Ted Kotcheff

Considered lost for years, Wake in Fright is finally getting the release it is due. Anthony Buckley, the film’s editor  took it upon himself to sleuth out a negative, eventually finding paydirt in Pittsburgh nearly a decade after the search began. It was discovered in a bin labelled to be destroyed. Wake‘s tenacity to stay alive is a testament to the film’s unflinching, voyeuristic look at humanity under pressure, and the weight that can crush if it is allowed. Wake in Fright is the kind of film you watch and can’t forget, like it or not. It drags you into its uninhibited grime to drown you in a sweaty beer lather. You can see the surface, know that a fresh breath is within reach, but its grip just strengthens and pulls you in deeper. Witnessing the uncontrolled descent of a man becoming what he loathes most is a jarring spectacle. To be human is to be frail, and that is the water the movie treads in.

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It’s debatable who the biggest action star of the modern era is. Some say Schwarzenegger. Others say Stallone. Some people even make a claim for Tom Cruise, but chances are they aren’t reading this anyway. With The Expendables 2 hitting theaters this Friday, Sylvester Stallone once again brings together some of the biggest action stars of yesteryear in a massive explosion of a movie. For his determination to keep action alive, Stallone may take the edge on the all-time list. So this week, we’ve decided to go back to the film that started Stallone’s ascent to the throne of the action star. First Blood and its ensuing – and exceedingly violent – sequels were the films that dropped the word “action” in front of the word “star” when talking about the man. We loved seeing him punch people as Rocky, but seeing him blow people away as Rambo was what did it. Let’s hear the man speak for himself, though, and go through all 28 things we learned from the First Blood commentary.

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