Powerful punches, smooth moves, and acrobatic stunts are just some of the elements that make for an impressive action scene. To amp up a film’s imagery and add intensity, some filmmakers go a little beyond the standard fight and employ one of the most dramatic visual techniques: slow motion.
For years, movie directors have altered the frame rates on their cameras to either slow a sequence down or speed it up, based on how they want to tell a story.
Film historians credit August Musger, an Austrian priest and physicist, with inventing the slow-motion effect back at the beginning of the 1900s and, if you’ve been to the movie theater in the last decade, you’ve seen it employed today.
Now, filmmakers use the art of slow motion to allow audiences to pore over every detail of every frame of an intense sequence, to see the intricacies and beauty of an action in a different light. Sometimes, the technique doesn’t land well with audiences and comes across as trite and overplayed. In rare cases, however, the result is so badass that we end up watching the same few, magical seconds over and over again.
Although The Hurt Locker wasn’t a hit among many service members and veterans, director Kathryn Bigelow captured an epic opening sequence that involved cool camera work and a detailed explosion that ripples outward over a rugged landscape.
Who doesn’t like watching an awesome brawl between well-trained armies? That’s what Zack Snyder thought when he directed the combat-rich classic, 300. Although the film is filled with various slow-motion shots, it was best used when the audience runs alongside King Leonidas as he shreds members of the Persian army like it isn’t sh*t.
When the ultra-controversial action-comedy The Interview premiered in theaters, it drew in curious crowds who wanted to see if the film’s main characters were actually going to assassinate a fictional version of Kim Jong-un.
What we got was a slow-motion death scene so graphic that nobody could’ve predicted it.
A year after Hugh Jackman played Wolverine in X-Men, he played a computer hacker who was willing to break the law to reunite with his daughter. After being recruited to assist in a heist, the quickly goes awry, and filmmaker Dominic Sena gave us an explosion that the Wachowskis would be proud of.
Although this isn’t one of Brad Pitt’s most notable films, it does showcase one of the best up-close assassination scenes ever recorded.
The beautiful scene takes place on a moonlit, rainy night and gives the viewer the chance to watch every mechanical detail of a pistol firing rounds. Viewers watch tiny shards of glass fly through the air and see the wrinkles move on Markie Trattman’s (as played by Ray Liotta) face as he gets killed.
The American Forces Network (AFN) is the brand name used by the U.S. Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS). It’s a worldwide network designed to be entertaining and informational for U.S. troops and their families while deployed or stationed overseas (aka OCONUS), or for Navy ships at sea. Broadcasting from Fort George G. Meade in Maryland, the network shows American programming from all major U.S. networks.
Since AFN is a nonprofit enterprise owned by the U.S. government, it does not and cannot air commercials during its programs, to avoid the image of endorsement by or sponsorship of the Department of Defense. In their place, AFN runs public service announcements from the Ad Council, charities, and — most interestingly — informational spots created by military members working in AFRTS. These spots can be “command information” or address a number of issues facing military members and their families. They vary in production value and efficacy and can be unintentionally ridiculous… few are as entertaining as AFN Afghanistan’s Bagram Batman.
Always be yourself, even on Okinawa.
2. Maintain Operations Security
“Cats cannot be trusted.” – OPSEC Officer Squeakers
3. Don’t be an a-hole in Europe
Because Europeans never talk smack about sporting events or play loud music.
4. Shop at the Commissary!
This is really an avant-garde art film.
5. Prevent theft by slapping your friends around
It’s always a good idea to slap people at the base gym locker room.
6. Don’t forget your CAC
7. Don’t just give anyone general power of attorney
This entire PSA is an excuse for a pun.
8. Your new foreign-born wife will probably need a passport
Worst. Proposal. Ever.
8. What to know about legal residency, presented by Cowboys
No PSA is more memorable than one about legal residency.
9. Creepy strangers can overhear your travel plans
Cargo shorts, flip-flops, and wraparound sunglasses complete the creeper uniform.
10. The perfect neighbor doesn’t exist
If you want the perfect neighbor, build one from leftover body parts.
11. Having a baby is the end of the world
“Who wants to pay child support in high school?” WHO WANTS TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT EVER?
12. Get to know your skin sores
Listening to this gave me ear cancer.
13. This guy needs a shower
No concern about the invisible voice in your bathroom?
14. Don’t be an a-hole in Europe, part II
“You’ve brought great joy to this old Italian stereotype.”
15. Don’t be an a-hole in your dorm room
Who is the real a-hole in this PSA?
16. This guy needs a time management PSA
Maybe don’t wait until right before formation to run by the post office.
17. An identity crisis can hit you at any time
Does Stars and Stripes have a self-help section?
18. Eating lunch alone leads to disaster
Where the hell is this lunchroom anyway?
19. “Something about jurisdiction”
Call those legal people at the legal place when you have a run-in with the police-y people while doing your boozy stuff.
20. Smokers are Blue Falcons
Maybe we should talk about the guy putting out cigarettes on his co-workers’ faces?
21. Bird Flu is comical
Try sneezing in a Marine’s face. Go on, I’ll wait.
After he parked and got out of his car, he didn’t introduce himself or offer any welcome. The unnamed instructor just said, “okay everybody get over here and sign your death waivers.”
This was my first introduction to a GoRuck Challenge, a team endurance event run by former U.S. military special operators. It was the 83rd challenge to take place in Dec. 2011 — running around Tampa, Fla. with 24 people. Since then, it’s grown to more than 2,500 events that now comprise various skill levels.
