Action

July 4, 2016

Independence Day: Resurgence

Independence Day: Resurgence – Trash

 

Never has a movie pissed me off more. I mean wtf is going on here? Every element from 96’s ID4 is horrifically whored out like the little slut it apparently is. Listen I get ID4 is not perfect as some people make it out to be, but it was a good summer film that I thought was honestly pure fun. A sequel was never needed. But if it was to become a reality this is far from it. Resurgence is a mess it simply is a thrown together money grabber like Sony is doing with Ghostbusters. There is no reason for any of these films to be made but for greed little shits to make money. This new ID4.2 world is a overblown CG shit feast of a futuristic 2016 that does nothing but make me cringe the entire time.

This whole this is just sad. Everything about this is disgustingly sad.

Dylan Hiller (Hiller’s son) who is played as a complete douche by is back but in the place of his father. Will Smith didn’t want to come back and I fully understand why. The thing about him being thrown into his fathers role is that even though Dylan hasn’t done anything worthy, for some reason he gets to ride his fathers coattails and is placed on the same pedestal. What the hell has he done himself?! Oh and the fact that Will Smith dies during a Test-flight makes the hero Hiller more like a zero. It would of been better if he ate a bullet because he couldn’t take the fame and nightmares anymore. Or maybe because he saw this train wreck. Dylan Hiller is one annoying ass character.
Thor’s brother can’t lead a movie to save is life. He has no charisma. His acting is fine but the dude just can not hold a film on his own. His dialogue also makes him another annoying character in a already bloat annoying character film. Why this character is even here is a mystery to all. Thou he does make a lot of stupid faces which made the film a bit more enjoyable…a bit more.
Goldblum is back! He’s playing the same character as before, just for some reason seems to be a lot smarter now. I mean he was a smart dude before but in this movie he just guesses everything and it’s always completely right. There is like 5 times where everyone is like, “What is this…”. Goldblum just pops in with the right answer out of the blue. The writers did a poor job on this film. Goldblum being brought back was a way to make their job easier to explain and keep plot-holes from manifesting.

Bastards. Oh yeah

Goldblum’s dad is back, he does nothing but put a whole school bus of kids in danger of being brutally killed. Yep that’s it. Seriously watch the movie, he does nothing.

President Bill Pullman is back and…Makes another speech. You know it worked before, but this one is very forced, like rape. Plus his voice was all over the place I’m not sure what happened there and he takes a place of another character from the first ID4. (One that is already dead) Again he’s thrown in because its a sequel! So lets throw Vivica Fox in as well. Who is not a stripper anymore, she a doctor! Good for her and her douche son.
The ending is pretty much the same as the first one, killing the aliens and hugging in a desert. I must say this was one of the laziest movies I’ve seen in years. Guess what? The ending is setup for a sequel. Yep and boy will you be amazed with this ending.

All and all this movie did nothing. Really it is the direct to VHS blockbuster shit version of 96’s ID4. It was utter trash.

June 24, 2016

SR Podcast (Ep. 70): Picasso Trigger – Movie Commentary: June 2016

Picasso Trigger
1988 | Action | 1hr 39mins
 
It’s Friday! So we thought another  
Movie Commentary was in order!
Continuing our marathon of the one and only Andy Sidaris. If this is your first time, Sidaris is the king of B-Rated films that pretty much only contains the 3 elements any film really ever needs Bullets, Babes and Sex!
Today we let lose on Picasso Trigger, another solid entry into the Sidaris legacy. 
“Double agent Picasso Trigger is assassinated in Paris by double-crossing bad guy Miguel Ortiz. Then Ortiz begins eliminating agents of The Agency who were involved in his brother’s death. The Agency (belatedly) springs into action to stop Ortiz’ heinous activities. The usual gunplay, romance, and nifty toys with bombs ensue.” 
 So grab a cold one and get ready for a thrill of a lifetime, because kids this is…
 Picasso Trigger!

December 6, 2015

SR Podcast (Ep. 59): Icebreaker – Movie Commentary: Decemeber 2015

ICEBREAKER

Trailer

2000 | Action/Drama/Poorly Made | 90mins
At the the Killington ski resort something has gone awry. Evil terrorists led by the sinister Greig have taken the resort hostage with a stolen nuclear device. It’s up to Ski Patrol bum Matt Foster to save the day… and his fiancé.

How did someone think a knockoff of Die Hard with Sean Astin would be a good idea?

It’s that time of the year! Sunday Night Movie Night! Since the holidays are near and the snow is on the ground we figured Icebreaker is the right choice! (boy are we wrong)
Even MJ gives it his seal of approval. So everyone snuggle up in your blanket, pure some eggnog, get that fire going and sit back and enjoy the 2000 Classic, 
Icebreaker!

