Friday, December 30, 2016

Comic Flicks of 2016: X-Men: Apocalypse

Greetings and felicitations my readers and welcome for Day 4 of Comic Flicks of 2016. Well I hadn't seen it in theaters because the groan inside my head said the following: "Oh god, not another X-flick!" Yes after 5 prior including the Wolverine solo films I was a wee bit burned out on the mutant mania but for the sake of the week and the fact I promised comic book films I soldiered on. So far haven't heard the name Martha mentioned but still a possibility.   For those that got that, kudos. I figured worse case scenario is I won't like it and all those that bashed it are probably right for one reason or another.  The year is 1983 and mutants have been known of for more than a decade.  An ancient evil is unearthed and the world is once more in jeopardy. This is X-Men: Apocalypse.

Crap, I think we are poster # 3.

We journey to Cairo at the height of En Sabah Nur or Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac of The Two Faces of January, Ex Machina, Mojave, Show Me a Hero, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Promise) may very well be the first mutant in existence in the b.c. Timeline EVER. Forced to worship him and his collective of enhanced followers (Think the Goul'd from Stargate SG-1) his honor guard seal him in his own pyramid condemning him to death. Jet to 1983, Moira MacTaggart (Rose Byrne of Troy, Wicker Park, Casanova, The Dead Girl, 28 Weeks Later and X-Men: First Class) is a CIA agent on a lead of WMD during the Cold War and finds an unearthed power that causes a tremor around the world.

Seriously guys, where is study hall?

 Meanwhile in Poland, Erik or Magneto (Michael Fassbender of Band of Brothers, A Bear Named Winnie, 300, Hunger, Inglourious Basterds, Jonah Hex, X-Men: First Class, Prometheus and X-Men: Days of Future Past) is under an assumed name, married and has a little girl living a good life accident in the smelting plant he works at causes a cauldron of several hundred pounds to nearly crush a co-worker when he instinctively moves it away from him.   Other co-workers think they know what happened, narc on him, the cops show up and well we have his motivation for being a bad guy again. Yup moody and with an new body count YET AGAIN!


Charles (James McAvoy of Children of Dune, Bright Young Things, Shameless, The Last King of Scotland, Wanted, X-Men: First Class, Trance,Filth and X-Men: Days of Future Past) has all but abandoned the idea of the X-Men and has committed his school for the gifted as just that. A school for runaways, concerned teens and troubled mutants that just want a handle on their powers and live some sort of normal life. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence of The Poker House, Winter's Bone, X-Men: First Class, The Hunger Games, House at the End of the Street, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Joy) makes her way back to the school to warn Xavier and the others about Magneto when they encounter En Sabah Nur and his four followers, one of them being Erik himself.

Can a handful of students be the X-Men? Will Mystique take charge or cut and run? How did they get Olivia Munn into her costume?

Okay a few nitpicks and we are done. Cyclops is now the younger of the two brothers rather than the oldest because...reasons. The story is the same as it has been from the three original films of the odds look grim for our heroes, the villain is so over the top, Ming the Merciless wants him to tone it down and the normals hate the mutants.

Nothing bad about it per say but also nothing really new other than more CGI than a Lucasarts film. Will Fox drag this franchise in the mud like they did The Fantastic Four? Who knows, Highlander. Who knows.

Hey bub, cameo time.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Comic Flicks of 2016: Captain America: Civil War

So back again, non-sports fans and here we are for Day 3 of Comic Films of 2016. With a substantial $250 million to cover practical effects, training, martial arts, FX explosions, CGI and the odds and ends, you figure this film better take off or that was a huge waste of funds. Coming in after the wake of Age of Ultron and the destruction of the country Sokovia, Earth's Mightiest Heroes soldier on and do their level best to be the men and women the planet need to put down any known or unknown threat to the world but does the world agree? With a brainwashed Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan of Red Doors, The Covenant, Hot Tub Time Machine, Black Swan, Captain America: The First Avenger, Gone, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Ant-Man) still on the loose, Cap's attention is divided from the gig of saving lives and re-patching old friendships. This is Captain America: Civil War.

Seriously?  This is Poster one!?! How many more!?!

While the initial concept hails from the Marvel multiple title crossover in 2006, this Civil War having less players on the field has left audiences divided for Team Cap or Team Stark. Guess Twilight was easier to pick sides. Oh yes, I just did that. A quick flashback to Bucky's forced Hydra days that in 1991, he was to off the subjects and acquire the prize of a galvanized briefcase full of the super-soldier serum. Whether it followed Dr. Erskine's original formula or if it was reverse engineered from Rogers' blood...hell I don't know. Watch the flick for details like that.

One year after the very brief Age of Ultron, a team of Avengers in plain clothes led by Cap (Chris Evans of Not Another Teen Movie, The Perfect Score, Fantastic Four, The Losers, Scott Pilgrim vs.the World, The Avengers, The Iceman, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron) are in Lagos, Portugal tailing potential threats with a bio weapon of which of former SHIELD and Hydra agents. Assigned this is Falcon (Anthony Mackie of 8 Mile, The Manchurian Candidate, She Hate Me, Million Dollar Baby, Eagle Eye, The Hurt Locker, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson of North, The Horse Whisperer, Lost in Translation, The Island, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Lucy and Avengers: Age of Ultron) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson of The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley: The Case of the U.S. Space Camp Mission, Silent House, Red Lights, Liberal Arts, Kill Your Darlings, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Drunk History).

