Thursday, 22 December 2011
SAND SHARKS (2011)
Directed by: Mark Atkins
Story: Joe Benkis
Screenplay: Cameron Larson
Starring: Gina Holden, Corin Nemec, Brooke Hogan
The title says it all really and with this B-movie you know precisely what you are getting. Sharks: yep. Sand: yep. Sharks eating people: yep. Boobs: well sort of, most of them clad in attractive bikini tops, no actual bare ones unfortunately. So, in the world of B (and even A) movies, sharks have terrorized the deep blue sea, fought against a giant octopus and even turned into something called a dinoshark! So, hell, why not sharks that “swim” in the sand and cause a right nuisance of themselves. Which they do in this umpteenth riff on Jaws as we see a small island invaded by said sand sharks ruining some kind of beach party the town resident douchebag has set up to try and bring prosperity back to the island.
So, yeah, it’s all pretty familiar and predictable with a requisite amount of dodgy CGI sharks jumping out of the sand at regular intervals. Along for the ride is a salty sea dog complete with comedy accent, hat and shotgun, a bunch of hot youngsters who just want to dance, a cop who takes the whole thing deadly serious, Hulk Hogan’s daughter and some actor called Edgar Allen Poe IV (cool!).
It’s all breezy fun and a lot better made (despite the still obvious low budget) and less headache inducing than a lot of similar films made by The Asylum (this flick was actually produced/distriubuted by American World Pictures who do know how to make a decent B-movie) and there a few giggles at the makers working in as many silly puns as they can: “you sand of a bitch” (groan). On the downside, for this kind of film there is just too much talking. Fair play on giving us some characters and a bit of comedy to go along with all shark munching but Sand Sharks, despite the fun opening scene, does take a while to get moving. Corin Nemec as the aforementioned douchbag is good value but is given too much screen time thus becoming tiring and while Brooke Hogan is no great actress s andhe is certainly easy on the eye and often in a bikini top or daisy duke shorts (sweet).
Once the action does kick in there are lots of low budget CGI sharks jumping out of the sand, people getting chomped, people getting hilariously dragged under the sand and the sight of giant fins slicing through the sand (as they would the water) is actually pretty cool. Low budget, stuffed with rickety CGI, animals on the rampage movies seem to be in vogue at the moment and while Sand Sharks doesn’t quite live up to it hilariously awesome title and premise is a decent 90 minutes of pretty people getting eaten by monsters B-movie trash.
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
SNIPER: RELOADED (2011)
Directed by: Claudio Fah
Written by: John Fasano & Ross Helford
Starring: Chad Michael Collins, Annabel Wright & Billy Zane
The original Sniper (starring Tom Berenger and Billy Zane) is an underrated gem from the 90s action heyday. Taught, well acted and shot in some awesome looking jungles it was a tense and entertaining little action movie. Berenger returned for two sequels (Part 2 was decent with some corking action; Part 3 was a bit of a damp squib) and while he jumps ship for the fourth go around, good old Billy Zane is back for what is a truly decent sequel. Berenger’s character might not be around this time but his son is (played by Chad Michael Collins) who, non surprisingly, is a highly skilled and efficient soldier. Stationed in South Africa, Sgt Brandon Beckett sees his squad wiped out by a ruthless sniper when they attempt to rescue a European farmer stuck in hostile rebel territory. Swearing revenge, he enlists the aid of ace sniper Richard Miller (Zane) who was trained by Brandon’s father and the scene is set for a high powered rifle showdown
Now this may be the fourth entry in a somewhat low budget action franchise but this is a straight-to-DVD sequel done right. The makers frame a decent story and decent characters we actually care for around all the action. Coupled with the picturesque African setting and vistas, director Claudio Fah (Hollow Man 2) and his team certainly get the most out of their modest budget. Good to see Billy Zane back in the franchise, who, despite what appears to be him wearing his own personal wardrobe in certain scenes, acts as the tough and caring mentor to Collins' more by-the-book Beckett. Chad Michael Collins, looking a little like he didn’t make the cut for a new boy band, is impressive as the tough Beckett and makes for an effective action hero. He gives it his all and really infuses his character with personality meaning we give a damn once the bullets starting flying.
Fah wisely builds to the action, mounting tension and orchestrating some excellent scenes of fire powered fuelled action. The initial attack on Becket’s squad is excellently staged (complete with groovy cameras mounted on the barrels of guns shots) and the high powered rifle showdown doesn’t disappoint either with one unlucky sod literally losing his head! This all makes Sniper: Reloaded a thoroughly enjoyable fourquel and a highly satisfying action flick that is well made and keeps a lesser known franchise chugging along with new life breathed into it.
FULL IMPACT (1993)
Directed by: David Huey
Written by: David Huey & Marc Messenger
Starring: Gary Daniels, Kent Ducanon, Linda Bennett
My capacity for bad action movies is monumental. I enjoy most of them even if they suck beyond all belief, defy all logic and feature the worst acting imaginable. But damn if Full Impact isn’t my threshold for cheapjack action movies. I love Gary Daniels, enjoy most of his action movies and think he is an excellent on screen fighter but even he can’t save this load of trash. Sure it’s one of his earlier ones and everyone has to start somewhere but man this movie is so mind numbingly bad: hyperbole for sure but I think my brain actually shut down a couple of times as it tried to comprehend why I was still watching the film despite the fact it was getting progressively worse and more bat shit crazy as the minutes ticked by.
Shot in deserted parking lots and abandoned warehouses somewhere in LA, Full Impact is as cheap as they come (well, at least it’s not shot on DV) that sees Daniels as a former cop turned vigilante who is after some serial killer who likes to kill sexy women with his bare hands after he’s gotten jiggy with them. So far, so b-movie. Yet, from Daniels’ lions mane hair, to the awful post dubbed dialogue and soundtrack, to the most (unintentionally) hilarious car chase, Full Impact is just plain painful. It seems to be two movies in one: a low rent cop flick with kung fu and a sleazy soft-core thriller. The protracted scenes of sex and nudity seem to be randomly inserted and seem to be from an entirely different movie, as if the producers were trying to spice the flick up so they could sell it to more markets. It ain’t sexy either with all said scenes seemingly shot in the same abandoned warehouses mentioned above and all participants looking extremely wooden and uncomfortable.
At least the fight scenes are copious and fairly decent but by the millionth time Daniels decides to thrown down with some goons (or hilariously decide to fight his best mate in one of those deserted parking lots) boredom and fatigue will have set in. And both will certainly set in after the epic and never ending fight between Daniels and the main villain that seems to go on FOREVER! Seriously, the brawl takes in several empty warehouses, several city blocks, the aforementioned silly car chase and somehow (and I really can’t remember how) the two end up on top of a building with one of them on fire! Action b-movie barminess at it’s most insane.
If you’re gonna watch Full Impact, at least invent some kind of drinking game to take part in while watching it: make it easy, like, drink every time someone utters a ridiculous line of re-dubbed dialogue and you’ll be drunk in about 8 to 10 minutes! I wish I’d played this game when watching it.