Friday, September 15, 2017

Random Movie: War

Hey gang. Back again and today I was feeling a bit of mindless action violence candy. That usually involves the gruff voiced and unshaven mug of Jason Statham. Oh don't worry. It's not a Transporter sequel nor is it the sequel to Crank. I will spare us all that bit of squirrelly. No, instead think of a crime war, some deep seething need for revenge and some twists and turns. This is War.

No Statham, I will not be in Expendables 4. Piss off!

Special Agent Jack Crawford (Jason Statham of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, The Italian Job, The One, Crank and The Expendables) and his partner Tom Lone (Terry Chan of I, Robot, The Life, Battlestar Galatica, Chaos, Snakes on a Plane, V, Riverworld, Sanctuary and House of Cards) just pissed away two years of their life on an investigation that went completely south in Asian Task Force. With the Yakuza and the Triads nipping at each others' heels, the Yakuza call an outside enforcer code name of Rogue (Jet Li of High Risk, Black Mask, Hitman, Romeo Must Die, Kiss of the Dragon, The One, Unleased and The Expendables). A extremely skilled marksman, martial artist and even swordsmaster. A jack of all trades in murder.

They had to subtitle Cockney again.

Jack almost meets his maker in the struggle when Tom shoots Rogue in the face as Rogue falls in the water with body not found for three days. A modern day myth as it was said that Rogue was once CIA having his face reshuffled often and then he went to work for the Yakuza's Oyabun Shiro (Ryo Ishibashi of Aiki, Moon Child, G@me, The Grudge, Big Bang Love, Juvenile A, Waru, Waru: kanketsu-hen and The Investigation Game)

Jack re-coops his arm but is off to watch the big game (Football I am guessing given it was fall, possibly basketball) when he has to make a pitstop for some steaks. Passed out from pain on the ride there, Jack, his wife Jenny (Andrea Roth of Crossworlds, Red Meat, Rescue Me, The Collector, Lucky, The Time Tunnel and Bridal Fever) and son Daniel get to see the Lones' home up in flames. Jack finds all three dead an a titanium spent shell that housed a depleted uranium bullet on the scene, Rogue's M.O.

Contract negotiations aren't going well.

Three years later, the Triads and Yakuza are about to go head to head. Leading the Asian Task Force is Jack dogged, determined and other things beginning and ending in d; hot on the trail of this impending war when another hit taking out some top soldiers of the Yakuza happens. All too similar to Rogue's M.O. Again.

Chang, head of the Triad (John Lone of Year of the Dragon, Echos of Paradise,The Last Emperor, The Moderns, The Hunted, M. Butterfly, The Shadow, Rush Hour 2 and Paper Moon Affair) is attempting to acquire an ancient household relic of golden horses. These two statues sold carefully can finance his empire in America and consolidate his foothold into a stance. Jack and his team now made aware of Rogue about, they know it is only a matter of time before the war breaks out and innocents get caught in the crossfire.

Keeping order in the states for the Yakuza is Kira (Devon Aoki of 2 Fast 2 Furious, Sin City, DOA, Mutant Chronicles, D.E.B.S., Death of a Dynasty and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead) , a ruthless, shrewd and health conscious young woman with ideas of advancing in the Yakuza and maintaining her family's honor. Nothing else matters to this girl. Seriously I think she would have creeped out Kill Bill's Go-go.

Will Jack and crew be able to catch Rogue? Will the Asian crimelords turn the city of San Francisco into a charnel house?

Okay the specifics of the film. One, there is mild nudity so may not want the kiddies sitting down to this one. Two, a substantial body count. Murder and mayhem are hand in hand. Three, a decent twist in the story so the brain does not get to shut off easily.

The stunt work of Gun Fu, car chases, car crashes, martial arts and even some sword fights is most impressive. Of course I have my nitpicks like an immensely dense metal like uranium used for 9mm is highly impractical and would most likely chew up the Walther P-99s that Jet is using. Commonly you find that in your 20mm to 30mm cannon shells. So you wouldn't trash your pistol you would have to pack less gunpowder. So less kill and next to no distance or accuracy. Check with your military friends if you think this fun fact is crap. They'll be on my side though.

Jet's car was a Spyder I think the Spyker C8 series which retails at about $275k, possibly more and last but certainly least, this marks the second of five films Jason Statham and Jet Li have collaberated in. The others are The One and The Expendables 1 through 3. Not a brilliant film but not a bad film either. Adrenaline junkies will enjoy it but so will the casual movie viewer.

A lost Highlander episode??