Copywrit and all that jazz

So two talented normals, a super-soldier and a mutant (Yeah Marvel, I said Mutant so SUCK IT!) seems like a real lackluster support staff for what could end up a serious fire fight. Was Vision off learning how to make proper scones? War Machine or Iron Man off on a booty call? Hey howzabout Thor for cryin' out loud!?! So the crisis is more or less averted except Witch's hex power accidentally forced an explosive blast at a nearby building killed humanitarian aid workers hailing from Wakanda (A fictional nation in East Africa, North of Tanzania. Thank you goofy memory. Now remember your girlfriend's birthday EVERY YEAR!!!). With nations of the world seeing this on CNN coverage, this seems to be the breaking point for the world as they have endured mutants, gamma radiated green guys and the Asgardians and heck why not throw in the Chitaurai as well.

The U.N. Demands heroes to be held accountable for everything that comes down the pike creating the Sokovia Accords that will reveal the identities of powered beings, their power levels and basically tag them so they are overseen and controlled to the preference of the world...and all that entitles. This is where it gets sticky. Tony is all in favor of the accords given the horrible SNAFU that was Ultron while Cap feels remaining autonomous and not relying on red tape and second guessing means their response time to crises would mean they could get in there quicker and do the job easier. The team feels divided on this issue as they are not a military team to be regulated but they should be held accountable for all outcomes regardless of good intentions.

With the continuous search for Bucky who is still on the lam, Cap and Falcon track him down to bring him to anyone that could help him just try to get his life back together are operating AGAINST these precious accords that have NOT EVEN been ratified yet. Yeah Marvel, you know how slow the UN operates at. Curdled milk beats it every time! A bombing in Vienna occurs during the signing of the Sovokia Accords and Bucky has been conveniently named the bomber. Among the fallen is the King of Wakanda T'Chaka (John Kani of The Wild Geese, An African Dream, A Dry White Season, Othello, Endgame, White Lion and Jail Caesar) causing the crown prince, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman of Lincoln Heights, Persons Unknown, The Kill Hole, 42, Get on Up, Gods of Egypt and Message from the King) to lead his nation and put aside his thoughts of revenge as best as he can but the Black Panther does not have to wait idly by.

Dark Bucky...

With Captain America flagrantly ignoring the rules, the saber rattlers are getting annoyed and may actually send people out to deal with Cap and Falcon so he assembles a team that is in the same mindset as he is. With that, Tony does the same giving the unrealized damaging effects hero vs hero could cause. Will this be all out war? Can Cap and Iron Man ever salvage their friendship?

A few comments to make here. As an avid comic book reader, no this did not have quite the same impact as the comic version did and that is understandable. More characters and more craziness attached to it. This is the first appearance of Tom Holland donning the red and blue webs as he is now the third person to play Spider-Man in film. Still not sure what Andrew Garfield did to lose the role or why Parker is NEVER allowed to age!?! Marvel, there is a slew of stories well past his high school years that would make awesome films. Hell, how about the Secret Wars!?! And can we get Fox's grubby mitts off the X-Men and maybe toss the Fantastic Four to a competent writer and director? Okay off topic there. Sorry about that.

 Comprehensively, the story has good moments, shows a lot of heart and loss typical of the latter Marvel story arc and gives mixed feelings for everyone watching. Most don't want to pick a side because they were friends and comrades dammit but yeah sorry Stark I am still Team Cap.

How cool is the Panther?  Ice!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Comic Flicks of 2016: Suicide Squad

Howdy folks and we are back for Day 2 of the Comic Films of 2016. This next flick got mixed reviews, constant nitpicking on theme, standing and casting. For me, it followed a group of loners that do not trust easy, world in jeopardy and we all come together to overcome the odds formula of which this particular collection of tropes can fall back as far as The Dirty Dozen but hey, I still had fun with it regardless. To combat the popularity of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, DC Comics really had to step up their game and brother they did their level best. The rest is up to the viewers. This is Suicide Squad.

We good for the poster?

Superman, the Earth's mightiest hero has fallen saving his town. Who will be there for the next Doomsday (Dead Zod!) to occur? What champions can we call upon to save us in our darkest hour? No we are not bothering Optimus Prime dammit! Amanda Waller (Viola Davis of City of Angels, The Shrink Is In, Solaris, Jesse Stone: Stone Cold, Jesse Stone: Night Passage, World Trade Center, Doubt, Madea Goes to Jail, It's Kind of Funny Story, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Get on Up) U.S. Intelligence officer, former CIA and string of alphabets and black ops has a plan. To create a team made up of the most deadly and dangerous talented normals and metahuman villains for government disposal. A team that can be officially denied if they screw up, so expendable assets (No not Stallone's team!).

