Arnold Schwartzenegger

August 14, 2018

A Simplistic Review: Eraser

For a long time, Arnold Schwartzenegger was pretty much untouchable. His films printed money. “The Terminator,” “Predator,” “Terminator 2,” the guy was teflon. But in came the mid-90s and suddenly there was this downfall…and of course his turn as the Governator of California.

“Eraser” isn’t a bad film, it’s actually quite fun, the the shark jumping, or should I say gator jumping that takes place in this one, is a little over the top. But yeah, you also get Vanessa Williams, who is decent enough, and possibly the hammiest performance of James Caan’s career. It’s like it Sonny Corleone joined the CIA and was taking poppers at the same time. Just no fist-biting this time kids…

January 20, 2017

Simplistic Lists: The Worst Film and TV Politicans

Maybe…just maybe…it’s a little too early to call our incoming Presidents one of the worst of all time. I mean, the inauguration hasn’t even happened yet. But sitting through confirmation hearings of people who don’t have any experience in the office they are about to take (including our newest president) to be fair, it’s a little worrisome for most people that have a care for our country and not just a selfish desire for themselves.

With that being said, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the worst politicians from either film or our TV screen:

Mayor of Halloween Town “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Sure it’s a cartoon, but the literal “two-face” mayor goes off at the handle at the sign of discourse and even admits that he’s an elected official and can’t make decisions by himself.

Mayor Lenny Clotch “Ghostbusters I and II”

First things first, always listen to the Ghostbusters. Two, keep religion out of your politics. Don’t kiss the ring of the cardinal and ask him for help during a paranormal crisis. While “Ghostbusters” is taking the piss out of elected officials for the most part, it is scary that some elected officials need to pray and counsel with “a high power” before making a decision that could impact millions.

Mayor Diamond Joe Quimby “The Simpsons”
Womanizing, taking bribes from gangsters, illegitimate kids; all in a days works for the mayor of Springfield. Quimby is so over the top that you have to laugh, but is amalgamation of so many aspects of politics that are corrupt can still give you a sad face.
 State Senator Clayton Davis “The Wire”
While it’s hilarious to hear “sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet” over and over on a constant loop, there’s no doubt the corruption that Senator Davis presides over during the run of “The Wire.” The best idea the entire series was “Hamsterdam” and it wasn’t even his idea. 
Senator Robert Kelly “X-Men”
A mutant-phobe in favor of a registration act that would “out” all mutants, he’s a monster in a $2,000 suit. With so much focus on the rights on members of the LGBTQ community and minority communities, the scary thing is that many of our leaders are much like Senator Kelly.
President Charles Logan “24”
A complete weasel and in the back pocket of the Russians…sounds like someone familiar…
President Arnold Schwarzenegger “Demolition Man”
You might not see him in “Demolition Man” but even back in 1992 we were making movies with celebrities as presidents…..just unpack that for a minute.
I’m sure there are a ton that are missing from this list, but as the list goes on it would just get sadder and sadder. You might think that I missed out on Frank Underwood from “House of Cards” but Frank is so cold and calculating that you have to stand in awe and simply admire him.
July 14, 2015

Terminator Genisys

Terminator Genisys: Complex

126 min / Action / 2015

Terminator Genisys’ fault is that it’s a Terminator film. This movie tries so hard to fit in and yet that makes it stick out. Is Genisys a good film? It’s fine for a summer popcorn film. It doesn’t suck, but I probably won’t be watching this again anytime soon.

Why Complex? The script and casting make this an okay summer film. If they just fixed the casting problems then I’d say its better then fine. Oddly enough the casting killed me more so than the issues with the script.

The Good: 

Surprised with Emilia Clarke. Heard a lot of bad things about her as Sarah Conner but compared to the other casting she won me over (and plus she is so damn pretty…sigh).

Arnold Schwarzenegger was Arnold Schwarzenegger. Listen when I say it was amazing to see him in a summer movie again…Damn it! I mean it! His dialogue sucked but dude its Arnold Schwarzenegger as multiple Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 Series 800 Terminators! Yes its a good thing…The old Terminator wasn’t that bad ether, it grew on me.


The Bad: 

The idea that Genisys (Spell checker hates this word) is this universal OS on all your devices comes off cheesy as hell. They never show it but just a count down, and everyone is loosing their minds for it. If they actually showed it (a bit of the GUI) I’d be less angry with it. Oh and all the Billboard Screens with the count down was making me cringe as I sat there after paying $25 in tickets plus $8 popcorn and two waters at $5 bucks each…ugh the cost is hurting and the cheesy parts aren’t helping.