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Rotten Reelz Reviews Audio Review #39: John Carpenter's The Fog

Okay and back with the second audio review.  Again I promise to post my audio reviews on here.  I just forgot this time around.  And now a cult classic: The Fog

Rotten Reelz Reviews Audio Review #38: Switchblade Sisters

Hey folks.  I realized I had forgotten to post my last two audio reviews.

So here's the exploitation film: Switchblade Sisters

Random Movie: Armed and Dangerous

Hey folks. What's going on? Decided I needed some comedy to review for a change. A bit of John Candy. So some organized mob, gunfires and maybe even some drag. This is Armed and Dangerous.

Divine never looked so saucy

Officer Dooley (The late and great John Candy of SCTV, Who's Harry Crumb?, Uncle Buck, Home Alone, Nothing But Trouble, Only the Lonely, Delirious and Once Upon a Crime) a decent guy gets caught with a stolen TV courtesy of his fellow boys in blue pinning the theft on him. Right Dooley. Next you'll tell me the Rodney King verdict was unjust. But instead of going to jail, they take his badge and end his career. At the same time, nervous defense lawyer Norman Kane (Eugene Levy of SCTV, Club Paradise, Splash, Father of the Bride, Stay Tuned, Maniac Mansion, Multiplicity, Waiting for Guffman, Almost Heroes and Holy Man) is at his wit's end defending murderers, psychos and tweakers. He desperately needs a career change. No sooner are these two roped into the exciting wondrous world of guard duty, the pharmaceutical company they are guarding is robbed.

Whaddua mean I have less sex appeal than Steve Guttenberg?

Funny how the robbers sound exactly like two thugs from the Union. Wonder if there could ever be corruption in a union job. Nah. Their boss, Captain O' Connell (Kenneth McMillan of Salem's Lot, Partners, The Clairvoyant, Blue Skies Again, The Pope of Greenwich Village, Dune, Runaway Train and Cat's Eye) reams their asses, slaps them with a hundred dollar fine because the whole fiasco was explained...a little piss poorly. With heated tempers, crucial evidence to how the robbery went down was ignored.

With their butts on the line and their jobs looking bleak what with guarding a dump and a toxic landfill, the guys decide to check out the robberies themselves.

With a collective of talent in this film it is really hard to dislike it. Helmed by director Mark L. Lester (Firestarter, Commando, Class of 1984, Class of 1999, Showdown in Little Toyko and The Dragons of Camelot) and screenplay by the late and great Harold Ramis (Meatballs, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Back to School, Groundhog Day and Analyze This) this film is not politically correct, there will be ethnic slurs and sexist content of bimbo women. Hmm I might be putting folks off. Okay...starting anew. There is slapstick, drag humor and more gun play than an Eastwood movie. This is really that stint in comedy where they wanted some action to go with the humor. A rash of theft makes Dooley believe that there is more going on and the very company he is working for is directly involved with it. Maybe not most of the guards but some of the higher ups. 

Man, that orgy got out of hand, right?

With the union being so tight lipped about why they need close to $4 million a year to keep them in the black and yet no actual explanation to what this $15 a week in 1986 timeline that is a fair chunk of change. By inflation status, think $50 a week. Now that has your attention. Besides, most union charge by the month not weekly so already something is off. Plus half of their staff look like gunsels.

With their accountant rep trying to wash the dough (ill gotten gains from illegal sales plus making only 80 cents on the dollar in laundering) the big boys decide he is a loose end and are gonna take him for "a little drive".

At this point the crooked cops must also be on the unions' dollar as Dooley and Kane are being chased by syndicate, bent cops and hell, why not the fire department now.

With Kane's mental stress levels and Dooley's dishonorable discharge from the police, they are plump pigeons ripe for the blame.

Can the boys get themselves out of this jam? Will Meg Ryan a.k.a. Maggie have feelings for Kane? Will Brion James play YET another loopy?

With some decent crane shots, dolly track and some substantial car crash stunts, this is as action as possible. Hell the Texan in the big rig smashing down the L.A. Freeway to Born to Be Wild is enough excitement as it is.

Goodfellas?  Geddoutta here!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Stan Winston's Wrong Turn

Ah nature. She brings us water, fresh air, forests to burn down at a whim's notice. Helpless creatures to shoot, skin and cook. That being said, today's requested film will keep most of you out of the woods period. Welcome back to the humdinger today is the Stan Winston production throwback flick, Wrong Turn.

Kids, tobacco is wacko if you're a teen.