My shorties are riding up D.S. so hurry up and wack these guys.

With the green light, Waller has been moving these villains all to the off-site location maximum penitentiary Belle Reve consisting of Floyd Lawton a.k.a. Deadshot (Will Smith of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Independence Day, Bad Boys, Men in Black, Enemy of the State, The Legend of Bagger Vance, I, Robot, Hitch, I Am Legend, Hancock, Focus and Concussion) a man with perfect aim, high kill count, love for his daughter Zoe and one of the best hitmen on the planet. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie of Vigilante, Neighbours, About Time, The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and The Legend of Tarzan) a former psychologist turned lunatic partner and femme fatale alongside the Joker. George "Digger" Harkness a.k.a. Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney of Stoned Bros, Spartacus: War of the Damned, Jack Reacher, A Good Day to Die Hard, Felony, Terminator Genisys and Man Down) bank robber, thief and expert marksman with a barrage of deadly boomerangs.

Beer me!

The reptile man Killer Croc (Adewale Aknnuoye Agabaje of Oz, The Mummy Returns, The Bourne Identity, Preaching to the Choir, Lost, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Best Laid Plans, Bullet to the Head, Thor: The Dark World, Trumbo and Concussion) the hellfire imbued king of the barrio Diablo (Jay Henandez of Crazy/Beautiful, Hostel, Quarantine, Takers, Gimme Shelter, Gang Related and The Night Is Young) master thief and infiltrator Slipknot (Adam Beach of Song of Hiawatha, Smoke Signals, Mystery, Alaska, Joe Dirt, Windtalkers, The Big Empty, Turok: Son of Stone, A Warrior's Heart and Cowboys and Aliens). All assigned to one Special Forces Army Ranger Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman of Storm, Vinnarskallar, In Your Veins, Johan Falk: National Target, Easy Money, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Safe House, Easy Money II: Hard to Kill, Robocop, The Killing and Run All Night) the squad is called in to deal with a catastrophic issue but uninformed that one of the team a former archeologist/possessed succubus sorceress Enchantress (fashion model/actress Cara Delevinge of The Face of an Angel, Paper Towns, Pan, Kids in Love and Suicide Squad) may be the direct cause of the current mission. Attached to this mission is samurai sword master or mistress Katana (Karen Fukuhara of Suicide Squad and Stray) aiding Flag whenever needed.

With explosions, charcoal ridden minions of a big bad incubus and mass chaos now is an appropriate time of the clown prince of crime to make waves as well. Joker (Jared Leto of My So-Called Life, Switchback, Basil, Urban Legend, The Thin Red Line, Fight Club, American Psycho, Sunset Strip, Panic Room, Lord of War, Dallas Buyers Club and Suicide Squad) and cronies are out and about to scoop Harley back for the master of chuckles' Netflix and chill time.

Will the squad survive its first mission? Will Deadshot ever see his little girl again? Will anyone explain to me the need for a pink unicorn at the behest of Captain Boomerang?

Few comments now. I covered most of this in my Rotten Ramblin' On podcast with my co-host on this flick but the following things are thus. Since the Brave and the Bold title in 1964, The Suicide Squad has had a revolving door of baddies ranging from Flash, Batman and even some Aquaman villains being used as cannon fodder for missions. This particular title has seen many a retcon but the jist has always been bad guys doing bad things for their country.

Many view this as the Margo and Will show and okay yeah, it did center around them. Guess what? The film still worked, all the actors managed their parts very well and my only complaint is there was no smackdown with Batsy and the Croc sending him to jail. Would have loved to see a sewer fight with Affleck using his brains and skill to drop Croc but oh well. We have not seen Will play a bad guy let alone bad ass to the same standing he got in Independence Day so yeah well deserved Will. You rocked the role. Again. Is this the best comic book movie? That is open to discussion. Is this the better faithful movie to the comic? I would have to agree.

Look it's either this or we rely on the Teen Titans.

With a budget of 175 million it managed to kick back over 325 million so they made a frickin' profit folks. To be objective, the formula for this film is nothing new but I enjoyed the hell out of it. Like Guardians of the Galaxy, the fans of the comic probably went in droves and had a blast watching it. I feel bad for it not making even more money because the comic is a bit obscure. Overall, I could watch it again and again. Make your own decision but a bit of mindless violence, decent one liners and bad ass action gives it a thumbs up from this guy.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Comic Flicks of 2016: Deadpool

Welcome back everyone! Hope you had a great Christmas, just now enjoying Hanukkah and maybe could explain Kwanzaa. At any rate, the festivities are on a lull for me so back to the grindstone. My lady love suggested yet another write-up for the week and I cannot disagree. We both tried to get into the films of this waning year and we found we were enjoying the comic book movies more so than the sci-fi, drama and comedies. No real fault on the writers' part, just felt that most of the flicks had no texture. So with that I guess this week is all about our comic book flicks of the year.

