Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Hunt for Eagle One: Crash Point



THE HUNT FOR EAGLE ONE: CRASH POINT (2006)

Directed by
: Henry Crum
Screenplay: Michael Henry Carter
Starring: Mark Dacascos, Theresa Randle & Jeff Fahey

Much like the first Hunt for Eagle One this quickie sequel stacks on some sweet military jungle action despite a threadbare budget and plot. Dacascos and Randle are back as their characters from the first flick but good ole Rutger Hauer seems to have jumped ship and been replaced by good ole Jeff Fahey. He’s the gruff general on the sidelines barking orders and delivering a monotone voiceover. Meanwhile, Dacascos and his crew are sent off into the jungle and various shantytowns looking for an evil despot who has a device that is capable of crashing commercial airline jets. Having been the damsel in distress in the first film, Randle tags along with Dacascos and his team getting in on the action this time around. Gunfire aplenty follows.


Again much like the first film, Crash Point takes a good twenty minutes or so before it really gets going with some cheap looking credits, lots of stock footage and Fahey rambling on before the soldiers are sent on their mission. Once out in the jungles the flick sets a good pace and production values seem to improve, the filmmakers obviously spending their money (or what money they had) on the hunt-for-the-bad guy mission part of the story. It’s all pretty straightforward tough and gruff military stuff with some cheesy tough talk thrown in. The cast don’t get much more to do than run and shoot and Fahey pops up now and again to tell everyone how important the mission is.


Despite the low rent feel The Hunt for Eagle One films are pretty entertaining. Crash Point arguably has superior, tenser and better-sustained action scenes than the first film, with several running gun battles adding some much needed oomph to proceedings as well as effectively padding out the running time. A big gun battle that takes place at the enemy’s jungle compound (a set/location recycled from the previous film) and the epic chase/shootout through the maze like streets of a shantytown are the highlights and are impressively staged. Incorporating military tactics with chase thrills (and lots of gunfire) these action scenes are exciting stuff. As mentioned Randle gets in on the action this time around and Dacascos even gets a nifty little fight scene towards the end, an aspect which was sorely missing from the first instalment.

The Hunt for Eagle One films are low budget Roger Corman produced films for sure (meaning they are equal parts naff and awesome!) and will probably appeal more to the military action nut but with an always watchable genre cast and decent amounts of well executed action they’re worth a look.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Lunar Cop



LUNAR COP (1994)

Directed by
: Boaz Davidson
Screenplay: Terence Pare
Starring: Michael Pare, Billy Drago & Walker Brandt

Cop. Beverly Hills Cop. Robocop. Manic Cop. Psycho Cop. Omega Cop. New York Cop. Cyborg Cop. And, yes, even…Lunar Cop. Yep, the moon has only gone and got itself a police force in this mega barmy mid-90s Nu Image action-fest. It’s the future, the earth has been scorched and a portion of the human race (mainly rich douche bags!) live on the moon hoping to one-day return to earth. This dream may just be around the corner with the development of some kind of special formula/serum (I forget what it was called!) that can make the earth habitable again (or was it destroy it?). Anyways, the rich douche bag’s pack off their best moon cop (Pare) to earth to find said serum (once he’s kicked some ass on the moon thwarting off some terrorist types!) and when he gets there he discovers there are many humans already living and sustaining life on the once destroyed earth. However, there is also an evil biker gang causing trouble, led by the always manic Billy Drago, and as this is a 90s Nu Image sci-fi flick, the evil moon guys send down a cyborg (Nu Image sure loved their cyborgs in the 90s!) to make even more trouble for our lunar cop hero.

Now only a small portion of the film actually takes place on the moon (which includes some hilariously groovy miniature work) as Lunar Cop is basically just an excuse for another Mad Max rip-off/rampaging motorcycle gang action flick. Sure our cop hero is from the moon and dispenses knuckle-busting justice but this flick is your standard post-apocalyptic sci-fi nonsense. Well it’s better than standard as, while it is nonsense, it’s actually a lot of fun, decently made and stuffed to the gills with stunt heavy action goodness. Along with Billy Drago bringing his usual loony brilliance (he kills several people, attempts to rape the heroine and gets set on fire all within his first few minutes on screen!) and Michael Pare delivers one line of dialogue at a time before punching someone in the face or blasting them with his trusty sawn-off, Lunar Cop is jammed with all kinds a vehicular mayhem, stunt packed action, and gunfire that rarely lets up.

