Kung Fu

June 9, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Kung Fury

WILDLY BAD-ASS

The year is 2015. Funny man and “Late Show” television host David Letterman calls it quits after thirty-three years, “Jaws 19” premieres and breaks every previous box office record, gold medal Olympian Bruce Jenner undergoes a sex transformation – becoming Caitlyn Jenner, and both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush announce their entry in the 2016 United States Presidential race.
Little did they know, that announcing their bid for the presidency would polarize the country in a way that had not been seen since the Civil War. American citizens were divided into two factions – either Blue or Red – and began skirmishing with one another. Buildings were burned and blood ran in the streets.
The events of the Party Wars, as they would later be known, brought on the first collapse of the United States of America, and later the atomic bombing of New York City. This attracted the attention of imperialistic space aliens who’s invasion was fought off by the people of Earth. This triggered a chain reaction of events; The Alien Wars I-III. The aliens were finally fought off when robotic soldiers were created to protect humans. Once the robotic soldiers became self-aware, they turned on their human creators which lead to The Robot Wars. After all this, America wasn’t very popular, as the country was directly responsible for the previous catastrophes. As a result, Soviets began launching nuclear weapons at the United Stated. This lead to The Apocalypse War. And finally, The Franchise Wars, which guaranteed that Taco Bell would be the one and only fast food restaurant.
All this, and an indie action flick, “Kung Fury”, took the world by storm. 
THE SKINNY
“Kung Fury” takes place during 1985 Miami, and begins in an ’80s style arcade. The “Laser Unicorn” arcade machine comes to life and begins attacking the patrons of the arcade, then the townspeople of Miami. Outmatched, the Miami police call in for backup and soon Kung Fury, David Sandberg, is on his way. Kung Fury makes short work of the renegade arcade machine. This fight takes place on the ground, in the air, and even in space for optimum bad-assery.
Meanwhile, somewhere in a back alley of Miami, the wind picks up and lightning begins to strike. Suddenly a time portal opens up and one Adolf Hitler steps out. To be continued.
Kung Fury returns to the office to talk to his commanding officer who reams his ass out, in typical action movie fashion, for destroying an entire city block with his arcade machine battling efforts. Afterwards, Kung Fury’s commanding officer receives a phone call a mysterious stranger. Who could it be Hitler…? Well yes, it is in fact Hitler and through the phone, Hitler assassinates Kung Fury’s boss in an attempt to lure Kung Fury into a confrontation.
Most people don’t realize this but Adolf Hitler was a martial arts master who has grown envious of Kung Fury and his martial arts mastery. If Hitler can eliminate Kung Fury, we will obtain the art of Kung Fury – the super secret and ultra deadly martial arts style who “Kung Fury” is named after.
Kung Fury attempts to locate the murderer of his boss and in doing so recruits the help of Hackerman – the greatest hacker in the world. Hackerman – through his hacking talents – ascertains that the one and only Hitler was responsible for the murder and offers to “hack time”, sending Kung Fury back to Nazi Germany to confront Hitler before his evil plot began. But there is a problem…Hackerman mistakenly sends him back too far in time. All the way back to the Viking age.
 There in the Viking Age, Kung Fury meets up with some totally sweet Viking babes who he pleads his case to and agree to help him. How do they do this? Well by calling upon the Thor himself. Thor, with all of his mystical Norse powers, uses his might hammer to open time portal to send Kung Fury to the appropriate time – somewhere in the early 1940s.
There, in Nazi Germany, Kung Fury confronts a horde of Nazi soldiers who he fights – hand to hand – one by one before being out numbered and out gunned. Just then, the cavalry arrives in the form of another one of Thor’s time portals. From this time portal enters Thor, Hackerman who has hacked himself into a robot, two sexy Viking warrior babes, a talking T-Rex and last but not least, Triceracop – Kung Fury’s recently assigned partner who just so happens to be half man and half triceratops.
Kung Fury and his pals fight hundreds of Nazi soldiers, killing them where they stand before Hitler is vanquished…or is he? I won’t be the one who spoils the end for those of you who haven’t seen it. Just know that “teamwork is important”…and go WATCH IT!
THE VERDICT
“Kung Fury” is, honestly, one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen in some time. It is a wonderfully  bad-ass and nostalgic blend of all things ’80s set inside an action film. Not only does it incorporate the aesthetics of ’80s special effects film making – recreated digitally – but it takes place within the shortcomings of VHS.
“Kung Fury“ is almost as if a child dumped his toy chest out onto the floor and started to pretend that all of his toys somehow belonged in the same reality – and that is “Kung Fury”.
There is time travel (Terminator), robots (everything in the ’80s, but also Transformers), dinosaurs (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dinosaucers – whatever the hell that is.), animation (G.I. Joe and Thundercats), as well as stereotypical action movie stuff like the traditional partner who gets killed by the villain in the first act, pun related one-liners and countless dead.
One of the things that makes “Kung Fury” so entertaining, is it’s humor. I’ve tried to avoid too many of these details for those of you who haven’t seen it yet. Just know that it’s…go watch it.
Much of what can be nit-picked are minor things. For instance, the acting is stiff and a bit over the top. But this is intentional, in an attempt to capture some of what ’80s action films had to offer. If you’ve read my reviews you’ll know that action icons such as Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme aren’t the best actors and sometimes their films reflect that. It isn’t a terrible thing, but rather, something that has become synonymous with the genre of that era. My only honest negative remark is the faux VHS effect. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ve seen it used a handful of times and each time it looks like an obvious fake. I appreciate the effort to try to make an “’80s film” resemble a film on VHS from the ’80s, but it just doesn’t look right. They always look like a digital film edited digitally to resemble that classic VHS quality. Again, this is a nit-pick but it’s worth stating.