When you say anti-hero you think of criminals being punished by gunfire or 10 story swan dive out a window. Perhaps you might think of a demonic motorcyclist with a penance stare or even a Canadian with unbreakable bones and claws that can cut through anything. Be that as it may, today we talk about the wise-cracking, gun-totting, sword-wielding smart ass with a healing factor, the merc with the mouth. This is Deadpool.


After the abysmal failure of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the likelihood of a decent film was highly improbable but writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Dinosaur, The Joe Schmo Show, Invasion Iowa, Zombieland and G.I. Joe: Retaliation) manage to hammer together an R rated smart arsed script giving life to one of the most beloved, loopy, spandex clad anti-heroes to the big screen. Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds of Van Wilder, Blade: Trinity, The Amityville Horror, Just Friends, Waiting..., Buried, Green Lantern, Safe House, R.I.P.D., and Woman in Gold) is a highly trained Special Forces commando gone mercenary taking his assignments, pleasing the clients and pocketing the cash. Even scores a hottie stripper name of Vanessa (Morena Baccarin of Firefly, Still Life, Serenity, Justice League, Stargate SG-1, Stolen, V, Homeland and Son of Batman) so all in all, life is looking up until...Wilson finds out he has cancer in his liver, lungs, prostate and brain and life is looking a tad closer towards the crapper.

So...whatcha doin' after the film?

Drinking at the bar for his assignments, Wade is visited a recruiter Wade dubbed "Agent Smith" (Jed Rees of Galaxy Quest, The Ringer, Elizabethtown, Deadpool and Dark Harvest) who tells Wilson of an organization that will embue him with powers and will enhance his existing abilities thus ridding him of his disease. Sounds pretty sweet until the main doctor Ajax (insert tough scrubbing joke) tells Wade that he'll be a super powered weapon of their choosing. Ajax (Ed Skrein of Ill Manors, The Sweeney, Game of Thrones, The Tunnel, Sword of Vengeance, The Transporter Refueled, Deadpool and The Model) pushes Wilson to his mental and physical breaking point until his mutation comes to light. (GEEK EXPLAINATION! Deadpool is a mutate not a mutant. A mutant develops powers due to an pre-existing chromosone while a mutate is due to an exposure of chemicals, environment, alien power base or the power of imagination!) Wilson develops a healing factor that is on par if not superior to that of even Wolverine's. Which makes sense since the stock being pumped into Wilson had to come from Weapon X. However the cancer mutates externally making Wilson's mug and body look like a vicious elbow scab. Maybe an orange you left in the back of the fridge for three months. He could double date with Freddy Kruger and Freddy would be the looker.

We are the three... aaaaamigos!!!

His buddy Weasel (actor/comedian T.J. Miller of T. J. Miller: No Real Reason, RVC: The Lone Shopping Network, Carpoolers, Waiting to Die, How to Train Your Dragon, Yogi Bear, Dragon: Riders of Berk, Big Hero 6 and High School USA!) pissed he didn't win the dead pool for Wade snuffing it gives Wade some tough love, advice and Wade a secret identity mostly by accident. Locked, loaded and severely honked off, Wade will find Ajax and carve him into brisket. Maybe say hi to his girl and who knows, hang with the X-Men.

Okay a few comments on the film overall. The "ONLY" complaint is in the comics, Wade/Deadpool is so messed up thanks to his extreme makeover he has voices in his head, different aspects of his personality if you will and they are always around for thought bubbles making comments so Wade looks completely crackers in a fire fight, sword fight and fistfight that it makes his opponents and even allies question if he is completely crackers or not. That is my only real complaint on this flick. Okay sure you could give him the Darkman damaged hero backstory but guess what!?! With the exception of maybe Thor, all heroes are damaged in one facet or another. Move on. Ryan Reynolds was the logical choice for this character because of his sense of humor, the factor he can manage to beef up and handle all the crazy training he had to pick up. Not to mention that outfit could NOT have been fun to roll in. You sneeze and it's all in your eyes.

The breaking the fourth wall gag was well done in just idly staring at the audience giving a bit of insight and banter. Yes Deadpool is aware he lives in a universe where people disappear/die/ressurect/get lost in time and have massive team-ups all the time.

Ooo can we skip Uncle Ben's death there Spiderman: Homecoming...please?   Seriously twice was enough but DC trumps that with multiple Batman Mom and Pop gacks.   So folks, Stephen Lang, Ron Perlman or my own choice Michael Parks ( Night Cries, Rainbow, The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, Bullfighter, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Kill Bill: Vol.2, Planet Terror and Django Unchained) for Cable, the time traveling, cybernetic, telekinetic gun-totting badass himself. Oh go Google him already. Sheesh.

Wolvie says I can't fly the Blackbird again.  Dink.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Godfrey Ho: Zombie vs Ninja

Hey folks. Back again. You know I have read and seen plenty of the versus titles. From crossover rival comic books to Freddy Vs Jason, I have viewed and leaved through my far share of versus combo platters that baffle the heart and mind. And then I came across today's title that just made me a bit slack jawed. So join me for Zombie vs Ninja.

You feel as goofy as I do?