GoRuck Challenges usually attract a certain demographic of people: Former military personnel, law enforcement, and fitness enthusiasts. Especially with the ominous intro from our instructor, a former Green Beret, anyone taking part in a GoRuck event knows it will be rough, to say the least.
“We want to promote the sport of rucking,” Kit Klein, partnership manager for GoRuck based in Jacksonville, Fla., told The Tampa Bay Times. “We’re trying to put it on the map.”
The “sport of rucking” that GoRuck promotes now consists of “GoRuck Light,” a four to five hour challenge that covers seven to 10 miles, “GoRuck Tough,” a 10 to 12-hour challenge covering 15 to 20 miles, and “GoRuck Heavy,” a much more demanding 24-hour-plus challenge that can cover more than 40 miles.
But those times and distances can vary, as one of the company’s mottos is to “under-promise, over-deliver.” (For the GoRuck Tough challenge I was on in Tampa, we did roughly 23 miles over 15 hours).
“Your class is led from start to finish by a Special Operations Cadre whose job is to build a team by pushing you to overcome, together,” reads the description of the challenges on the GoRuck website. “You stay with your class the entire time aka a true team event, never in any way confused with a road race or a mud run. And no, your Cadre is not a drill sergeant and no, this is not bootcamp. That stuff belongs to the military, this is simply an event about your team.”
All of the challenges require participants to carry around weights or bricks in a backpack, which is why these events exist in the first place.
In 2008, GoRuck was a new company making rugged backpacks designed to withstand the rigors of military combat. Founded by former Special Forces soldier Jason McCarthy, he sent his bags to friends in the field to test out and he quickly realized selling backpacks may not be his only business.
McCarthy spent two years developing the bags that make up most of GoRuck’s product line (four styles, starting at $195). Early on, he battle-tested his prototypes, literally – sending them to Green Beret buddies in Afghanistan and Iraq. Then he grew concerned about sending unproven gear to men in danger, so he established another proving ground: the GoRuck Challenge. In these team-oriented endurance runs, which are led by combat veterans and incorporate Special Forces training, participants carry a GoRuck sack loaded with rocks or bricks.
“The original intent was very nearsighted,” McCarthy told The Cincinnatti Enquirer of starting his first challenges. “I had a bunch of inventory and wanted people to know about our bags.”
People did learn of GoRuck, and more: “People kept describing this as a life-changing event,” McCarthy told the Enquirer. “I got more and more and more requests to host events.”
An Iraq war veteran, McCarthy began the events in 2010 while attending business school at Georgetown University, according to The Washington Post. Beyond marketing his bags, he told The Post, his goal is “to build better Americans” with his challenges. He does this by promoting leadership, teamwork, and honoring the sacrifices of military service members.
“It’s spiritual, emotional experience they take away,” Derek Zahler, a GoRuck cadre and former Special Forces soldier, told News4Jax. “They get to learn a lot more about themselves. Especially their goals and what they perceive their ability to achieve those goals are.”
The company has moved beyond backpacks and challenging events, however. It now sells apparel, fitness items, and even firearms gear, which it developed in 2014. In that year, the company had $10.8 million in revenue — nearly 30 percent more than the previous year’s figures.
The Danish film ‘A War’ is about an officer who had to make a hard decision under fire and the legal charges he faced when he returned home. It’s an unflinching look at military families, the strains of separation during deployment, and the unforgiving nature of commanding troops under fire while wrestling with restrictive rules of engagement.
The film has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and will be released in limited theaters starting February 12.
Two carriers whose service overlapped by about a year and a half going head to head.
In one corner, we have USS Midway (CV 41), the first of America’s post-World War II aircraft carriers, which served for 46 years and flew everything from the F4U Corsair to the F/A-18 Hornet.
The USS Midway. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)
In the other corner, the Russian Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov, which just made her first combat deployment. To borrow a phrase from the Spike network’s Deadliest Warrior: “Which is deadliest?”
The Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov (the ship previously had the names Riga, Leonid Brezhnev, and Tblisi) is a 61,000-ton ship. The Kuznetsov-class carrier can carry about 45 aircraft, including Su-33 Flankers, MiG-29 Fulcrums, and Ka-27 Helix helicopters.
The usual air group is about 15 Su-33s, to grow to 20 MiG-29KR fighters. But the Kuznetsov carries an “ace in the hole” — a dozen P-700 Granit (NATO codename: SS-N-19 Shipwreck) anti-ship missiles, with a range of 388 miles and a top speed of Mach 2.5.
For self-defense the Kuznetsov carries 6 AK-630 Gatling guns, 8 Kortik close-in defense systems (with twin 30mm Gatling guns and SA-N-11 missiles), and 24 eight-round launchers for the SA-N-9 Gauntlet short-range surface-to-air missiles.
The Midway, came in originally at 45,000 tons but grew to about 64,000 tons. At the time the Kuznetsov entered service, her normal air wing consisted of three squadrons of F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighters (12 planes each), two squadrons of A-6 Intruders (15 planes each), a squadron of E-2C Hawkeyes (four planes), a squadron of EA-6B Prowlers (four planes), and a squadron of SH-3H Sea King anti-submarine helicopters (six helicopters). Originally equipped with 18 five-inch guns, the Midway’s self-defense armament in 1990 was a pair of Mk 29 Sea Sparrow launchers and a pair of Mark 15 Close-In Weapon Systems.