 

Honestly, there isn’t much I can say about this. There is no underlying meaning or hidden message. If there was, it would be; “Remember the ’80s? Wasn’t that a wild time? REMEMBER IT FOREVER!”. And for that I highly recommend “Kung Fury”. Watch it and pick apart each scene to uncover it’s particular ’80s influence. Watch it now and have a blast! Did I mention that you should watch it now? WATCH IT NOW!
I also reviewed “Kung Fury” for Slaughter Film which sparked a bit of a conversation between my co-host and I. If you’re interested, check it out.
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!



June 1, 2015

Simply Shorts: Kung Fury & Predator: Dark Ages

Last week, two short films made their way onto the Internet, one in a more conventional way, the other I had to find it in more “unconventional” ways. Basically what I’m trying to say is that for as much as I hate the Internet, I also love it for the scum that it is. Both films are nostalgic trips to say the least, one is more of a traditional fan film, while the other is a sugar-coated PCP trip-out of a film that is all that is 80s and all that is insanity. Let’s start with the more traditional of the two.

Predator: Dark Ages – Lore

LORE

It’s been tough times for Predator the past 10 years or so. Sure, we got the underrated “Predators” which injected some life back into the lore and mythology of “Predator” but other than that we’ve gotten crap like “AvP: Requiem.” Like I said, it’s been tough. And like so many lost franchises that have lost their way, it’s usually takes a dedicated group of fans and filmmakers making a short film to show studio executives that people still care about a bastardized franchise. Enter, “Predator: Dark Ages.” Now, I’m not going to come out and say that “Dark Ages” is going to usher in a new era of “Predator” films, but what we have here is a nice little piece of lore.

“Dark Ages” is the story of a group of roughneck knights during The Crusades, including a Templar Knight, a female tracker, two meat sacks, and a Muslim scholar, essentially every character trope of the 80s action film. The church has asked Thomas, a battle-tested Templar, to hunt down a beast that has been killing without a reason. Thomas and his group are teamed with Sied, a Muslim scholar, who knows more than he is letting on to stop the killer.

Needless to say, Thomas’ team is wiped out one at a time leaving only himself and Sied to fight the Predator, which ends in a very interesting way. The End.

Clocking in at just under 30 minutes, “Dark Ages” packs in enough action, story, and sense of dread to keep you engaged for its entire run time. While I would have appreciated a little more back-story on Thomas and Seid, especially Seid who seems like he’s been studying the Predators for a while, dating back to his time in Jerusalem. If you’re a fan of the original “Predator” you will get a kick out of the opening sequence when Thomas and his group show up on horseback, blatant fan service, and of course how can I forget the music; Alan Silvestri would be proud.

This bring me to the second part of this double-header, and this one is a doozy…..

