Slaughter Film

September 1, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Cyborg 3

INTERESTING

Oh dear god, I’m back with another “Cyborg” movie. I bet you didn’t know there was a second one, let alone a third, but here we are. In fact there are four of these movies…kinda…sorta. But all that cheesy goodness will be revealed soon enough. Today we will be continuing where we left off in “Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow”, as we get reacquainted with Cash in “Cyborg 3: The Recycler”.
The year is 1994. Men everywhere were booby-trapped (pun intended) when the Wonder Bra made it’s debut. Nickelodeon was on fire with shows like “Aaahh!! Real Monsters”, “The Secret World of Alex Mack”, “Clarissa Explains It All” and “All That”. The song “I Swear” by All 4 One played so often on the radio that many considered suicide. All this and Cyborgs start popping out babies.
THE SKINNY
“Cyborg 3” begins several decades in the future from where we left off with Cash and Colt, who were carving a home for themselves out of the desert. Now, the humans and the cyborg are at odds. The disease that ravaged the humans, during “Cyborg”, has left them weak. And since the Pinwheel Corporation has come to an end, in “Cyborg 2”, the world economy has collapsed. There is no growth and no innovation. For humans to survive they must resort to cannibalizing cyborgs for their parts in order to repair their aging technology. This has created a need for “recyclers” men and women who travel the wastelands searching for cyborg parts. Even hunting cyborgs to harvest their pieces.
Here we meet one such recycler, Anton Lewellyn, Richard Lynch, who has made a living murdering cyborgs for their parts and taking their eyeballs as his trophies. In an early, and very superfluous scene he tries to sell damaged cyborgs to Lord Talon, Malcolm McDowell. Anton and Lord Talon have done business in the past which came to a dismal end. It seems Anton sold the Lord a sexy cyborg who came fitted with “Glass Shadow” explosives. And since this rather explosive encounter, Lord Talon has been equipped with a robotic right hand. I say this is superfluous scene because, sure, we learn a little about Anton, but we never see the Lord Talon character again. The filmmaker wanted to use Malcolm McDowell’s star power to help sell this underwhelming film. McDowell is even featured on the cover of the VHS as if he were the star. Well I guess “the old in-out, in-out” wasn’t coming as often for this little droog  in 1994, and McDowell had to stoop low for a paycheck.

Anyhow, after meeting with Lord Talon, Anton and his sidekick/muscle Jocko, Andrew Bryniarski,head over to the ol’ cyborg whore house for some tail. Here we see Anton pays to torture a naked dancing cyber-gal. Anton is one sadistic son of a bitch. She just wants to love?! This is important because, as he leaves the whore house located in some dusty ghost town, he encounters Cash. Being the ever shrewd recycler, Anton  notices how special Cash is – after all, she is one of a kind. From this point on it becomes his mission to hunt Cash and sell her to the highest bidder.
Cash on the other hand was visiting a cyborg clinic located in the ghost town. She has been feeling weak and has come to see what the problem is. Surprise, it’s a baby! Yep, old Colt knocked Cash up. This is interesting because we see Colt die of old age… Was his wiener still working or…what the hell’s goin’ on here? I guess it doesn’t matter anyway, because the good doctor sends Cash, Khrystyne Haje, away on a quest to find Evans, played by THE Zach Galligan from “Gremlins”. Evans was a cyborg designer from back in the day. If anyone can know how Cash got pregnant and what she should do, it will be him.
Now Cash must travel through the desert with Anton hot on her trail. Just when she arrives at Evan’s…cyber cave and he runs some tests to prove that she is in fact pregnant. Built with a cybernetic womb and cryogenic sperm bank. The next obstacle to overcome to get Cash to care about the child. At the moment she sees it as a threat to her life. As it grows inside her, it drains her resources. She lacks the nurturing instinct that human woman possess naturally. According to Evans, this is the reason why cyborgs like her was never made, and yet here she is. Again, Cash is a one of a kind.
Anton finally catches up with Cash. She and Evans hop into her not so futuristic dune buggy and head to “Cy-Town” located in the “free zone”. It’s another deserted city. But this is time it’s one protected by a sophisticated force-field that scrambles cyborg tracking radar, making it appear invisible to recycler. This is the only place cyborgs can live in total safety.

Here in Cy-Town, Cash delivers her baby – a weird cyborg tube…thingy. Apparently newborn cyborgs look like softball sized spark-plugs. Her evolution into motherhood wins the hearts and minds of the other cyborg residents who weren’t interested in protecting her from the recyclers on her trail. They would rather just leave her out in the open to keep Cy-Town hidden.
Oh did I say that “recycler” were on her trail. Yep, Anton is a little pissed that Cash and Evans got away and he knows they are headed to Cy-Town so he calls in back-up. Every other recycler he known is traveling through the night to where Cash’s was last picked up on cyborg radar.
Anton plans to capture Cash for himself, while letting his recycler friends have at the rest of the population. It would be the largest single cyborg harvest ever.

