Sunday, August 6, 2017

Meh Movies: Prey of the Jaguar

Hey there. Finishing the Meh Movies we have a story of revenge, avenging the dead and an Australian man wearing an outlandish costume. No not Chris Hemsworth. Not everything is Chris Hemsworth. Sheesh, you people. No instead we have a former Spec Ops soldier avenging the death of his wife and son in an costume that would have made M.A.N.T.I.S. feel off. This is Prey of the Jaguar.

Umm grrr. hiss, hiss.

Well noted prisoner Damien Bandera (Trevor Goddard of Nowhere Man, Yesterday's Target, Fast Money, Mortal Kombat, Assault on Devil's Island, Deep Rising, Babylon 5 and JAG) has to be transferred and you know it is a good budget when I notice the tags for the men's names are done up in Sharpie magic marker. I am not kidding. No velcro tags for this boys, it's Sharpie or nothing.
 Looks like they stole a bus bench and bolted it in a Ecoline 350. Solid transport for the villain. I was amazed the lights worked on it. With his collective cadre of over the top henchmen, they proceed to drop the 4 man team and move the transport and rescue their boss. One prison guard announces to his former partner he is scum in such an ridiculous fashion. Sadly he was only two days to retirement. My bad by the by, as Trevor Goddard is not the hero but the villain and further oops as he is English not Australian. My humble apologies for the presumptions.

Credits rolls as we are treated to a rotoscoped Master Ninja training montage.  MASTER NINJA THEME SONG!!!   I guess we can expect a white ninja to the likes of Franco Nero only many times less cool. You ain't Django, Maxwell Caulfield.   Former Special Operations Agent Jason Sheppard/Derek Leigh (Maxwell Caulfield of Grease 2, The Colbys, Dazzle, The Nanny, Empire Records, Sundown: Vampire in Retreat, Smut, Eragon, Cry of the Winged Serpent and NCIS) is blissfully unaware of the impending doom of his family as notorious Damien is a free man. He gabs with the pregnant wife and even chatters with his imaginative son about a superhero costume he had Mom make for him he devised for his own. Talk of retirement, Leigh is made aware that Bandera is loose by his former Commander (Stacey Keach of Mike Hammer P.I., Raw Justice, Caged Seduction, Texas, Young Ivanhoe, Escape from L.A., The Pathfinder, Future Fear, American History X, Titus and Icebreaker) visits him, gives him the skinny and assures him that he is not known by Bandera being alive and well. Yet he felt the need to drop this news in person.


At his worksite, Tanaka and Bandera make their way through a few workboys leaving a trail of bodies meet up with Leigh and feels the need for exposition as Bandera establishes he killed Leigh's wife and son off-screen. Well at least we were spared that. Shooting Leigh in the chest with a flask in his pocket saved his life.

Meanwhile detectives Cody Johnson (Linda Blair of The Exorcist, Exorcist II: The Heretic, Hell Night, Chained Heat, Savage Streets, Bad Blood, Grotesque, Silent Assassins, Witchery, Nightforce, Sorceress, Scream and Supernatural) Roger Bentley (Tom Badal of Love Streams, Out on Bail, I,Madman, Destination Vegas, Treasure of the Black Jaguar and The Miracle) are hot on the case with only 3 weeks to retirement. Yeah it is an old gag. I'll drop it. Love how Bentley fired up a stogie on the crime scene. I'm sure that won't contaminate evidence whatsoever.

Leigh pops awake (No broken bones from his swan dive or ribs cracked from close range gun shot) and takes Johnson and Bentley's unmarked fleeing home for his big NOOoOOOOOooOO speil that all avenging heroes get to do at least once.

Mood lighting and dry ice means I'm in the netherworld, sweetie.

Hell I am still trying to get past his cheesy mustache. It looks like it was spirit gummed on his face. With nowhere to turn, Leigh visits an old weaponsmith/mechanical engineer he saved and has his suit made by him. Such technological marvels like a weighed and balanced throwing knife which I though was going to go through Caulfield's hand if he fumbled it. Apparently he builds weapons for the "Organization" now and is supposed to give Leigh the brush off.

The clandestine organization didn't realize the platonic love they share or possibly he was bored.

With the help of Master Yee (John Fujioka of American Ninja, Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes, Martial Law, Father Dowling Mysteries, The Road Raiders, Paint it Black, Freddy's Nightmares, Friday's Curse, The Munsters Today, American Samurai, Mortal Kombat, Wirehead Sega CD and Walker, Texas Ranger)giving Leigh a refresher course and hopefully months in his montage set him on his path, Leigh is ready to become...the Jaguar.

Evil or swarmy?  Only you can be the judge.

With Master Yee's blessing every cliche has been managed. The one-liners, the non-lethal attacks, the former warrior made up with peace must take up arms again. God's sake I was waiting for him to be in a Soviet copter blasting rockets at a Vietcong outpost.  Film flubs of composite armor's plastic restraint decoupled, the shoulder pads constantly bounce upward because they are not fastened to his arms, the crossbow probably beating a tattoo into his back as he ran and the stripped face paint was a bit much. It does look better than the Ultimate Warrior granted but not nearly functional as the film wants you to believe.

Director David DeCoteau (Shrieker, Puppet Master III, Curse of the Puppet Master, Voodoo Academy, his 1313 franchise, Blonde Heaven, Beach Babes 2: Cave Girl Island and Petticoat Planet) had his hands full with this. Looked similar some of the DC Comics superheroes of the 90s and I was entertained but not in the sense of action packed fun. So it was unintentionally funny.

Even my cheesy mustache can't cheer me up.