Kung Fury – Bananas

BANANAS

Do you like Kung-Fu? Do you like dinosaurs that talk? Do you like Viking Babes with machine guns? Do you like Hitler doing karate? Do you like ninjas? Do you like synth music? Do you like Nazis being murdered? Do you like giant golden eagles fighting dinosaurs? Do you like Miami? Well, if you don’t; get the F*CK out of here and kill yourself because you’re obviously reading the wrong review from the wrong site.*

So “Kung Fury” where does one start, first, if you haven’t seen it, click HERE and watch it….we’ll wait…..okay, we’ve waited long enough.

In “Kung Fury” the mean streets of Miami are awash with killer arcade machines and the return of Adolf Hitler, who is also a kung-fu master. The only man who can stop his is the baddest cop on the force; Kung Fury. Together with Hackerman, Fury is sent back in time to stop Hilter before he is able to harness the full power of the ancient art of Kung Fury. Along the way Fury meets female Vikings, Thor, a talking T-Rex, and has words with his talking car.

If you were to take “Miami Connection,” “Hobo With a Shotgun,” “Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon,” put them in a room and let them all have a three-way, you might get a general idea of how bananas this film is. Of course, this is nothing new, the 80s is enjoying a great resurgence of interest lately, from horror flicks like “The Guest” and “It Follows” to video games like “Hotline Miami” and “Blood Dragon” people still love the 80s, and for good reason; the 80s are awesome.

David Sandberg does his best Michael Biehn impression as the title character, and Jorma Taccone, from Lonely Island fame, hams it up big time as the kung fuhrer – Adolf Hitler. The violence is over-the-top, the 80s references are awesome, and if it wasn’t for a little film called “Back to the Future” I’d say this is the most realistic take on time travel to date.

“Kung Fury” is well worth your time, and why not just double feature it with “Predator: Dark Ages” to get your nostalgia fill in just under an hour.

*We at Simplistic Reviews do not want you to kill yourself, we want you to understand that these films are incredible and not watching them would be a great disservice to yourself. We love you, thnx, byeguys. 