In the mean time, Evans begins repairing the rag-tag group of wounded and maimed cyborgs who are barley alive to begin with, and preparing them for war against the recyclers – which makes up the final ten or fifteen minutes of the film. Cy-Town looks like a future-realistic version of the Island of Misfit Toys. Poor bastards.
The recyclers find their way into Cy-Town and the battle begins. Eventually Anton and Chas encounter each other, as action movies often end with the main character and villain duking it out at the end – if ya didn’t know by now. Cash, in an act of superb tactical planning, or maybe just post-pardon lunacy, uses her child as a decoy so she can full Anton fill of bullets. As he lays dying, he belches out one hell of a string of last words; “Sweet mother of god, this bitch sure has some interesting programming.” lol what? And the cyborgs live on.

 

THE VERDICT
“Cyborg 3” is perhaps even less visual than the previous films. With what I assume is an even smaller budget, “Cyborg 3” is the perfect example of what a straight to video movie is. It is an inferior sequel to a franchise that was forgotten long before it was made. But that doesn’t mean that “Cyborg 3” is bad. It’s just cheap.
There is great acting mixed with poor acting. B-list celebrities mixed with nobodies. Fight choreography, explosions and stunts mixed will lame practical effects.
Fortunately there are some neat ideas nestled within all of the previously mentioned hodgepodge of what have you.
For starters, Cash has to learn to accept that she will be a mother. It’s interesting to see her character evolve and deal with something that woman face everyday – changing their entire lifestyle to care for their baby. It’s something that often leads to a deep depression.
Khrystyne Haje’s portrayal of the Cash character was well acted, but she didn’t seem to feel at home during all the action. Angelina Jolie did a little better job handling the rough and tumble stuff, and selling her character being a bad ass.

Another deep character arch involves Jocko, Anton’s muscle. Jocko carries out Anton’s brutal bidding, murdering cyborgs left and right – even though he is a cyborg himself. With Cash’s help, Jocko learns that he was once a medical officer deployed during war time to act as a battlefield surgeon. He went from saving lives to taking them when Anton stole Jocko from some military depot and erased his memory in order to use him as a muscle bound slave. Once Jocko learns this, he repents by turning on Anton during the final shoot-out. This ends in an emotional conclusion for Jocko that I wouldn’t have expected from a film of this caliber.

So in conclusion, there are two ways to look at this film; the first being that it is cheaply made rubbish, and the second being that it is thought provoking and emotional. Somehow both of these are true and I personally feel that if you are willing to sit through “Cyborg 2” then this is required viewing. It’s one of those flicks that you won’t regret watching it, but at the same time you could easily not know it even exists.
Up next will be “Masters of the Universe” starring Dolph Lundgren, and no I’m not kidding. Find out why, next time.
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 slaughterfilm.com. The home of weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!

 
August 11, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Cyborg 2

LACKLUSTER

Continuing our little celebration of Arnold returning to the silver screen as a futuristic killing machine, I bring to you the third film in this series. The “3rd” you ask? But it’s called “Cyborg 2”, not “Cyborg 3” you say. That’s another movie entirely. “What Gives?” you ask. Well stop sayin’ and askin’ crap! You will learn all about that in due time.
The year was 1993. Mulder introduced Skully to the world of the paranormal, the hit television show “Cheers” came to an end, we all learned how dangerous Raptors are with the release of Jurassic Park, and the world began to ask, “Got Milk?”. All this and Angelina Jolie makes Phillip K. Dick proud as she plays a human-like replicant in “Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow”.
THE SKINY
The film begins by explaining that in the year 2074, the world was locked in a corporate battle between Kobayashi Electronics (Japan) and Pinwheel Robotics (USA). They struggled against one-another for dominance in the field of cyborg manufacturing. Naturally, cyborgs have replaces humans in nearly every respect. “From the soldier in the field, to the prostitute in the brothel”.
The landscape is dense, mechanical and filthy – in the kind of way that becomes a cyber-punk’s wet dream. But to me it seems unbearable. If I lived there, I’d just kill myself and let a cyborg take my place at the cheesecake factory. Ironically, when I worked there, we no longer made cheesecake. The factory had been retrofitted to produce soylent. Our slogan was; “It’s not as good, but it’s good for you!. That was before all the Apocalypse was stuff.
Any how, Pinwheel has designed a new type of seducing cyborg. But they weren’t created for pleasure. They were created for corporate espionage. They use a highly flammable liquid explosive as a coolant, and after the cyborg successfully targets and seduces their mark, they detonate when they orgasm. Okay, it isn’t explained quite like that. However, it is exactly what happens.

Now we meet Cash, Angelina Jolie, who just so happens to be one of these dangerous robo-vixens. She is being trained/practicing/being tested in some for of martial arts by Colt – played by none other than Elias Koteas, who you may remember as Casey Jones, from a little thing called “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.
Cash is designed to feel human emotions, as a way to keep her deadly intentions a secret. This makes her all the more believable – right up to the moment she explodes. But because of this Cash develops feelings for Colt. Colt can’t control his urges either, and soon the two of them are rendezvousing deep within the bowels of Pinwheel late at night. This sort of thing is a major no-no. Pinwheel can’t let their expensive new cyborgs get all filled up with ooie-gooie man juice.
Once Cash is discovered missing from her room, security is alerted and they search the facility. Cash and Colt slowly make their way outside, not before fighting off wave after wave of Pinwheel’s armed guards.