The casting of Simplistic Reviews’ favorite actor Jai Courtney…who as you can guess is no Kyle Reese. Killed me every time he appeared on screen.

Oddly not as much as Jason Clarke (who I like but Don’t like) as John Connor did, it’s bad casting. What they do with the character doesn’t help ether, it kinda felt like a cop out. He looks nothing like a John Connor and at this point I’m thinking they just casted him for his last name to save room on the billboard with Emilia Clarke.

Oh god that complex storyline with it’s plot holes and horrible no way funny dialogue. You know what I’m talking about? Those suppose to be funny scenes that fell flat?

But hey after viewing the trailers I lost every care to see this film. So to say the trailers sucked but the film didn’t is not a good thing for it’s promotion, but it is good for me since I spent money. :/

All in all its a weak but fine and somewhat fun but complex popcorn film to watch during this summer, even with it’s large ass problems.

June 19, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Hercules in New York

RIDICULOUS

The year is 1969. While the Woodstock music festival rocks the world Apollo 11 lands on the surface of the Moon. The Beatles perform together live for the last time, 250,000 people march on Washington D.C. to protest the Vietnam War and Austrian born Mr. Universe winner dons the name Arnold “Strong” for his big film debut in “Hercules in New York“.
Oh boy, the swinging ‘60s is upon us. Set your seats in their upright and locked position. The Action Movie Time Machine is set to our target destination. You did remember to ware your bell-bottoms and Led Zeppelin t-shirts right?…RIGHT?!
THE SKINNY
“Hercules in New York” begins high atop Mt. Olympus with the Greek Gods who are gathered around Zeus as Hercules, Arnold Strong aka Arnold Schwarzenegger, is pleading his case, that he should be allowed to visit Earth. Hercules has grown bored with the godly lifestyle and wants to explore the lives and times of us mortals.
This angers Zeus, who thinks that Hercules’s place is among the other gods. For his insolence, Zeus decides to punish Hercules by…sending him to Earth…to interact with the mortals…Does this makes sense anyone else?
With a fiery thunderbolt, Hercules disappears from Olympus and falls to Earth, past a Pan American flight and into the Atlantic Ocean. Here Hercules is picked up by a shipping freighter where there is some confusion over who he is — not understanding that he is the real Hercules — and how he wound up so far off shore.
Soon the ship docs in, none other than, New York City and Hercules decides to leave the ship and stretch his legs which for some reason turns into a brawl among Hercules and the ship hands/doc workers. This is one of many scenes that illustrates the “fish out of water” story that is “Hercules in New York”. Prepare yourself for hijinx.
As Hercules escapes the brawl, he meets an interesting individual who goes by the name Pretzie, Arnold Stang. Pretzie makes a living by selling pretzels to the doc workers during lunch, and now, he acts as Hercules’s tour guide.
The odd couple travel all over the city and misunderstandings are abundant. Herc and Pretzie have no money to pay for a cab ride — a fight breaks out between Herc and the cab driver which results in Herc turning the cab over onto it’s roof. But, that’s not before Herc says one of the more memorable lines of the film; “Bucks? Doe? What is all this zoological talk about male and female animals?”. Of course this is in reference to money.
Later, while showing up a track and field team, he meets Helen, Deborah Loomis, and the two hit it off. While on their date, Helen treats Herc to a carriage ride through Central Park. There in the park, Herc and his date encounter a “600 pound grizzly bear…known to be surly and dangerous” that recently escaped from the zoo. Herc protects Helen and defends the honor of young woman by battling the bear in hand to hand combat…TO THE DEATH! Some say it’s a bear, but I say it’s a man in a cheap bear suit –Classic.

Most of this is just goofy fun, showcasing Herc’s strength and Arnolds “Strong”’s grasp of the English language. But now we approach the meat of the film.

Pretzie and Herc decide to use his strength to make a little bit of money by entering him into wrestling matches and soon his victories attract the attention of some mobster types — who are named Maxie, Fat-Lips and Nitro, just for the record.
The mobsters “lean” on Pretzie, forcing him to sign Herc into a contract working for the them. This is all fine and well, for a while, until the mobsters set up and promote a weight lifting challenge pitting Hercules the Great against Monstro the Magnificent.