Directed by Rob Schmidt (Speed of Life, Crime + Punishment in Suburbia, Wrong Turn, The Alphabet Killer, Fear Itself and Masters of Horror episode) teamed up with sensational writers Alan B McElroy (Halloween 4: Return of Michael Myers, Spawn, The Marine, Thr3e, Tekken, The Marine 4: Moving Target, The Perfect Guy and The Condemned 2) giving us a return to yesteryear. A young couple just have to do some mountain climbing, right? I think that is just freehand climbing know what? I don't care. This is just another contrite means of distracting me with either a graphic murder/jump scare or alluding to a jump scare. Too many jump scares, modern horror. STOP THAT. What's that? Boyfriend's rope went slack and he went deathly quiet? Oh he's pulling a prank on me. Tee hee, I left my brain at the bottom of the mountain.

So we are on the road now with Detective Quinn who doesn't like gridlock apparently. A shame he couldn't used his phone to alert him of traffic conditions. The radio does that too, Joey! Taking a quick route to a rural gas station at the corner of rapey gas station and hillbilly banjo playing cliche, Flynn played by Desmond Harrington finds a less traveled gravel path way through the mountains and back to the main overpass. If I was reading it right, it may actually be a decent short cut. Old Man attendant goes back to spacing off and scratching those story line much needed balls as Flynn gets back on the road less traveled in the hopes of getting to California quicker because... yeah I don't remember why he is even going to Cali. Dexter's in Miami, dude.

Next time on Dexter...

Well done. It's only a parked car you slammed right into. Next time drive staring ahead where you are driving instead of out of your upper eye lids. Jagoff. How the hell was that even possible you ask? No clue. Derptity derp derp.

Detective Flynn flies head on into an obviously parked car. Starting to see why Dexter is still running free.
And remember Horror movie rules, people so cell and smart phones are useless. By the by, this almost feels like exploitation territory except the cast clearly has touch ups and decent foundation.

Our collective camping nitwits are out because Jesse (Eliza Dushku of True Lies, Bring it On, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Catwoman, Batman: Year One, Dollhouse Wet and Open Graves) had a bad break up. Psst, Flynn. Rebound sex is possible so don't screw it up by talking. Son of a bitch, he blew it!  4 of our party decide to go further down the road and look for help given they need new tires. Homemade spike strip assured that. Why don't we all go back the road we came from?  Shaddup!  We ain't got time for your logic!  Well why don't we all go together instead of leaving two of us behind??

Don't breathe....and don't fart really loud either.

Time to thin the cast. Cause weed means a horrible person. So a plethora of horrible weapons used to dispatch our fun loving hippy types and I have had no emotional investment in any of them so I am mystified on how I should feel.

Emanuelle Chriqui of 100 Girls, The Steps, Murder in the First, Entourage and Killing Jesus and Jeremy Sisto of Clueless, Hideaway, Ice, Law & Order,Wicked City and Rent Control are commonly tremendous talent but....not so much here. They leap when they should look ,they speak when they should think and die when they could have avoided it altogether.

So what can be said about this film? Well the FX, make-up and what practical effects were made looked awesome. Some of the CGI wipes, additional and green screens weren't bad per say but I have seen better. Story? Don't go camping in the woods, trying to give the Friday the 13th element back to camping or the Jaws theme of going into the water if you will. It took me what felt like ice ages recognizing actors Lindy Booth and Kevin Zegers because I was not a huge fan of the Dawn of the Dead remake.

A retro-gradation story-line that they should have to dropped it in late 80s or early 90s so the cell phone angle a tad more believeable, plus I really wanted to hear one of the cast use gnarly or bitching. Again not a bad film some of the camera effects were a nice touch. I saw an Dario Argento or more specifically Mario Bava influence with a close-up on eyes and mouths. So impressive were the gore effects practical that I felt the CGI slapped them in the face not matching them up.

With Stan Winston Productions handling practical effects, Hillbilly murderer makeup and static wounds, it would almost be a true 70s grindhouse horror if not for modern elements. Hell I say toss it back into the 70s. Music, clothes, lingo and make it just flow naturally, man. Some Three Dog Night in the background. Hell not like you couldn't find a 1974 album or song title for your Horror
Stan oversaw the makeup, appliances and also his company produced this film so you know he didn't just get his hands dirty. More like his arms were chest deep in a man's sternum.

With all these known quantities maybe that is why the actors feel wasted in this flick. Would have been better with a cast of unknowns and maybe either Sisto or Harrington as a state trooper following a missing persons/death statistic rate hunch and stumbles upon the inbred, redneck mountain men.