In terms of reliability, the Midway takes the edge, given her 46 years of service that saw a slew of awards, including the Presidential Unit Citation, 17 awards of the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and a combat record that included three deployments during the Vietnam War and service during Desert Storm.
The Kuznetsov, though, has an edge when it comes to on-board weapons. The SS-N-19 battery gives it an extra anti-ship punch that the Midway just doesn’t have.
The Midway, however, has a decisive advantage when it comes to her air wing. The Kuznetsov’s maximum total of 24 multi-role fighters is dwarfed by Midway’s 36 F/A-18s and 30 A-6 Intruders.
But that doesn’t begin to outline the advantages.
While the Kuznetsov’s Su-33s would probably be the best fighters in the engagement, the American Hornets would have the advantage of support from the Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft and the EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare planes. The Midway’s Intruders, though, would provide a much stronger anti-ship punch with AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles; AGM-123 Skipper laser-guided missiles; AGM-62 Walleye television-guided missile; and GBU-10 laser-guided bombs.
Then there is the situational awareness. The EA-6B electronic warfare aircraft would be jamming the sensors on the Su-33s, while the E-2s would be able to direct the Hornets to carry out their attacks.
The Kuznetsov has no such assets available. This means the Midway’s air wing now only has more raw power, it has two uncontested force multipliers.
To paraphrase Andrew Dice Clay, “Hey, Kuznetsov! Wake up and smell the toast.”
Shaolin Kung Fu is one of the oldest and most intense forms of Chinese martial arts. Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and a number of other martial arts movie stars have also made Kung Fu one of the most famous forms.
As a part of a religious order, the Shaolin monks were persecuted by Chinese Communists during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. The temple was mostly destroyed and stayed that way for years. But when Jet Li made “Shaolin Shi,” it was enough to make Mao give in: the temple was rebuilt and some much-needed tourism revenue came in as Kung Fu made a comeback.
Here are a few things you may not have known about Kung Fu and the elite Shaolin Monks.
1. The founder of Shaolin Kung Fu was from India.
Legend has it that the founder of the Shaolin order, a Buddhist monk from India named Bodhidharma, spent nine years meditating in a cave near his monastery. The legend has it that to keep him from falling asleep, the monk cut off his eyelids and threw them on the ground.
Pre-Workout would not be invented for another 1,500 years.
Green Tea began to grow from the spot where he threw his eyelids and now Buddhist monks use green tea to maintain their focus during meditation.
2. Kung Fu is studied in a “Kwoon.”
The word “dojo” is reserved for places that teach Japanese martial arts, like Aikido. When entering a kwoon, bow at a 45-degree angle with your hands at your chest — the right in a fist, and the left open-palm.
This represents the yin and yang and that your heart is at peace.
3. Kung Fu practitioners wear a different uniform.
Again, much of the look of the loose-fitting
gi and colored belts comes from the Japanese practice. Traditional Chinese Kung Fu doesn’t use colored belt levels (though some Western teachers might use them as a teaching tool). Chinese Kung Fu uses a uniform that is tight at the ankles and sometimes even at the wrists.
4. The most elite Shaolin monk was a werewolf.
Ok, he wasn’t an
actual werewolf. In the late 19th century lived a monk named Tai Jin. The poor guy suffered from a condition known as hypertrichosis. Also known as “Werewolf Syndrome” because of the insane amount of body hair that grows on affected areas.
It might have helped his self-esteem to know that, according to legend, he was the best fighter in all of China.
No comfort for Chewbacca here.
Tai Jin was abandoned at the monastery as a baby because of his body hair. The monks raised him and trained him. He eventually dedicated himself to one form of martial art. Legend also has it that upon meeting the 12 masters of Shaolin, the boy threw a dagger into the ceiling, killing a would-be assassin. He explained to the masters that he could hear 13 people breathing, not just 12.
For more about the Shaolin monks and their founder, check out the above episode of Elite Forces.
“You’re getting the body prepared for a number of motions,” Saladino told Men’s Journal. “These are more expansive than your typical lifting movements.”
He allows for flexibility in his workout routine.
Saladino noted that, while he and Reynolds tried to stick to a weekly strength plan that included two days off, it was constantly adjusted to fit the needs of his body and schedule.
“The biggest mistake that people make when making an exercise plan is not to listen to their body every day,” Saladino told Men’s Journal. “Ryan was a recent father and traveling a lot [when “Deadpool” was being filmed], so if he had been up all night with the baby, or just gotten off a plane from Singapore, you can best believe we were changing up the program.”
He took it upon himself to work out in his downtime.
“Don [Saladino] gave me a plan so I could train whenever I needed to,” Reynolds told Men’s Health in 2016. “It made things more manageable. And if I wanted to spend a little extra time with my daughter in the morning, I could do that.”
Reynolds has said that he has a “functional” approach to training rather than a “fashionable” one, so he usually prefers to work out alone and on his own time.
Saladino admitted that he is never concerned about Reynolds’ commitment to the workout regimen.
“Ryan’s such a hard worker,” Saladino told Men’s Health. “If anything, I had to scale him down. One day he came up to see me having been working out on his own and I was like, ‘Holy sh-t!’ He looked like a different person.”