Before this takes place, there is a doin’s transpirin’ up on Olympus. Juno is scheming to deal Hercules a humiliating blow, forever disgracing him in the eyes of his father Zeus. Her plan is to slip a magical powder into Hercules’s drink — causing him to temporarily lose his godly strength and causing him to lose the competition.
Who the hell is Juno you ask? Well, Juno is the Roman counterpart to Hera of Greek mythology from which Hercules and Zeus come from. There is a lot of Roman names used for Greek gods in this film. It seems like someone didn’t do their homework. In fact, the man who wrote this film, Aubrey Wisberg, never went on to write, direct or produce anything else. This was the end of his career. Let that be a lesson to you all, just how important it is to know your gods.
So Hera’s plan, I mean, Juno’s plan works without a hitch and Hercules loses the weightlifting challenge. Herc’s mob promoters aren’t to happy with him — they put a lot of money on Herc to win and they feel they’ve been cheated.
Herc and Pretzie make a break for it, which begins a lengthy chase through Central Park, Time Square and finally ends inside a printing factory where Herc and Pretzie are cornered. Without his godly strength, Herc is a sitting duck.
High above, Zeus looks down at Hercules and declares that no son of his shall be taken out by any group of mortal ruffians. He, with the help of Mercury and Venus, calls for the aid of Atlas and Samson to help his beloved son and together the strongmen are able to fight off the mob.
With Hercules safely back on Mt. Olympus, the film ends with Zeus paying New York a visit of his own. And if the tales of Zeus are any indication of what he’ll be doing on Earth, there will be many fatherless demi-gods being born in the year 1970.
THE VERDICT
Boy, this movie sure is something. I’m sure you can tell that this isn’t your typical Arnold film.
This was Arnold’s first film and you can tell by his mediocre acting and speech. But that’s what gives the film it’s charm. Arnold is billed as “Arnold Strong” because the filmmaker thought an American audience wouldn’t be able to pronounce Schwarzenegger. In some cases this is still true today.
I don’t know if “Hercules in New York” ever got the MST3K treatment, but it sure deserves it. Arnolds speech was so poor that, after it was filmed, his dialogue was dubbed over. For many years this was the only version available in theaters or on VHS. Only recently — with Arnolds popularity being what it is — did the film get a DVD release restoring his original dialogue. This is the version that is a MUST SEE.
Arnold isn’t the only thing that makes this stinker into a cult classic.
The acting is mediocre overall with the exceptions of Arnold Stang and James Karen, who plays Helen’s father. These two play their rolls very well, and Stang’s totally animated faces are the best.
The Olympian set is nothing more than a New York park. If you listen close you can hear children playing and car horns in the background. And of course the mythology mix-up doesn’t help things. Zeus even has to borrow Samson from the Bible. LOL
So in conclusion, “Hercules in New York” is amazing for all the wrong reasons and I highly recommend it. The film deserves a .5 bullet rating, but due to it’s shier amount of ridiculous entertainment I bump that rating up to a full 5 bullets.

This has been a fun look at a wide variety of Arnold Schwarzenegger films. Arnold is probably my favorite action star, and now you know why. He’s done it all; the good and bad, action and comedy, he has an unmatched bodybuilding career, he is a bestselling author, and became the governor of California all before returning home to the silver screen where he belongs. This won’t be the last you’ll see of Arnold her at The Action Movie Time Machine.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip in The Action Movie Time Machine. Until next time, I’LL BE BACK!
For more from Cory, check out slaughterfilm.com. The home of weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!

 

 

May 28, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Red Heat

CULTURALLY DIVERSE

This “Action Movie Time Machine” review will conclude this here Arnold-a-thon that we’ve been enjoying so much lately. Enjoy!
The year is 1988. The Hubble Space Telescope is put into commission, the Stealth Bomber is unveiled and Nike says “Just do it”. Ping Pong becomes an Olympic sport and aside from playing the long lost brother of Danny DeVito in “Twins”, Arnold Schwarzenegger makes the long trek from Soviet Russia to Chicago to put an end to drug traffickers in “Red Heat”.
THE SKINNY
The film begins inside a Russian bathhouse as Captain Ivan Danko, Arnold Schwarzenegger, uses his fists to pound information out of a low lever thug. Danko and his partner have been investigating Viktor Rosta, a crime boss responsible for hundreds of deaths, rapes, thefts and in more recent months, he has been funneling cocaine into Russia.
This bathhouse scene is neat and all, but like ALL bathhouses, everyone is nude. Including Arnold, and even during the fisticuffs. I remember seeing this movie as a kid – at least this part anyhow – and I giggled like the little kid that I was.
Anyhow, this information leads to an attempt to capture Rosta which is unsuccessful and even leaves Danko’s partner dead. Rosta manages to escape the country, heading to Chicago to meet with his cocaine connections, a gang known as the “Clean Heads”. The Clean Heads are a black supremest  para-military criminal organization who’s goal it to be a thorn in the side of the “white man”. Selling cocaine to a Russian crime boss is in their best interests, as it will expose an entire country of white people to what could lead to debilitating addiction and other bad stuff.
 Danko receives orders to follow Rosta and apprehend him without the local police or government learning that he is even there. If his cover is blown, the snafu could result in a political black-eye for the Russian government. But for Danko, it’s personal. He is only interested in catching the man who killed his partner.

