Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ninja Nightmare (1980)

aka The Last Reunion

In an overly long opening sequence in Japanese occupied Philippines during WWII, a young boy -played by a kid with limited acting ability - sees his parents killed and mother raped by US soldiers.

Thirty two years later, the son is a man who is looking for revenge. Conveniently the military unit is having a reunion. Their reunion mostly consists of drinking, brawling, dancing with women, and hanging out in discos with bad bands. And all of them hate their buddy Steadman, but to be fair, Steadman is an ass.

Leo Fong, who plays the adult son, buys a sword and says he's going to warn the men in obscure ways that he is going to kill them. What this really means is he tells them they are going to die right before he kills them.

Keep an eye out for the D'Hi Octave Band who look like the Philippino version of KC and the Sunshine Band, complete with white jumpsuits with sequined flames. They sing "Zodiac Lady" a song about all the zodiac signs. Oh yeah.

Cyberzone (1995)

I think it's a rule that any title containing the word cyber has to be somewhere between mediocre and terrible.

In the future, Phoenix, AZ marks the west coat of the US. There are spaceships, robot factories, and Los Angeles is an underwater agricultural city.

Jack Ford is a bounty hunter hired to recover four pleasure droids that have been stolen. He is teamed up with Beth, a snooty droid specialist who has never been on the earths surface. Of course this means that her arrogant demeanor is in for a rude awakening in the rough and dirty streets that Ford normally inhabits.

As this is the dirty pathetic future, there are strip clubs with mutants, crime, droids, spaceships, surface dwellers and those who never go to the surface. Yep, it's like every other cyber movie.

Two things to note:
First, they start with four pleasure droids but end up with only three and make some lame excuse that they lost the other somewhere. Huh? Did the fourth girl decide she didn't want to be in the film any more? Did they only have three nun outfits? It just seems like some lame excuse. Couldn't they have come up with something better?

Second, it's always bad to use real technology when doing a future movie. When they plug the big old ribbon cable into the droids neck with connector pins, they have effectively rendered themselves utterly low tech. So much for the cyber future.

Wanted Dead or Alive (1987)

Rutger Hauer is a bountry hunter with a heart of gold. He lives in a warehouse, has a boat where he romances his girlfriend, rides a motorcycle and has a mullet.

Gene Simmons is a creepy evil terrorist who gets into the US by pretending to be a rabbi, then cuts off his fake beard and blows up a movie theater. Way to go, Mr. Terror!

The CIA, who have their secret headquarters inside a Gold's Gym building, know that Hauer is the best bounty hunter around. But they don't play by the rules and neither does Hauer.

Basically this action flick has nothing new in it, but Rutger Hauer and Gene Simmons do a decent job in their roles and there are plenty of ridiculous scenes full of explosives. Oh yes, and there are an abnormal number of men in the film with very high foreheads.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Corpse Grinders (1972)

Gravedigger Caleb makes extra money by digging up corpses for Landau and Maltby of the Lotus Cat Food Company. When Caleb tells Landau that he'll get no more bodies until he pays him for t he ones already provided, Landau starts killing winos to supplement the dwindling corpse supply.

Landau and Maltby bring the bodies to the company during the night, load them on the conveyor belt to the grinder, and turn them into cat food. The after hours workers are an odd assortment of old scrawny men and a one legged hobbledeehoy called Tessie who looks like Carrot Top. Ew!

Caleb and his wife, who is crazy as a fruitbat and carries around a creepy doll that she feeds soup, are killed by Landau after Caleb refuses to provide him with more of the dead.

Meanwhile Dr. Howard Glass and Nurse Angie Robinson have noticed that all of a sudden many cats are attacking and killing their owners. Sadly enough this is accomplished by the actors holding a poor wriggling cat against themselves, which is supposed to look like an attack but really just looks like what it is - the poor cat is trying to get out of their grip.

Howard and Angie head down to the Lotus Cat Food factory at night so they won't be noticed. But Angie wears a bright red dress and pumps, so she's hardly incognito.