“I like using these traditional movements with little twists,” Saladino explained. “This move, in particular, is not only maintaining the strength that he built up to play Deadpool but also encourages stabilization and balance. We have done exercises similar to this over the course of the past few years, but sometimes with a kettlebell and without the vest during our warm-ups.”
However, the father of two did admit that he can battle this aversion with outdoor exercises and activities.
“I love being outdoors,” he said. “There are forests all around [where I live] and I get to hike, mountain bike … just move. I’ll even bring the baby with me, put her in a little baby carrier thing and off we go. In a weird way, it’s a great workout because you’re adding 20 pounds to your bodyweight.”
It’s certainly admirable that Reynolds juggles his responsibilities as an action star with his growing family of four— but his DIY style when it comes to fitness can work for just about anyone.
Kevin Kent is one of the most experienced and trusted military advisors in Hollywood. With over 20 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL, specializing in evasive driving, air operations, diving, & weapons handling/ instruction, while traveling to hundreds of countries, he definitely has the experience to back it up. He currently works as a director, producer, actor, stuntman, personal security specialist, weapon’s instructor, and a Military/ Police & Technical Advisor in the film industry, as part of Global Studies Group International. WATM sat down with Kent to learn more about his background, his experience in the Navy and how it all translates to the big screen.
Can you share about your family and your life growing up?
I am the youngest of three boys. My father was a 22-year Army veteran and served in Vietnam. I was born in Greece and my brothers were born at various spots around the globe. My mom is a nurse and I had a disciplined childhood. My father retired from the Army when I was about five years old and we moved back to northwest Tennessee in the late 70s where my parents had grown up. My parents were very goal-oriented people and that education was important. We were driven to do our best and learn something. My grandparents had a farm where I grew up hauling hay and cutting tobacco, so it was hard work. I played baseball and football growing up. I am an Eagle Scout and was heavily involved in scouting. Both of my brothers are Eagle Scouts. We camped a lot and spent much time outdoors.
Accountability was a key family value that was stressed. Being in the military reinforced some of those values taught as a kid. Holding yourself and others around you accountable. Don’t succumb to peer pressure. If you screw up, own it. Write down goals and set out a path. You never think your parents are as smart as they actually are until you grow up.
What made you want to become a SEAL and what was your experience like?
I did not want to go to college while in high school where I was more hands on and desired to build something or travel. I couldn’t see myself sitting in a classroom. I was given guidance but come from a small town where a lot of the industry had dried up. The town went from 20,000 people living there to about 10,000 because of the industry drying up. The military was the best thing for me and my father gave me the advice to join the Navy instead of the Army for EOD school. He shared that the Navy owns the school and will get dive training out of it. The Navy is a better fit for who I was. I didn’t care for the Navy uniforms at the time, Cracker Jack guy. My mom was happy about me joining the Navy. My oldest brother was in the Army as well. You couldn’t be an EOD tech until you were an E-5, so it was a long road. You couldn’t get orders to the school until you were an E-5. The EOD school is technically hard, similar to Navy Nuke school.
Before leaving for bootcamp I was informed about the SEAL program. I had some knowledge of the program and knew it was going to be tough. I joined the Navy a few months after high school and went into a dive program to train for BUD/S. All of the guys in the program were in my bootcamp company. I went to bootcamp in Orlando, FL. You had to pass your first Physical Screening Test with a certain score and times for the program. You had to pick a source rating (Navy Fleet MOS) if you washed out of BUD/S. I ended up with Gunner’s Mate and had to do a six-month long course. I reported to Great Lakes, MI and was part of a galley detail to prepare food for the rest of the base, so my class didn’t start up for another two months. That was my first taste of the military’s “hurry up and wait.”
After graduating A school, BUD/S was backed up so the Navy was sending candidates to dive commands. It was so weird because I ended up at the EOD school in Indian Head, MD which is the same one my dad went through. I spent six months at the command getting ready for BUD/S. I went to BUD/S in 1994 and graduated in 1995 where I was sent to SEAL Team Five in 1995. I went to Jump School on my way to my unit. I made E-4 right before “Hell Week” and checked into SEAL Team Five with nothing much going on. I was assigned to SEAL Tactical Training upon arriving at my unit. It used to be where each team would run its own STT training that tailored it to the unit’s missions. SEAL Team Five used to be a colder weather unit.
I did nine deployments overall and was initially with SEAL Team Five for ten years. At the time there were SEALs that had been with one team for twenty years. My first deployment I ended up in the Persian Gulf after Desert Storm. In that deployment we were involved in recon and ship boarding in the region. My first deployment into Iraq in 2003 was eye opening to see how people can be oppressed, especially women by the Baath party. We were digging up mass graves in countries where people were getting closure on their lost relatives. It is insurmountable with forensic people laying out countless human bones on mats to where Iraqis are waiting to see if their family member(s) are among the bones. We took over a dam in the early part of the invasion that was in the eastern part of Iraq. The dam was near Tikrit and further east. We had dune buggies to traverse around the areas. We had a lot of helicopter supporters and two C-130s on station for support. Once we got on the ground, we secured the dam.
The next day we were driving around scouting everything where there was a village close to the dam. It was amazing seeing some of the kids where they were blonde haired and blue-eyed Persians. It was like something out of Alexander the Great and being from another time. We found a lot of anti-aircraft guns loaded close to the dam that were unmanned. If someone had been on one of these guns when we came in via helicopter we would have been shot out of the sky. We turned over the dam to a Marine Corps unit later on. The Iraqi people in the village welcomed us with open arms. People from the village also showed up to the dam for work where we had to turn them away.