It isn’t long before his cover IS blown and the Chicago P.D. learn who he is and why he has come to the States. Detective Sargent Art Ridzik, Jim Belushi, and his partner are assigned to escort Danko around Chicago, and help him find and export Rosta back behind the Iron Curtain.
This doesn’t work out so well for Ridzik’s partner who is also killed in the line of duty – making it personal for Ridzik as well. On the up side, Danko learns that Rosta has stored his drug buying money inside a bus station locker and Danko has his key. At least, for a little while.
Now the Russian man of muscle and Chicago’s finest must team-up to prevent Rosta from following through with the drug buy. This isn’t so easy as the two men allow their differences to get between them, especially Ridzik. Remember, this film was released just months before the Berlin wall fell, so there are Soviet/American tensions between the characters. Most of these “tensions”turn out to be pretty entertaining and even shed light on some of our cultural and political differences.
In one of these such scenes, Ridzik and Danko interrogate a low level criminal to learn what they can about the Clean Head’s involvement with Rosta. Ridzik explains that even criminals have what are called “Miranda Rights”. Danko choses to speed up this interrogation by breaking the perp.’s hand to get him to talk. I guess they do things differently in Russia.
This Miranda scene is a set-up for another in which Danko is staking out the apartment of Cat, an American wife of Rosta who is played by a young Gina Gershon. As Danko sits in his car, a neighbor comes down to bitch that Danko is parked in his space. Danko asks the man; “Do you know Miranda?”, to which the man replies “No, I’ve never met the bitch.”. Danko follows that up with knock-out punch. It’s something that I didn’t expect, but I sure wont forget.
Moving on. Danko & Ridzik learn the location of the locker and the time when Rosta will show up to get the money. They try in intercept him, but what happens is Rosta steals a Greyhound bus and makes a hasty get-away. So, naturally, Danko & Ridzik steal their own bus and destroy half of Chicago chasing after him.
  Eventually they follow Rosta gets turned around, and he and Danko play chicken, nearly missing each other. Mortally wounded, Rosta is finished off by Danko when he unloads on him. Case closed.
The film ends with Danko & Ridzik exchanging pleasantries at the airport as Danko gets ready to leave the country and return to Mother Russia. The End.
THE VERDICT
“Red Heat” is better than I remembered. It’s a classic “odd couple” team-up in the same tradition as “48 Hours”. Schwarzenegger doesn’t say too much, playing into the cold and calculated Soviet ideal of what a police officer should be, but he manages to use this demeanor to set up and deliver some of the funniest gags in the film. Something, I don’t think, Arnold it known for. Intentionally anyhow.
The same can be said about Belushi. He is perfect as the jaded and wisecracking cop who knows how to grease the wheels in order to get his job done. But he also nails being a hard-ass.
The action is good, the story is simple and entertaining. There are several memorable supporting characters; Peter Boyle play the Zen seeking Commander of Ridzik, and a co-worker of Ridzik is played by Lawrence Fishburne during his younger Malcolm X days.
It’s a shame this film is so underrated. I think this may be – at least in part – the result of it’s original ad campaign. If you watch the trailer you’ll see clips of Belushi joking and Schwarzenegger delivering cold broken English. What’s unfortunate about this is that Belushi isn’t just comedic relief, and some of what Arnold says are punchlines or set up to jokes taken out on context, but you’d never know it from the trailer.
“Red Heat” it totally worth checking out if you haven’t seen it before. As a standard detective flick, it isn’t as over the top as some of Schwarzenegger ’80s films, which might make it less memorable. But never the less, check it out if you get a chance.
One final fun fact about “Red Heat”. The opening scenes that depict…Red Square, or where ever it’s supposed to be, were actually filmed in Russia illegally. The footage had to be snuck out of the country. Seems like a lot of work for footage that isn’t very important, but it makes for an interesting story.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip in the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi, Punk!
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!