Decently shot (in the African desert) and with some impressive production values for a low budget film, Lunar Cop hardly ever lets up in its action goodness. Since it’s basically a Mad Max action film/post apocalyptic biker movie, the flick has a heavy dose of impressive motorcycle stunt mayhem. The stunt crew are certainly put through their paces and when folks aren’t crashing or falling of motorcycles they’re gunning down everyone and everything in sight. In fact, the action reaches an exciting crescendo when Drago and his gang make their final attack on the heroes compound in an impressively sustained onslaught of action. Then, the cyborg shows up and we get plenty of bone crunching, being thrown through walls, fist fighting action, as Pare has to kill it over and over again. Awesome.

Subtle it ain’t but Lunar Cop does have a cop from the moon, a shootout set on the moon and enough done-for-real-no-CGI motorcycle mayhem and gun-toting action (that Nu Image did so well in the 90s) that it’s an absolute hoot.

                                                

The Warrior's Way


Check out my new review of The Warrior's Way over at Far East Films.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Let the Bullets Fly



Check out my new review of Let the Bullets Fly over at Far East Films.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Unlucky Stars


Unlucky Stars is the new action flick from star and director Dennis Ruel (The Stunt People's Contour) starring Ken Quitugua, Sari Sabella, Vlad Rimburg, Jose Montesinos, Giovannie Espiritu and featuring Steven Yu, Sam Hargrave, Emmanuel Manzanares, Roy Chen and Shawn Bernal.

Check out the new trailer for the fun looking flick below and here's a brief synopsis taken from the recently released press kit for the film:

When Peru's biggest Action Film star and Jordan's newest rising talent find themselves pursued by a notorious bookie, a couple of private investigators are forced to choose between their job and their conscience.

Watch the Unlucky Stars trailer
Website - http://WWW.UNLUCKYSTARSTHEMOVIE.COM

This looks like a lot fun.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Tajomaru: Avenging Blade



Check out my new review of Tajomaru: Avenging Blade at Far East Films.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Time Again



TIME AGAIN (2011)

Directed by: Ray Karwel
Screenplay: Ray Karwel, C.S. Hill & Debbie Glovin
Starring: Angela Rachelle, Scott F. Evans, John T. Woods, Tara Smoker & Gigi Perreau

Time Again is part Timecop, a little Groundhog Day and a whole load of action packed fun that rarely stops for a breather during its 80 gun blazing minutes. Made on what appears to be a shoe-string budget, Ray Karwel doesn’t let this damper the sense of fun in this barmy tale of ancient coins that hold the power to ruling the world, time travel and shoot-em up action. Said coins are stolen from Mr Way (Evans), a deadly criminal who wants them back by any means necessary. Tracing them to a local diner where they have ended up as a tip for a waitress, Sam (Smoker), Way and his minions lay waste to the diner and kill Sam in the process. Six month’s later, Sam’s sister Marlo (Rachelle) is still hoping Sam is alive, as the authorities never recovered a body. And with the nifty sci-fi slant and the help of a kind lady (Perreau), Marlo is able to hop back in time to see if she can prevent her sister’s killing and stop the powerful coins falling into the hands of Mr Way.


Time Again is a fun ride. Sure it’s a little kooky (the old lady complete with funky hat who sends our heroine on her time travel adventures!) and rough around the edges (the budget is a little limited!) but that doesn’t hinder the fun times the film delivers and the momentum never dips. Karwel keeps the pace and his characters peppy and the time travel concept does lead to much fun with Marlo being sent back repeatedly only to keep seeing her sister being killed. Along for the ride is a gun toting cop (Woods) who, well, gets to dispense a vast amount of ammo as he tries to protect Marlo and capture Mr Way. Time Again is packed with gunplay, with numerous shoot-outs breaking out every time Marlo is sent back in time. The action scenes, while not overly intricate, are excitingly staged and dole out a satisfying amount of shell cases in numerous gun-blasting exchanges. There is a pump action heavy confrontation in the diner, a neat gag with (what appears to be) a large rolling cable wheel and a very funny running gag with one of the bad guys always getting shot in the face.