This leads to a match of wits and brawn between the team of Landau and Maltby versus Howard and Angie. No one will be admitted during the cat holding sequence.

Mark of the Astro Zombies (2002)

This shot to video movie features fat alien robots that walk strangely, a shopping mall location, bad acting, and John Carradine's head.

The Astro Zombies, armed with machetes, roam suburban shopping malls killing everyone in their path. The President, the FBI, and a reporter try to figure out how to stop them. Since there are only about a dozen of them, you'd think it would be pretty easy, but apparently bureaucracy has bungled it again, as they rampage on and on and on with their prop machetes.

At one point the President and a group of muckity mucks meet in an office space because the Oval Office is not available. Uhhhhh, if the Oval Office isn't available for the President, than who is using it?!

My favorite part of this movie is the dvd cover. It's reminiscent of the 1960s style artwork, which is appropriate since this movie is based around Ted V. Mikels 1968 movie Astro Zombies, a much better movie shot on film.

Hello. I'm John Carradine's head and I'm proud to be appearing in this movie.

I like Ted V. Mikels movies, but the problem I have with this one is that it doesn't have the charm of his older films. Also shooting on video seems to highlight the short fallings of using tin foil for spaceship walls and rubber masks for alien heads.

Hatchet (2006)

College students go to Mardi Gras in an attempt to distract their friend Ben, who has just been dumped by his girlfriend of eight years. Ben isn't interested in partying or picking up chicks, so he goes off with his pal Marcus in search of a haunted swamp tour.

The swamp tour boat crashes near the reputed cabin of a mutant kid, who was accidentally killed by other kids who were harassing him. Rumors abound that the cabin is haunted, but as it's the only shelter for miles, the group of tourists head towards it.

The mutant shack has lots of implements useful for killing, and unfortunately it also has a mutant, who stumbles out and starts a-slashing anyone it can get it hands on. From here, all the characters fight about how to escape the oncoming mutant death. They discover that one girl is a local looking for her father and brother who disappeared in the swamp. She was smart enough to bring a gun, but not smart enough to bring more than a few bullets - idiot!!

An okay movie with it's middle of the swamp boat crash, no search party, no escape, no more bullets, man eating crocs in the water, killing machine mutant in the woods, oh my god we're all gonna die, haunted swamp ride theme.

Guardian of the Realm (2004)

In the future, there are goth clubs with bad dancing, morphing mutants, fashionably coiffed police, and murder. And they are all boring.

In fact, the future has never been so boring. Characters open their mouths, sending you into a stupor, only to awaken after an undetermined amount of time, dismayed to find that you are still watching this snooze fest.

Witches (1990)

I never had any interest in seeing this movie, but Michelle suggested it and since I'd never seen it, I said okay. I'm not often interested in children's movies, especially after viewing the horrible dreck that passes as entertainment for kids these days. Often it has an alarming lack of plot and intelligence. But this movie was a pleasant surprise.

Based on a book by Roald Dahl, the story is entertaining and the little mice are adorable.Anytime you're dealing with a Dahl story, you know that they filmmakers started off with a good clever story. Thankfully that story and atmosphere also managed to be in the movie.

Luke and his grandmother go on vacation and end up at a hotel that is hosting a convention of witches, who plan to use a potion to change every child in the world into mice, who can then be disposed of accordingly. The special effects and puppeteering are well done (Jim Henson's company is involved).

Luke is the only one who is wise to their plans, having gotten trapped in their meeting room when he was searching for his pet mice. It's up to him to convince his grandmother and try to save himself and Bruno, the gluttonous child turned into a mouse. (He reminded me of Augustus Gloop from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Facatory.)

The Condemned (2007)

Tv producer Breckel decides to broadcast the ultimate reality show in which ten convicted murderers are dropped off on an island and the last one left alive is set free. Doesn't seem like a good idea in any realm of thought, especially since at the end there's going to be a murderer released into society.

Breckel and his overly enthusiastic crew bribe wardens all over the world to get the ten best fighters, and then drop the ten prisoners off on the island. Unfortunately the brainiacs also put their control center on the island, which isn't a good idea when you have ten killers running wild.