May 8, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – The Running Man


SUBVERSIVELY ENTERTAINING
This “Action Movie Time Machine” trek will continue with the totally awesome theme of Arnold. So strap ourselves in, light up your cigars and hold onto your butts!
The year is 1987. For Broadcasting made it’s debut, the Atari 7800 Game System hit store shelves, and the band Aerosmith got a badly needed boost in popularity with the re-release of their song Walk This Way featuring Run D.M.C.. The world mourned the loss of Clara Peller – the woman who couldn’t help but ask, Where’s the beef?”,and Arnold travels to the future to star on reality television in, “Running Man”.
THE SKINNY
“Running Man” is set in the not too distant dystopian future of 2017 Los Angeles. In this future the economy has collapsed, unemployment has skyrocketed and what’s left of the government is frantically trying to maintain order among the civilian population who live in a police state.
Here we meet Ben Richards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is a keeper of the peace. At least, that’s what he thought his job was. When dispatched to quell an angry group of food protesters, he received orders to kill them on sight. Richards refused, and as a result his para-military peers killed the protesters and Richards was framed for their murder. This is the future he lives in.

Later Richards manages to escape his work camp prison with help from William Laughlin, Yaphet Kotto, and Harold Weisse, Marvin McIntyre. The three escapees meet up with the “underground resistance” — because when you live in a dystopian future there is always an underground resistance. The resistance helps them each escape the city.
Meanwhile, Damon Killian, Richard Dawson, host of the top rates television game show “Running Man”, is made aware of Richards’ escape. Familiar with his alleged murderous tendencies, Killian wants Richards, and his prison friends, captured to be used as a contestant on his show.
So, what exactly is “Running Man”? This show selects convicted criminals to participate in a gladiatorial adventure in which they must survive in a “Hunger Games” like arena with trained killers who are stalking them. If the contestants survive, their criminal record is erased and they go free. If they are caught by the “Stalkers”, they die. All of which is being broadcast live for the entertainment of the home viewers.
The television executives work hand in hand with the Entertainment Division of the Justice Department. The show entertains the masses while making examples of the lawless – encouraging them all to fall in line with the demands of the ever powerful and ruthless government. To avoid protests and civil unrest, there is “Running Man”. This is a shared idea between this film and the 1975 “Roller Ball”.

Now we have Richards, with Laughlin and Weisse, traversing the city in their skin tight runner get-ups doing their best to survive. While Richards and Laughlin fight off Stalker attacks, Weisse sets out to learn the up-link codes to the television network’s satellites. With the right codes, the resistance can override the network signal and communicate with the “Running Man” audience. With these codes they broadcast the truth about Richards and how he wasn’t responsible for the deaths of 1,500 protesters and also how the Killian is a puppeteer – controlling and manipulating information to in turn, control and manipulate his audience.
But first, Richards murders the Stalkers and wins over the viewing public as he does it. The rest of the film is good, but this is why we watch it. First there is Sub Zero, played by former professional wrestler Professor Toru Tanaka. Sub Zero is a hockey player from hell who wields a bladed hockey stick. As they fight, Richards manages to use his surroundings to his advantage and strangles Sub Zero to death with barbwire. Followed by the one-liner, “Here is Sub Zero… Now…plain zero!”.

Then we have Buzzsaw & Dynamo. Buzzsaw, Gus Rethwisch, is a motorcycle riding, chainsaw swinging madman who as a child wanted to grow up and become Leather Face. Richards makes quick work of him as he overpowers Buzzsaw, turning his beloved chainsaw against his crotch – sawing him in half. Later he is asked, “What happened to Buzzsaw?”. To which he replies, “He had to split.”. One-liner gold!
Dynamo is an odd duck. He is an overweight opera singer who shoots ’80s rotoscope lightning from his hands. Richards traps Dynamo when he tricks him into following him up a hill that is too steep and Dynamo’s Go-Kart topples backwards, landing on him.
Finally, there is Fireball, Jim Brown – a Stalker with a flamethrower and a jet pack. The two get into the ol’ fist-a-cuffs and Richards manages to sever Fireball’s fuel line – leaking it everywhere. Richard’s finishes him off using a flare to light him on fire while asking, “How ’bout a light?”.
Richards meets up with the underground resistance, who have been watching his progress on television. They use the codes to broadcast the truth and Richards leads them into battle with the network security and government agents.

