Friday, May 18, 2007

Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991)

Dolph Lundren is big meaty Detective Kenner, who is teamed with new partner Brandon Lee. Lee plays Johnny, a sinewy sidekick to Dolph's stoic intensity, or if you prefer, his lack of expression. Lee doesn't do any steller acting in this film, but at least he's no Dolph.

Yoshida (played by the always excellent Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) is an evil, tattooed Yakuza druglord who plans to distribute methamphetamines to make an even bigger fortune. In an incredible twist of fate, which you see coming a mile away, Yoshida turns out to be the assassin that murdered Dolph's parents when he was a child living in Japan. Tia Carrera is a lounge singer who works for Yoshida, and is a witness to a murder at the club. She is also Dolph's love interest, thus complicating things for everyone.

The majority of the film revolves around Kenner and Johnny beating the hell out of everyone who crosses their path. It is a bit odd to see them beating up Yakuzas in a bath house. But that way the Yakuza can wear traditional sumo diapers, and the two buff cops clothing can get all wet and clingy. Yes, it makes no sense, but since there are also a lot of low brow phallic jokes in the film, perhaps they were intending to promote Dolph's massive bulk.

The film is a fairly typical 80s action flick, although the acting is subpar, which is too bad since its not like the bar was set very high, what with Chuck Norris being the top action hero of the 80s.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Howling IV (1988)

Mystery writer Marie and her husband Richard rent a cottage in the middle of nowhere to get some quiet after Marie's breakdown. Marie's agent, Tom, thinks it will help her write, but there is tension between Tom and Richard which causes problems when Tom drives Marie to the cottage.

Everytime Marie and Richard go to bed a wolf howls. This makes Marie freak out and the sexually frustrated Richard finally runs off to the nearest small town to get supplies. He starts sleeping with the pomaded, skanky, gift store lady, which means that anytime Marie questions him or gets upset, his guilt causes him to treat her badly.

After a visit from a former nun looking for the bug eyed Sister Ruth, who disappeared while renting the cottage, Marie realizes that this is the nun she has seen telling her to get out of the cottage.

One night Marie wakes up to find Richard missing and hears a scream from outside, which turns out to be Richard with a huge wound in his neck. As her werewolf bitten husband melts - since when do werewolf bites make people melt?!? - Ruth sees figures in the woods and hears their chants of "Satan Calls You." Richards melty blood covered skeleton then morphs into a gooey werewolf.

This film might have some of the lamest werewolf costumes ever. Everyone looks like they have fun fur glued to their face and strange looking huge teeth that don't look much like werewolf teeth. If I had to describe the creatures, I'd say the werewolves look like are giant furry trolls with fake pointy teeth.

Howling: New Moon Rising (1995)

A long haired Australian rides into town on a motorcycle, goes to the only bar in town, and gets a job. There is lots of line dancing and pointless dialogue.

In an abrupt switch in storyline, a man goes to a priest and tells him a werewolf story. The story goes nowhere but introduces the concept that when everything turns red, you know you've looking at the werewolf cam. And from the height of the camera, the werewolf is only a foot off the ground, which isn't so impressive.

Another not so impressive thing about this movie is it is almost entirely void of werewolves. There are only two werewolf cam scenes, which are very brief, and an even briefer scene of a werewolf itself. To be totally honest, the person who is the werewolf goes through a terrible morphing process and becomes a werewolf puppet with teeth that are obviously rubber.

The film seems to be more an excuse to promote some bad country songs, shoot footage of spookily lit line dancing, and use footage from previous Howling movies for their flashbacks - and werewolf footage from a previous movie does not count as an appearance by a werewolf in the current movie.

I kept waiting for something to happen in the film, but it never did. I would only recommend this if you are on a quest to see every Howling movie, or if you like your werewolf movies without werewolves.

The Power (1984)

The last Aztec idol in the world which holds ancient power falls into the hands of three high school students. Tommy brings it as his good luck charm to the cemetery, where he meets Matt and Juile who have a Ouija board. In typical midnight graveyard fashion, something goes horribly wrong and the kids want to find out about the idol.

They contact Sandy who works as a reporter for a tabloid, but surprisingly she isn't interested. Her friend, Jerry, who is staying at her house, convinces the kids to give him the idol. His interest in the idol grows once he gets a sense of it's power. Unfortunately it is the idol that is really in charge of the power and Jerry gets so strange that Sandy kicks him out of her apartment. But to be fair, Sandy is a total pain in the ass, and Jerry should have gotten out of there anyway.

After messing with the power, Jerry temporarily ends up with this freaky nose that looks like a cross between a pig, a trident, and a phallus. Super creepy. Later in the film he lets out this pathetic whine sounding like "Nyeeehhhhh..." and appears to be dancing ballet or some sort of modern dance.

Also of note are Julie's bangs. At first they are severely short, but later they are at least an inch or two longer, and feathered back.

Alucarda (1978)

Orphaned Justina moves into a convent where she shares a room with Alucarda, a strange girl who immediately gloms onto Justina and forms a suicide pact with her within the first day. They are cared for by the nuns, who look like mummies due their heads being wrapped in bloody bandages.

Alucarda and Justina gallavant through the forest and run into a hunchback gypsy, who ends up involving them in a satanic ritual which at first appears to be a dream sequence. They also play in an old tomb, where Alucarda opens a coffin and releases howling evil. The girls commence to swear their allegiance to Satan during the holy readings, which leads to an exorcism in which Justina is accidentally killed, and Alucarda conveniently forgets about their suicide pact.

This movie has lots of blood and naked women, but mostly it has screaming. Lots and lots and lots of screaming, which continues through the entire movie. At first its annoying. Then it becomes so ridiculous that it's funny. But by the end of the movie, it's intensely annoying and drives you almost to the point of insanity.

The dvd cover features a creepy looking image of Alucarda - very nicely done.