This whole event – the rendezvous, the security alert and Cash ‘N’ Colt being tipped off that they are being pursued by security – is the handy work of a hacker who goes by the name Mercy, Jack Palance. He also explains to Cash what exactly her purpose is. Now the odd couple —  those “Robo-Sexuals” – have to stay on the lamb long enough to have Cash’s detonator removed, all while Mercy continues to guide them from he secret hacker lair.
Now that the couple are on the outside, Pinwheel hires Danny Bench, Billy Drago,who is a contract killer who Pinwheel routinely use to hunt down escapee and defective androids. His job this time is to find the couple, kill Colt and return Cash to Pinwheel.
While Cash ‘N’ Colt traverse the dystopian city-scape running from Bench, Mercy starts to make his presence known to Pinwheel. As it turns out, Mercy once worked for Pinwheel, and like Colt, he fell in love with one of their androids. When his supervisors found out, Mercy was fired and his android bride was confiscated and destroyed. Now, Mercy has been helping Cash ‘N’ Colt less out of the kindness of his heart, and more as a way to exact his revenge on Pinwheel. The escape of Cash was part of Mercy’s carefully thought out plan to use Cash against them.
As the film nears it’s end, Mercy arranges an escape for Cash ‘N’ Colt. They are to leave on an outbound cargo ship, but there is a catch. For the two to get aboard, Colt must win their place on the ship by fighting to the death in an underground bare-knuckle boxing match. And who will Colt fight? None other than Bench. This whole part feels kind of tacked on and unnecessary. It also feels like “Casablanca”, how a do-gooder aids a fleeing couple in a self sacrificing act as the ship/plain is about to leave the country.
So yes, Colt and his robo-bride do manage to escape after Colt murders Bench by pushing him into the spinning boat propeller. With a little help from Mercy and his automatic shotgun, the couple make their way to the ship just as some of Pinwheel‘s security guards arrive to “break up the party“. But we kinda knew that was going to happen anyway, right?
The film ends with Mercy paying one last visit to Pinwheel headquarters. He brings with him Cash’s extracted glass shadow detonator, which he tricks the Pinwheel CEO into detonating. In a final act of defiance, Mercy blows up Pinwheel, it’s CEO as well as himself. I’m assuming this was followed by Kobayashi Electronics taking over the entire robotics market. The End
THE VERDICT
“Cyborg 2” kinda, sorta, has the right idea. Deep down in there there are concepts that – if fleshed out a bit better – could have really given this film a point. For instance, robots who learn to love and how they fit and adapt in society, could be interesting. Or better yet, the film could have posed the question; “When is being not human, human enough?”. Since Colt has fallen in love with Cash, and even wants to put his noodle in her slop tube, at what point does Cash stop being a robot and start being a human inside a normal human relationship. She looks sounds and smells human after all.
This type of film could have offered up some heavy ideas while still being laced with shoot-out/kung-fu action. As for the action, it reminds me a bit of the Pam Anderson flick “Barbwire”. “Barbwire” was nothing more than a futuristic re-telling of “Casablanca”, starring an indie comicbook heroine – which I should also review by the way. This felt a lot like “Barbwire” in the way that all the action and “heavy ideas” take a backseat to the survival driven love story. That’s all fine and well, but it felt like both, the action and the love story, were pulling to two different direction. As if the action and fight sequences were there just to remind us that it was an action flick.
Oh well. It’s an interesting piece of science fiction that reflects the times in which it was made, as well as a fond appreciation for films like “Blade Runner” and certain anime. Not to mention that it has an interesting cast for a film that feels like it was straight to video. Soon to be stars like Jolie, and familiar faces like Drago. Drago is one of those actors who I always think of as being typecast in the genre of horror, and like Clint Howard, it just isn’t true. They have faces for horror I guess.
So in conclusion, “Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow” isn’t too good, but it isn’t too bad either. It offers something a little different from the other “Cyborg” films and is worth a watch if you are interested in the series. However there is another cyborg/action/love story that I can whole heartedly recommend, and it’s called “Cherry 2000”. It has a very similar story, involving the future and sex robots, but the story is better told and is more fun to watch. It’s a soon to be cult film, as soon as people learn what it is. It’s one part grindhouse, one part noire and three parts cheeky entertainment.
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 slaughterfilm.com. The home of weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!

July 8, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Cyborg

ANIME-ISH
With  a new “Terminator” movie in theaters, I thought it best to take a look at another film series that features cybernetic entities, “Cyborg”. Oh, why not the “Terminator” franchise you ask? Because punk! I just reviewed a bunch of Arnold flicks , and besides, I bet you don’t know nothin’ about “Cyborg”.
The year is 1989. The Exxon Valdez runs aground and spills 1,2000,000 gallons of oil, Nintendo releases the wildly successful Game Boy, and  “Batman” battled “Indiana Jones…” at the box office. All this and Jean-Claude Van Damme battles to save the world from futuristic pirates in “Cyborg“.
THE SKINNY
The film takes place in New York City , in “the future” and it’s explained to us in a voice over that over the past few decades there has been anarchy, genocide, famine and now a plague that has ravaged humanity. But there is hope, in the form of a cure.
These words are told to us by Fender, Vincent Klyn, the films antagonist and all around evil guy. He then explains that he enjoys the suffering, the death and he wants to get his hands on the cure so he can control it and live like a god – choosing who lives and who dies.