Classic definition of Zombie is: (The body of a dead person given the semblance of life, but is mute and will-less, by a supernatural force, usually for some evil purpose.) Now let's look up Ninja: (a member of a feudal Japanese society of mercenary agents, highly trained in martial arts and stealth hired for covert purposes ranging from espionage to sabotage and even assassination.) So how terrifying must it be for a skilled assassin to dispatch the roaming undead? Our story begins with a buck toothed undertaker/Kung Fu master whooping three guys fresh from coffins. Our zombies perhaps? They fight for a few minutes and then go back to their coffins due to dawn. No zombie activity thus far as I write this I am in for 30 minutes. The main story is about a Chinese man in ancient times named Ethan. Sure it is.  Ethan was beaten down by a group of thieves who then kill his father. Swearing blood oaths and vengeance he seeks them out. Hmm. To punch this up we could make him a Ghost Rider. Nah, that would be silly. We will call this movie part 1.

Not since Mickey Rooney's yellow face have I been so offended.

Due to piss poor splicing and bad editing, movie part 2 has our other hero name of Dragon (Pierre Kirby and yes Cinema Snob fans, that Pierre Kirby) or Duncan as he is credited in the film as he must go after the thieves and their hired assassins, the ninjas. You know they're ninja not by their fighting style but the fact they are all wearing headbands with the word ninja written on it. Yup that's not stupid at all. Shameless self-promotion. Maybe they went through a warp in the space time continuum and attended a Tony Robbins seminar.

Even Rocky had a montage!!!

Ethan's father is murdered, he is left unconscious and an undertaker abducts him and begins his training as an undertaker. Ethan is so buff, he can carry a coffin on his back. Thing is well over a hundred pounds and he is wandering into the woods and to nearby villages with it strapped to his back. Ethan runs into the people that killed his father. With some advice from Dragon Duncan, Ethan begs the undertaker to train him in Kung Fu in order so he may avenge his father. Dude's training session consists of digging holes deep enough to lay the dead down and carrying a coffin full of rocks. Again, the undertaker calls Ethan soft when the facts are out that he isn't. His 80s training montage music sounds like Jan Hammer's Crockett Theme from Miami Vice, just a bit sped up is all. Oh spoilers...NO MORE FRICKIN' ZOMBIES if in fact there were any that those three dudes in the coffins.

The brightly colored, big shoulder padded ninjas must do battle with Dragon and to be fair, the action scenes aren't bad and there is some decent choreography buuuuUUuuut...I just cannot get over the fact that they all look like extras on a Power Rangers episode. I will stick with real classic struggles of ninjas against the undead like the 2008 epic story Ninjas vs Zombies and bid you good day, Godfrey Ho.

Wow two yaks what I am staring at.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Godfrey Ho: Golden Ninja Warrior

Back again folks. Pinched nerve makes it difficult to write so yesterday was off. We're back with some more Godfrey Ho flicks because vengeance for the Friday the 13th remake! Beats demanding blood I suppose. Two ninjas operating two seperate missions end up teaming up to find the same ninja that keeps attacking them. This is Golden Ninja Warrior.

Worse bed and breakfast...ever.

Director Godfrey Ho (Inferno Thunderbolt, Ninja Destroyer, Ninja Hunt, Ninja Dragon, Bionic Ninja, Super Platoon, Project G-7, Ninja Kill and Ninja in Action)Tells the tale about a blood feud has broken out between two sects, the Red Ninja Warriors and the Golden Ninja Warriors. The intro gives a reprise to Ninja Terminator. I mean the original footage and intro showing us the titles were barely changed and this isn't even the goofiest thing attached. Our Golden Ninja isn't about a statue but in fact a girl name of Sherri Lee (Queenie Yang of Golden Ninja Warrior) chasing after a mob boss known as Four Eyes. Um I can't give you the actor's name because it does not show up on IMDB and the credits ran by at the end at F*CKING LIGHT SPEED so I am clueless to who he is.

Hi. I'm Richard Harrison.  Enjoy the review.

The typical Ho film is his own footage spliced with a failed movie, TV movie or TV pilot that went nowhere, piss poor dubbing and spliced shots to establish characters in the movie know one another and that the exposition will explain everything we know to be true in the film. So somewhere in there she is actually wearing a red ninja outfit so not very golden and she teams up with a guy Michael (Donald Owen of Golden Ninja Warrior) as they are both after Four Eyes for entirely different reasons and let's be honest, who would fear that crappy kingpin name? He is also doing this menacing laugh in almost every scene. My theory? The voice actor went over the top to either relieve boredom or camp so they would fire him and he could voice for Voltron or Robotech.

Fear the 80s hair.

