5

Queer Action Films

8 min read

When you think of what defines an Action film, certain images or scenes come to mind. Car chases, gun fights, battle scenes, and more. In fact, in order to claim the “Action” genre tag from IMDb, a film must contain “numerous scenes where action is spectacular and usually destructive. Often includes non-stop motion, high energy physical stunts, chases, battles, and destructive crises (floods, explosions, natural disasters, fires, etc.)” Oh, and there has to be more than just one scene. It has to ooze the essence of an Action film.

But while searching for queer action films for this month’s post, I quickly realised that there aren’t too many that truly fit the Action genre definition. In fact, only 22 of the 1,600 in my personal collection meet IMDb’s criteria – and a handful of those films actually fit better under a different genre, even though they were clearly action films. As such, I was left navigating through many films I had not yet seen. Most of my final five film choices are clear-cut queer action film winners, though there was one that left me wanting a bit more. Additionally, one film is clearly an action film – but due to some issues regarding financing, very nearly did not make the cut as a QUEER action film!

Read on to discover more about these five queer action films. I’ll let you decide if you should add them to your Watch List!

[Note: Not all of these films have full reviews yet – but they’re added to the quickly growing list of films I plan to tackle soon!]

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Danny Lohman (Marc Anthony Samuel) is an actor on a quest to win a part on a crime drama. Being the good method actor that he is, Danny will do whatever it takes to prepare for his big break, including taking a night class at Santa Monica Junior College in becoming a private investigator. The funny thing is, Danny s actually good at it. His teacher, Jimmy Peppicelli (Alan Blumenfeld), a former PI, is deeply disappointed that his best student is working hard merely to make it on the small screen. Danny s PI homework includes spying on his recently ex-boyfriend, Pip Armstrong (Brian McArdle). Pip is a beautiful, popular party boy born and reared in Beverly Hills. Pip and Danny stumble quite literally into an opportunity to show off Danny s detective skills when Pip finds himself the victim of a robbery that he nor any of the other victims can report. Someone s come up with an ingenious plan to rip off A-list sex parties in and around Hollywood. Careers, marriages, contracts, and reputations would be ruined if any one opened their mouths. Danny reluctantly agrees to team up with Pip and try to find the robbers. Under Jimmy s tutelage in the finer points of pointing a gun, talking to informers, and out-running the cops and the bad guys, Danny and Pip actually come out on top.

I was pleasantly surprised by “Hot Guys With Guns”! With its name and a quick glance at the reviews, I had prepared myself to watch something low-ball and crappy. Don’t get me wrong – there’s plenty of issues with this queer action film! But amid a too-long exposition (nearly the first hour of the film), there’s actually some really great moments  of comedy. Equally impressive is the film’s nod to to detective mysteries and film noire. But once you add in the guns, threats, murders, kidnappings and more, this light comedy takes a darker twist. If you’re wanting a Bond film, then “Hot Guys With Guns” is NOT the film to watch. However, if you’re enjoy a good action mystery that’ll keep you entertained – give it a watch!

What starts as a miserable day in a dead end job turns into a fight for survival as Aaron is bit by a scorpion, attacked by a rattlesnake, kidnapped, chased by gun-toting maniacs, mesmerized by a hot new co-worker and tortured by a bus load of heavily perfumed old ladies. Albeit the odds are against him, Aaron rises to the challenge to conquer his fears and vanquish his enemies.

I really had no clue what I was getting into when I watched “Aaron… Albeit A Sex Hero”. Which was a good thing because overall, I was not that impressed. While both of our leads are quite attractive, there is little chemistry between them. There were times I couldn’t tell if they were flirting : or arguing! So if I wasn’t a fan, why have I included this queer action film on my list? That’s because the film is chock full of action! Even though the script needs work and the cinematography could’ve been handled better – this IS an indie film. I equally found it intriguing that right from the
start, Aaron is out as a gay man. And in the end, not only does he find some romance, but his life ends up better. While
I’m hesitant to recommend “Aaron… Albeit A Sex Hero”, I’m curious to know what you thought about this queer action
film. If you’ve seen it, let me know if you loved it – or hated it!