In the end Richards gets even with Killian when he gives the people what eh thinks they want, by launching Killian into a billboard with his own face on it – blowing him up. And in the background chaos erupts as the underground resistance goes aboveground. The End.
THE VERDICT
Here we have another quintessential ’80s action flick, starring Arnold. It has everything you would want. Exotic deaths, a dystopian future and one-liners galore. It also has a really good, while understated, themethat reoccurs thought the film and one of the retired Stalkers is Captain Freedom, played by Jesse Ventura. Yep, “Running Man” has not one, but two Governors.
It’s right around this time when Arnold started to come into his own. His English was getting good and the films he starred in were getting better too.
“Running Man” is similar to another one of Arnold’s films, “Total Recall”, in the way that the action is entertaining, but the sci-fi story is what makes it memorable. And like “Total Recall” it draws parallels between it’s story and real life. “Running Man” predicted reality television, including shows like “The Real World”, “Survivor”, and especially “Fear Factor”.
But what’s really interesting about the film is the way Killian manipulates the facts to sell his viewers  his brand of truth. It gets it’s viewers to ask themselves, can we truth the news we are fed and the authority that feeds it? This is more important now in the post September 11th/War on Terror era than when it was filmed. But this idea, ”Can we trust the news?”, is a question that can be asked at least once every generation.
The inspiration for the “Running Man” came from the Richard Bachman book of the same title. Bachman was a pen name used by Stephen King for a while. It’s funny to think that he man who wrote “Carrie” and “Stand By Me” is also in some way responsible for this ’80s Arnold action flick.

In conclusion, if you haven’t seen “Running Man”, you are a fool. It’s a classic. For more action packed “Running Man” goodness, check out the Slaughter Film podcast focused on “Futuristic Gladiator” films. We discussed both “Running Man” and “Roller Ball” starring James Caan.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip in the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, “I’LL BE BACK!”.
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!

April 20, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Commando

QUINTESSENTIAL

I’ve covered quite a few obscure and strange action films here with the “Action Movie Time Machine”, but I feel that I’ve neglected the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sure I reviewed Jingle All the Way for Christmas, but the name “Arnold” is synonymous with the Action genre. So, over the next few reviews we will be celebrating the films of Arnold. 
The year is 1985. The Nintendo Entertainment System was released in North America and changed home gaming forever. The first Blockbuster Video opened in Dallas Texas. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T took center stage at the very first WrestleMania and Jefferson Starship “…built this city on Rock and Roll”.

THE SKINNY
Commando” begins with John Matrix, Arnold Schwarzenegger, yep that’s his real name. John is a former elite Black Ops Commando who has settled down in the Californian mountain tops where he is raising his twelve year old daughter Jenny, who is played by Alyssa Milano. This is long before Alyssa grew up and chose to show her bewbs in “Embrace of the Vampire”. But I digress.

One day John Matrix is visited by his former commanding officer, Major General Franklin Kirby, who informs him that the men from his old unit are being systematically killed off by someone who they can’t identify. Soon after this warning, the Matrix family are ambushed by a para-military group and Jenny is kidnapped before John save her.

As it turns out, this group knows about John and his combat record. John is one of the most accomplished tactical fighters in the world, and after eliminating the only men who could help John, his team, they kidnap his daughter to force John into working for them. The plan is for John to assassinate some South American president so Arius, Dan Hedaya, can take over in his place. Arius has given John a deadline of only so many hours to fly to South America, assassinate the president and return or else his daughter will be killed.

Arius is a ruthless dictator and would torture and kill his own people in order to keep his power and John knows that he will have to think outside of the box if he is going to keep the peace in South America and get his daughter back.
Working for Arius are four main bad guys. We have Jackson, Sully, Cook & Bennett. Sully escorts John and Jackson to the airport. Once on the plane John manages to snap the neck of Jackson. He then covers him with a blanket and tells the flight attendant not to disturb his friend, “he’s dead tired”.
John then escapes the plane just as it’s wheels leave the ground. He follows Sully to learn where his daughter is being held. The film takes a detour when Sully goes to a near by shopping mall where a shootout occurs which evolves into a ten man brawl between John and mall security. John follows an escaping Sully and soon after, catches up with him and drops him off the face of a cliff. This is, of course, not before he gets info that leads him to Cook.
John has a run-in with Cook at Sully’s hotel room. Soon Cook has been murdered and John learns that Arius is living on an island off the South American coast and this must be where Jenny is being held captive. John, recruiting the help of Cindy, a helpful stranger, breaks into a local gun store and loads up on some heavy duty military weaponry including claymore mines and a rocket-launcher. Why does this small business owner have all these dangerous weapons you ask? Well he’s a gun nut and the Second Amendment gives him the right to do whatever the hell he wants. God Bless America!
John & Cindy then steal a plane and fly to this coastal island where the film goes from 0 to 60 in no time. Left and right, John is blowing soldiers away and after an incalculable number of bullets have been fired, all are dead, even Arius, except Bennett, Vernon Wells.