One of the weirdest things is costume transition. They don their ninja costumes from a jump cut Wonder Woman like approach or a cheesy yellow smoke bomb going off by their feet followed by the jump cut into costume again. I saw this, paused and laughed. There was nothing else you could do but chuckle. One scene Sherri is fighting another girl with a fairly laughable choreography then instant costume change, more fighting and then Sherri bails all the while wearing her street clothes again. Piss poor editing and continuity you might say? Nah Godfrey Ho magic of... not really giving a crap. There is so much nudity, sex and shower scenes I am wondering what in the nine hells am I watching. Seemed like a soft core porno with ninjas. Ninja Golden Showers probably didn't help sales so not sure what else to take away from this lazy story telling, bad fight scenes and sex scenes that have all the eroticism of a cat turd. The other ninja female who AGAIN no real name attached to her seems to use the force or telekinetic powers spinning this throwing star the size of a hubcap. I was baffled at what the hell I was seeing.

The best scene with Ninja Chippie is her dagger throw that follows Sherri around the parking lot. Full on Deadite POV style. Again was it the force? Did Ninja Chippie read from the Necronomicon? Was it a Kandarian Dagger? Who the hell knows? From choppy beginning to end I was so confused by this flick, I started to think what a drinking game this would make. Transmogrifying ninja, take a drink. Random appearance of characters, take a drink. Sex scene, take a drink. You would be pie eyed before the damn thing was finished.

This also possesses the overtly used footage of Richard Harrison's ninja scenes for the intro and these scenes have been edited into dozens of the Ho Ninja titles. Yes, the same Richard Harrison of South Pacific, Giants of Rome, $100,000 for Ringo, Vengeance and Day After Tomorrow. FYI, to the ladies, there is a rape scene buuuuuut...poorly shot, jumpy editing and nothing graphic on the screen so they could have skipped it. I don't think we need, "I Spit on Your Ninja's Ancestors" but I could be wrong there.

Mom made me bundle up!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Godfrey Ho: Lethal Panther

Hello and good day to you all. Yup the week is upon us and I decided to journey into Z-grade ninja/zombie/commando cut and paste director himself, Godfrey Ho. Why in the nine hells would I subject myself and you, the readers to this cringe making, live taking utter torment? Well after having to sit through Friday the 13th remake, I was thinking perhaps my readers that make suggestions ARE EVIL and should be punished. Now for you gentle readers that don't want to rock the boat, make waves or create tiny tumors in my brain, I apologize for the week ahead.

Bullet blasting babe of brutality!!

Director Godfrey Ho (Clash of the Ninjas, Bionic Ninja, Ninja 8: Warriors of Fire, Ninja: Silent Assassin, Ninja Death Squad, Cobra vs. Ninja, Robo Vampire, Dressed to Fire, Born to Fight, Ninja Empire and Power Force) is best known for taking films that were not finished or could not get a release date and coming up with his own footage of a different story, doing some exposition to tie the two wildly different stories together with bad English dubbing. Today we look at a cinematic wonder about 3 CIA agents dealing with a counterfeiter when it all comes down to them having to take the law into their own hands. This is Lethal Panther a.k.a. Deadly China Dolls.

Hey, that's not Chow Yung Fat!

Our intro music sounds like I am attending a 1970's Olympic special. Half expected to see Cathy Lee Crosby to grace the screen. Leading this fight against crime is uzi totting former rebel turned hitman or hitwoman Eileen (Maria Jo of Zhong gui, Zai shi feng liu jie, Twisted Love, Searching for Love and Chu nu jiang)CIA Betty (Sibelle Hu of Your Smiling Face, My Lucky Stars, Top Squad, Crystal Hunt, Holy Virgin vs. The Evil Dead and Fatal Mission) and prostitute/assassin Amy (Yoko Miyamoto of Lethal Panther)

Betty slaps around a punk around and tell him to spill his guts about the nephew of crime boss extraordinaire, Albert (Lawrence Ng of The Underground Banker, A Chinese Torture Chamber Story, Deng Long, Zheng rong, Doctor Mack, Peace Hotel and New Tenant) But enough of plot and potential character development, time for a sex scene with full frontal! Yeah that is not a joke and we are only 5 minutes into this flick already. Only to get offed after getting off. Driving a Wakasashi into a guy's gut seemed a bit off but our girl gets cleaned up, rig dead guy's body with a bomb or maybe the squibs were too powdered and smokes all the dead guy's bodyguards.   Betty and CIA plan to deal with the counterfeiter Charles Wong with an undercover buy that gets so damn gun crazy it was a wonder if anything good came out of it. The shots fired forms will go on for a week easily.

I'm an extra!

Da boss' little girl is already for her big wedding day that ends in a bloodbath as Albert decides to have dear uncle Charles bumped off so he can take over and rule the underworld and each of the girls steps on the others' toes trying to get to the same objective.

Will they join forces and bring down Albert? Is Albert his actual name? Could this dubbing get worse?

There are elements of Le Femme Nikita and John Woo's The Killers but it is clumsy execution. That being said, a lot of the fight and gun scenes are actually shot well from different hand held, dolly and some tri-pod. That being said, I am pretty sure he lifted some Carpenter music from Halloween. No idea why but that is a m.o.he is known for. The choreography for the gun fights on the other hand feel like I am sitting through a Miami Vice episode. No one is covering each other, conserving rounds or even flanking properly so... typical action flick. I am no stranger to the Girls with Guns action genre that I believe Andy Sidaris managed quiet often but it is a bit over the top here. 