Early in the film, Fender and his gang of post-apocalyptic dressed Village People rape and pillage a seaside settlement and as this happens, we see a lady cyborg being shooed out the back. She has been given specific orders to escape Fender and his gang, locate and hire a “slinger” to help protect her on her journey and deliver the cure to the right people in Atlanta who will be able to develop it and restore humanity.
Somewhere there are internet nerds writing blog posts theorizing that “Cyborg” and “The Walking Dead” are somehow connected. There aren’t any zombie in “Cyborg“, but the plague could be the same disease that brought about the “walkers”. And just because you don’t see zombies, doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. In the second season of The Walking Dead, Rick’s crew make their way to the C.D.C. in Atlanta looking for salvation and answers. In “Cyborg” the lady cyborg, who’s name is Pearl, is also making her way to Atlanta to deliver the cure and reach salvation. Conspiracy alert! “Cyborg” is set in the future of “The Walking Dead“. You just read it on the internet, so it MUST be true!
Fender is one of those evil dudes who’s goals are so extreme that you wonder, “if he gets his way how would even he survive?”. He’s a bit of a comicbook super-villian in the way that they might concoct a scheme to destroy the world, never taking into account that if Earth explodes so will they.
I mean sure, he will have the cure, or at least the recipe for the cure, but he isn’t a scientist. How the hell would he know what to do with it if he catches the plague? Or if enough humans die, what is there to rule over? Does this guy know how to grow and cultivate his own food to survive in this post-apocalyptic wasteland?
We’re only ten minutes in and already Fender’s motives are suspect. But I digress.

Soon Pearl happens into the same ramshackle town and encounters Gibson, Jean-Claude Van Damme, who is a former “slinger” and survivor of this brutal world that they live in. Pearl explains her quest – even telling him that she is a cyborg as she pleads for him to escort her to Atlanta. But before he can make up his mind, they are ambushed by Fender and his gang. They take Pearl and leave Gibson for dead.
This isn’t the first time Gibson has encountered Fender. As we learn through an entire series of flashbacks, Gibson gave up the life of being hired mercenary, aka “slinger”, to settle down with the love of his wife and her two children. But not long after they settled in a nice country home, Fender shows up to rape, kill and kidnap Gibson’s newly adopted daughter to be used as a sex slave.
Now, only mildly interested in saving the cure, Gibson heads south from New York to Atlanta to track and hunt Fender.
Along the way Gibson meets another damsel in distress, Nady, Deborah Richter. He allows her to tag along while protecting her from Fender’s attacks and she in return acts as his moral compass. Before long, Gibson softens to the young woman and she becomes his love interest.

This is something that Fender uses to his advantage once he is tipped off that Gibson is tracking him. He sets a trap, luring Gibson and Nady into an abandoned factory building where Gibson manages to fight off wave after wave of attacks before he is outnumbered and forced to flee with a wounded Nady. Fender and his gang follow Gibson and Nady, and they are overtaken .
But first, Gibson’s kidnapped daughter makes her presence known. Now, all grown up and brainwashed, she appears, to show her adopted father that she is now in love with her captor. Whoa, what a mind fuck!
Gibson is tied to the mast of an old sailboat and left to die…again. Flashbacks of Fender attacking his family bring on a rage educed “hulk-up” that allows Gibson to shatter the mast – freeing himself – and he and Nady continue on to Atlanta in pursuit Fender and Pearl.

Along the way Gibson gets a clue and this time decides to not play by Fender’s rules and instead plan a trap for him. Like a scene out of “300” or “Lord of the Rings”, Gibson forces Fender and his gang through a narrow passage in some junkyard town – The Battle of Helm’s Garbage Heap.
Here Gibson picks off Fender’s remaining crew before he and Fender battle it out themselves – just as  a storm rolls in. Because you can’t have a kick-ass final boss fight with out thunder and lightning.
The slug-fest ends when Fender introduces a knife. Gibson breaks his arm, takes the knife and stabs him in the chest with it. Ya think that would be enough, but it isn’t. Fender re-animates and the fight continues. Gibson then impales him on a giant hook.

In the end, Gibson gets reacquainted with his kidnapped daughter, Haley. They, with Pearl, mourn the loss of Nady, who was killed protecting Pearl from Fender’s gang leading up to the final fight.
Before the credits roll, we see Pearl reaching her Atlanta contact and I can only assume that the cure fixes the world…Who am I kidding? I know that’s not true because there are two more “Cyborg” movies.
 
