Craig R. Baxley simply is not recognized as one of the better US genre filmmakers of the 80s and early 90s, and maybe its time to change that. Sure, he only got to make 3 movies before being relegated into TV-directing obscurity, but those 3 movies rule SO FUCKING HARD. Why no props for Baxley? I know you gotta pay the rent and take the jobs that you can get, but it's such a shame he never got to continue making mid-range budget action films. He was brilliant at them.
For instance, I just saw STONE COLD (1991) for the first time tonight. WOW! What a movie! It does everything it can to please you, and does so unapologetically. Everyone remembers Lance Hendrickson in ALIENS and NEAR DARK, but why isn't this role better known? He's one of the best bad guys ever in this biker action movie!
Before that, Baxley created what is arguably one of the most underrated action films of its era, I COME IN PEACE (aka Dark Angel. 1990). It's also probably the best thing Dolph ever did, which isn't saying much I know -- but still. I've always loved 1980s sci-fi action movies (THE HIDDEN, TERMINATOR, ALIENS), and this one holds its own despite being not nearly as well known.
Then before that we had his theatrical directorial debut, the dynamic tit-kicker known as ACTION JACKSON (1988). I love this movie so much, it actually kinda hurts.
Why did Craig's movies always have such amazing action scenes? Because he came from a family of stuntmen! He cut his teeth as a second unit director on classics such as PREDATOR, and THE WARRIORS, and before that was an accomplished stuntman on dozens of films and tv shows of the 70s.
I agree to. Craig R Baxley was a trademark of quality!
Sweet - Sweeter - Swedish!
Good call Robin. All three of his films get a steady rotation in my house.
I like Baxley's films too. When DARK ANGEL/I COME IN PEACE and STONE COLD first hit home video, my friends and I used to watch them religiously. I still like to throw lines from DARK ANGEL into conversations; I've got a colleague at work who does so too.
No arguments here. I don't know why Baxley didn't get to continue making action movies, unless it's just that, really, Hollywood stopped making films like his in the early 1990s. The ones that did get made went directly to VHS, which usually had lower budgets (aka fewer Baxley-style stunts and setpieces) and stars less interesting than Dolph, Boz, and Weathers. I think Baxley just had bad timing. If you like his work, you may want to check out the films of David Ellis, who made CELLULAR, FINAL DESTINATION 2, and SNAKES ON A PLANE. They aren't as good as Baxley's work (well, maybe CELLULAR is), but Ellis generally makes solid B-pictures.
Agreed, robert. I wonder who owns the dvd rights to I COME IN PEACE? Would love to see a sp Ed release of that one.