February 3, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Silent Rage

SUPERHUMAN

The year is 1982. While the world was dancing to “Pac-Man Fever”, they were also mourning the loss of funny man John Belushi. Legendary rock guitarist Randy Rhodes also passed away, people were better off NOT taking Tylenol for their headache and Chuck Norris continued to roundhouse kick for justice.
THE SKINNY
Silent Rage” begins with John Kirby, Brian Libby, who is having trouble dealing with the day to day stresses of life. He is renting a room from a single mother who’s adolescent boys constantly run through the house screaming, followed by their mother who exacerbates the situation by yelling at them.
All the noise and the summer heat starts to get the best of John, he starts to experience a psychological episode. John doesn’t think he’s going to be able to control of himself, so he calls his long time shrink, Dr. Halman, for advice which, doesn’t help.
John then does what any sensible, able-bodied grown man would do when their woman and kids start to drive ’em nuts. He goes out to the shed, picks up his axe and starts to work over the family. A nearby mailman hears her screams and calls the police, and soon after Sheriff Dan Stevens, Chuck Norris, arrives with his trusty partner Charlie, Steven Furst.
Everything that happens for the next thirty minutes or so, is completely questionable.
In response to the domestic disturbance involving a woman screaming, Sheriff Stevens begins by slowly walking through the house looking for signs of murder…I guess. Before long the two men cross paths and a fight breaks out that leads from the killer’s home to a near by field. This is where Stevens takes Kirby into custody with the use of Kung-Fu.
Simultaneously, Dr. Halman, Ron Silver, arrives to talk down his patient while Kirby breaks free from his handcuffs. A few other police gun Kirby down and he’s loaded into the meat wagon.
Once at the hospital, doctors try to revive Kirby but are unsuccessful. One of the doctors being Halman. So wait a minute, you mean to tell me that the psychologist is ALSO a surgeon? Who is this guy, House? When all seems lost, Halman’s fellow doctors illegally administer an experimental serum that saves Kirby’s life.
This serum was designed to accelerate a humans ability to heal itself. And there it is. We all know what’s going to happen now. Once the serum is pumping through Kirby’s blood, he becomes nearly indestructible. Every wound his body endures heals in seconds. Kirby is transformed into an unstoppable killing machine with a Wolverine like “Healing Factor”, all in the name of science.
Before Kirby breaks loose and starts to run amok, Stevens and Charlie have a run-in with a gang of hippie-bikers at a local bar. Charlie runs out to call for backup while Stevens contends with the dirty hippies. One by one he chops, punches and kicks the law into them, in one of the more entertaining Chuck Norris fights I’ve seen in resent memory. Nothing over the top for a martial arts action flick, but it’s satisfying.
Meanwhile, from his hospital bead, Kirby overhears Halman telling his partners in science that what they have done to Kirby is unethical and he must be terminated. Kirby, in an act of self-preservation, later pays the kind doctor a visit at his home. Dressed in a gray jumpsuit, with his hair slicked back and brandishing a kitchen knife, Kirby takes on the look and mannerisms of Michael Myers. – Silently stalking his prey with a slashing weapon and is seemingly unable to be killed, “Silent Rage” now becomes a horror movie.
The bodies of Hallman and his wife are found by Halman’s sister, Nancy, who just so happens to be Steven’s girlfriend. An otherwise unimportant fact, until now.
Kirby returns to the hospital and with him comes new that he murdered Hallman. The doctors talk it over and decide that Kirby is too dangerous to keep alive, but when they try to terminate him, he heals and then heads out on a rampage. Kirby kills the doctors, Deputy Charles and a handful of nameless hospital goers before he sets his sights on Nancy for no other reason than she happens to be there. The disturbance attracts the attention of the police and Stevens, who is now out for blood.
Stevens first unloads on Kirby – knocking him through a window – causing him to fall to what should be his death. Then Stevens and Nancy try to make a getaway but Kirby grabs onto the bumper of his truck. He climbs inside and runs it off a cliff, not before Stevens and Nancy escape. Much like falling through a window onto asphalt, the burning wreckage does nothing to slow Kirby down. “How on Earth can this man be stopped” you ask? Kung Fu! Stevens lets loose a barrage of punches and kicks, allowing him to get the upper hand. Stevens throws Kirby over his shoulder and from there into a well.
So Stevens never ends up killing Kirby, he just relocates him to a watery prison in the middle of nowhere. The End.
THE VERDICT
“Silent Rage” was very much inspired by the newly popular trend in cinema lovingly referred to as the “slasher” film. Yeah, this movie is an odd idea. But inside that idea is a pretty good movie. During the horror scenes there is some descent suspense and during the action scenes I felt myself rooting for Norris to kick some ass. While horror and action should often be pared, the two are balanced well enough here that the final product is one that left me surprised.
“Silent Rage” has it’s moments where the film gets goofy, but over all is a better film than say… “Hero and the Terror“. The script and direction helps draw a better performance out of Chuck Norris while still giving him an opportunity to put his martial arts background to good use. Also Ron Silver is a pretty strong actor and he really adds weight to the film.
Speaking of Ron Silver, he played nearly the same character in this as he did in “The Entity“, released the same year. Instead of an unstoppable killer created by science, “The Entity” had Silver trying to disprove a rapist ghost. Yep, the ghost was raping the protagonist. Believe me, it’s a better movie than it sounds and it’s supposedly based on a true story.
In the end, “Silent Rage” isn’t the best but it’s worth a watch for Norris fans. It was much better than I expected. If you survive the goofiness that is the first thirty or so minutes you’ll be treated to a suspenseful slasher with a roundhouse kicking Chuck Norris. That alone would have sold this movie back in the ‘80s. They should have just put that on the poster…maybe they did…
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!
October 3, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Twin Dragons

DOUBLE LACKING

Well, well, well we meet again. I take it that two Jean-Claude Van Dammes wasn’t too much for you. After all he does happen to speak with an accent…if you haven’t noticed. This can be confusing for some… apparently. All aboard the Action Movie Time Machine!
The year is 1992. Yeah, we’re back in the early 90s… again. Not much has changed since that last time we visited. TWA declares bankruptcy. Mike Tyson plays his own game of Punch-Out with a woman he is convicted of raping, and there were plenty of toy related movies to watch. Ironically enough, both “Toys” starring Robin Williams is released as well as the direct to video “Demonic Toys”, for those of you who thought “Toys“ wasn‘t creepy enough. All this and Jackie Chan discovers that he has a long lost twin brother in “Twin Dragons“.
THE SKINNY
The film begins in black and white during the mid-60s. A woman has just given birth to a pair of beautiful baby boys. Meanwhile, police are wheeling in a wounded man who made an attempt to escape capture. However, this man still has some fight left in him. He regains consciousness, swipes a cops gun and starts to shoot his way out of the hospital. He is cut off from the exit and makes his way to the very same room the mother is in with her sons. Using one of the boys as a human shield, he leaps through a window and makes his escape. The human shield is soon discarded and later discovered by a drunken slut.
Now modern day, we learn that one brother, John, has been raised by his loving parents and at a young age became a piano prodigy. As an adult John is a world renowned conductor. On the other side of the coin we have Boomer, who practically raised himself and is now a hard fucking, shit talking stock car racer/mechanic.
 