THE VERDICT
Gibson becomes locked in heated battle with Fender to a fight to the death… So these guys are named after guitars…*facepalm. Wait a minute, the name Pearl is a company that manufactures top of the line drums. I would bet money that they tried to name Nady “Zildjian”.
The story isn’t the most original, but it isn’t bad. It’s really a collection of futuristic things thrown in the same pot together and often feels like an anime in the way the fights are choreographed and filmed, and even “The Seven Samurai” somehow. Some scenes have minimal dialogue and this might be what lends itself to feel a bit like an anime – sorta foreign.
The cyborg effects don’t look as good as say, “Terminator”, but for a low budget Cannon film, I think they turned out pretty good. Believe me, I’ve seen some crap effects in my time and these here aren’t half bad.
The fights are creative in the way Gibson and his enemies use their surroundings, and in JCVD’s case, his splits. What makes the fights look less good is the editing and certain camera angles. This is true for the entire film, mostly where editing is concerned. It just isn’t edited very smoothly. And as for the camera angles, sometimes the camera is in a creative place/angle while other times it feels like it’s in the way of the action.
The acting is the weakest element to this film. JCVD isn’t the best actor, but he certainly isn’t awful. With that said, this is one of his earlier works and isn’t his best. The rest of the cast is on par with the special effects – not the greatest but by Cannon standards it’s top notch. Vincent Klyn however…is something. He’s odd to look at and odd to listen to and some of his dialogue seems like it was written with “A Clockwork Orange” in mind or something and…he’s just an odd dude.

So in conclusion, “Cyborg” is an interesting addition to the post-apocalyptic sci-fi films of the ’80s not as good as the immortal “Terminator” and certainly not as bad as some of the other post-apocalyptic VHS flicks that I’ve reviewed in months past. It hovers somewhere between entertaining and watchable.
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 slaughterfilm.com. The home of weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!
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!

 

 

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!



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 7, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Simon Sez

IT’S ALL JUST TOO MUCH

Well I had a lot to chose from for this “March Madness” related trek. There are so many options, “Space Jam” with Micheal Jordan, “Steel” & “Kazaam” with Shaq, Kevin Durant in “Thunderstruck”, and Gheorghe Muresan in “My Giant” with Billy Crystal… But, fuck those movies. 
The lonely few that are cool enough to talk about are Wilt Chamberlain in “Conan the Destroyer”. But this is a pretty small part and I’m sure we’ll discuss the Conan films in detail before long. And of course there is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from “Airplane”, but more importantly “Game of Death” with Bruce Lee.
With all these options I bet you’re wondering what we will be boarding the “Action Movie Time Machine” for this time. Well, another Rodman flick. Yep. Way back when, the studio wanted to make a sequel to “Double Team“, but that never happened. Someone else — who didn’t have the rights to the title, characters or JVCD — decided to go ahead with the film anyhow using whatever was left on the table. Which was Rodman, the “cyber monks” and Dane Cook for some reason. No good can come of this. No good can come of “Simon Sez”.
The year is 1999. MySpace & Napster are born onto the Internet while Barbie turns 40. The West Nile virus appears in the United States, Lance Armstrong “wins” his 1st Tour de France, and people lose their minds over Y2K.
THE SKINNY
The film begins with Simon, Denis Rodman, investigating an arms dealer/terrorist for Interpol with some help from his “Cyber Monk” friends Micro & Macro, John Pinette & Ricky Harris. Micro & Macro are using their robo-fly to eves drop on the arms deal, all while making “hilarious” jokes that would cause “Paul Blart” to pop a stitch. “Sorry Simon, we’re working out a few bugs.”. ‘Cause it’s a robot fly, get it? GET IT?! Micro & Macro are the comedic relief and I hate it already.
None of this stuff really matters. It’s just an introduction to the characters – the same way Bond movies always start with Bond finishing up an assignment before the REAL story starts.

Soon after, Simon is relaxing on a French beach when he encounters Nick Miranda, Dane Cook. At first Nick tries to bullshit Simon, pretending to know him from his days at the CIA, but Simon sees through his rouse and then learns that Nick works for a tech company and has been given the job of delivering a briefcase filled with two million dollars as a ransom payment to rescue his boss’s daughter. Nick did some research on Simon in hopes that he could be coerced into helping which inevitably happens.

After the deal goes bad, Simon and Nick escape to Simon’s headquarters where he opens the briefcase to find a CD where the money should be. The monks attempt to read the disc, but it is secured with Department of Defense encryption. Now Simon takes is upon himself to rescue the girl while protecting the DoD disc with help from Nick and the monks. By the way, the software on the disc can turn any telescope into a laser weapon…or something.
The monks do some digging and discover that a man named Bernard Gabrielli is the one who has kidnapped the girl. He is using her for leverage to gain the disc that he will then sell to Ashton, the arms dealer/terrorist from the beginning of the film. As it turns out, Gabrielli is trying to get the disc to save his son – the kidnapped daughters love interest – who Ashton threatened to kill. I guess it’s Ashton’s plan to have others do his dirty work so he seems unconnected to any of the crimes.

Around this time Nick learns that his boss is unsatisfied with his handy-word and tells him that he will soon be in France to hand over a copy of the disc to Ashton in person. Simon and Nick use this as an opportunity to save the day. They even recruit Gabrielli’s son, Michael, who happens to be a kung fu/parkour expert. I don’t know why his father was so worried about his wellbeing. He’s a bad-ass.

