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.