Kent on being secured from “Hell Week” at BUD/S class 198. Photo credit KK.
What are you most proud of from your service in the Navy?
I’m most proud of the group of men that I was able to stand side by side with and do great things for oppressed people in the world, such as those in Iraq and other places in the world. I believe that this Country is the greatest in the world and having our presence in many places brings hope to those individuals who might never have any type of freedom or individual rights. I’ve stood at the edge of mass gravesites, while looking mothers, fathers, sons and daughters in their eyes, as they hoped that the large excavating machine would reveal whether or not these people’s loved ones were buried there many decades prior to our occupation of their home. Just so they could get closure.
Kent during his time as a SEAL. Photo credit KK.
What values have you carried over from the Navy into Hollywood?
Harry Humphries has been my mentor and has trained me well. I have brought over “Train like you fight” from my service, especially when instructing the technical part of the role. I cut my teeth on “The Last Ship” for five seasons with Harry, which was a constant cycle of work. Actors would come to pitch me ideas on the show of what to do tactically, where it added a lot of realism to the show. Credibility is key and we want to make sure the actors are training and doing rehearsals. The camaraderie aspect of the work I do is great. We had a tight knit group in the most recent season of “Jack Ryan.” For season two of the show I was in Columbia by myself as an adviser. We got so close working together down in Columbia it kind of felt like I was in a platoon again. The actors want to remain authentic as military-types and they want to do a good job.
Kent on his retirement day from the SEALs. Photo credit KK.
Kent at his retirement ceremony. Photo credit KK.
What was one of the toughest lessons to learn coming from the service to Hollywood?
One of the better lessons learned was in Season Two of “The Last Ship” where I was working with Keith Woulard where he sees me talking with some actors. As a note, my last two years in the military I was a BUD/S instructor as a third phase weapons chief, so I could be intense. Keith comes up to me and asks, “What am I doing?” He gives me tips such as tell the actors they are doing something right first and then telling them where they are messing up. So, I may have been a little hard on them where they are actors and not SEALs.
“The Last Ship” 2018 (L>R Bridget Regan, Eric Dane, Kevin Kent)
Kent with Mike Moriarty and Harry Humphries. Photo credit IMDB.com.
What was it like working on projects such as Twelve Strong, Bumblebee, 13 Hours, Kong: Skull Island, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Last Ship, Da 5 Bloods and the like?
All of the directors on those projects were professional where I would work with them again if the opportunity arose. Each project offered a different challenge as shared with “Jack Ryan.” 13 Hours with Michael Bay was great where he was such a huge influence on me. Bay puts us in a place to succeed where he wants military guys a part of the production and in the cast. 13 Hours set me up for success on “Jack Ryan” with John Krasinski where John wants to make everything look better. Twelve Strong was my first opportunity working with Jerry Bruckheimer where it was eye opening. Bruckheimer is a machine when it comes to producing. Bruckheimer and Ian Bryce were just phenomenal to work with.
We were surprised when we went to Thailand to work with Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods. Lee is so organized and knows exactly what he wants. Lee was okay with me training the actors every day where on other productions that would not fly. The stunt guys were getting so many repetitions where it definitely showed in the finished product. He knows everybody’s job on set to where after a take he would ask me what we thought about a take. He would encourage me to go give people notes if needed. Lee filmed the flashback sequences on 16mm film, which was the first time we have ever seen film on a set before.
Filming on Transformers 4 (2014) in Detroit (L>R, Titus Welliver, Kevin Kent, Michael Bay, Andrew Arrabito, Kenny Sheard).
Kent on set with the cast of 12 Strong. Photo credit IMDB.com.
12 Strong 2018 (L>R David H. Venghaus Jr, Kevin Kent, Chris Hemsworth)
13 Hours 2016 (L>R David Furr, Demetrius Grosse, Kevin Kent, Mike Moriarty, David Giuntoli)
Kent on set with the cast of 13 Hours. Photo credit IMDB.com.
Season 1 of “Jack Ryan” in Morocco (2017) (Kneeling L>R Wendell Pierce, John Hoogenakker, Joost Janssen,
Standing L>R Ron Culpepper, Geoff Reeves, Mike Moriarty, John Krasinski, Kevin Kent, Todd Sharbutt, Christian Stewart, Scott Foxx.
Season 2 of “Jack Ryan” in Colombia (Kevin Kent as Savage)
On set with Jeff Ward (stunt coordinator), Humphries, Kent and stunt team members of Da 5 Bloods. Photo credit KK.
What leadership lessons in life and from the SEALs have helped you most in your career?
Praise in public and chastise in private. Always take responsibility as a leader. It’s easy to be the leader when things are going great, but when Michael Bay comes and says, “What are you doing?”, it is not always that easy. My deployments have given me life perspective and patience in tough situations. I recognize where we are at and what needs done, I stay calm in the intense moments on set.
As a service, how do we get more veteran stories told in the Hollywood arena?