Nick, Michael and Simon’s GF, who I hadn’t mentioned until now because she isn’t very important to the story, fight through Ashton’s gang of motorcycle clowns to rescue the girl. Simon follows Ashton to The French Telescope. I assume that’s what it’s called. The two fight it out and Simon impales Ashton with a sword which pierces some telescope power supply that electrocutes both him and the telescope. Simon narrowly escapes before the building explodes.

The film ends with that one guy’s daughter and that other guy’s son marrying each other, Simon and his GF go on a date and the monks chat with Nick, who is now an Interpol agent himself. The End.

THE VERDICT
Ironically, the problem with “Simon Sez” isn’t Rodman – it’s almost everything else. That’s not entirely fair. The film has a simple action plot that I’ve seen a dozen times, but that’s okay – it works. Rodman isn’t a great actor but he also isn’t awful. He is easier to take serious in this than compared to “Double Team”. The film has some pretty fast paced fight scenes, some of which feature Xin Xin Xiong who is another remnant of “Double Team”. These are the highlight of the film in my opinion, but everything else…bad.
And it’s not that it’s bad exactly, it’s just hard to focus on the film when I’m rolling my eyes at the constant jokes that are as if they’re from a kids cartoon. The Cyber Monks, if done serious, could have been interesting…maybe. But there is too much of them and I hate it.

Not to mention, the monks are the comedic relief, and with them, why did the film need ANOTHER funny man? Dane does a great job bringing his goofy energy and physical comedy to the screen but it’s just too much. He and Rodman may have made for an interesting “odd couple” scenario, but they are interrupted too often by the monks.
Here is an example of “too much”; Nick secretly follows Simon to his headquarters, the basement of a church, where the monks see him enter with their security cameras. They use a mic and speakers to make Nick think that God is talking to him. Then “God” makes Nick dance the “running man” before they drop him down a into the basement with a trap door. Once he is in the basement, they pretend to be “Killer Monks” by shooting at Nick with blank filled Glocks… Why is all of this in a movie?
“Simon Sez” is strange because it’s better than “Double Team” in some ways and god awful in others, and unfortunately doesn’t have JVCD to carry it along.
After watching this movie again, I can’t help but compare it to ANY other action movie combined with “Richie Rich”.
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!

