Drax is the New Kurgan in ‘Highlander’ Reboot!

Let’s get one thing straight: Highlander (1986) does not need to be remade, reimagined or rebooted. It shouldn’t be remade, reimagined or rebooted. There can be only one.

But if it must be done, it has to be done right. With respect.

Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan is off to a good start by making an excellent casting decision for the Big Bad. Dave Bautista, better known as Drax the Destroyer from last summer’s epic Guardians of the Galaxy, has signed on to play the Kurgan, the menacing barbarian baddie who challenges hero Connor MacLeod.

Clancy Brown made an indelible impression in the original with his imposing size and gravelly, groaning voice, so Bautista has his work cut out for him.
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The Guardians — Not Your Usual Suspects

GotGlineupMarvel Studios released what it’s calling the first official photo of the title characters from James Gunn’s upcoming would-be summer blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy — and the (mostly) live-action image is almost identical to pre-production artwork that was released quite a while ago: The ragtag team captured by the interstellar police force, the Nova Corps.

The characters all look pretty good, and using the police lineup theme instantly makes one think of the classic caper movie The Usual Suspects, and suggests that these Guardians are supposed to be similarly likeable rogues. Only with a raccoon. And a tree.

I’m not happy that Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) isn’t wearing his Star-Lord uniform (any of the numerous versions would have done), but of course Gamora (Zoe Salanda) and Drax (Dave Bautista) could not wear their highly impractical comic book uniforms onscreen.
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Rocket Raccoon Finds His Voice

rocketraccoonMarvel Studios made it official today, announcing that Bradley Cooper — of Silver Lingings Playbook and The Hangover fame — has signed to provide the voice for Rocket Raccoon in the now-filming Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

I must confess that my initial gut reaction is disappointment, because I feel that Cooper brings nothing in particular to the role except name recognition. Now producers will be able to trumpet “Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper” as part of the cast, which, aside from Zoe Saldana and (arguably) Vin Diesel, isn’t exactly brimming with household names in Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Lee Evans and Karen Gillan.

GotG opens Aug. 1, 2014.

Visual Concepts for Guardians of the Galaxy

Think Marvel’s forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie will live up to the cosmic reach of the comic book series? Judging by these concept paintings, the producers and writer/director James Gunn are certainly going to try!

My favorite is the one depicting massive starships lifting off a planet, but the alien environment — a strange city in a cave? — looks pretty atmospheric. Finally, that group shot includes a few members of the guardians, including Rocket Raccoon, Drax (to be played by former wrestler Dave Bautista) to his left (with the red tattoos) and Groot, the big tree-like dude on the right side. It does give off a bit of a Star Wars cantina feel, but I’m hoping it can be filmed in such a way as to minimize the similarities.

Guardians of the Galaxy is slated to be released Aug. 1, 2014.