I feel like most individuals coming from the military are extremely humble about their service and aren’t inclined to tell “war stories” to people they don’t know. In many ways, those actions and stories are sacred to the brothers-in-arms that lived those tales, and many guys feel vulnerable to be judged by others who perhaps didn’t live through those specific interactions or battles. However, if there was a way to get some of these high influence personal, such as Medal of Honor recipients to open up about their specific challenges and victories downrange, while either leading or being led by phenomenal service members, it might lead more people to open up and tell their stories. Even getting these stories on a podcast with guys like Jocko Willink, who has a great platform and could lead to potential books being written or interest in films made about these phenomenal individuals. Obviously, it would take someone with some clout in the industry, like a Bruckheimer or Bryce to develop these stories into something meaningful for the screen. Tom Hanks has done great things with his production team for projects such as “Band of Brothers”, “The Pacific”, and Saving Private Ryan to name a few. I would love to take on a military project as part of a proven team like that and I’m sure the Harry Humphries story needs to be told!
Navy SEALs vs. Zombies (2015)
What would you like to do next in your career?
I want to get into writing, producing and second unit directing. I started the Digital Cinematography program at Full Sail University. It has got me out of my comfort zone and has helped hone my technical skills, especially with editing in Premiere Pro. Harry and his wife Catherine have been very supportive of my education. I really want to stress how great she & Harry have been in bringing me into this industry. I filmed a couple of documentaries and my kids are into acting right now. It would be great to work with fellow veterans as well. One of the things that pushed me in this direction was having worked on “Jack Ryan” where I worked with Dennie Gordon, she did season two of the show. She is phenomenal at her craft and is a great person. We have kept in contact with each other since our time on “Jack Ryan.” She would let me set up and block shots for the series. It pushed me to get my stuff together and learn about the craft. I can now talk to the director and the cinematographer about the shots in a technical manner.
I was humbled to meet Patricia Riggen as well on “Jack Ryan” where her and her husband Checco Varese who is a cinematographer. There was a mutual feeling of respect between Patricia and Check where I learned as much from them as they did me. They both pulled me aside and told me how much they want to work with me again and the feeling was the same from me as well. It has been amazing where I am grateful in having people like them and more take time with me and mentor me. It has been great working with so many high-level people.
Kent with his twin boys. Photo credit KK.
What are you most proud of in life and your career?
The fact that I was able to hold my family together. I have been married now for 18 years, I have twin boys that are 15 and a daughter that is 11. I am grateful to be able to teach and mold them into the productive members of society I want them to be. Being deployed so much kept me away where my wife is a saint. She puts up with me being gone all the time and is the glue that holds everything together.
One of my son’s has expressed interest in joining the service when he is old enough. My sons were introduced to acting when they were young by my wife since they are twins. They played Bill Paxton’s son for five seasons on the HBO show “Big Love”, which put me on set to be with them. They did the last two seasons of “Weeds” as the son of Mary Louise Parker. The boys were nominated separately for the same award for the Imagen foundation (https://www.imagen.org/) which is for Hispanics in Entertainment. They did a show called “Room 104” where they were nominated for best young actor award for TV. It is crazy when one of my sons says, “I don’t know dad it might be cool to be a Navy SEAL.” I told them, “They are on a gravy train with biscuit wheels right now, you guys need to stay on this whole acting gig.”
Mrs. Kent with Gavin and Ethan at the Imagen Awards Ceremony. Photo credit KK.
You might have noticed that the ranks of the Avengers are a bit thinner than before. Iron Man and Black Widow died, Captain America retired, and Spider-Man fell victim to…a corporate squabble between Sony and Disney. Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, knows this.
The only question, then, isn’t if the Avengers will get some reinforcements but which characters from the Marvel canon those reinforcements will be. According to Daniel Richtman, a writer with a history of Marvel scoops, Feige wants Ghost Rider to be among those joining the MCU.
What’s less clear is which Ghost Rider we’re going to get. Will it be Johnny Blaze, who sold his soul to save his father and subsequently rode around on a flaming motorcycle? Or could it be Danny Ketch, who found a mystical motorcycle the night his sister was murdered?
As a side note, it was the Johnny Blaze version that Nicholas Cage played in 2007’s Ghost Rider and its 2011 sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. The absolute nuttiest thing Feige could do would be bringing Cage back and making those two pretty forgettable movies MCU canon. But we’re not holding our breath.
Another possibility is that Robbie Reyes, a Mexican-American from East L.A. who rides around in a black muscle car instead of a motorcycle, comes on board.
We also shouldn’t discount the fact that, in the modern MCU where there are, really, no rules (remember the snap?), that we get more than one Ghost Rider at once. There could be a movie version based on Johnny Blaze and a TV series centering on Robbie Reyes simultaneously.
The truth is we just don’t know yet, and we’ll probably have to wait a while to both confirm that Ghost Rider is joining the Avengers and learn which Ghost Rider (and on which medium) he or she will be appearing.
This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.
Hugh Hefner, the iconic founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy — and one time U.S. Army veteran — is dead at 91.
His military service is a testament to the mentality of vets from the Greatest Generation. Despite an IQ 0f 152, he still opted to join the U.S. Army right out of high school in 1944, a time when victory in Europe wasn’t necessarily assured.
But Hef never made it to Europe. Instead, he was an infantry clerk stationed in Oregon and then Virginia. While he did learn the basics of using the M1 Garand and tossing grenades, he never had to do it on the battlefield. He spent the war drawing cartoons for Army-run newspapers.
He left the military in 1946, honorably discharged and destined for greater things — notably supplying reading material for U.S. troops (and everyone else) for every American war since 1953.
