Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Future War


FUTURE WAR (1997)

Directed by: Anthoyn Doublin
Screenplay: Dom Magwili
Starring: Daniel Bernhardt, Travis Brooks Stewart & Robert Z’Dar

Three of earth’s best, err, things unite for the greatness that is Future War: religion, dinosaurs and cardboard boxes. Oh and checked shirts. So four of earth’s greatest things. Oh and cyborgs. So, five! Yep all these things cohere into one maximum whole to deliver a sci-fi spectacle like no other. Daniel Bernhardt (in one of his earliest screen roles) is an alien from the future (I think!) who crash lands in mid-90’s LA and spends a good 90 minutes running, no, walking around alleyways, parking lots and sewers dodging rampaging cyborgs, engaging in so called philosophical conversations about religion, being thrown into a lot of cardboard boxes (!) and trying to outrun savage futuristic dinosaur hunters. Yep, that’s right, dinosaurs! Amazingly, dinosaurs are the least strange thing about Future War


Future War is a hodge-podge of bonkers sci-fi madness and, err, bonkers religion mumbo jumbo. Now the idea of Daniel Bernhardt engaging in mad-as-a-bag-of-smashed-frogs combat with dinosaur puppets and a very uncomfortable looking Robert Z’Dar (unfortunately playing one of cinema’s least convincing killer cyborgs!) sounds like a riot, and for the most part it is, one unfortunately has to wade through a lot of running time dedicated to characters wandering around the streets of LA discussing all things Bible and God related. There is also some sort of subplot about Bernhardt helping a former runaway turned nun find her calling (or something) which leads to many of the said scenes of the aimless wandering and some comedy cops also turn up making a half arsed attempt to figure out what’s going on with the sudden appearance of dozens of killer dinosaurs in LA! 


Throw in a slow as molasses pace, pretty much every character wearing a checked shirt (!), a ridiculous amount of cardboard boxes used as “set dressing” and the comedy sight of a bunch of gang members preparing for battle with said dinosaurs by holding a meeting and making notes on their notepads (!) and you have the greatness that is Future War.

Seriously this film is awfully awesome, will no doubt be hated by any connoisseur of the arts and has already been ripped apart/ lampooned on Mystery Science Theatre 3000. This two-bit reviewer, however, had a hoot with it as, well, it certainly delivers on the humans-fighting-dinosaur-trackers- from-the-future front and that is a sight any connoisseur of the arts should witness at least once.

Bask in the glory that is the Future War trailer:


Monday, 19 January 2015

Weekend of Trash XV


I met up again with a couple of the guys from Blueprint Review for another weekend of non-stop B-movie madness. We managed to get through an abundance of low budget insanity including Wolfcop, Antibody, Rottweiler: Dogs of Hell, Get Mean and the crazy awesome America 3000

Check out the write up.

Breathing Fire


Check out my new review of Breathing Fire over at Far East Films.

Top Ten of 2014 at Far East Films.


My Top Ten films of 2014 reviewed for Far East Films.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Blackbelt 2: Fatal Force


BLACKBELT 2: FATAL FORCE (1989)

Directed by: Jose Mari Avellana & Kevin tent
Screenplay: Steve Rogers
Starring: Blake Bahner, Ronald William Lawrence, Gary Rooney, Roxanne Baird & Michael Vlastas

Ok I think I’ve got this right but there was whiskey involved while viewing this film so who knows, bear with me: Blackbelt was a solid and cool Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson action flick reportedly released in 1992. Blackbelt 2 would appear to be (and certainly sounds like) a sequel to Blackbelt, starring one time karate champion, Blake Bahner but reportedly has a release date of 1989. Huh! So Blackbelt 2 was released before Blackbelt? Ok! Blackbelt 2 sees Blake Bahner playing tough super cop Brad Spyder (awesome action movie name!) a character he also played a year earlier in the aptly named Spyder. Come to think of it most of the cast in Blackbelt 2 are from Spyder playing the same characters. However, Blackbelt 2 is not a sequel to Spyder but (possibly) to Blackbelt (though apparently Blackbelt follows Blackbelt 2 – huh!). It appears Blackbelt 2 is made up from a lot of cribbed footage from Spyder (directed by Jose Mari Avellana) with some new footage shot and added in (directed by Kevin Tent): or at least I think that’s what the case is. So in fact, Blackbelt 2 is a sequel (of sorts) to Spyder but also a remake (of sorts) of it and a sequel (of sorts) to Blackbelt (though Blackbelt may in fact be a sequel to Blackbelt 2!!!) and Blackbelt 2 may in fact just be the same film as Spyder!? What!!?? Oh, and all the above mentioned films were produced by Roger Corman. 