 

This hand to hand battle is personal between the two men and proves to be one of the more interesting fights, not only for it’s action but for it’s dialogue. There is a whole lotta strange goin’ on here. Bennett threatens to shoot John between the balls before John wallops Bennett an incredible 15 times with his massive hammer fists before impaling him with a pipe. This allows steam to escape from some sort of boiler, through the pile and also through Bennett’s body. “Why don’t you let off some steam Bennett?” is the final one-liner delivered by John Matrix before he, Jenny and Cindy fly home from the tropical island to go on living their normal lives. The End.
THE VERDICT
What makes “Commando” work is, first and foremost, it’s machismo. This is something that a lot of other action films try to emulate but fail hard in their attempt. Arnold portrays a man so well trained that he can’t be seen as helpless and when his training fails, he has his sweet Arnold Muscles. Who needs training when you can rip bucket seat out of a car with your bare hands? He is bad-ass!
The next thing that “Commando” has going for it is “one-liners”. Sometimes when I offer up a “Memorable One Liner” in these reviews, and they aren’t even one-liners. They might just be a funny piece of dialogue that stands out to me because they’re aren’t any one-liners in the whole damn film. “Commando” has SO many one-liners, I had to do some serious soul searching to pick the one I felt was the most ”Memorable”.
And last, but not least, “Commando” has gay overtones. Something every great action film must have. Why? I don’t know, because that’s how they did it in the ’80s, so that’s how it should always be done. It’s kinda like the Bible. When you hear someone say “turn water into wine”, you might be reminded of the Bible. And when I see a big pile of gay in my action movies, I’m reminded of the ’80s and that’s a beautiful thing.
Where is “the gay” to be found in this film? Between John and Bennett. John kicked Bennett out of his team because he liked killing too much and now Bennett will have his revenge by killing Jenny and watching John suffer. The way this is portrayed comes off like some strange steroid fueled romance gone awry. With lines like; “Come on, let the girl go, just between you and me, don’t deprive yourself of some pleasure, come on Bennett, let’s party! ”, that just add gasoline to the sadomasochist gay fire.
While the story takes some detours, it remains simple enough to be believable. The same goes for the acting. There aren’t any award winning performances here, but the subject matter doesn’t  offer many opportunities for emotion. Let’s face it, there is no room for emotion when there is a shirtless Arnold holding a rocket launcher. One more thing, the soundtrack. It sports a recurring steel drum theme that is pretty catchy.
 


“Commando” is a blood dripping, bullet ridden, explosion filled blast that will leave you fist pumping for victory. They don’t make ’em like this anymore and that is just the reason “Commando” is the quintessential ’80s action flick.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi Punk!
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!
December 19, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Jingle All the Way

GOOFY FUN

It is the holiday season and I bet you in the mood for something snowy and action packed. Am I right? Well all aboard the “Action Movie Time Machine” as we’ll be jingling all the way to some mid ‘90s holiday fun.
Hey! Quit your bitchin’, it’s got Arnold in it. Oh okay, if you are looking for a seriousaction flick that takes place during the holidays, you might want to check out “Long Kiss Goodnight” starring Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson. But of course there is always “Die Hard”.
The year is 1996. The “Macarena” was a suicide educing dance craze that was storming the nation. It helped some forget the death of rapper Tupac. The “Uni-Bomber” was brought to justice, and the Nintendo 64 made it’s debut.
THE SKINNY
Our tale begins with Howard Langston, Arnold Schwarzenegger, an overworked executive who has made a bad habit of putting his job before his wife and son, Liz and Jamie. Howard recently forgot to go to his Jamie’s karate exhibition and now it’s the last stray. If Howard screws up one more time, he’ll lose them both for sure.
And just such an opportunity presents itself with Christmas. Liz told Howard months ago that he should pick up the wildly popular “Turbo Man” action figure for their son. “Turbo Man” is the new “Tickle Me Elmo” , every kid wants one, even Jamie, Jake Lloyd. Turbo Man is his favorite thing in the whole world. It goes without saying that Howard forgets to buy the toy, and the rest of the film is Howard frantically fumbling around like a man-baby trying not to disappoint his son.
The problem is that Howard isn’t the only one on the hunt for a Turbo Man. While at the local mall, traversing the waves of fat, last minute, toy hungry shoppers, he encounters Myron, Sinbad, a postal worker also on the hunt for Turbo Man. Howard and Myron compete against each other to land themselves a Turbo Man in time for Christmas. Hijinx ensue and neither man has their toy.
This lands Howard in the back of a warehouse looking to buy a “hot” Turbo Man from an underground league of hired Santas lead by “Mall Santa“, Jim Belushi. When Howard realizes that he’s being ripped off, he calls ‘em on it and a fight breaks out between Howard and “Huge Santa” played by Paul “The Big Show” Wight. Hijinx ensue and again, Howard is without the toy. There is also a tiny Santa played by Vern Troyer. “Jingle All the Way” is a regular Who’s Who.
Some other hijinx ensue that involve bombing a radio station, setting a neighbor’s house on fire and punching a reindeer in the face, then getting it hammered. Every word I just said is 100% true.