Karwel and his cast inject a sense of humour into proceedings with some witty banter exchanges between Rachelle and Woods, the bad guys are suitably boo-hiss but also seem to be having fun and everything moves at such a clip from all the gun battles to all the hopping back and forth through time, it's hard not to get caught up in the rollicking fun. Karwel wisely keeps the film moving and we are never far away from the next shoot-out or fistfight. The cast seem to be having a blast and certainly throw themselves into the action scenes. Some may find the time travel aspect a little jarring as a kindly woman showing up at regular intervals to send our heroine back in time doesn’t always gel with all the running and shooting action.

However, Time Again mixes its genres (action, sci-fi, a little comedy) well and delivers a pistol popping, time hopping good time.

http://nastystrangers.com/TimeAgain.html


                                                   

Weekend of Trash 8



Myself and a couple of good friends from Blueprint Review (Justin and Dave) get together a few times a year to spend a weekend watching trashy films. We pick a few choice cuts from each other's (rather large) collections of films and try and fit in as many trashy films as we can: enjoying, ridiculing, dissecting and in the case of Strike Back, out right hating them along the way). We've been doing this a while and Dave always does a great write up of the films at Blueprint Review. You can also check out write-ups to previous Weekends of Trash by following the link below.


Weekend of Trash 8

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Admiral


Check out my new review of The Admiral at Far East Films.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Arachnoquake



ARACHNOQUAKE (2012)

Directed by: Griff Furst
Written by: Paul A. Birkett, Eric Fosberg
Starring: Tracey Gold, Edward Furlong, Bug Hall, and Ethan Phillips

Even if this flick wasn’t any giant-spider-eating-human’s fun (which it is) it would still be blessed with one of the best titles to grace a bug movie (or any movie for that matter!) ever: Arachnoquake. Brilliant. Spiders plus earthquakes equals Arachnoquake. Awesome. I can’t say the title enough: Arachnoquake, Arachnoquake, Arachnoquake. Amazing. While this may be a SyFy produced cheapie, it’s a whole load of giant spider munching fun that delivers exactly what a low budget creature feature should: lots of huge genetically impossible creatures running amok and chomping up a cast of disposable characters.


If you hadn’t deciphered it from the (awesome!) title: an earthquake causes a horde of giant (and some small!) spiders to creep out of the ground and start terrorizing the residents of New Orleans. These are no ordinary spiders: they’re albino spiders, which can breathe fire and run on water (see I told you this was awesome!). So we have our rag-tag band of heroes you have to navigate the ever-swarming rampage of fire breathing albino spiders and as is the norm with creature features (and as exactly as it should be) the humans are mere fodder for the bugs and are made up of your usual mixture of reluctant heroes, tourists on vacation, screaming babes and (somewhat bizarrely) Edward (T2) Furlong playing a father to two teenagers (!!??) and the coach of an all girl high school baseball team (!!!!!!????). Now this is even more unlikely than an earthquake hatching giant albino fire-breathing spiders! Still the cast go at it with aplomb, hamming it up when necessary and running and screaming from a surfeit of giant CGI beasties.


Yes the CGI is of the low budget standard (and I’m sure many will have lots to say about how awful it is and the evils of CGI etc, etc) but it’s not bad for a low budget film. Plus, when a creature feature is this packed with giant bug rampaging action, I’ll take shoddy CGI if it means we get giant spiders running across water chasing after humans! This is just one of the wonderfully absurd moments in Arachnoquake which also includes the spiders breathing fire (if I hadn’t mentioned that enough already!) and a quite bonkers finale featuring the hero running around New Orleans in full diving gear (!!??) with a pump action shotgun dispensing spiders. Quite, quite brilliant.

There is only so much you can say about a film called Arachnoquake and while we don’t actually see any earthquakes (it’s just mentioned that it actually happened!) the film certainly delivers on the arachnid front. Logic may take a flying leap out the window (with events just seemingly happening at random) but with decent production values, a great sense of fun and lots and lots of giant spider action, Arachnoquake is bug B-movie gold.