“I came out [of the Army] like a lot of other fellas believing that somehow we had, we had fought in a war, the last really moral war and that we would celebrate that in some form,” Hefner once said in an interview. “I expected something comparable [to the Jazz Age] after world war two and we didn’t get that, all we got was a lot of conformity and conservatism.”
Hefner left the Army to encounter the Cold War as a civilian and he didn’t like what it was doing to American society. He blamed things like Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee as a sign of repression in the U.S.
“When I was in college at the university of Illinois the skirt lengths dropped instead of going up as they had during the roaring twenties and I knew that was a very bad sign,” Hefner said. “It is symbolic and reflective of a very repressive time.”
In Hef’s mind, sexual repression and dictatorship went hand-in-hand, and he opted to do his part. His work helped fuel the sexual revolution of the 1960s — and fight an element of feminism he sees as a “puritan,” “prohibitionist,” and “anti-sexual.” Hefner funded challenges to state regulations that outlawed birth control and he sponsored the court case that would become Roe v. Wade.
“One of the great ironies in our society is that we celebrate freedom and then limit the parts of life where we should be most free,” he told Esquire in 2015.
In that same Esquire interview — at age 76 — he said of his death: “My house is pretty much in order. When it comes, it comes.” But he also said, “I wake up every day and go to bed every night knowing I’m the luckiest guy on the fucking planet.”
The Army-Navy game is a big deal. That said, over the course of this 120-year rivalry, it’s been important for different reasons.
Through World War II, Army and Navy were two college-football powerhouses, able to hold their own against the likes of Rutgers and Norte Dame. Both Army and Navy have won National Championships, but that hasn’t happened for either team since 1946 and 1926, respectively. Currently, across the 117 meetings of these two teams, Navy leads the series 60-50-7, thanks, in part, to a 14-year winning streak that ended with Army’s 21-17 win in 2016.
Times have changed: Today, Army and Navy aren’t regular contenders for the national championship. But even if these teams aren’t competing for a national title, the Army-Navy game, which has been played routinely since 1890, is still a big deal. In fact, it’s the only game played the weekend after conference championships.
Why is this game so fervently followed? There are a number of reasons outside of exciting football, two of which are unique to this match-up. First, while many Division-I college players eye professional football after graduation, those going to military academies are to fulfill a five-year service obligation. The fact is that most professional teams selecting players in the seven-round NFL draft don’t have the luxury of waiting for that service obligation to end.
Although this hasn’t stopped some of the greats in the past, including Roger Staubach, Phil McConkey, and Joe Cardona, it’s not very likely today. That means that the men on the field are playing purely for the love of the sport, not for a contract down the line.
Second, what sets the Army-Navy game apart from other college football matches is the fact that the players in this game, at some point in the next four years, will be defending our country. Each year, first-class cadets and midshipmen storm Lincoln Field in Philadelphia, ready and willing to play for pride, while they’re just months away from joining a military still fighting a global war on terror.
All will serve bravely and, unfortunately, some of them may even make the ultimate sacrifice. In July 2010, former Army quarterback Chase Prasnicki was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan. The Army-Navy game is just as much a celebration of the brave, young service members that defend our home as it is a celebration of sport. That is why the Army-Navy game is such a big deal.
“South Park” fired back at China during the 300th episode after the country banned the long-running Comedy Central animated series.
In the episode, titled “SHOTS!!!,” Towelie forces Randy Marsh to declare “F— the Chinese government.” Marsh is reluctant at first since he’s been selling marijuana in the country.
Last week’s episode, called “Band in China,” mocked Chinese censorship and Hollywood’s reliance on the country’s box office to boost potential blockbusters. It referenced China’s crackdown on Winnie the Pooh, which has become a symbol of resistance against China’s ruling Communist Party and its leader, President Xi Jinping.
China retaliated by shutting down “South Park” discussion forums and removing clips and episodes of the show from its internet, as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
“South Park” season 23, episode 2, “Band in China”
“South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker issued a mock apology to China on Oct. 7, 2019, saying “Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts. We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all.”
The statement mocked the NBA’s apology to China after the Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted on Oct. 4, 2019, (and then deleted) an image with the slogan “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong” in solidarity with the Hong Kong protesters.
“Band in China” was projected onto screens throughout Hong Kong’s Sham Shui Po district on Oct. 8, 2019, according THR.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.
Few things have the power to transport people like the cinema.
Who can forget Robert Williams’ “Good morning, Vietnam” or Marine Corps DI Hartman’s memorable quotes?
The following list is of our favorite military movies to watch over Fourth of July weekend.
“The Longest Day” (1962)
“The Longest Day”tells the story of heroism and loss that marked the Allies’ successful completion of the Normandy Landings on D-Day during World War II.
The film stands out due to its attention to detail, as it employed many Axis and Allied D-Day participants as advisers for how to depict the D-Day landings in the movie.
“Lawrence Of Arabia” (1962)
Based on the exploits of British Army Lieutenant T. E. Lawrence during World War I, “Lawrence of Arabia” tells the story of Lawrence’s incredible activities in the Middle East.
The film captures Lawrence’s daring, his struggles with the horrific violence of World War I, and the incredible British role in the foundation of the modern Middle East and Saudi Arabia.
“The Great Escape” (1963)
“The Great Escape” is based on a novel of the same name, which was a nonfiction account of a mass escape from a German prison camp in Poland during World War II. The film follows several British German prisoners of war as they try to escape from the Nazis and make their way back to Allied-controlled territory.