At least three sleazier than most sex scenes, decent Kung Fu and Wu Shu fights and more guns blazing than The Killers but the editing has made it confusing as hell. I got the 90 minute version but I doubt that 5 additional minutes cleared up all the plot holes.

Bad ass girl but grandma hair cut!?!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Erratic Viewings: Friday the 13th (2009)

Welcome back to Erratic Views Week...that isn't really a week planned persay. Well it is finally here. I am caving into this request and subjecting myself reprising to the horrors that is music video and feature film director Marcus Nispel (Janet Jackson: Design of a Decade 1986/1996, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Frankenstein, Pathfinder, Conan the Barbarian and Exeter). Allow me to elaborate. I sat the 2003 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and was bored to tears. Sadly the only upside to this movie was Jessica Biel in a wife beater undershirt in the rain maker. Yup, one sexist pig thought and that was its only redeeming value.   Conan wasn't bad.   Thought Momoa did a good job, Stephen Lang was a bit over the top but nothing was as tragic is accepting tiny Rose McGowan as a demonic sorceress. So with this all in mind, once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; This is Friday the 13th.

So the rain soaking all yer bits? Sorry hun.

We flashback to the far past of 1980!!!! Why, they had payphones, Sony Walkmans and Atari 2600!

So we look on to primitive humanity as Pamela Vorhees (Nana Visitor of One Life to Live, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Dark Angel, Wildfire, The Resident and Torchwood) apparently has cleaned house and no Adrienne King to lop her head off. Or is there? Yeah so the last counselor is dealt with and mongoloid toddler Jason finds mom dead and then fade to modern day. Such story telling skills! Enter our collective twenty something chuckleheads!!!

Wade (Jonathan Sadowski of American Dreams, Pool Guys, She's the Man, Live Free or Die Hard, $#*! My Dad Says and Young & Hungry), Whitney (Amanda Righetti of Pipeline, Return to House on Haunted Hills, Role Models, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Mentalist and Colony), Richie (Ben Feldman of The Perfect Man, Cloverfield, Friday the 13th, As Above, So Below, Silicon Valley and Superstore) Mike (Nick Mennell of My Little Eye, Halloween, The Lost Tribe, Friday the 13th, Southland, Bad Parents and Crossbones) and Amanda (America Olivo of The Thirst: Blood War, Friday the 13th, Neighbor, The Last Resort, Bitch Slap, Maniac, Chicago P.D. , Defiance and Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation).

Well beats a potato sack, I suppose.

What is our trope troop doing out in these foreign and dangerous woods??? Looking for cannabis. Yup weed hunt. So they can score large quantities I guess. One of the doofs claims this is the best region for such and if he did so much research to that why the f*ck didn't he know about gruesome murders 30 years prior??!! Oh what's that? Oh he knows it happened and he got this all second hand. Brillant. The power of exposition tells us in a very half-assed way about a lone counselor took out Pamela, Jason got her eventually and no real even hint to why or how Jason rose from the dead.

So spoilers, the party gets butchered like pigs except Amanda because...she has a passing resemblance to mommy?? So clearly chain her up and keeps her forevers and evers. Yeah Jason's brain functions have always been in question but hey it's new?? Worry not guys, there's bouncing boobies. You're welcome.

I think Dean's not telling me everything.  I dunno.

Six weeks later, more cannon fodder comes to Crystal Lake to...screw...drink...smoke a spliff and die. Yeah I know I gave away the formula so carefully guarded all these years. Trent (Travis Van Winkle of Accepted, Transformers, Friday the 13th and The Last Ship) and his buds all go to his parents' summer cabin for beer, bonding and bootyah!!! Ugh. Trent's lady friend Jenna (Danielle Panabaker of Sky High, Empire Falls, Piranha 3DD, Bones, Necessary Roughness, Justified, This Isn't Funny, Arrow and The Flash) encounters a strapping stork of a fellow name of Clay (Jared Padalecki of Gilmore Girls, Flight of the Phoenix, House of Wax, House of Fears, Supernatural, Friday the 13th, Supernatural: The Animation and Phantom Boy) rocking his proper Sam Winchester hairdo and not his Prince Adam coif from House of Wax. Clay is out searching for his sister Whitney and I really wanted to help him but have not yet mastered the Bugs Bunny/She-Hulk/Deadpool breaking of the fourth wall so he will just have to settle for Jenna's help as she needed some air, be away from douchey boyfriend and aid others in their time of need. No offense to Winkle there but Sammy boy is vastly prettier.

Jason (Derek Mears of Cursed, The Hills Have Eyes II, Dragon Wars: D-War, Hellbinders, Predators, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Hatchet III, Grimm as the Krampus and True Blood) dispenses with the usual hide and go seek and gets right to doing our party goers in. Dinking around in the forest, Jenna and Clay head into the former Crystal Lake cabin area to see Jason dragging a body of which, you know you never really saw that much in the originals. You saw them propped up or tossed through a window or my favorite, strung up in a tree but yeah not a lot of the prop building seminar. Will Jenna and Clay make it out??? Can they find Whitney???