March 16, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Double Team

Well it’s March, and with it comes March Madness. To honor the basketball gods, we will be loading up the “Action Movie Time Machine” with the dial set to the decedent year of 1997 to visit Dennis Rodman, before he became the American ambassador to North Korea.
The year is 1997. Howard Stern showed everyone his “Private Parts”, police investigate the murder of the Notorious B.I.G., and the Bundy family say goodbye as “Married With Children” comes to an end. All this, and someone thought it was a good idea to put NBA star Dennis Rodman in “Double Team”.
THE SKINNY
Jack Quinn, Jean-Claude Van Damme, is a special forces spy type who has recently retired so he can be with his wife when she gives birth to their first child. His retirement plans get cut short as he is sent out on one last mission to apprehend an international terrorist for hire who goes by the name Stavros, Mickey Rourke. Quinn has spent years trying to capture Stavros, so naturally, when Stavros comes out of hiding, Quinn is just the man for the job.
Quinn is sent to lead a Delta team in the capture of Stavros, but first we have to introduce the elephant in the room. Quinn visits the gay-bar district of town to meet up with his contact, Yaz, Dennis Rodman. Yaz, is interesting. He…well, is dressed like Dennis Rodman. Dennis Rodman is more or less playing himself in this movie. In fact, Dennis Rodman is playing Dennis Rodman pretending to be an underground arms dealer who has recently decided to work exclusively with the “good guys”. This scene isn’t so important. It simply introduces his character so we’re familiar with him later.
So, Quinn buys some weapons, that apparently the Delta Team can’t get their hands on, and he and the Deltas head after Stavros.
Their intelligence says that Stavros will be visiting a Dutch amusement park. The Delta team show up early and set up a sting operation complete with a tranquilizing sniper who will take Stavros alive. When he arrives, Quinn wonders why he would bother with an amusement park? Is he planning a terrorist attack? Well it turns out that he was visiting his son.
Soon the Deltas are discovered, a shoot out begins and Stavros’ son is shot in the cross fire. Quinn chases Stavros on foot and is lead to a nearby hospital where they fight it out in the nursery. Stavros manages to escape when he  throws a grenade at Quinn. Quinn opts for saving the children and this allows Stavros to go free.
When Quinn wakes up from the explosion he finds himself on a remote island as the newest member of “The Colony”. The Colony is where special agents go when why are no longer effective. They are too dangerous to be set free and too valuable to kill. Instead they are gathered together to analyze data and help world governments capture terrorists and fight rogue nations. This idea is a 100% rip-off of a ’60s British television series called The Prisoner.
After a few days and two training montages, Quinn fights his way off the island and swims through laser infested waters before being picked up by a cargo plane that Quinn climbs into in mid-air. Once on the ground, he recruits the help of Yaz who offers to take him to see his wife – who thought Quinn was dead. I don’t know why they didn’t just drive, but Quinn and Yaz parachute into Quinn’s backyard inside an invention Yaz came up with himself. It’s a giant air filled globe the encases the person wearing it, allowing them to safely float down to the surface of the Earth…It’s a fuckin’ basketball!
Anyhow, once Quinn arrives at his house, he discovers that it’s a trap set by Stavros. Stavros has kidnapped Quinn’s pregnant wife and is planning to take the child for himself to replace the one killed in the shoot out. Yeah, that’ll teach Quinn!
Quinn and Yaz follow the Stavros trail to Italy where Yaz uses his monk connections to zero in on him. “Monk connections”, you ask? Yep, apparently a while back Yaz built the monk’s some “main frame processor” complete with a dial-up connection to the world wide web. The “cyber-monks” are grateful and most eager to repay Yaz.
The monks help Quinn locate his wife, who is at a hospital giving birth. By the time Quinn arrives, the baby has been hatched and Stavros is gone. Fortunately one of the nurses knows his plans.
Quinn follows Stavros to the Coliseum where he and Yaz must fight through Stavros’ goons before Quinn and Stavros fight it out surrounded by land mines. If that wasn’t enough, Stavros brought along a bangle tiger. Stavros sure knows how to party.
Yaz saves the baby while Quinn and  Stavros battle – which is a pretty decent fight sequence. Everything ends when Stavros steps on one of his own land mines – blowing up both himself, the tiger and the entire arena…for some reason. When all is said and done, Quinn rides off into the night with his newborn son. The End.
THE VERDICT
I feel like “Double Team” was the precursor to “Rush Hour”. I might be giving “Double Team” more credit than it deserves but each film shares quite a bit with the other. They each team-up a martial marts master with a wisecracking black man… Okay, that the only similarity. But “Double Team” did come out over a year before “Rush Hour”. And if movies like “Deep Impact” & “Armageddon”, “Dante’s Peak” & “Volcano”, and “White House Down” & “Olympus Has Fallen” are any indication that studios are totally willing to rip of each others idea while are still being developed, I’m sure the same could be said about “Double Team” & “Rush Hour”.
“Double Team” is kind of…bad. But there is good to be found within it. Like Van Damme’s fighting…and splits. There are many of the action sequences that are well filmed and turn out to be pretty entertaining. My problems with the film is also the action sequences. While they are entertaining, they are designed to be so over the top that I can’t take them seriously. They are so overly complicated that they stop making sense. These problems really show the films age, as everything in the ’90s had to be the most extreme at all costs. Example; The final showdown that results in a hand to hand fight to the death…in the Coliseum…surrounded by land mines…and there’s a tiger. Are you fucking kidding me?!
Rodman is another problem. So naturally, to help sell the film the studio wanted an interesting celebrity. He dressed outlandish and fooled around with Pamela Anderson and this made him famous.  And now we have a sub-par action flick that’s full of his strange outfits and colorful hair-dos. His popularity was a bit of a passing fad, and again, this movie shows it’s age. Oh, and everything Rodman says becomes a cheesy basketball related one-liner.
My REAL problem with this movie is it’s story telling. There is no attention to detail and no effort to develop the characters. Van Damme’s character is a special forces spy type, but who does he work for? Why does Rodman’s character so chummy with Italian monks and why do the monks have the internet? I could go on asking these dumb questions but I won’t bother. It seemed like the writers had a hand full of “awesome” ideas and had to find a way to get them all to fit together without wasting too much time on explaining anything.
In the end, the core of this movie is interesting; how the spies have a lose network they belong to and when the “retire” they go to The Colony – but everything else is gimmicky crap.
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!

 

 
 

 
 

February 25, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Hard Ticket to Hawaii

BONKERS

Welcome back for another ride on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. This time we will be visiting another Andy Sidaris film. If you are easily offended by bodacious breasts and explosions, oh boy, this movie isn’t for you. And with that said, I have our destination programmed. All aboard!
The year is 1987. The hippie beatnik community mourns the loss of artist Andy Warhol. Bill Cosby wins back his ex-wife and save the cute little animals in “Leonard Part 6”. U2 hadn’t found what they were looking for and Andy Sidaris continued his boob-a-licious action epic with “Hard Ticket to Hawaii”, complete with it’s own theme song. ‘Cause that’s what all the greatest action flicks have — theme songs.
THE SKINNY
Hard Ticket to Hawaii” picks up right where “Malibu Express” leaves off. Or does it? What should be Cody Abaline and Contessa Lucianna meeting up in Hawaii for a sexy rendezvous, is instead Rowdy Abaline and Donna making love aboard the boat “Malibu Express”. For some reason the boat is the only thing that managed to live on in this spiritual sequel. It’s explained later that Cody is Rowdy’s cousin who has gone on to become an actor. Well, that explains that.
Donna, Dona Speir, is a Federal Agent living and working in Molokai Hawaii with her roommate and co-worker Taryn, Hope Marie Carlton, who is living in Hawaii as part of the witness protection program. In Las Vegas she witnessed some pretty heavy mob activity and now she is being protected by the government after testifying against mobsters. I’m sure this goes without saying, but both Donna and Taryn are played by former Playboy Playmates.
Though Donna is a Federal Agent, she and Taryn work as couriers. They fly packages and people in a single prop plane between the Hawaiian islands. During one of these trips, the girls are to deliver a touring couple to the remote end of the island so they can do it out in the open and not be disturbed. While doing so, a  crate containing a python that has been contaminated by cancer ridden rats is mistakenly lost and the killer python escapes onto the island. This isn’t important now, but we’ll see it again later.
Before the girls return home for the day, they interrupt a drug deal…or a diamond smuggling ring. I’m not sure which. A remote controlled helicopter is flown from Mr. Chang’s boat off the coast that is sent in to deliver diamonds to a group growing marijuana in the wilderness of the island, lead by Mr. Romero.
Just as the girls discover the diamonds, they are discovered by Romero’s hired muscle. With the use of nun-chucks and ninja stars the women manage to make it back to their plane and back to home. Here they relax topless in their jacuzzi while they figuring out what should be done with the diamonds.
Later that night, Donna and Taryn are attacked by more of Romero’s men. I guess it isn’t easy to make a clean get away with the name of the company you work for painted on the side of the airplane you’re escaping in. The girls manage to scare the goons off, but now they know they will need Rowdy’s help to save themselves and bring the criminals to justice.