FUN FACTS:
IT SUCKS
A PEZ IS USED AS A WEAPON
A VHS IS USED AS A WEAPON
BOMBS COUNT UP IN THIS FILM
IS IT BASED ON A TRUE STORY
NOPE THATS A LIE
SEAN ASTIN IS 14 IN THIS FILM AND EVERY OTHER FILM
TOOK US OVER A YEAR TO TRACK DOWN A COPY
WHAT A WASTE OF A YEAR THAT WAS
SEAN ASTIN HAS A COKE PROBLEM
THIS FILM IS ALL OVER THE PLACE
STACY KEACH SIT 99% OF THE FILM
DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THE PEZ?
CHRIST KILL ME!

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS 14 YEAR OLD BOY?

September 28, 2015

SR Podcast (Ep. 55): Hard Ticket To Hawaii – Movie Commentary: September 2015

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES


Today’s Sunday Movie is…

Hard Ticket to Hawaii

96mins / Action / 1987

There are films that come and go. Great films that missed the limelight and never get the recognition they deserve.

Then there is Hard Ticket To Hawaii, a film that’s not amazing but we are glad it was made. It’s a crazy film that feels like they honestly just run and gun it. And even though this film isn’t perfect, it is one fun film to watch.

Check out Slaughter Film’s Review

Action Movie Time Machine – Hard Ticket to Hawaii

It’s a film jam packed full of Bullets, Boobs and Explosions! 

What more can you ask for?





 Show Notes

Watch the film with us

Read the Slaughter Film Review

Music Notes

Theme Song

August 10, 2015

SR Podcast (Ep. 52): Never Too Young To Die – Movie Commentary: August 2015

A secret agent is murdered! 

Can his son, a high school gymnast, along with a spy catch the man/woman who killed him? 

Team up with DJ and Justin to find out on the next Monday Night Movie Night!

Never Too Young To Die

92 mins / Action / 1986
Secret agent Drew Stargrove is brutally murdered by the ruthless Van Ragnar. In this action-packed Bond-style thriller, the murdered secret agent’s son, Lance Stargrove is thrust into the dangerous and intriguing world of secret agents and espionage when he seeks revenge against Van Ragnar. Danja Deerling teams up with Lance as his sidekick and love interest. 

Watch along with the film HERE

Taglines to tickle your fancy!
Stargrove: the new American hero.
Vanity: the new breed of temptress! Stamos: the new breed of hero!
At the age of 18, every government agency wanted him… dead or alive.
He inherited all his father’s enemies and only one of his friends.
Action: Bond style. Beauty: Vanity style. Hero: American style.


September 22, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Speed

RELENTLESS

The year is 1994. Teenagers around the world mourned for the loss of Kurt Cobain. “Forest Gump”, “The Lion King” and “Pulp Fiction” all shared the silver screen together and Sony released the Playstation, revolutionizing the way future games would be published. Also a bus was fitted with a bomb and used to terrorize L.A. commuters in “Speed”.
In 1997 “The Simpsons” parodied the title “Speed” in the episode “The Springfield Files” in which Homer says; “I saw this in a movie about a bus that had to speed around the city, keeping its speed over fifty, and if its speed dropped, the bus would explode! I think it was called “The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down”. There is never a bad time to quote The Simpsons.
THE SKINNY
The film begins with Los Angeles police officer Jack Traven, Keanu Reeves,and his partner Harry Temple, Jeff Daniels, as they respond to a call that there has been an explosion inside an elevator shaft of a down town office building. The bomber is demanding a ransom of three million dollars be paid or he will trigger an explosion – cutting the elevators cables – in turn killing the people on the elevator.
 
Suspecting that the bomber isn’t playing fair, Jack thinks up a plan to remove the hostages from the equation involving a rooftop crane that he uses to help support the weight of the elevator. Howard Payne, the bomber played by Dennis Hopper, is the type of guy who is very meticulous and always seems to be one step ahead of the game. Payne happens to be keeping a close watch over the elevator to make sure he has the upper hand. Hidden on another elevator and listening in via a microphone, Payne catches wind that police are up to something so he decides to blow elevator anyhow and get the hell outta there.
Jack now suspects that the bomber is near by. He and Harry search the fraught elevators and eventually find Payne. Again Payne has a backup plan. Rather than be arrested and spend his last few years in a jail cell, he blows himself up with a suicide vest. This is one of my favorite scenes of the film.

Days later Jack has a run in with Payne who, surprise, is still alive and pissed. The three million dollars was going to be Payne’s retirement nest egg and now he wants revenge against Jack. He calls Jack on the phone and informs him that somewhere in L.A. there is a bus fitted with a bomb. If it’s passengers are going to survive Jack will have to located it and get aboard. But there are rules ya see… First, no one is allowed off the bus. Second, once the bus reaches fifty miles per hour it must continue at that speed or it will explode.
For the next hour of the film Jack, now on the bus, tries his best to navigate the busy L.A. streets while keeping the bus above fifty miles per hour and trying to think of a plan to get the passengers to safety. Jan de Bont does a hell of a job directing because, as simple as this concept is, it never gets boring. In fact it’s relentless. There is enough going on to keep the viewer interested and enough suspense to keep them on the edge of there seat. In this time Jack tries to unload the passengers, disarm the bomb, fist fight frantic passengers and even ramp the bus, I’m not even joking, over a fifty foot gap in an overpass that is under construction. Of course this is the doing of young Annie Porter, Sandra Bullock, who has been volunteered to drive while Jack does a little bit of this and that.
 