As no tv channel will touch the show, Breckel broadcasts it as a pay per view event via the internet. Too bad for Breckel that one of the killers is really undercover special ops Conrad, played by wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin - not to be confused with Colonel Steve Austin, the six million dollar man. Conrad is a good guy so he doesn't want to participate.

The movie portrays the killers as much more likable than the entire film crew and when Conrad heads to the control tower, you're ready for him to kill everyone in sight, which of course he doesn't as he's really a nice little hard working special ops guy who got wrongly imprisoned.

The only thing I can think as Breckel wracks up millions of viewers on his pay per view internet extraveaganza is that his server is going to crash.

Snowboard Academy (1996)

Wow, nothing worse than an unfunny comedy filled with cliches. Corey Haim plays The Wizard, a snowboarder whose older and more responsible brother manages their father's ski slope. The Wizard is such a rebel that he and his friends snowboard down the ski slopes, causing havoc and breaking people's skis over their heads. Yeah, what funny guys.

Dad's ski resort isn't making much money and his estranged wife won't sign the divorce papers unless he gives her half of the value of the resort. The Wizard comes up with an idea to start a snowboarding school, which big brother hates. But Dad okay's the idea as long as it can make a profit and the snowboarders can win a competition against the skiers at the end of two weeks.

In addition to this thrilling plot line, we have the comedy stylings of Rudy James, played to the max by Jim Varney, of Ernest fame. Rudy lands an entertaining job, as well as that of safety inspector, since there isn't enough money to pay two salaries. Not only does he not ski and is a walking accident, he's also a lousy comedian.

Rudy's jokes consist of olde tyme material such as, "My girlfriend is so fat that when we finish making love, she rolls over and smokes a ham." That is as good as it gets, folks, don't hurt yourself heading for the exits.

Ninja Turf (1985)

aka Los Angeles Streetfighter

New kid in school Tony is threatened by Chan, who claims to run the school, and demands protection money. Young, who ironically appears to be in his mid thirties, interrupts the altercation and agrees to fight Chan at night in an alley. After kicking Chan's butt, Young is approached by a couple dressed for a night on the town (complete with rhinestones), who hire Young and his friends to do security. Yes, everyone knows the best security guards are found by checking out high school fights in dark alleys.

After doing several security jobs, including one at a toga party(?!), Young and friends are hired by a rich guy whose party has free drugs for his guests and massive drug deals in an upstairs bedroom. Young observes the deal and decides to steal the drug dealers money filled suitcase while the dealer is having a bubble bath with his girlfriend.

In an even more brilliant move, Young and friends immediately run away, right in the middle of the party, thus making it completely clear that they stole the drug money. Yes, the money is gone and so is the entire security team. Can't be more obvious than that. This brings Superfoot Bill Wallace into play as the man sent to recover the money and teach these punks a lesson.

Contrary to the title, there are no ninjas in the film. The name just capitalizing on the ninja craze of the eighties. The dubbed film feature stilted dialogue, scenes that go nowhere, and many shots that are so dark you can't even tell who is there or what is happening. Sadly, it makes no difference to the plot.

There are subplots about Tony dating Chan's sister Lily, and Young's mother, who appears to be approximately the same age as Young and could pass for his wife. Even though they are supposed to be in high school, most characters look like they are in their late twenties or thirties.

Silliest dialogue:
1. My name is Mario. We heard about the rumble. That's why we came.
2. I run this school.... For starters you pay me $5 or I kick your ass.
3. Kill! Spike 'em! Kill! Spike 'em. (chanted by gang the Spikes)

    Oddity of Note:
  1. the couple at the high school fight dressed up in a suit and rhinestoned dress
  2. the drunken leader of the Spikes wears a cut off shirt showing his bloated belly
  3. Young has a mustache, not something normally seen on high school students
  4. the toga party needs to hire security
  5. there is a touching scene where the gang gives Mark a birthday cake
  6. does this man look like he's a high school student to you?! Well does he??? Young, indeed.