“The Dirty Dozen” (1967)
Extremely loosely inspired by true acts during World War II, “The Dirty Dozen” tells the story of 12 Army convicts trained for a nearly impossible mission deep in Nazi-occupied France before D-Day, and the film follows their exploits in training and beyond.
“MASH” is a black comedy set on the frontlines of the Korean War. The story follows a group of Mobile Army Surgical Hospital officers as they carry out their mission against the bleak backdrop of the seemingly ceaseless conflict miles from their position.
A movie documenting the life and exploits of General George S. Patton.
A wartime hero of World War II, the film covers Patton’s exploits, accomplishments, and ultimate discharge.
“The Deer Hunter” (1978)
“The Deer Hunter” follows the story of a trio of Russian-American steelworkers both in Pennsylvania before their service and during the Vietnam War.
The film, which stars Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, and Christopher Walken, won multiple awards, including the Academy Award for best picture, best director, and best supporting actor for Walken.
“Apocalypse Now” (1979)
Featuring an all-star cast (Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, and Dennis Hopper) and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, “Apocalypse Now” is a modern adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s classic “Heart of Darkness.”
Set in Vietnam in 1970, the film shows to what depths men will sink during wartime.
“Das Boot” (1981)
“Das Boot” is a German film depicting the service of German sailors aboard fictional submarine U-96. The story has been lauded for personalizing the characters during World War II by showing both the tension of hunting ships, as well as the tedium of serving aboard submarines.
“Top Gun” (1986)
Starring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, “Top Gun” follows Cruise as he attends the Top Gun aviation school. An aggressive but extremely competent pilot, Cruise competes throughout his training to become the best pilot in training. The film was selected in 2015 by the Library of Congress for preservation due to its cultural significance.
“Platoon,” featuring Charlie Sheen, depicts the horrors and difficulties of the Vietnam War. The movie both shows the difficulty in locating potential insurgents in a civilian population, as well as the strains and struggles war can place on brothers-in-arms.
“Good Morning Vietnam” (1987)
Loosely based on a true story, “Good Morning Vietnam” is a comedy-drama starring Robin Williams as a radio DJ in Saigon during the Vietnam War.
Williams earned an Academy Award for best actor.
“Full Metal Jacket” (1987)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, “Full Metal Jacket” follows two new recruits as they enter bootcamp during the Vietnam War. From depicting the struggles of training to the savagery of war, “Full Metal Jacket” remains a timeless classic.
Featuring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, and Morgan Freeman, “Glory” follows the US’s first all African American regiment, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.
Denzel Washington won an Academy Award for his performance.
“The Hunt For Red October” (1990)
Based on Tom Clancy’s bestselling novel, “The Hunt For Red October” is set during the last stages of the Cold War.
The film stars Sean Connery as a rogue Soviet naval captain who is attempting to defect to the US with the Soviet Union’s most advanced nuclear missile submarine.
“Schindler’s List” (1993)
Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Liam Neeson, “Schindler’s List” tells the true story of how businessman Oskar Schindler evolves from seeing Jews as nothing but human chattel to doing his best to save as many Jews from Nazi death camps as possible during the Holocaust. The film, based on a true story and painfully told, won the Academy Award for best picture.
“Saving Private Ryan” (1998)
Directed by Steven Spielberg and featuring Tom Hanks, “Saving Private Ryan” showcases both the brutality of World War II while also paying tribute to the amazing courage and honor that each person can rise to. The movie won Spielberg an Academy Award in 1999 for best director.
“Three Kings” (1999)
Featuring Ice Cube, Mark Wahlberg, and George Clooney, “Three Kings” shows a stark depiction of life on the ground in Kuwait and Southern Iraq following the end of the Gulf War.
The movie depicts the brutality that Iraqis faced from the regime of Saddam Hussein after trying to rise up against the government at the end of the war.
“Black Hawk Down” (2001)
Directed by Ridley Scott, “Black Hawk Down” follows the tragic exploits of US special forces that were sent into Somalia on a peacekeeping mission in 1993. The movie won the Academy Award for best film editing in 2002.
“Jarhead,” directed by Sam Mendes and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, depicts a realistic look at the mix of drudgery and tension that exists for soldiers in a war zone.
The movie spans from the late 1980s through the US involvement in the Gulf War.
“Downfall” depicts the end of the European stage of World War II from inside Adolf Hitler’s bunker in Berlin. The movie depicts Hitler’s final days as he, and his fellow high-ranking Nazis, realize the futility of their position in the war and the end of the Third Reich.
“Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War” (2005)
“Tae Guk Gi” follows the tale of two South Korean brothers during the start of the Korean War. Drafted into combat, the older brother continuously volunteers for the most dangerous missions in exchange for his little brother’s safety. But, as the movie depicts, such constant violence takes the toll of all involved.
“Letters From Iwo Jima” (2006)
Directed by Clint Eastwood, “Letters From Iwo Jima” tells the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective. The film is a companion to Clint Eastwood’s film “Flags Of Our Fathers,” which also tells the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima but from the American perspective.
“Beasts Of No Nation” (2015)
Released on Netflix, “Beasts of No Nation” is based on a book of the same name by Uzodinma Iweala. Set in an unnamed West African country, the film depicts the horror of civil war and the use of child soldiers.
The film is told from the point of view of the child soldier Agu, played by Abraham Attah, as he attempts to survive and is forced to fight in the war.