Jack struggles to understand how Payne knows what is going on in the bus at all times. The police close off air space around the bus from news choppers, but that doesn’t help. Finally Jack gets the upper hand when he realizes that the safety cam located at the front of the bus is transmitting a to an undisclosed location where Payne has been watching this whole time. Jack has his tech savvy police pals record and transmit footage in a loop so Payne is unaware that the passengers are being evacuated.
Meanwhile, Harry is doing his best to track down Payne, who it turns out is a former police officer who worked in the bomb squad. Payne was forced into retirement after blowing off his thumb. Payne risked his life for years doing a dangerous job and in return all he got was a lousy gold watch as a retirement gift. This is the heart of Paynes motivation.
 
With the passengers safe the film becomes a man hunt for Payne which leads into the busy L.A. subways with Annie as a hostage and Jack in hot pursuit. This leads to a fistfight on top of a runaway subway car. As Jack and Payne tussle around, Jack eliminates Payne by decapitating him against a light mounted to the ceiling of the subway. The car crashes and Jack and Annie emerge unscathed and fall in love. The End.
THE VERDICT
“Speed” was a HUGE success in 1994. This movie was the only thing people talked about that entire summer. The idea of putting a bomb on a bus, triggered by it’s speed, was just so simple and yet tremendously effective. It essentially turned two thirds of the film into a high speed chase.
Beyond that, “Speed” is a chess match between Payne and Jack. Which spaces can they occupy without losing anything and how they can get the other guy to fall on the spaces that will do the them in. It’s about leverage.
Speaking of leverage, this reminds me of my favorite scenes in “Speed” and one of my all time favorite scenes in all of action movies. The one in which Jack shoots Harry. Early on, after the people are rescued from the elevator, Jack and Harry track down Payne somewhere else inside the building. Payne gets the drop on Harry and tried to use him as a temporary hostage in an escape attempt. So what does Jack do? Lay down his weapon and allow Payne to escape? Raise his weapon and blow Payne away? Nah! Instead he shoots Jack in the leg. The idea being that if a cop is willing to shoot the hostage, the hostage taker no longer has any leverage. Brilliant! This may have been the first time a movie taught me how to think outside the box and I will never forget it.
Over all this movie holds up, but there are a few areas were the film is lacking.
First the bus ramp scene. I don’t give a shit in what kind of “in a perfect world” scenario we’re talkin’ here, that WOULD NEVER HAPPEN!
Second, when Jack and Annie finally escape the bus, it continues to drive unattended as it loses speed and eventually explodes. The thing is, it explodes just as it collides with an airliner on the runway of L.A.X. So Jack saved the lives of eight or ten people on the bus, but what about the passengers on the airplane?! I assume it was empty, but WHAT THE FUCK?!
Hmmm, the movie begins with a bus that drives into an airplane, and ends in the subway. This movie could have been called “Planes, Trains & Automobiles”.
 
“Speed” is one of those movies that, over time, you’ll only remember the tropes that were so often parodied when it was released, but when you sit down and re-watch it, it will remind you just how good it is. Check it out!
Of course this was followed by “Speed 2”. A movie about a boat… and no one seemed to give a shit. Maybe sometime we’ll visit action movie sequels that fell flat. If so, We’ll start there.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes our ride on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi!
For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!
September 15, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Point Break