This story gets interesting when we see John travel to Hong Kong for a piano concert, and during this concert, Boomer, who happens to be repairing a car, suddenly can’t control the movements of his fingers. The twins are somehow psychically connected when they are near each other.
Soon we see Boomer and his friend Tyson, another racer, making their escape. As it turns out the duo owe a local mob boss a considerable amount of money. Boomer and Tyson hustled them into a race, thinking they could win…they didn’t. Now the mob wants them to pay up.
A boat chase ensues that lands Tyson in a body cast. The hospital Tyson is staying in happens to pay protection money to the mob, so for the time being he belongs to the mob and is their prisoner. To guarantee Tyson’s safety, Boomer gets roped into taking care of the mob’s dirty work. Driving mostly. In fact there is a plot to sprint another, higher ranking mob boss.
 
This gets complicated when John arrives in Hong Kong to conduct a concert. Soon the two are thrust into a constantly evolving case of mistaken identity that involves the mob, an angry Iron Maiden fan, kung-fu conducting and the love interests of both men which results in fast paced slapstick fight scenes. At one point, both brothers share a bath with one of the women — one brother pretending to be a mirror so they don’t get found out like it was some sort of Marx Brothers gag.
As far as their love interests are concerned, each brother has a female acquaintance who the other brother falls for. This is an obvious set up for hijinx that will later result in some sticky situations, a romantic ending and even an opportunity for them to be taken hostage. The later never happens. I guess the mob figures that Tyson is good enough.
 
Anyhow, once John and Boomer have understood that they are twins, they decide that they are in this together and hatch a plan to rescue Tyson.
The brothers head to the mob’s hideout near the docks. The next twenty minutes of the film are one big fight sequence that moves form the docks and into a Mitsubishi car factory. First the showroom, then the crash test area and later the assembly line.
For a brief time Boomer is trapped in some sort of cage and John, a man who know music not fighting, must defend himself. With his wonder twin powers, Boomer throws punches and kicks that force John’s arms and legs to move. Boomer controls his brother this way. Lol He moves him like a puppet and ends up saving his life.
 
The brothers rescue Tyson and send the mob boss, Boss Wind, rocketing into a wall inside one of the crash test cars.
The film ends with the two brothers marrying their women in a twin wedding. I told you there would be romance in the end.
THE VERDICT
Much like “Double Impact“, this action film stands out from others because it features twin brothers. Unlike “Double Impact”, this film features the fast paced and often humorous fight choreography that is often found in Jackie Chan films. “Twin Dragons” also tries to build upon the supposed supernatural connection that twins are said to possess. If you hadn’t thought of it yet yourself, “Twin Dragons” has a lot like in common with Cheech & Chong’s “Corsican Brothers”. Of course in that film each brother feels the physical pain of the other and in this film the brother’s physical movements are caused by the other when they are in close quarters.
While the action in this film is pretty good, my only complaints focus on the plot and how it unfolds. I feel that too much of the film focuses on the humorous hijinx the brothers experience during their travels, which is entertaining, but this makes the story seem watered down and even vacant in parts. The mob boss doesn’t even have a clear criminal plot. They have Tyson as a hostage and that’s about it. I wish there was a plot mechanism that forced both brothers to work together to fight the mob. Instead they decide to work together because… they look alike? Maybe because they are together each time the mob assigns them to the next task, i.e. deliver a brief case, drive a getaway car, ect…
The thing that’s strange about this “separated at birth” story is that the two brothers never discover that they are brothers. Not until the very end anyhow. This whole movie they  think it’s strange that they are doppelgangers and even say that they would make good brothers.
I think some of this poor story telling has to do with the English dub. While it sounds good and doesn’t come off as odd as many dubs do. I feel like something has been lost in translation. The character names for instance are John, Boomer and Tyson, but according to IMDB the original names were Ma Yau, Die Hard and Tarzan. Weird and wild stuff.
 
