Thursday, 14 August 2014

24 Hours to Midnight


Written & Directed by: Leo Fong
Starring: Bernie Pock, Myra, Stack Pierce & Cynthia Rothrock (sort of!)

24 Hours to Midnight is just as mad, bad and rad as its title. Ok, maybe not so rad but definitely mad and also, unfortunately, quite bad. Often credited as action starlet Cynthia Rothrock’s first movie appearance (I don’t know for definite that it is but certainly could be considering when it was made and she is in it for all of 4 minutes!), 24 Hours to Midnight is also an early offering from onetime martial arts movie machine Leo Fong (Low Blow, Killpoint). Rothrock appears briefly as the wife of a slain informant who was going to testify against local mob boss ‘White Powder’ Chan (yes, that is his actual name!) and then vows revenge, using her martial arts and ninja skills to take out Chan and his clan. When the bodies start piling up cops, and all-round walking wardrobe disasters, McQueen (Price) and Jackson (Myra) are soon hot on the trail. Will Rothrock complete her mission of vengeance? Will the cops figure out what is going on first? Who really is that in the ninja outfit? Will anything at any point in this movie make sense?

The answer to that last question would be no. As while Rothrock is the main attraction here and the thrust of the story seems to be about her seeking revenge dressed as a ninja, she only appears in a few brief scenes early on and the person dressed as the vengeance gunning ninja, is, well, not Rothrock. Hell, her voice ain’t even her own: it belonging to B-movie queen Brinke Stevens. Apparently leaving the film early on due to some disagreement or another, Rothrock only shot a couple of scenes and the rest was used filming a double. Which would be fine, if the double looked anything liked her. This leads to a lot of unintentional hilarity, a lot of confusion and one gratuitous breast shot (again, not Rothrocks!). Fortunately she does get a couple of quick fights scenes and despite the often nonsensical and very low budget nature of the film, Fong at least packs in a lot of fights and shoot-outs.

B-movie and TV actor (and one time professional baseball player!) Stack Pierce and once prolific stunt man Bernie Pock (Die Hard, Freejack, Class of 1999 Part 2) are also on hand to elevate the B-movie awesomeness but 24 Hours to Midnight is perhaps for Rothrock completists only, proof (once again) that you really could make anything in the 80s and testimony that a film like this should only be watched with a group of likewise B-movie aficionados (and alcohol) and not by ones-self: like I did, which was a big mistake! I should have learnt by now.  


Ty said...

Nice write-up. Always wanted to see this. That's unfortunate that Rothrock isn't in this that much.

drive2 said...

thanks man. yeah it's worth seeing for an early, albeit brief, Rothrock appearance and all its B-movie in-saneness...