EXISTENTIAL ADRENALINE
Now that my love letter to John Carpenter has come to a close, I was unsure what film, or group of films I should visit next. Should I board the “Action Movie Time Machine” and venture to the ‘80s to track down ol’ Chuck, finally, or maybe the ‘70s for “Dirty Hairy“? Then it dawned on me. Not to long ago I sat down with a few friends to watched “Point Break”. They wouldn’t shut up about how great it was. I hadn’t seen it before, but it was a film who’s reputation I was familiar. A gang of presidential mask wearing bank robbers gain a reputation for their handy work while surfing between jobs. Oh, and Nick Frost’s character, Danny Butterman, absolutely LOVES “Point Break” in “Hot Fuzz”. Well I guess If I wasn’t interested before, I now have my seal of approval. In short, I watched it and liked it, so “Point Break” it is.
The year is 1991. Paul Reubens, Pee-Wee Herman, was arrested for masturbating in an adult movie theater. Accusations of sex abuse and steroid use drew all kinds of heat on to Hulk Hogan and the WWF. All this and Keanu  Reeves learns to surf.
THE SKINNY
The film begins with Special Agent Johnny Utah, Keanu Reeves, who has recently graduated from the FBI academy and been assigned to work band robbery detail in southern California. Upon his arrival he is partnered up with veteran agent Pappas, Gary Busey. Pappas is one of the older members of the team. He’s seen and heard it all, and as a result he’s both jaded by his job, and regarded as a bit of a nut by his co-workers.
Together the new partners pick up where Pappas left off on a case involving a group of bank robbers who go by the “Ex-Presidents”. They call themselves this because they chose to wear presidential masks during their heists. There’s a Nixon, Carter, Johnson, and Reagan. If you were ever confused by some joke or parody from the ‘90s that involved a mask of a president, this movie is it’s inspiration.
The Ex-Presidents have acquired quite the reputation for being professional. No one is ever injured, they only take what money is in the teller drawers and they are in and out in ninety seconds. They leave no clues and few witnesses, and have successfully robbed twenty-seven banks in three years. The only info that Pappas has been able to assemble about they group is that they may be surfers. A security camera caught one of the Ex-Presidents mooning, which revealed a tan line. Later trace elements of wax was in a footprint left by of the robbers and may be board wax. And finally, the Ex-Presidents only rob during the summer months, when the waves are the best for surfing.

For this thin but compelling theory Pappas’ co-workers give him shit. To them, Pappas might as well be talking about the Kennedy assassination or aliens or something. But Utah is convinced. The two devise a plan to send Utah undercover and into the ocean. He will learn to surf and in doing so he will make surfer friends who he will, hopefully, get some hot information out of. This plan works pretty good, if you overlook almost drowning and getting his ass handed to him time and time again by other more experienced surfers.
Soon Utah meets Tyler, Lori Petty, a tough surfer chick who agrees to show him the surfing ropes and later they fall in love. Tyler becomes Utah’s window into the local surf community and introduces him to Bodhi, Patrick Swayze. Bodhi is a bit of a local surfing guru. He has a crew of young men and women who cling to his devil may care lifestyle. Bodhi isn’t just some thrill seeking adrenaline junkie, which he is, he is someone who has a rich understanding of what being alive truly is and how everyone should push the boundaries to better live their lives and experience freedom. There is a moment in the film when Bodhi reminds his crew just why they took on this lifestyle by saying; “This was about us against the system. That system that kills the human spirit. We stand for something. We are here to show those guys that are inching their way on the freeways in their metal coffins that the human spirit is still alive.”

As Utah starts surfing more with Bodhi and his crew, he begins to understand the more spiritual connection the guys have developed with each other, as well as nature (the surf) and thrill seeking. Bohdi gets Utah to open up and in turn gains his trust and later mutual respect and admiration. This friendship later gets between Utah and his duty when he makes the discovery that Bodhi and company are in fact the Ex-President, and now he has to bring ‘em in.
A lot happens between the middle and end of the film, none of which is bad, but I feel obligated to skip over some so I don’t get too carried away with this synopsis. Consider it self-censorship to prevent spoiling plot. However, I do feel compelled to mention the often referenced “scream while shooting in the air” scene made popular by “Hot Fuzz“. Utah can’t yet prove anything but suspects Bodhi is involved with the robberies. Well one day Utah happens to cross paths with the Ex-Presidents while they are knocking over another bank. This leads to a foot chase. Utah follows Reagan/Bodhi down a hill and blows out his knee in the process, which is an existing high school football injury. Utah can’t follow any further. He pulls his gun and takes aim, but the idea that he may be shooting his friend is too much for him to handle. Instead Utah lets out a scream and unloads his gun into the air. It’s a little goofy, but it illustrates just how much he respects Bodhi.
As the chase drags on, Utah gets close to capturing Bodhi. He finds himself on a plane flying over Mexico and Bodhi has just jumped from the plane in an escape attempt. To catch Bodhi, Utah follows him. He screams “Fuck it!“ and jumps from the plane. Without a parachute… WITHOUT A FUCKING PARACHUTE! The first time I saw this I was genuinely, “What the fuck?!”, surprised. Utah manages to float down to Bodhi, pull his parachute cord and hang on for dear life until they reach the surface of the Earth. Upon landing, Utah blows out his knee, again, and he can’t continue the chase.
Over the next few years Bodhi continues robbing banks in several different countries to afford his freedom seeking surfer lifestyle. Consider these crimes bread crumbs and Utah follows his trail all the way down to Australia. Australia is known for it’s ideal surfing coasts, not to mention there happens to be a ”Fifty Year Storm” approaching. One that is guaranteed to make the most hardened surfers wet in their pants and Utah knows Bodhi will be there. 
When Utah finds Bodhi on the beach they have words and then they have fists. As the local police move into position, surrounding Bodhi, Bodhi begins pleading with Utah — telling him that he won’t make it in prison without his freedom. Utah grants him his freedom, temporarily, to catch a ride on one of the death defying fifty foot waves. After all it’s a once in a life time event, and as a friend, he understands just how much it will mean to him. As Bodhi paddles out into the waves, Utah quietly walks back to his car. Utah overhears a police officer say; “Okay, we‘ll catch him when he comes back in”, to which Utah replies “He‘s not coming back“. The End.
THE VERDICT
What makes this film great and highly recommended to both action movie fans as well as people who typically thumb their nose at action movies, is that there is more here than just car chases and gun fights. “Point Break” is a hidden gem within the vast wasteland that is action cinema.
It is wonderfully directed by Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker &Strange Days, who, in my opinion, perfectly captures the beauty, freedom and danger of the surf and skydiving. Not to mention, she was able to weave the Utah/Bodhi friendship in just the right way, allowing it to become the focal point of the film. Similar to “Heat”, “Point Break” becomes more about the relationship between the cop and robber, than the actual crimes themselves.
Utah and Bodhi develop a bit of a bro-mance. They each appreciate the others freedom seeking nature and grow to admire each other, which later becomes the center of the films conflict. Utah is forced to hunt down his best friend and Bodhi is driven to break his own personal rules and even kill in order to ensure his escape. In fact Bodhi is even willing to die then be locked up. I can’t speak for everyone, but I was buyin’ what both of these guys were sellin’.
On a similar note, Bodhi is a total bad-ass with an existential life philosophy. Hmm sounds a lot like Swayze’s character from “Roadhouse”. Another action movie must see, if I do say so myself.
The only negatives I found in this film is its goofy surfer lingo and the acting. Not all of the acting, but there are a few deliveries Reeves gives that are less than what they should be. But hell, people have been saying that about his acting for years. On the other hand, Busey’s intense over acting, no matter how wild, is just great.
If you‘re willing to overlook its flaws, you will see that “Point Break” is a great film, let alone great action film.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes our ride on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. And remember, freedom isn’t free. Semper Fi!
For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!
September 6, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – They Live

