe

Greetings, fellow Space Cadets, I have a very special interview for you today.  Today, we have stuntman/actor Brahim Achabakkhe answering a few questions for us.  Mr. Achabakkhe is a stuntman who has done stunt-work for movies like The Scorpion King 3Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li, Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge(He was also the fight choreographer for this film)and Dragon Blade.  He has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry including Jackie Chan and doubled for actors like Scott Adkins and Jean-Claude Van Damme.  As an actor, he has had some small roles in films like Man of Tai Chi, Dragonwolf, Kill ’em All, and Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge.  His first real big starring role came in the form of Boyka: Undisputed 4, when he starred opposite Scott Adkins in the role of the vicious MMA fighter, Igor Kazmir.  Let’s have a chat with Brahim Achabakkhe!

Before we get into Boyka: Undisputed 4, I would like to get a little background into your experience as a stuntman.  How did you get into the business and what was your first big project that got you noticed?

As a teenager I was practicing different martial arts and also gymnastic. After high school, I went into Law school for a year but I felt that was not gonna be the career I wanted to pursue and I also did not have the money to pay for books or the school. So I told myself well you can do all those martial arts and flip so why not pursue your passion and try to make it in the movie industry as a stuntman. So with a few friends in France we started doing tv shows, live shows and one day we took a trip to Thailand to cast for Ong Bak 2. When we came to Bangkok, it was like the mecca of martial arts movies so many talented people were already on the spot trying to get into the movies. It was basically the new Hong Kong like when back in the 80’s 90’s you had all those foreigners working as stunt actors in the HK action movie industry. All my friends left after the casting and I stayed even though I did not book anything on Ong Bak 2. My instinct told me it was the right choice so I started working in the local action film industry in 2007 doing commercials and films. I did everything that I was getting offered to make a living and also to make a name for myself. In 2012  a producer and casting director called Mike Leeder asked me to send him my demo reel for the film Man of tai chi directed by Keanu Reeves. That’s after booking this project that I felt things were going in the right path for me. Acting, stunting, stunt coordinating and fight coordinating has been my only jobs since 2007 and I am glad I followed my instinct to follow my dreams. 

How many styles of the martial arts have you studied and is there a particular style that you would like to explore?

I studied a lot of different styles like Aikido, Karate wado ryu or even BJJ. The thing I do is I do not go into 1 style and try to focus myself only on it. I take the best out of everyone of them and use it for my own style on screen. So if you ask me what is my favorite style honestly I do not have one, I can say I am known to use my legs a lot but if you want me to be a wrestler, a muay thai fighter or a krav maga kind of guy, I can portray that on camera cause I learn enough to be able to make myself believable on screen cause this is what I choose to learn martial arts for, the beauty of the technique on screen. 

For Man of Tai Chi, Keanu Reeves has a pretty good eye for shooting the action.  What was it like working with Keanu and did he listen to any suggestions that you may have had?
Working with Keanu was an amazing experience and I am glad Mike Leeder brought me on board of the project. Keanu is the most humble actor I ever worked with and he treats everyone equal. I can’t remember making any suggestions to him but he did give me some great directions when we were shooting that I remember. 
For Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, you were a stunt double for Scott Adkins.  What was it like working with him and did the two of you exchange ideas on how to approach certain stunts?

Scott is a great guy and very down to earth. I really enjoyed working with him during Ninja shadow of a tear.  Scott at first was not using any stunt double during the shoot cause honestly Scott can do all the stunts by himself that is how talented he is. He’s got a great agility and flexibility. Unfortunately during the shooting, he hurt quite badly his back which stopped him from performing some of the stunts. I was in Tim Man stunt team for the film from pre production and since I can do the kind of action Scott is known for, I was chosen to double him for some of his action during the shooting. I would mostly rehearse the action for him and then he would perform it. We got along really well and kept in touch. I am glad I call him a friend today.  

Now that Boyka: Undisputed 4 is available to the public, how did you become involved with the project?
I was working in Thailand on Never back down no surrender at the time they were doing pre production on Undisputed 4. Tim Man messaged me asking me when I would be wrapped and if I was interested in playing one of the characters in the film. They were looking for someone who would be muscular yet can perform martial arts and acrobatics in the tradition of the Undisputed films. I think Isaac agreed to have me, then Scott agreed too. I started immediately training and eating more to stay in shape. A day after I wrapped Never Back Down I was on a plane to Sofia Bulgaria to shoot. 
How did you approach the character of Igor Kazmir?
I watched a lot of different UFC fighters behavior and how they would talk or interact during press conferences or interviews. Then when I read the script,I chose to make him completely different from Boyka. I made him really arrogant and cocky. I thought be doing this, it would made my character unique and different from any other Undisputed characters. 
The fight scene between your character and Scott Adkins’ Boyka is one of the best fight scenes I’ve seen in a long time.  What was it like to work with Scott in front of the camera this time around?
Thank you,it was simply a dream come true. I always been this huge fan of the Undisputed serie. Acting opposite of Scott in this part was the highlight of my young career and I hope there will be other opportunities for me in front of the camera in similar roles. I love working with Scott. He is the most physical martial art actor working today. 
Tim Man served as the fight choreographer on the film as well as having a fight scene with Scott.  Did you help with some of the choreography and how open was Tim Man to suggestions?
Tim and I go back a long way. I use to email him when I was 16 years old can you believe that. He has been very good to me and he made my career where it is today. He taught me most of what I know about editing, choreography and action design. Tim is an amazing fight choreographer so I really did not need to help him or give him any suggestions cause his choreography is simply on point and tailor made for who he choreographs for. I see a great future for Tim as a second unit director and later on as a director. His work on Undisputed 4 was amazing. 
Scott Adkins has gone on record about how damaging film piracy is to low-budget and independent films and has spoken out against it.  I definitely agree with him and I feel that Undisputed 4 is well worth every penny and should not be stolen.  Is there anything you would like to add to what Scott has said?
As Scott said this piracy nonsense is destroying the low budget and independent film industry. It is getting harder for producers to make money with this genre so it’s slowly dying. We get 18 days sometimes to shoot this kind of films I mean imagine the stress and how fast you have to shoot with such a small schedule. Star wars fans support the genre and buy the films that’s why they keep on coming but the Low budget fans are shooting themselves in the foot by downloading the films because soon they won’t be made anymore. So the fans need to read this and think about supporting us in our quest to make good action films on a reasonable budget. 
Last question:  What is your favorite martial arts movie and why?
The Way of the Dragon with Bruce Lee. Cause of the amazing end fight in the collosseum against Chuck Norris
I would like to thank Brahim Achabakkhe for taking time out of his schedule to answer some questions, and I wish him the best of luck in the future.  I can’t wait to see what he’s got coming next.  Boyka: Undisputed 4 is currently available on Blu-Ray/DVD and is also available for digital download.  Please support the film buy obtaining it legally and paying for it so more movies like this can be made in the future.  Thank you all for reading and I can’t wait to bring you guys another fantastic interview.