Broken Angel (1988)

Suburbanites Chuck and Cathy Coburn are shocked when their perfect unibrowed daughter Jaime disappears after the prom, where a local gang put a hit on her boyfriend Ron aka Rocket. Turns out Mom and Dad were in the dark about little Jaime, aka Shadow, as she is an active member of LNF, a middle class white gang of suburban kids who deal coke. Rocket is the leader of he gang, and only after the shooting at the prom does Jaime's secret life come to light.

Chuck, played by William Shatner, becomes consumed with finding his little angel, thus continuing the trend of totally ignoring his son Drew, who feels like his family doesn't even like him or care anything about him. During Chuck's search for Jaime, he finds that Drew also has a secret life.

The movie takes a really preachy tone about teen gangs and parents who are too busy for their children and use them as status symbols. Jaime has a horrendous unibrow, which even in a time of unplucked eyebrows, is distracting and disturbing in it's wild abandon.

There is some unintentionally funny dialogue, such as "But everyone's heard the Dragons are packing heavy" or "You're with Rocket! Do you know how many girls would like to trade places with you?!"

Also hilarious is a scene of a bloated Shatner being chased down the street by an Asian gang!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Replikator (1994)

Here's what we're working with:

  1. Ludovic aka Ludo - first man cloned, done during an escape when murders were being committed by the police
  2. John - Ludo's friend who resembles Peter O'Toole
  3. Kathy - Ludo's ex-girlfriend working on clone project for the evil Scott
  4. Byron Scott - gel haired evil businessman who wants to clone human flesh
  5. Victor Valient - honorable police detective, he's not a crooked cop
  6. Accolina as Tina - celebrity that Scott lusts after while wearing his 3D virtual reality helmet

Scientific whiz kids Kathy and Ludo were developing a replication program, but had a falling out when Ludo was sent to jail. Now each works for a different company trying to develop the program. Each one is attempting to get their project online first, so that they may reap the huge monetary values that will be thrown their way.

Byron Scot is an evil self-centered man in league with killer cops who will stop at nothing to become the first person to unveil the replication machine. Secretly he plans to clone human flesh with it, although he leads Kathy to believe that he is only interested in the scientific aspects, and not ruling the world and stealing all it's money.

Ludo becomes tangled up with Vincent Valient, an honest cop, which is too bad for Vincent since the police are in league with the evil of all evil men, Byron Scott.

After Ludo is cloned during a police murder, Scott has lost his chance to become the first to make a human clone, sending him into even more of a lunatic frenzy.

To make matters completely confusing, Ludo's clone is evil and commits murder. Everyone thinks it's Ludo that is doing the killing, but it's not. It's the evil Ludo and at this point things get really confusing as it's Ludo and Ludo...which is which? Programs. Get your programs here. It's hard to tell the Ludo's without your program.

In a mind numblingly uninspiring ending, the Ludo clone gets a melty face and then explodes.

House (1986)

Author and Vietnam vet Roger Cobb moves into his Aunt's house after she commits suicide. Cobb grew up in the home and his son Jimmy disappeared there while they were visiting. Cobb swore he saw Jimmy floundering in the pool, but wasn't there when he dived in to rescue him. Aunt Elizabeth claimed that the house took Jimmy. Cobb's starlet wife, Sandy, thinks Elizabeth is crazy, as does her neighbor Harold.

After Roger moves in, he hears noises from the upstairs, while ghosts and monsters appear to him. Harold thinks insanity runs in the family as Cobb dresses up in fatigues and insists a monster tried to pull him into the closet. Cobb enlists Harold for help, who has his own run in with a monster.

Cobb sees his dead Aunt, who warns him that she is dead because the house tricked her. He is also visited by a monster who takes the form of his estranged wife Sandy before trying to kill him.

As Cobb investigates further, he is sucked deeper into the houses world of secrets. Does the house have his son or is it just using his memories to trick him like it tricked his Aunt?

A decent big budget horror movie with a really good sense of comedy.