SUBVERSIVE

ACTION MOVIE TIME MACHINE
“They Live”

Continuing the John Carpenter retrospective that I kicked off a few weeks ago, I’ve decided to discuss my favorite Carpenter film, as well as one of my favorite films of all time “They Live“. I hope you like movies with social commentary, because this flick has so much commentary it’s falling out of it’s ass. And you don’t even need special sun glasses to see it.

The year is 1988. George H. W. Bush has just taken office as the President of the United States. The drug crack makes it’s presence known in cities across the country. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” debuts, teaching children everywhere that genetic mutations are awesome when they are taught ninjutsu and pro wrestler Roddy Piper saves the world from aliens in “They Live”.

THE SKINNY
They Live” is about a drifter, Roddy Piper, who has just found his way into town. He is originally from Denver Colorado, but due to some economic drought, the drifter, who isn’t named in the film, is forced to migrate from city to city in search of work. By the way, it is only in the credits that the drifter is given a name, John Nada.

In this new town, John acquires a construction job where he meets Frank, Keith David. Frank gives John a heads up by helping him find a place to stay, which happens to be a hobo-shanty town on the outskirts of the city. Here John meets a few other friendly faces, including a prophetic street preacher and Gilbert, Peter Jason, the manager of a soup kitchen.

While between working and getting to know Frank, John begins to notice something strange about the near by church that has been working with Gilbert and the soup kitchen. John can hear the church choir practicing until two in the morning. Hmm, that’s strange. Soon after, John pokes around the church and discovers that church has been playing a recording of a choir. In fact there is no choir at all. Then he witnesses Gilbert and the street preacher loading the church vehicle with dozens of unmarked cardboard boxes. Is this church brewing up meth and selling it to the community? I wish. But the truth is that they are manufacturing special sunglasses.

While John’s curiosity continues to grow, he and the residents of the shanty town become annoyed with a strange television broadcast that cuts in overtop their regularly scheduled programming. This broadcast is of a man speaking directly into the camera, exclaiming that the oppressive elite are polluting the Earth’s air and water. “They are turning our atmosphere into their atmosphere.” He also carries on about increasing racial injustice and growing poverty levels… Ya know, it’s like listening to the news.

Anyhow, late one night John and Frank are woken by the sound of helicopters. The church as well as the shanty town are being raided by an army of police. The shanty town residence flee while their homes are bulldozed.

The next morning, John returns to investigate and discovers an abandoned box of sunglasses left in the church. As he travels through the city, looking for a new place to stay, he tries on a pair of the glasses to see what all the fuss is about. Aliens! God damn aliens, that’s what! With these special glasses, Hoffman lenses they’re called, John can see through all the electronically educed subliminal messages that read “consume”, “conform“, “reproduce” ,“do not question authority”, ect. But the kicker is, not all humans are human. Some are gross faced aliens.