The Hunt for Eagle One



THE HUNT FOR EAGLE ONE

Directed by: Brian Clyde
Screenplay: Michael Henry Carter
Starring: Mark Dacascos, Theresa Randle & Rutger Hauer

This low budget, Roger Corman produced quickie (did he ever produce any other kind?) is heavy on the military action and light on everything else. Not that this is such a bad thing, as at just pushing 80 minutes in runtime and starring the great Mark Dacascos, all I want is a lot of action delivered at regular intervals. It’s a generic tale of a pilot (Theresa Randle) shot down in enemy territory and held captive by some nasty Philippine rebels. Dacascos and his crew are given orders to go in and rescue her and, somewhere on the sidelines, Rutger Hauer pops up as a cigar chomping military general barking orders.


The first 20 minutes or so are a little ropey with some dodgy opening credits, ample use of stock footage in the first big action scene and some extremely dodgy graphics used to represent targeting systems, meaning its not until Randle is actually captured and Dacascos and his men set off in search of her that the film finds its groove and gets a little more entertaining. While it’s pretty straight forward in terms of narrative and the bad guys are suitably boo-hiss, we-hate-Americans terrorists, the flick makes up for its shortcomings with some nice shot on location photography, some pretty impressive combat action and the always reliable Dacascos. The jungles are nicely shot and while the budget may not have been great, the action is often well staged. Sure it’s a little rough around the edges but the makers have at least attempted to try and give it a somewhat realistic edge as the actors stalk and shoot one another through jungles and abandoned buildings. The action sees a lot of ammo being dispensed (so ok, maybe its not that realistic) and is explosion heavy and thankfully there is a lot of it.

Dacascos, while not getting to cut loose kung fu wise, makes for the dependable hero and its always good to see him take lead in a film even if he is required to do nothing more than run and shoot here. Randle is good also but is given perhaps too little to do other than be held captive and tortured (and provide a rather sombre voiceover narration!). Hauer on the other hand looks kinda bored, is only in a few scenes and seems to be there only to collect a pay cheque. Still he can chew cigars, and scenery, with conviction and he is a welcome presence in any film.

While it’s maybe a bit too American military gung ho and the lack of budget shows through more than once, The Hunt for Eagle One is still a fairly entertaining hunt through the jungle action film with plenty of M16 firing action that will likely be enjoyed most by fans of military themed action flicks.

Monday, 10 September 2012

The President's Man



THE PRESIDENT’S MAN (2000)

Directed by: Michael Preece & Eric Norris
Screenplay: Bob Gookin
Starring: Chuck Norris, Dylan Neal, Jennifer Tung, Soon-Tek Oh & Ralph Waite

We all know Chuck Norris is the ultimate bad ass and as All American as apple pie but damn, The President’s Man might just be the most patriotic film the bearded butt kicker has ever made. Even more so than the epic awesomeness that is Invasion USA. Hell, it might be the most patriotic film period! Ok, enough hyperbole. The one thing The President’s Man is, is the whole Chuck persona personified to the extreme: even more so than the rest of his ass kicking back catalogue. I mean he’s a badass martial artist (obviously!), he’s the Prez’s number one soldier meaning he is on constant standby should the Prez find himself in trouble or, say, his wife needs rescuing (which she does in the hilarious opening sequence!) and, well, everybody walks around like he is some kind of messiah and I wouldn’t be surprised if he could shit gold!

I’m not ragging on Norris, I enjoy his films, but the Chuck Universe is founded on absurdness (and awesome butt kicking!) and The President’s Man might just be the accumulation of said absurd universe (and awesome butt kicking!) making it the most “Chuck” movie ever made. Unfortunately it’s not his best. However, it ain’t that bad. Sure it’s got all kinds of flag waving craziness and action madness (I mean he rescues the first lady in the opening action sequence by jumping off the top off a high rise and dumping her into the sea!) but it’s a load of silly fun and the action ain’t bad either.