Okay the rants begin. So rather than the traditional Harry Manfredi music and given Michael Bay production, they went with the so-so composer Steve Jablonsky (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hitcher, Transformers, Dragon Wars: D-War, Gears of War 2, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Transformers: War for Cybertron and Battleship). So it's either hyper-testosterone driven FPS and third-person games or loads of horror remakes. The film itself is professionally done as in lighting, sound, editing and acting buuuuuut.... the story just feels like the first three original flicks dropped in a blender and hit frappe. No real story is explored, the dialogue is painful and these "characters" are for the most part one dimensional. It's Texas Chainsaw Recon all over again!!!! Actually Panabaker and Padalecki are the only ones with decent and feasible dialogue.

Loads of questions come to mind. Who killed Pamela?!? Why were these deaths in 1980 never investigated??? How has Jason's body somehow be preserved all this time?? How come the power company hasn't shut off the power to an long since abandoned summer camp? Where in the nine hells did he get the hockey mask!?! I saw no Shelly roaming around with a mask. Do the locals not believe in exorcising the lake or getting liquored up, grabbing rifles and shotguns going on a Vorhees hunt?? Why did the title appear 23 minutes into the film?! What about Scarecrow's brain!?! WHO THE HELL IS THE MUFFIN MAN!???!

Sadly our film was brought us by the writers of Freddy vs Jason. In acknowledgement of this suffering, I will be the better man and not give out their names nor will I google their home addresses for you to wreak deadly vengeance on them. Of course you could IMDB them by title alone and then google them but again, must be the better man. Okay rant ended.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Erratic Viewings: Last Man Standing

So you know I am going a bit fanciful notion to keep it loose and easier for me to write. With this wayward view on writing you get to pick and choose a bit more leisure. Howzabout a story of a gunslinger caught in the middle of two warring mobs and deciding who to work for. This is Last Man Standing.

More Colt 45 than Billy Dee Williams!

Stuck in Prohibition a lone man, "John Smith" (Bruce Willis of Moonlighting, Die Hard, Hudson Hawk, The Last Boy Scout, Striking Distance, The Jackal, Mercury Rising, The Whole Nine Yards and The Expendables) walks in to the ghost town of Jericho Texas. The Irish and the Italians are blasting each other for a piece of the action after scaring of decent people. Gotham of the Old West. The Irish want Smith as their new gunsel offering him dough to fight for them. The paddy in charge, Doyle (David Patrick Kelly of The Warriors, 48 Hrs., Dreamscape, Commando, Cheat Shots, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Twin Peaks and Malcolm X) and his enforcer Hickey (Christopher Walken of The Deer Hunter, Heaven's Gate, The Dogs of War, A View to a Kill, King of New York, True Romance, The Prophecy, Nick of Time and The Country Bears) don't see eye to eye about Smith and he leaves it open ended.

Why must I play the eye candy?  Grr.

The Italians led by Fredo Strozzi (Ned Eisnberg of Deadly Force, Hiding Out, Miami Vice, Air America, The Fanelli Boys, Star Struck, Head of State and Million Dollar Baby) tosses Smith an offer and the promise of position of power. Smith lets some info between the gangs for extra scratch remaining neutral. Our ghost town has three whole jobs left, the sheriff, bartender and undertaker. Imagine Raymond Chandler meets John Sturges giving a hybrid of the gritty Old West and the roaring 1920s.


This film brings suspense and action hand-in-hand and it dawns on me why. Our director is Walter Hill (The Warriors, The Long Riders, 48 Hrs., Streets of Fire, Brewster's Millions, Crossroads, Extreme Prejudice, Red Heat, Another 48 Hrs. And Wild Bill) and this feels like a Peckinpah flick similar with The Wild Bunch or The Getaway, giving elements of suspense, character development, story arc and a fair degree of movie unfolds. With Willis' stoic line delivery, the patented Eastwood squint and the feeling of pure apathy in contrast to Walken's scenery chewing, this flick is pretty damn impressive but it does fall a bit short to be a classic. The pseudo love interest Felina (Karina Lombard of Legends of the Fall, Kull the Conqueror, Deception, The 4400, Secrets, The L Word and Rescue Me) gets pawned off to Smith and there's a bit of chemistry but honestly Hill really just used her for eye candy. A disappointment given the lady can act but it happens.

People of all ages, creed, shape and size will reference A Fistful of Dollars calling this a remake but if you really do your homework, this is a remake of Yojimbo by writer/director Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon, The Idiot, Sword for Hire, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, The Saga of the Vagabonds, Fencing Master, Redbeardm Sanshiro Sugata and The Last Day of Hsianyang). You see Americans, Kurosawa is responsible for The Magnificent Seven, The Outrage and Stray Dog so you may have heard a few of these. Hell, Sword for Hire feels closer to A Few Dollars More than I previously knew. Hell with the level of blood flowing this could be Sergio Corbucci's Django but Willis' still not as cool as Franco Nero. No offense Bruno.

Blood's so thick in the streets, I need sponges.