John has unknowingly discovered an alien plot to dominate Earth, using humans as slaves to carry out their agenda. Whatever that happens to be. John continues to romp around town, insulting the aliens and even picking a fight with a few. He later tries to convince Frank that there are aliens among us. Frank reacts how any sane person would, by fist fighting John. This scene is one that lives in action movie infamy. This street fight combines boxing moves, professional wrestling and some down home dirty pool dick kickin’, which lasts about six minutes. Thar might not sound like much, but it’s choreographed how a real life street fight might unfold. It isn’t fast paced but it does look real.

Long story short, John and Frank beat the living hell out of each other before John manages to get a pair of the Hoffman frames onto Frank, and he sees everything. The Duo track down Gilbert, who is secretly a part of the alien resistance and they learn that the local television station is being occupied by the aliens who are using it to broadcast the subliminal signal.

John and Frank are left with no other choice. They must break in, guns a blazing’ and destroy the transition tower. In doing so John and Frank accidentally use alien technology to teleport themselves into the basement levels of the television station, which doubles as the alien base. From here they make their way up to the roof — floor by floor — blowing away alien security guards.

Long story short, Frank falls heroically as he fights the alien hordes and John manages to reach the roof, not before being shot himself. In true bad-ass fashion John whispers “fuck it” as he fires his gun into the transmission tower, ending the signal. In a last act of defiance, he flips the on looking alien security the bird as he dies. The remaining few moments of the film are the humans waking from their subliminal slumber. The End.

THE VERDICT
On the surface, “They Live” is a sci-fi/action film, in a similar vein as “Total Recall“. It has bad-ass action starring Roddy Piper. A man who couldn’t be a more perfect Carpenter “unlikely hero“, who spews countless one liners thru the duration of the film. “I‘m here to chew bubble gum and kick ass… and I‘m all outta bubble gum”, is a line I’ve heard quoted nearly as much as Schwarzenegger‘s “Get to the Chapa!”.

The machismo is multiplied when John teams up with Frank. Not only does their relationship make for some great entertainment (the back alley street fight), but their personalities are reflections of how many American felt about the economy and social inequality in the late ‘80. These sentiments seem pretty relevant even today.

Frank is bitter about major manufacturers laying off people when they need work the most. John is suffering from the same problems but is more optimistic about it. He is more willing to be patient and allow opportunity to come his way. And by opportunity, I mean aliens. These two points of view are another example of Carpenter’s skill of sharing a message in a film without it seeming preachy. He voices his opinion about a real life struggling middle class through the opinions of John and Frank, both of which aren’t the soul of the film.

Where this film really starts to standout is in it’s thought provoking sci-fi plot. The concept of an alien oppressor controlling, or at least manipulating the motivations of humans isn’t exactly original but is carried out in a more direct and vocal way. Carpenter uses the preying aliens to comment on the superficial and selfish shortcomings of American, if not all humans. The aliens subliminally coerce humans into consuming, reproducing, and not questioning authority so “we” become docile and are more easily manipulated. These subliminal messages are delivered through television, radio and print media in the same way Apple makes consumers think that their lives will be better if you all own the newest iPhone, or that women will seem less attractive if they aren’t wearing this seasons hottest fashion trends… Hmmm, I’m starting to understand why “American Idol” has such a loyal viewership.

“They Live” tricks the viewers into looking closely at their lives and makes them question who exactly is in control the way the aliens are in the movie. Is it politicians, the rich, corporations, banks, or something else? I could talk about this for days. I just love this concept as well as this movie. But I’m pre-disposed to shake my fist at the authority, so maybe “They Live” isn’t for everyone and I’m the only one wearing the sunglasses.

It might not be about terrorists or drug lords or returning P.O.W.s from Nam, or any other such typical ‘80s fair, but “They Live” is as smart and subversive as it is a quintessential ‘80s action movie.

I’m Cory Carr and this concludes our ride on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. And remember, they live we sleep!

For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!

August 30, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Escape From New York

ACTION MOVIE TIME MACHINE 
“Escape From New York”

                                                CLASSIC BAD-ASSERY

Welcome back to another trek on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Last time we met, we visited some of John Carpenter’s earlier work, “Assault on Precinct 13“. This time we are going to witness Kurt Russell in one of his most bad ass roles, as Snake Plisskin. Talk about “Expendables” eligibility. It would be a shame if Sylvester Stallone over looks Russell for “Expendables 4: Return of the R Rating”.

The year is 1981. IBM had just released the first personal computer capable of running Microsoft’s Disc Operating System (DOS). MTV hits the airwaves, debuting with “Video Killed the Radio Star”. U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs the top secret directive authorizing the CIA to recruit and support Contra rebels in Nicaragua. While all this was happening, Snake Plisskin is sent to Manhattan to rescue the President in “Escape From New York”.