As Rowdy and his partner Jade make their way to meet Donna, they are attacked by Romero’s men. This scene is fuckin’ bonkers! A man who goes by the name “Skater” rides his skateboard passed Rowdy’s jeep, concealing a shotgun behind a blow-up doll. Skater takes his shot, wounding Jade and Rowdy retaliates by firing a rocket at both Skater and then the blow-up doll, exploding them in mid-air. It is truly the work of a b-movie master.
Meanwhile, Edy, a local hotel and restaurant owner, is kidnapped by Romero’s men. They know that Edy has been helping the girls stay in touch with Rowdy and their Federal contacts. This isn’t so important to the story. It just adds urgency to the film.
Donna, Taryn, Rowdy & Jade develop a plan to rescue Edy, which they do, and in the process they blow away all of Romero’s hired goons. Now only he remains, and if he is going to save face with his employer/business partner, Mr. Chan, he will have to take care of Donna & Taryn himself.
While the gang is away, Romero infiltrates Donna’s home and catches her off guard. First he attacks her with a knife and she retaliates with a harpoon gun she stores in a closet. After composing himself he attacks again, but this time she disarms him and stabs him in the gut with his own knife. THEN, he attacks once more, but this attack is timed perfectly with the return of the cancer rat infected python that erupts out of the bathroom toilet. LOL! It bites Romero in the face and kills him FINALLY!
The infectious snake them makes a play for Donna and Rowdy returns in the nick of time to save his love by firing a rocket into it’s face — followed by the line; “Just when you thought it was safe to take a pee.”. LOL!
Rowdy & Donna then pay Mr. Chang a visit. How do they know who he is or how he’s involved? I have no idea. Donna draws her “hand cannon” on Mr. Chan and blows his ass out of a window.
And like the first film, this ends with all the remaining players involved aboard the Malibu Express celebrating a job well done.
THE VERDICT
Well Andy Sidaris has done it again. He took a simple premise and managed to jam as much crazy shit into it as humanly possible.
Much like the previous film, “Malibu Express”, this has mediocre acting and a convoluted story that left me asking myself a lot of questions when I say it for the first time. Having seen Hard Ticket a number of times, I now have a strong understanding of the story, but at one time there were A LOT of whos, whats & whys rolling around in my head. The reason for this is that there is so much back story for each character, which is so casually introduced, that much of it is easy to miss. Very little of which is actually important.
While the films of Sidaris often fall short of being great, I have to give him credit for putting so much effort into them. His films are independently produced and often straight to video. His use of flashy boats, high flying panes, fast cars, faster women and a healthy dose of explosions give his films the esthetic of having a higher budget than they actually had. Sidaris films are like any episode of “Magnum P. I.”, but with Tom Selleck replaced with a big breasted naked woman, plus three or four other wild elements like exploding snakes or exploding blow-up dolls for good measure.
These flashy things don’t make a his movies good, but they always seem to be filmed and produced with a certain level of skill and professionalism that adds a sense of quality to them, even if they have a jumbled story with plot twists that are beyond belief.
 
I believe this is why Andy Sidaris has such a loyal following of fans. His films aren’t masterpieces, but you will always know what you’re going to get and you’ll be entertained no matter what. Speaking of being entertained, “Hard Ticket to Hawaii” is only going to get a two bullet rating from me based on the technical stuff alone, but it gets ten bullet for shier fun!
Some last things to keep your eyes open for are movie posters from Andy’s previous films located in Donna & Taryn’s home. The informant who rats on Edy is the same cross-dressing man from “Malibu Express”, played by Michael A. Andrews. There is a manhole cover that is obviously just a painted trashcan lid. And finally, as Rowdy and the gang infiltrate the home of Romero to rescue Edy, He encounters one of Romero’s guards on the beach. He talks the guard into playing catch with a Frisbee only to replace the Frisbee with one that has razor blades imbedded in it. The blades cut off the guards fingers when he tries to catch it and then slices into his neck — killing him.
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!
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