Sunday, April 15, 2007
Grindhouse has plenty of treats to offer film geeks, but among its most gory-ous delights is the appearance of performers who don't usually show up in mainstream fare--at least not in this decade.
My personal favorite is Planet Terror's Sheriff Hague played by Michael Biehn. A vet of '80s genre films—notably James Cameron's The Terminator, Aliens and The Abyss—he was never a household name, but excelled as either a gritty, practical hero or off-center hothead.
The original Terminator is one of my favorite films of all time in large part because of the love I feel for Kyle Reese, as embodied by Biehn. The character is probably one of my first major film crushes. I was 14 and can still recall the gut punch I got watching it in a packed-house screening.
His role as Hicks in Aliens was less significant--that was Sigourney Weaver's show--but he still offered support to her superwoman/mother Ripley. In a pivotal scene, the closest the movie comes to "romance," he teaches her how to wield a high-tech weapon.
Director Robert Rodriguez uses him to great effect in his zombie-filled cinematic orgy. The sheriff seems dependable, but there's also that self-serving comic edge which Biehn clearly relishes. Watching him deliver some of the best "bad" movie lines in the film made me giddy. The fact that he's teamed with Jeff Fahey, another '80s throwback, only added to the thrill.
Both Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino are a bit like Dr. Frankenstein when it comes bringing actors back to life. Feel free to share your favorite resurrections. What MIA performer would you like to see on screen in a juicy role?