THE SKINNY
The year in 1997, and United States is a war torn police state. With all the crime and violence of this futuristic America, extreme measures had to be taken. New York’s Manhattan Island has been transformed into THE high security prison of the nation. Just think of Alcatraz, but on steroids. There are no cells and no guards. The prisoners are free to roam the city streets and do whatever is necessary to survive. And once you go in, there is no coming back out. The bridges are mined and the waters are patrolled and protected by the National Police Force, a para-military like group responsible for keeping convicts from escaping, by any means necessary.

This is all fine and well until a member of the “National Liberation Front”, a terrorist organization, takes over Air Force One and crash lands the plane on the prison island. The idea being that the president, if he survives, will now have to get by as the convicts do within the confines of the prison that he unlawfully created.

It is at this time that Hauk, Chief of National Police played by Lee Van Cleef, brings in the recently arrested Snake Plisskin, Kurt Russell. Snake is a former military hero who has become tired of his leaders sending him on suicide missions that he always manages to narrowly escapes. He goes AWOL and becomes a criminal. Robbing the national reserve is what gets him caught.

Fearing that the President may be harmed if there is a military rescue mission, Hauk decides to send in a loan wolf. It becomes Snakes’ mission to sneak onto the island, locate and rescue the President, Donald Pleasence, as well as the documents and cassette tape that the President has with him. Then return all of the above to Hauk. If he does, Hauk will erase Snake’s criminal record forever. If he doesn’t, he will die.

In prep for the mission, a doctor injects two micro-explosive charges into Snake’s arteries. If he isn’t back with the president in under twenty three hours, the charges will blow, rupturing Snake’s arteries and he will internally bleed to death.

Snake uses a glider to enter the island, which he lands on the roof of one of the World Trade Towers. He begins to search the city for the President and it isn’t long before he begins to realize just how fucked this place is. The city is littered with murderers and rapists, there are crazy cannibal hobos who live in the sewer who come up at night to feed, and the locals are less than pleasant to out of town motorists such as our boy Snake.

Things get tense when the cannibalistic sewer dwellers try to have Snake for dinner, but fortunately for him Cabbie, Ernest Borgnine, shows up in his taxi armed to the teeth with molotovs. Snake questions Cabbie and learns that the President is alive and has been captures by The Duke of New York, Isaac Hayes. The Duke is the supreme ruler of the prison island and is planning to use the President as leverage as he makes his way across the bridge and into the free United States.

Through the help of Cabbie, “The Brain”, the Duke’s nerdy adviser, and Maggie, The Brain’s concubine, Snake manages to get inside The Duke’s compound and is thrown into a one-on-one in a gladiatorial battle to the death against pro-wrestler Ox Baker. This offers up a good distraction, as everyone would is eager to watch the legendary Snake Plisskin take on The Duke’s undefeated monster bruiser. This distraction affords The Brain and Maggie a chance to help the President escape.

After burying a nail covered bat in the back of Baker’s head, Snake catches up with The Brain, Maggie, the President and Cabbie, and together they make it to the Brooklyn Bridge. The only thing that stands between them and the free states are the countless mines that litter the bridge. To make matters worse, The Duke and his men arrive to foil their prison break and get out themselves.

As the clock ticks away, they fall one by one. Either by the hands of the other group or by the mines. Finally Snake, The Duke and the President find the wall that blocks the far end of the bridge. Beaten and exhausted, Snake engages the final boss and it seems like a losing battle. Just when hope seems lost, the President of all people, blows The Duke away. Way to pull your own weight Mr. President.

With the President rescued and Snake’s micro-explosives are deactivated, Snake commits one final act of rebellion. Remember that cassette tape that was so important? Well, on it was an explanation of how to create nuclear fusion that the President was going to share with the world. A gesture that would end the war. Our ol’ pal Snake had other ideas. He switched the tape with one he found in Cabbie’s taxi. As the President speaks live via satellite to the entire world, swing music can be heard instead of the recipe for cheap nuclear power. Please allow me to “slow clap” for Snake as the credits begin to roll.

THE VERDICT
Movies like “Escape From New York” really became defining of the ’80s. So many films from the era were dark, dirty, violent and bleak. I love ’em! Crime was on the rise, people thought Satanic cults were sacrificing babies and there was the ever present threat of total and complete annihilation brought on by soviet nukes. It was a good time for movies, and for thrash metal.

One of the strengths of this film, is also one of it’s weaknesses. This strength/weakness is Snake’s twenty four hour time limit. Every time I watch this movie, I distract myself from it by wondering what the rest of the United States is like. It’s mentioned that the country is at war, but with who? What about other criminal factions within in island? How involved is the “National Liberation Front”?, ect… I feel that these ideas would have been explored if the story were allowed to unfold more organically. But instead, it is forced along by the deadline. This is fine, but I just wish there was more. So many things are referenced or off handily mentioned. There is a whole world here and I want to learn about it.

In “Escape From New York”, we see another one of Carpenter’s unlikely heroes facing unimaginable odds of carrying out a plan of which he is thrust into. Snake is a strong silent type, who again, manages to be relatable. An “everyman” who appeals to it’s male viewers, and even maybe a little to it’s female viewers. After all, Snake is pretty dreamy. I think every guy who watches “Escape From New York” deep down thinks of himself as Snake. Minus the eye patch.