This way the kids have a cop to hide behind and he plays mentor to instill some hope and courage in them before he nobly sacrifices himself to save their lives a little bit longer. What the crap?

OoOoO a cut above the rest.

I am so writing this script.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rotten Reelz Reviews Audio Review #37: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

In honor of the passing one of the Masters of Horror, I decided to give some love to his first terrifying flick, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre My Audio Review of course.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

John Carpenter's The Fog

Hey folks. I wanted to do a passage on the Funhouse for the passing of Tobe Hooper but I think I will have an audio review for that. So instead let's have a terrifying legend.  A ghost story of a town's past and how it effects the present. This is The Fog.

Our master of horror, John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing, They Live, Prince of Darkness, Village of the Damned and Vampires) gathers us around a fire to tell tale of sailors that gone on the high seas. I mean we open with an eerie piano score and a quote from Edgar Allen Poe.

Well that could be anyone in all that fog. Cub Scouts probably.

Set in North Cali, in a little fishing village called Antonio Bay the town preps to celebrate in centennial as the mayor's aide and official busybody about town, Kathy Williams (Janet Leigh of Touch of Evil, Psycho, The Manchurian Candidate, Starman, Murder, She Wrote, The Twilight Zone and Halloween: H20) has managed to get the whole town in the swing of the upcoming festivities.

The local parish is looking to find records from that time in 1880 on the founding of Antonio Bay. Father Malone (Hal Holbrook of Wild in the Streets, The Brotherhood, The People Next Door, The Great White Hope, Magnum Force, All the President's Men, Lincoln, Midway and Creepshow) is digging into the archives. Meanwhile at night, a strange glowing fog seems to almost engulf the town. With fishermen out to sea and no one has heard from them since they had a near collision with another vessel. 

A pickled preacher and some vino. What could go wrong?

 During all this, the new DJ Stevie Wayne (Adrianne Barbeau of Maude, Creepshow,Swamp Thing, Escape from New York, Diagnosis Murder, The New Batman Adventures and Mad Max) is giving it her all to make your mornings bearable as the piece of driftwood her boy gave her seeps water and speaks through her 8-track and tape deck announcing" Six Must Die," in a ethereal voice.

With more crazy in the night, horns honking, Tvs turning off and on, windows shattering. Da works. Only one thing to do with this level of strange, make like Nick Castle (Tom Atkins of Halloween, Escape from New York, Maniac Cop, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Night of the Creeps, Lethal Weapon, A Stranger Waits and Drive Angry) and pick up a hot hitchhiker like Liz Solley (Jamie Lee Curtis of Halloween, The Fog, Terror Train, Prom Night, Halloween II, Trading Places, Perfect, True Lies and NCIS) whose only crime is wanting to get to Vancouver. Sad really.

 The twosome got a little froggy in the night and then got bombarded by more bizarre phenomena. All this nuttiness started after the stroke of midnight, but our heroes don't need to know that.

Hey!  I never get a hitchhiker that hot. I cry foul.

Nick and Liz charter a boat to hit the Sea Grass and see if they can't find out where the hell all this fog originated. No sooner are they at the vessel it just looked trashed. Like it fell under a tidal wave and all the plankton, moss and water logging could happen, did happen. They also find the crew in mass levels of decomposition that occurs in weeks not hours.

With familiar faces and voices like Charles Cyphers (Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween and Escape from New York)and Darwin Joston (Assault on Precinct 13, Eraserhead, The Fog, Wild at Heart, Hill Street Blues, Coast to Coast and Gunmen's Blues) so I was safe. Best part is both these men could provide exposition and plot point drops and not feel like it got shoe horned in.

A dark ghoulish story of a town wanting nothing to do with a leper colony leading that ship to the jagged rocks leaving them to drown and die.

Sounds pretty damn festive to me. Our collective townsfolk must try to break this horrible curse before all 6 descendants die. Who knows if this even frees their souls? Maybe it will allow them to torment the town for decades to come.

With director/writer John Carpenter tipped his hat to references to Waitely Point and Arkham Reef both used by H.P. Lovecraft in a fair number of his tales. Primarily it was the influence of the The Creeping Eye that helped him pen this dark tale. Still love that the town doctor is named Phibes. Any Vincent Price fan I am aware of has seen The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Dr. Phibes Rises Again. While the main leads Curtis and Barbeau never share screen time with each other, it is rare a male writer knows what the hell to do with an actress aside from making her the femme fatale or clinging love interest. John has shown time and time again, that it isn't that difficult.

My God! She has a cigarette!! Horror movie confirmed!!!