Which may go some way to explaining what the hell is going on in Blackbelt 2: which features very little karate fighting as the title would suggest but does feature a heap ton of gun blazing and vehicular stunt action! Corman has always been known for rushing films, recycling footage and churning out many a film in a year and Blackbelt 2 would appear to be a product of this. A sort of Vietnam-action-war-movie that morphs into a renegade-cop-out-to-catch-the-killer-of-his-dead-partner-flick, Blackbelt 2 rarely makes a lick of sense, has recycled footage a-go-go (I’m pretty sure there were shots and scenes from other Corman produced Vietnam flicks in there along with the scenes from Spyder!) and features all kinds of odd fades, music edits, dialogue overdubs and jump cuts in an attempt to piece together all the footage to make sense and produce a whole new movie.

However, despite the ludicrousness of the above Blackbelt 2 (if you can go with it) is a lot of action baloney fun. The film is crammed with fire-fights (often brutally staged), explosions, dangerous motorcycle stunts and even a few fist fights meaning the film rollicks along on its own absurdness. Black Bahner acts all tough and gruff (meaning he shouts a lot!), rocks the denim and wears leather gloves like a motherfucker! On top of all this there is the obligatory angry police captain (complete with comedy Irish accent!), some boobs and it all gets wrapped up in a neat, sweet 75 minutes. Awesome!

B-movie bonkers at its best!


Sunday, 11 January 2015

Vengeance Road


Check out my new review of Vengeance Road (aka American Muscle) over at Blueprint Review.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Blackbelt



BLACKBELT (1992)

Directed by: Charles Phillip Moore
Screenplay: Charles Phillip Moore
Story: Paul Maslak, David. S Green & Neva Friedenn
Starring: Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, Matthias Hues, Deidre Imershein, Richard Beymer & Alan Blumenfield

Blackbelt is from the earlier part of Don The Dragon’s action movie career made in-between the countless Bloodfist sequels, produced by B-movie legend Roger Corman and is arguably one of The Dragon’s best flicks. A sort of low budget version of The Bodyguard with added kickboxing action, gore and Matthias Hues, Blackbelt (while not a tournament fighting film as the title might suggest!) is some solid B-movie entertainment.

The Dragon is Jack Dillon a former cop (obviously), kickboxer instructor (obviously) and now private investigator (er, obviously) who when not refusing payment to “take out the garbage” is hired to look after pop star Shanna (Imershein) and look into the threats she’s been receiving from a mysterious admirer. Said admirer is whack job killer John Sweet (Hues) who has a severe mother complex, a severed finger fetish and is a martial arts bad ass. On top of this Shanna is under threat from her slimy (and always seems to be eating dinner!) manager (Beymer) to renew her contract, Dillon develops the hots for Shanna (which always complicates matters!) and there seems to be a never ending supply of real life kickboxing champions that want to fight Dillon. 


Speaking of real life kick boxing champions, perhaps the first great thing about Blackbelt is the surfeit of (at the time) real life fight champions listed in the opening credits (fight titles and all!) meaning the film is a bit of a time capsule of bygone action cinema: when martial arts/kickboxing was all the rage. Obviously this gives the film’s fight scenes a more authentic edge and indeed Blackbelt does feature a ton of ace kickboxing action: not least when The Dragon takes on a room full of these kickboxing champions in the flick’s finale. Along with all the sweet kickboxing action the flick crams in a fair chunk of graphic gore (thanks to its serial killer theme slant) and a surprising amount of drama for a low budget B-movie. The acting is surprisingly good and The Dragon gives one of his best acting performances. Matthias Hues is also great as the brutal bad guy and he and The Dragon go toe-to-toe in a fierce fight scene. There is a nicely staged shootout in a warehouse that even manages to crank up the tension and overall Blackbelt delivers the action goods.

The production values may be cheap and the fashions outdated but Blackbelt is well made, gives equal balance to story and action and while the mish-mash of gory serial killer flick and full on action film is a little jarring the makers manage to combine the two into an overall entertaining whole. This review refers to the uncut Region 2 DVD verison. 


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Trailer Tuesday: Out For Blood