Norris, after the funky rescuing the first lady opening sequence, admits he might be getting “too old for this shit” (though he doesn’t actually swear!) and decides to train a new recruit to be the next President’s Man. That new recruit is all round, do-the-right-thing, tough guy (and occasional douche!) Deke Slater (Neal). Cue lots of training montages, Norris dishing out cod philosophy along with the kicks, male bonding and a nice amount of neck breaking action. There are also some nasty dudes, including genre stalwart Soon-Tek Oh (who wouldn’t you know it, Norris has a grudge against!), up to no good with some plutonium for Norris and his new recruit to thwart come the end.

The President’s Man is as barmy as this review but it at least remembers to have a little fun as there is a slight James Bond vibe going on with Norris’ character and while there is no getting away from the overt Chuckness, patriotism and just general ridiculousness, the training scenes are well done and the action sequences are effectively crunchy and punchy.

BOOM!

Blood of Warriors (aka Bang Rajan 2)



Check out my new review of Blood of Warriors  at Far East Films.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Transit



TRANSIT (2012)

Directed by: Antonio Negret
Written by: Michael Gilvary
Starring: Jim Caviezel, James Frain, Elizabeth Rohm, Diora Baird & Henry Perrineau

This fast and furious action thriller is sweaty, gritty and tension filled as a group of crooks chase after a family who have their money, in an awesome souped up black Chevrolet Chevelle. The plot may be streamlined (crooks hide their stolen cash in the car of a travelling family so they can get through a roadblock and then go gunning after the family to get the cash back) but the actions of the family and the criminals are never predictable. Sure this is Southern action pulp (proceedings taking place on the sweltering roads and bayous of Louisiana) yet the filmmakers have taken the time to give care to the characters and succeed in doing what a lot of action filmmakers seem in able of doing these days: make their film exciting, tense and action packed.


Produced by Joel Silver, Transit has a slick and professional sheen perfectly capturing the hot and sweaty nature of the Southern atmosphere as the tension between the crooks and family heats up. While James Frain’s bad guy is suitably nasty and driven to get his money back, it’s his ever-changing relationship with his gang that brings a lot of the tension. While he is a ruthless mastermind, he is at the mercy of one of his group who holds the key to them executing a clean getaway. This makes the bad guy somewhat vulnerable, meaning he is not as in control of the situation as he thinks he is. Likewise, the filmmakers have made the family just dysfunctional enough to add tension to their plight. Jim Caviezel’s dad is not quite the family man we first think and does the wrong thing on a number of occasions, which threatens to tear his family apart. His family never really trusts him but have to rely on him, which adds extra tension to the full throttle plot.


The cast are uniformly good here, even the youngsters who play Caviezel’s boys. The crooks are a little more three dimensional for this type of flick and, while I’m sure it’s always more fun playing the bad guys, they don’t dominate proceedings. The family are well rounded and both Caviezel and his onscreen wife (Elizabeth Rohm) convince as desperate parents trying to get their family out of a horrible situation. Director Antonio Negret (Seconds Apart) never lets his foot off the gas, creating a high-tension chase film. Momentum is sustained throughout with some impressive set pieces all mounting the tension and vehicular destruction (that cop car flip is a doozy!). And that Chevrolet Chevelle is a thing of beauty (much like the lovely Diora Baird) as it tears through the swampland causing mayhem.

On the negative side the film is a little over edited on occasion (though for the most part the action is cut well and easy to follow) and there is some shoddy back projection: I know it’s cheaper to green screen scenes within a car but it looks so much better when you film the actors in real moving cars. However, this is quality action filmmaking, a tense ride and while it has its roots in exploitation, a meaty thriller thanks to some fine acting and character development.

Good stuff.



The Pandora Project



THE PANDORA PROJECT (1998)

Directed by: Jim Wynorski
Written by: John Terlesky
Starring: Daniel Baldwin, Erika Eliniak, Richard Tyson & Tony Todd

This cheap quickie from Cinetel Films and Jim Wynorski sees Richard Tyson (Kindergarten Cop) running around causing trouble with some kind of device that can implode the cells of any living creature without demolishing surrounding buildings and vehicles (woah!). Hopping all over the place, with his band of rent-a-goons, Tyson first tries to sell the device to some Mexican drug lord, only for the deal to go south. He then legs it back to the US and sets his sights on eradicating important officials. Uber serious government type Tony Todd ropes in old pal and all round super solider Daniel Baldwin to track him down as, well, he’s “the best damn man in the business” and, wouldn’t you know it, Baldwin has a score to settle with Tyson (at least I think he did! They certainly new each other from being in the forces but I watched this pretty late at night and as you can see the plot is already all kinds of complicated!). Speaking of complicated, Baldwin has also got to get married (to the lovely Erika Eliniak no less) something his beautiful bride to be keeps reminding him of. Can Baldwin stop Tyson from killing loads of people and make it to Vegas on Saturday to get hitched? Well, what do you think?