In the end “Twin Dragons” isn’t the best twin related action movie. It isn’t even that great of a regular action movie as it feels more like a comedy. But it will hold your attention and might be worth checking out if you are a fan of Jackie Chan.
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 3, 2013

Miami Connection

FRIENDSHIP

Miami Connection – Friendship

Being born in the early 1980s, I really missed out on that grand decade of acid-wash, cocaine cowboys, and mustaches.  Even though the early 1990s were simply an extension of the late 80s, I really wasn’t cognizant of what the 80s had to offer until I was much older.  Once a decade of ridicule, the 80s have come back in a big way.  Between styles that hipsters are co-opting for their own gain, the revival of new wave pop, and of course the film “Drive,” the 80s are back; at least in spirit of course.

Aside from the fashion, the 80s had no lack of action films.  For every “Die Hard” there was another “Surf Nazis Must Die.”  For every “Predator” there was a “Krull.”  The list goes on and on when it comes to cheesy 80s action films.  However, there was another constant in action films from the 80s; and that would be friendship.  From “Tango and Cash” to the bond between Riggs and Murtaugh in “Lethal Weapon,” where would the action genre be without a great friendship?  This brings me to the forgotten classic from 1987, “Miami Connection,” a study in how not to make a movie, but at the same time, the exact way every movie should be made.

“Miami Connection” is at heart a film about friends playing in an awesome band, “Dragon Sound,” practicing Tae-Kwon-Do, chasing girls on the beach, and helping one of their own find their long last father.  There’s a minor subplot about ninjas that sell cocaine, but never mind that…..because it makes NO SENSE!  If you’re going into “Connection” looking for anything that doesn’t fit a stereotype, you better return your VHS to your local Blockbuster Video.  However, if you want to experience the 1980s in all its glory there is no better way to celebrate the decade you’re either trying to relive or forget than with this masterpiece.

The story behind “Connection” is nearly as entertaining as the film itself with star Y.K. Kim nearly bankrupting himself trying to make his masterwork  The Korean immigrant, and Tae-Kwon-Do master with no film experience whatsoever, decided to make a film, which at the time was considered a slap in the face to the industry, had to wait nearly 25 years to receive the credit that he thought he deserved back in 1987.  While that credit is entirely ironic, since “Connection” is really a schlock-fest cashing in films like “The Karate Kid,” any credit it better than no credit at all.

What sets “Connection” apart from other action dribble from the 80s is it’s earnest and sincere message.  Hell, during the closing credits a message pops up essentially saying “The only way to obtain world peace is through the elimination of violence;” a cheesy message that could only be said in decade that also introduced into our lexicon “Peace in the Middle East.”  I just love the irony that the only way to stop violence is with violence to start.  But hey, the day you’re in a pop-synth band playing the keytar shirt-less fighting cocaine-dealing ninjas from Miami, you might feel the need to be a little violent as well.

Bottom line, “Miami Connection” at heart, is a film about the bond of five orphans who are fed up with “stupid cocaine” looking for a friend’s long-lost father, while playing some awesome music and fighting ninjas in Orlando.  What could be better?  Well, a lot, but it wouldn’t be as rad as “Miami Connection.”

Fun Fact: The song “Friends” was used in the retro-grade spin-off to “Far Cry 3;” “Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon,” starring 80s hunk, Michael Biehn.

Also, make sure to check out Slaughter Film’s live “riff” of “Miami Connection” on September 6th at midnight (so technically, September 7th) through this link, Click here dummy!

December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays: Kill Bill

Kill Bill – Feet

After the brilliance of “Jackie Brown” and showing his critics that he wasn’t just an exploiter of violence, our old friend, Quentin Tarantino, stood up, brushed the dirt off of his shoulders, straightened his tie, and said “Guess what motherfu*cker, I’m going to do an old-school kung-fu flick now!  What!”

Of course that’s not what he said, but it would have been bad-ass if he did nonetheless.  After all the accolades of both “Pulp Fiction” and “Brown,” Tarantino decided to work on his first pet project.  A true genre film that centered around one woman and her blood-thirsty quest for revenge against a group of assassins that tried to murder her on her wedding day.  That movie(s) is “Kill Bill” or as I like to call it “Uma’s Got Some Hammertoe.”