 

Liz and Jamie head downtown to watch the annual holiday parade with their neighbor Ted,Phil Hartman, and his son. Howard known that Ted is a bit of a Casanova, and when he sees them leave together he suspects the worst. Also, Howard knows that there will be a Turbo Man giveaway. He has to act quick if he’s going to save Christmas, as well as his family.
Once Howard arrives he is spotted by parade staff and is mistaken for the actor who will be donning the Turbo Man costume for the parade, and is quickly packed into the suit.
Howard does a pretty good job playing the part, even performing with other Turbo Man characters, until Myron shows up dressed as Turbo Man’s arch nemesis, Dementor. The rest of the film plays out like a plot from an old superhero serial. Dementor holds Jamie ransom until his demands of a Turbo Man toy are met, and Turbo Man uses his jet pack to rescue Jamie, vanquish Dementor and save the day.
In the end, Howard had to become his son’s real life hero in order to earn his love. The End.
THE VERDICT
Well, that’s “Jingle All the Way”. It wouldn’t otherwise warrant an “Action Movie Time Machine” review, since it is a family film. A goofy one at that. But it is fun. It falls somewhere between it’s so bad it’s good and genuinely funny. Which is a strange way to describe it. The comedy isn’t strong, typical for a family film, but there are also some comedic gems hidden here and there.
It follows the standard formula of; A protagonist who is work obsessed and neglects his family. Something external forces this dummy to re-evaluate his priorities and apply himself. In this case it is his wife and son. Along the way hijinx ensue. This formula is the only way television execs make sit-coms anymore. And that’s why shows like “According to Jim” suck so hard.
What makes this film worth watching is all the “other stuff“. Seeing Schwarzenegger in his prime, acting like such a goof is a lot of fun. Almost as much fun as “Last Action Hero”. Playing the sit-com formula for slapstick laughs, juxtaposed against his bullet riddled and blood drenched career, for some reason, brings me joy.
Phil Hartman is the shit. It’s a shame there wasn’t more room for him in this film. He is a total highlight. Everything he has ever done is hilarious. The Pee-Wee Herman Show, News Radio, The Simpsons, SNL — all gold! Sinbad isn’t half bad either. A lot of his postal worker traits and comments flew under the radar when I saw this as a kid, but as an adult, I caught every perverted and insane one of the.
The  stuff I don’t like so much about “Jingle All the Way”, like the big headed annoying kid and the stereotypical force family feelings, are easy to overlook. After all, it’s a holiday picture. There aren’t too many of them out there that stray from family feelings this time of year. And ya gotta love a movie with superheroes, even if they’re made up.
One other quick thing I like about “Jingle All the Way” is the toys. When Arnold is running around the mall you get to see all kinds of now vintage toys on the shelves. Oh the nostalgia. This is also a fun game to play while watching “Silent Night, Deadly Night”, a not so family friendly holiday movie.
So if you’re in the mood for something different — something you can watch with the kiddies, “Jingle All the Way” is for you.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Happy Holidays Punk!
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 24, 2012

Expendables 2

NOSTALGIC

You ever found yourself starting a diet but end up cheating a few weeks in by eating a box of chocolate frosted donuts?  That is what watching Expendables 2 is like.  You know they are fattening.  You know they are bad for you.  But for the brief time it takes you to scarf those donuts down, you’re in heaven.
The spectrum of action films usually breaks down like this:  SMART.  SMART FUNFUNDUMB FUN.  OR JUST PLAIN DUMB.  Expendables 2, like it’s predecessor, falls completely under the DUMB FUN category.  It is a half a beat away from being a full on parody.  And that is why you can’t be as mad with Expendables 2 as you can be with this or this
1.  Is the plot nonexistent?  Yes.
2.  Is the acting bad?  Yes.
3.  Is the action unrealistic?  Yes.
4.  Is Father Time catching up to most of the cast?  Yes.
5.  Do I like to list things?  Yes.
Expendables 2, however, relies on it’s NOSTALGIA while giving enough winks at the camera to make sure we remember what it is.  A dumb, yet, fun love letter to 80s guilty pleasure action films.  If you’re under the age of 25, this sort of NOSTALGIA might not hold any relevance.  But if you’re a child of the 80s and remember how awesome First Blood Part 2 was, or how joyfully insane Commandowas, or how over the top in a good way Bloodsport was, this is the box of donuts for you.  Go ahead….cheat on your diet a little….then tell me I’m wrong.   

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