Wynorski has made about a billion cheapjack action flicks like this (Desert Thunder, Gale Force) many of which are a lot more fun than The Pandora Project. This should have been a B-movie hoot what with groovy sci-fi like weapons, automatic gunfire and a great B-movie cast all on the menu but unfortunately it all feels stale and tired. For one thing, there is too much talking when there should be more running around, gunfights and things just generally blowing up. It’s great that they’ve worked in Baldwin’s upcoming marriage and his close relationship with his brother but damn, I’d rather he was chasing after Tyson and getting into more gunfights and car chases. At least Tyson is a lot of fun, not giving a shit who he kills, cracking quips and just generally being a douche. He chews every scene he is in, rocks a Hawaiian shirt on one occasion and seems to be the only one having any fun.

There is a little bit of action peppered in here and there with a pretty cool gunfight cum fistfight taking place in a deserted racing track. But alas, just not enough to stop this being a dreary B-movie that just needed a little more boom.

Monday, 20 August 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation



HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION (aka GET THE GRINGO) (2011)

Directed by: Adrian Grunberg
Written by: Mel Gibson, Adrian Grunberg & Stacy Perksie
Starring: Mel Gibson, Peter Stormare, Kevin Hernandez, Dolores Heredia, Bob Gunton, Scott Cohen

Now this is more like it. After returning to the acting fold from a short (ish) hiatus with Hollywood gloss Edge of Darkness and the underrated (and very funny) The Beaver, Gibson gets down and dirty in this old school action thriller. At his gruff and tough best, Gibson sinks his teeth into the role of a thief fleeing for his life with a boatload of cash only to get caught and thrown in a hellhole of a Mexican prison. More like a mini town encased in concrete walls and run by killers, pushers and all kinds of corrupt officials, Gibson’s thief must adapt quickly to the harsh life and hold his own against the ruthless clientele. Making friends with a young tearaway and his mother, it’s not long before he figures out how his new “holiday home” works. Likewise, it’s not long until the those higher up get wind of the amount of cash he stole, now in the possession of two corrupt cops, and before those who he stole the cash from come looking for it.


Sun soaked but gritty and sweaty this is a mean and moody thriller, with a thick dose of black humour, which showcases Gibson at his best. His nameless character, doused in dubiously moral shades of grey, muscles his way through the corrupt prison with brute force precision and its fun to see Gibson getting stuck into a tough and meaty character. He also shoots him through with a streak of likeability as he attempts to help the kid and mother. Playing the kid is the superb Kevin Hernandez who sure isn’t your typical annoying movie moppet. Paring a tough character with a kid usually softens a tough action film but not here (as the kid can swear and smoke as well as the adults) but helps give the film a touching human relationship at the centre of all the corruption and violence. Thanks to the excellent acting from the stars and tight direction from first timer Adrian Grunberg, the relationship never feels forced and while proceedings do dip into a certain pulpy charm, the gritty and sweaty edge are all maintained.


Nicely photographed and with some authentically grubby production values, How I Spent My Summer Vacation rockets along. The second half loses it grip on the tension and toughness a little as Gibson’s antics to get his money back and get the kid and mother out of prison stray into the ridiculous somewhat, ramping up the comedy factor and losing the tougher edge present in the first half. However, it’s all still a load of fun (as Gibson uses grenades on more than one occasion to get rid of bad guys!) and the action is orchestrated with a lot of flair (in part by JJ Perry, who has a cheeky cameo towards the end!) from the opening car chase to a doozy of a gunfight which takes place in the middle of the prison.