*I will be reviewing these films (Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2) as one film.  Sure, I could split it up into two reviews and make you wait for the second one just like QT made us wait in the theaters, but since it’s the holiday season, I’ll do you guys a solid.

As mentioned above, the core of “Bill” is a revenge film, wrapped in a Shaw Bros. movie, encased in a Shakespearean tragedy, tied up with a nice bloody bow.  You can take Tarantino’s three previous films and throw them out the window; “Kill Bill” is a love letter to a by-gone era of 1970s chop-socky karate flicks that members of the Wu-Tang Clan were getting high to back in the early 1990s. (side note:  RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan was the music supervisor for Vol 1.)

Across a four-plus hour epic, if watched back-to-back, Tarantino takes us on a blood-spattered journey with The Bride, our protagonist, as she extracts revenge the best way she knows how; with a samurai sword crated by Hattori Hanzo and the Five-Finger Exploding Heart Technique taught to her by Pai Mei, the mysterious karate master.  If you grew up in the golden age of karate movies, watched “The Green Hornet” or were “Protectin’ Ya Neck” with the Wu back in 1993, Tarantino creates a world that you can still put in the same universe as “Pulp Fiction” and “Jackie Brown” but fashions it in a way that makes it seem other-worldly.

The plot is simple, but its the way that Tarantino weaves this revenge yarn that’s the treat.  Told through a series of flashbacks and his trademark non-linear format, we see The Bride training with Pai Mei, learn how to walk again starting with just one wiggle of one toe, her vengeance on the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, and finally her face-off with Bill himself.  Oh, I almost forgot;  plenty of Uma Thurman feet through both films.  No need to head over to your local adult video store if you love feet, because Tarantino shares your tastes.

I know I might be selling this movie short, and I’m withholding a ton of information, including plot twists, but my recommendation is to stop reading this review, go out and buy “Kill Bill” and enjoy it for all it’s worth.  Thurman’s turn as the killer bride is good, but its funny how she all but fell off the face of Hollywood after what you might call her magnum opus.  One of David Carradine’s last roles as Bill is almost as iconic as his turn as Caine in “Kung-Fu,” and the fight scenes, as over-stylized as they are, are extremely fun to watch with plenty of arterial spray.  Chill…..have a pill, and watch “Kill Bill.”

Fun Fact:  If you want to get creative you could call “Fox Force Five,” first mentioned by Mia Wallace in “Pulp Fiction,” as a precursor to the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.  There was a Black fox, Asian fox, French fox, and two American foxes.  Coincidence?

September 17, 2012

The Raid: Redemption (Matt’s Take)

The Raid: Redemption – Overkill

 The days are pretty much over where you get old-school action movies that say “Screw the story, we don’t need a plot, let’s just kick people in the face, shoot them in the head, and break necks!”  Sure, we have “The Expendables” but there hasn’t been a good foreign action flick in quite a while…..OW!!!…..geez…..sorry, I just got kicked in the face by “The Raid: Redemption.”

The premise is simple; an elite group of Indonesian cops are sent to a building in the slums of Jakarta where a vicious drug dealer resides and shit hits the fan, and by shit hitting the fan I mean, in honor of Joe Bob Briggs, Glock-fu, Baton-fu, Army Knife-fu, sniper rifle-fu, fluorescent light-fu, machete-fu, and hammer-fu.  The action is non-stop, except when the director decides to slow things down and try and incorporate an extremely thin plot.  Just throwing it out there but the director, Gareth Evans, is also Welsh (take that for what its worth).

The fight choreography is great (the film uses Pencak Silat as the main fighting technique).  Yayan Ruhian, who portrays “Mad Dog,” acts as the choreographer of all the fights in the film and there are plenty of “Oh Shit!” moments.  The one issue I do have is the liberal use of CG blood.  It’s not as bad as some movies (The Devil’s Rejects comes to mind) and its hidden pretty well, but it does show up from time to time.

All in all, “The Raid: Redemption” is a fine “film” and an excellent exercise in the resurrection of the modern kung-fu movie…….owwwww……stop kicking my face!!!

Fun Fact:  The roots of the martial art Pencak Silat can be traced back to Java and Sumatra in the 7th Century.

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