I love how Carpenter adds elements to his characters personality or back story that hints at a deeper point. Rarely is there blatant subtext in his films. Subtext is there, but it’s more of an attitude than a message. We see this with Snake’s distrust of the government and the military. Being a former military man himself, he known how far shit rolls down hill. But there is no grand speech or parody of any real world events. Just Snake being really pissed off at the powers that be, with his cynical anti-establishment view.

I’ve always appreciated this. Carpenter’s films aren’t preachy, and because of it his viewers, whatever their personal beliefs, are free to take in the material and interpret it their own way. This sort of thing really gives his work legs and is just one example of what a great story teller John Carpenter really is.

In conclusion, I highly recommend “Escape From New York”, as it is a work of classic bad-assery. Snake is great, the story is great, the effects and miniatures are great, the atmosphere is great, and even the soundtrack is great, again. Hmm, I wonder why that is.

I’m Cory Carr and this concludes our ride on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi!
For more from Cory, check out his website Slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!

August 29, 2014

1984-A-Thon: Runaway

Before we begin I would like to thank Forgotten Films for allowing Simplistic Reviews to join this fantastic 1984-A-Thon. A lot of great reviews for the amazing year of 1984. Head over to Forgotten Films for more!

And use #84athon on twitter to keep up to date!

So what does Tom Selleck’s Mustache and a Dog sniffing robot have in common? They’re both part of a special division of the police department called the Runaway Squad that goes after Gene Simmons of KISS.

Yep that’s right there is a movie that has that and it’s called…

Runaway: Fun
1984 – Action – 99 mins

Runaway is a futuristic film staring Tom Selleck, Gene Simmons, Stan Shaw, Cynthia Rhodes and Kirstie Alley. Selleck plays a police officer that specializes in malfunctioning robots. This future robot driven world was Directed and Written by the late great Michael Crichton, who I think created a very interesting film that doesn’t get much attention. Runaway isn’t a bad film it’s extremely fun to watch and it’s a damn shame this film isn’t better known.


The Good

Tom Selleck was great in his role as Jack Ramsay. Michael Crichton takes a risk casting Kiss’s Gene Simmons as the bad guy, Charlie Luther. Simmons looks the part, his stare is fantastic. He is very menacing and in my mind knocked it out of the park. I only wish his delivering with his lines was a bit better, otherwise I was impressed. Kirstie Alley pops up for a few scenes and she was pretty good. Cynthia Rhodes did a very good job playing Selleck’s partner and love interest. It’s a shame she doesn’t act anymore I really liked her in this film.

Jerry Goldsmith comes in for music and kills it with his first pure electronic score. I really dig this film’s score and feel it works perfectly with Crichton’s vision.

Crichton does a good job directing this one. He really understood how to create suspenseful scenes. There is a scene with a robot killing family members and Crichton sets this up that makes you go to the edge of your seat. The other is when Ramsay goes up in a elevator. Ramsay is scared of heights and you can feel his pain as he makes his way up.

The Weak

For me the pacing is a little off in this film. I feel some scenes get too slow and others a bit unneeded. The writing is okay, from Crichton I would expect more. It’s not bad but every time I watch this film I get very annoyed with Selleck character’s name being thrown around. Turns out Ramsay is said 52 times which is more then once for every two minutes. I thought it was just me, but IMDB has this in their trivia so I’m not the only one that thought that apparently.

The Bad

For me the the worst part of this film is the beginning. It starts off with Selleck and his new partner, Cynthia Rhodes going after a malfunctioning farm bot that ends pretty cheesy. This beginning is very unneeded and if I had my way I’d take it out. Yes there is some foreshadowing going on in this scene but my feeling is we could of moved it to the next malfunctioning robot scene.

For anyone watching this film for the first time might start losing there attention here. The bot isn’t dangerous and is just running around. Yet the group of “male” farmers call in the police to chase it. For me these farmers could easily stopped the bot (Maybe it’s for insurance purpose, maybe) but it wasn’t dangerous. And in doing so we have this guy and girl having a Benny Hill police chase that ensues with a farm bot. Every time I watch this scene this is what I see and hear, which isn’t what you want in a dark film like this. The ending for this scene is the two officers jumping together with arms spread outward onto the bot which cuts to them carrying it with dirt and smoke covering their faces. Maybe if the robot was killing farmers and cattle I would find this a tad more interesting, but the comical chasing makes this scene weak.

All in all Runaway is a good watch. If you haven’t seen Runaway do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s a fun 80’s film to watch. It has 80’s action, 80’s boobs, 80’s Tom Selleck and Tom Selleck’s Mustache. Gene Simmons is a great bad guy and Goldsmith delivers once again on music.

Check out Forgotten Films for more of the 1984-A-Thon!

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