Managing to, just, keep the right balance of grit and laughs, How I Spent My Summer Vacation is an old school hoot, better than a lot of the big budget blockbusters these days, and features Gibson at the best he’s been for some time. However, the less said about his Clint Eastwood impression the better!

Check it out.

 
                                           

Himizu



Check out my new review of Himizu at Far East Films.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Death Grip



Check out my new review of Death Grip at Far East Films.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai




Check out my new review of Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai at Far East Films.


Robotrix

  

Check out my new review of Robotrix at Far East Films.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Alien Infiltration



ALIEN INFILTRATION (aka ALIEN OPPONENT) (2010)

Directed by: Colin Theys
Screenplay: John Doolan
Starring: Jeremy London, Roddy Piper & Ashley Bates

B-movie to the max, Alien Infiltration throws in everything but the kitchen sink in order to entertain, gross out, and up the ante on the last mad-as-a-bag-of-smashed-frogs scene. Sci-fi, action, gore and a whole heap of absurd comedy keep the running time rocketing along as a bunch of rednecks (and a few other stereotypes) take on a big badass alien in a scrap yard. Yep, that’s the set-up in a nutshell: some crazy country folks promise a hundred grand to whoever can retrieve a dead body (which they hope to cash the life insurance in on) from within the bowels of the scrap yard and avoid the big, nasty, alien robot that has crash landed in it. The locals line up, tool up and it’s not long before they are being dispatched in every increasingly creative and ludicrous ways by the alien and its many traps and contraptions.


Much more of a comedy that a straight up action sci-fi flick, Alien Infiltration is still a lot fun that cruises along on its ample manic energy. The filmmakers are obviously having a hoot, cramming in any absurdity, demented character, inventive death or crazy action scene they can think of. In fact, they seem to be having so much fun that all coherency flies out the window in favour of frenzied fun. The flick is all over the place with its host of endless weirdo characters to kill, meaning scenes often start, stop abruptly for another scene to start to then only come back to the previous scene some time later. This makes everything very disjointed but when there is this much trigger happy madness and alien killing carnage going on, it really doesn’t matter.



Despite the singular setting, the filmmakers use their limited budget wisely and the alien design is pretty cool. A big hulking robot, the alien is menacing enough to feel like a threat and has a few inventive tricks up its sleeve: including building another killer cyborg complete with buzz saw arm, that looks like a cut price mecha from some anime TV show. The action comes thick and fast and uses every type of weapon and small town stereotype (including the football and baseball teams, who have a go at taking out the alien!) to imaginative and gory heights. No person if safe from death (not even children, the poor local kids karate club coming to an untimely end in one particular WTF moment!) meaning you never really know who is gonna make it to the end of the film.

The humour is as copious as the action and is lewd and crude but often laugh out loud funny. Plus not what’s not to like when you have the always awesome Roddy Piper as a machine gun wielding preacher who after being killed comes back to life, in one of the film’s more outlandish scenes, by way of parasitic alien and has to be put down via the way of the age old, but always reliable, chainsaw dismemberment? Awesome.

It doesn’t always make sense and you will often find yourself going “What the fuck?” but with some slick special effects, an infectious vibe of fun and lots of alien bashing action, Alien Infiltration is a hoot.

Sword of the Bushido



SWORD OF THE BUSHIDO (1990)

Directed by: Adrian Carr
Screenplay: James Wulf Simmonds
Starring: Richard Norton, Rochelle Ashana, Toshiro Obata, Judy Green

This little 90s gem is one of underrated action star Richard Norton’s better vehicles mixing swords, ninjas, shotguns, Thailand and sexy ladies into a bodacious B-movie mix. Norton is super badass, super cool, super ladies man Zac Conners (top B-movie action name!) a former soldier on a mission in Thailand to find out what happened to his grandfather and the mysterious Sword of the Bushido, both of which disappeared many years ago. No sooner has he set off into the hostile jungle, he’s ambushed by deadly bandits, his kindly guide is gunned down and a bunch of pump action wielding good bandits save him and allow him amongst their ranks. Connors and his new bandit lady squeeze locate said Sword of the Bushido (rather easily it must be said) and hop back to the city in order to collect the reward. Low and behold things don’t quite go that easily as a nasty Yakuza mob boss also wants the sword, dispatches ninjas to fuck shit up, kidnaps Conners’ lady squeeze and holes up in a his big swanky mansion awaiting Connors to come kick his ass.


