Director: Craig Kimberley
Series regulars: Michelle Lee, Anthony De Longis, James Dean Houston, James McNeil
BBFC Classification: 12
Stars, Stunts, Action is an entertaining look at how Hollywood action films are made by speaking to those who construct the often-massive action scenes as well as the stunt people involved and some legendary action actors. It’s somewhat of a throwback to the old TV shows/VHS compilations from back in the day (that this reviewer used to eat up!) such as Stunt Wars and Action, showing how movie stunts were created and talking to those in the industry. This is a fun look into cinema’s most underappreciated genre.
Hosted by a plethora of experienced action actors and adrenaline junkies including former bodyguard James Dean Houston, actress and stunt woman Michelle Lee, martial artist and stunt man Jason McNeil and action movie royalty (and ace sword master!) Anthony De Longis, the group look at various aspects of action cinema and stunt work, often getting to take part in the stunts themselves. While perhaps having one too many presenters, the quartet are a likeable and enthusiastic bunch and often take turns at covering different aspects of cinematic action (with Lee often being the best at performing any stunt much to her male co-host’s chagrin, ha!). Anthony De Longis is a delight, whenever featured, bringing charisma and his considerable action movie-making knowledge to the table. I’d watch a show with just De Longis discussing his career and experiences!
Over the course of 6 thirty minute shows the crew pack in a lot and interview a wide variety of stunt people and actors with each episode looking at different aspects of the action movie world, meaning the series covers quite a wealth of action awesomeness. For example: we get a sojourn to Rick Seamans’ Stunt Driving School, where the crew learn the specifics about car chases (cool!); we a visit the 87Eleven action headquarters (the guys behind the action in such films as John Wick and Atomic Blonde) where they meet (now big time director) David Leitch, and James gets to partake in a cool choreographed fight with samurai swords; they hit the beach with stunt ace Zoe Bell who talks about her early career, as well new found fame after her starring role in Death Proof; and in one of the cooler segments they head up to Anthony’s ranch to learn all things sword, whip and fight themed, with De Longis getting to show off his exceptional skills.
The team also manage to grab some time with several action movie stalwarts such as (to name but a few) Danny Trejo, a great interview with Martin ‘John Kreese’ Kove and the ever eccentric, but on good form, Michael Madsen. All talk enthusiastically about their experiences in the action/stunt world and give respect to the stunt people who make them look good on screen. It’s good to hear from those who work with the talented stunt people, acknowledging they’re an important part of the action movie process.
As the series packs an awful lot into 6 quick-fire episodes it does unfortunately mean that some aspects suffer and some interviews are a little short changed, notably the legend that is Danny Trejo who really could have had a whole episode dedicated to him! Still, the team cover a lot of interesting and important aspects of action cinema and it’s great to see presenters who are so enthusiastic about the topic.
A lot goes into making action cinema and it’s great to see it getting recognised as while action pictures can be silly at times there is still a lot of hard work that goes into creating them.
Stars, Stunts, Action is currently available to stream via Tubi.