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In the cold, dark waters off North Korea a U.S. Navy fast attack submarine meets with a mysterious disaster – it’s attacked and nearly sunk by an ominous stealth submarine resulting in the deaths of the Executive Officer and the Engineering Officer (Mike Doyle), Tom Palatonio. The sub’s captain, Commander Burt Habley (Adrian Paul), who was also Tom’s lover, faces a court-martial by a Naval Board of Inquiry. He’s rescued from this fate when he’s chosen to lead a top secret mission back to tap a North Korean underwater communications cable. Habley must protect his boat and crew from this phantom submarine while completing a successful mission. His instincts tell him they’re being followed and he begins to navigate the sub away from the original mission and into open waters drawing the phantom sub away from the U.S. fleet. This puts him at odds with his new by-the-book Executive Officer (Mathew St. Patrick) who eventually, with the help of the special missions team including Tom’s sister, Lieutenant Claire Trifoli (Catherine Dent), takes command of the submarine and navigates back on course just as they are attacked again. Validated, Habley and his crew come together to defeat this dangerous enemy before they can destroy them or the fleet.

“Tides of War” is an interesting queer action film. Just like a similar action film, “Deadly Skies“, it’s so queer that you could remove one or two scenes, cut a couple lines – and miraculously it’s about a straight Commander! In fact, this film was released under at least two different titles, curated for the respective audiences. Initially panned as the launch film for Here!, and LGBT TV Network, they ran out of funding. So they brought in the Japanese who were looking for a submarine action film – but didn’t want the “gay” content. So just like my feelings towards “Deadly Skies”, I both enjoy this film because the fact the main character is gay is not a crucial part of the plot, but equally I disklike it because of how easy it is to erase away the gay aspect.

But as far as an action film? It’s actually pretty decent! I actually enjoy submarine films because they usually are rather dramatic and put everyone into unique situations outside the help of any outsiders. Throw in a mysterious phantom sub that no one knew about but is attacking submarines as tensions increase between North Korea and the US, there’s a plenty of action and drama to keep you hanging on. Unfortunately, this queer action film has a couple flaws. Because it was filmed during the height of the US military’s infamous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and even though “Tides of War” features the US Navy and their submarines, boats, etc, the US Navy did not permit any filming on the navel bases or ships! Even though “Tides of War” has a TV Movie feel, I recommend giving it a watch. Especially if you enjoy submarine action films or want to get a glimpse of what being gay was like during the DADT timeframe. Just don’t expect too much.

Kitten (Kitten Natividad) calls her son Beau (Chris Asimos) when her GILF bordello is robbed by a grotesque burlesque gang. A full- throttle, rock n rollin’ feast of camp destruction and dangerous dance numbers ensues.

I honestly had no idea what to think about “Fags In The Fast Lane”. And after watching this campy queer action film – I’m still not quite sure! Is the script cheesy? Yep! Are the characters horrendously stereotypical and campy with overacting? Yep! But did I like it? Absolutely! This colourful extravaganza of camp and ridiculousness will not be everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, unless you enjoy B-films and all the cinematic elements that separate B-films from the A-list, most probably won’t even understand why this is such a great film. However in that aspect,  has done an excellent job to recreate all of these elements in a modern, campy, gay film full of action sequences that is a party all the way until the end. While release of this indie film is rather limited, I highly encourage you to find yourself a copy online to stream. You won’t regret it!

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After punks at school hand him multiple savage beatings, gay teen McClain Evans (Michael O’Laskey II), discreetly begins martial arts training with Karen O’Neil (Diana Lee Inosanto), a mysterious woman who had her own cross to bear with the prejudiced and bigoted small town community. As McClain learns to defend himself from hatred and bigotry, the student and his teacher expose several raw nerves in their rural Colorado community.

“The Sensei” is a unique film, but most certainly a queer action film! Told in flashbacks, we watch as McClain struggles and then is victim of a gay bashing by his high school peers. Running parallel is the story of Karen O’Neil, a woman refused to be recognised for earning her black belt by her own family. While a bit melodramatic at times which feels like a soap opera, the story is actually rather captivating! Even though we eventually learn much of their backstories, there are still a few things left out which made following the story a bit tricky. But I was utterly floored when the real twist in the story was revealed! If not for the queer and HIV/AIDS angle, this film is not much different from other similar karate kid films. Yet this retelling is rather important because “The Sensei” reveals that even gay kids can become strong and be their own hero. I strongly encourage you to add “The Sensei” to your watch list!