Despite a barmy plot that veers here, there and everywhere, a mid section that slows to a snail pace, Sword of the Bushido is still some fun and entertaining action silliness. It’s always good too see Norton in a lead action role and he’s both charismatic and adept a busting heads. His character may be a bit too much of a suave douche (he gets to bed all the ladies including his own real life missus, Judy Green, in a hilarious seduction scene) but the dude can kick ass. While the pace does feel a little lethargic on occasion there is still plenty of cool action to help keep proceedings ticking along. The jungle attack features mucho shotgun blasting action, there is a nice fight between Norton and a bandit dude who doesn’t like him (at first, as they soon become buddies: after Norton has kicked his ass!), some ninja’s make an appearance (awesome!) and the final showdown in the bad guy’s mansion is pretty sweet stuff which includes a wicked sword dual.


But the stand out set piece and a good reason to watch this film (besides Norton, the cool action and the awesome title!) is the car chase that features Norton pursuing his enemy in a, go-kart. Yep, a go-kart. When he takes chase after the bad guys he doesn’t flag down a passing car, or jump on a near by parked motorcycle or even commandeer a bus, he goes for, well, a go-kart! God knows why there would be a kid driving a go-kart down a busy Thai main street but there is and Norton uses said vehicle to pursue the bad dudes. What follows is an awesomely hilarious sequence that thanks to some pretty decent stunt work is actually kind of cool. In a completely mad B-movie action kind of way.

So we have Norton, a go kart chase, ninjas, a sword, some decent action sequences and hell, even, a few boobs: all of which makes Sword of the Bushido some highly entertaining 90s action fun.

Clash


Check out my new review of Clash at Far East Films.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Alien Undead (aka The Dark Lurking)



ALIEN UNDEAD (aka THE DARK LURKING) (2010)
Written & Directed by: Gregory Connors
Starring: Tonia Renee, Bret Kennedy, Ozzie Dervish

Alien Undead is low budget, grunts against bloodthirsty aliens done right. Maximising a limited budget to great effect and keeping the action and carnage flowing at a steady pace, this Australian B-movie is great stuff. You don’t me or anyone else to tell you this little flick owes more than a few debts to Cameron’s Aliens (if you’ve seen the trailer or, hell, the DVD artwork you know what kind of film you’re getting!) but heavily armed soldiers stuck in a compound with nasty alien beasties has been a sub genre ever since that classic movie graced our screens. What it lacks in original concept it makes up for in sheer verve, creative make-up effects and frenetic action.

Ok maybe “lacks in original concept” is a little unfair as Alien Undead isn’t a complete re-do of aliens. Sure we have a bunch of scientists and space marines stuck in a compound but the aliens (apart from one big bad one) are more zombie-like in nature than straight-up space creatures, the former inhabitants of the compound turned into yucky flesh munchers courtesy of a rather novel twist. From here it’s business as usual as the survivors and soldiers make their way through the decimated compound trying to stay alive and get out.

                                            

While the dialogue is often hokey (a B-movie with hokey dialogue, no way!) the pace, the action and the commitment to delivering a fun, action soaked monster ride elevates Alien Undead above its obvious low budget. The actors commit full force to the concept and relentless action, and the effects are some bloody good stuff. Gore soaked is an apt description for this sci-fi flick and it must be noted that a majority of the effects are all done practically. For those always harping on about the evils of CGI and the good old days of when everything was done on set, well here it is. The gore effects, creatures and action are done practically and it really does make the film a whole lot of fun.

While there is a little too much fast cut editing on occasion, the action is handled well and it pretty much relentless throughout. Along with all the gooey alien gore effects the action is full of firepower and energy. There is just something satisfying about seeing a squad of gunned up space soldiers shooting the hell out of marauding bloodthirsty creatures. Alien Undead has this in spades and is just a great fun time action monster flick.

Check it out.

                                        

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Raid



Check out my new review of the quite awesome The Raid at Far East Films.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Fire of Conscience

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