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In 1992, the thriller, Basic Instinct, became that year's top grossing box office hit because of one thing and one thing only . . . it was brilliant! This steamy action thriller redefined the Film Noir genre while paying homage to its rich past. Set in San Francisco, director Paul Verhoeven acknowledges the giant who came before him by mimicking Alfred Hitchcock's classic, "Vertigo," which was shot in that same city over thirty years before. Just take the opening scene, it's uncanny really, a faceless blond ties up her lover in bed and rides him like Seabiscuit! She does this until right before he ejaculates, at which point she drives an ice pick into his throat repeatedly. I sat through this little slice of heaven and could have sworn that Hitchcock had risen from the grave to direct another masterpiece. Verhoeven's integrity and decency transcends throughout every detail of this film. His classy standards in film-making are the likes of which any director of good taste would hope to aspire to. And how could he fail with a leading man like Michael Douglas. Douglas proves his worth by once again delivering a flawless performance, this time as Detective Nick Curran. I believe Douglas's sensitive portrait of Curran's controlled rage had a profound influence on Al Pacino, and has led to his subsequent nuanced work. The subtly is quite breathtaking!
Detective Curran finds himself in the middle of a murder case involving a writer/psychologist named Catherine Tramell, that has him picking up old habits and questioning whom he can trust. This was the break out roll Sharon Stone was born to play. Not so much for Mrs. Stones' acting or look, but more for her . . . presents . . . yes that's no spelling mistake, her presents. Those presents are what put her on the map.
Basic Instinct is your classic murder mystery where the detective falls for the temptress he's not entirely sure he can trust, and then he later learns that his ex-girlfriend is a former lover of said temptress, both of whom have degrees in psychology, and both want to screw with his head. Clearly a traditional Film Noir format. This who done it has so many twists and turns it will have you guessing up until the very end. Even then you still might not care who did it.
3 Hamlin Grade: 3
The Beastmaster....a sword and sorcery fantasy of epic proportions.....and boy do I mean fantasy. In 1982, director Don Coscarelli retrieved a kleenex from his coat pocket, handed it to the costume designer, and ordered said individual to create a wardrobe from this single piece of cloth. The result? Pure, uncut, unaduterated naked-ness!
No pec, ab, breast, groin, or ass was spared over exposure in this film. And why not? If you are going into battle against an army of evil monks and warlords, what better way to subdue then to combat them with as little clothing on as possible. The Beastmaster just misses becoming a sexuality tester like the Patrick Swayze classic Roadhouse (see The Swayze Guage). Clad in nothing but a loin cloth, sword, and a pair of strategically placed ferrets, Marc Singer makes even the most stolid of men question their own heterosexuality...... fortunately Singer's ripped pecs, shredded abs, and robust thighs are counter acted by the swollen and readily displayed breasts of former Charlie's Angel Tanya Roberts (that was a close one), and to a lesser exent, John Amos (the owner of MacDowells in Coming to America) in a thong.
The Beastmaster chronicles the life of Dar (played by Marc Singer), formerly of Emurites (who were slaughtered by the Jun Horde....a group of serious bad asses that travel around the country raping and pillaging.....the sword and sorcery equivalent to the Duke Lacrosse team) discovers early in his life that he is able to communicate with animals (not in the same manner that Richard Gere does). Using his unique gift he travels to seek his revenge, and discover his mysterious past (Dar has a brand on his palm that symbolizes the Temple of Arr....or ARR...hard to say, but it doesn't matter). On his travels he meets Tanya Roberts tits, Seth (played by John Amos), and Tal (name unimportant) and joins forces with them in an effort to free King Zed, who is held captive at the Temple of Arr, by the evil Maax (played by Rip Torn).
The scantily clad crew succeeds in freeing the King, but their counter attack led by the same King (who is blind and sprinting towards senility) is thwarted by Maax and they again become captives. It is up to the well oiled Beastmaster and his animals (which consists of a tiger that is painted black for some unknown reason (and rumor has it, apparently died after movie.....maybe due to the painting), a hawk which can be called by yelling RAAARRWK!, and our ferret friends.....) to save the day. Using his expert sword fighting skills, a sweet ass axe - boomerang thing called a Kaypock, and his glistening pectorals, Dar kills Maax, and his evil witches (who have smoking hot bodies, but nasty deformed Julia Robert's looking faces) and re-captures the Temple of Arr and the city. Maax however kills King Zed before Dar can save him, and not before revealing that Dar is the unborn son of Zed, and thus the brother of Tal (there is a ridiculous family reunion circle thing going on in this movie, and you can almost get lost by the six degrees of separation within this family... in fact Kiri (Tanya Roberts) is Tal's cousin, and since Tal is Dar's brother, that would also make Kiri his cousin, but that doesn't stop him from repeatedly fondling her throughout the film, and continue to do so after his relationship with her is revealed......I guess it's cool to bang your cousin in this land of barbarians). So the day appears saved until smoke plumes on the horizon which is the precursor of the Jun Horde, returning to the Temple of Arr.
The villagers unite along with our naked heroes and prepare to do battle with the Jun Horde by covering the moat with sand (which I'm sure they would have realized was there since they were frequent visitors of Maax.....but I guess they are bunch of idiots) in an effort to slow their advance. Dar earlier in the film met a group of non-speaking bat people that at the time seemed rather whimsical, till he instructs his hawk friend to call on them, and wouldn't you know it.....they arrive to help fight along side the nude warriors, and eventually achieve victory (the bat people digest their victims by wrapping them in their wings and turning them in to a pile of crap similiar to one you'd take after a night of warm beers and Tex Mex). The Beastmaster has now found inner peace, and yet another reason to make out with his cousin....man that is hot.
The Beastmaster is fine bad movie. One of the finest I've ever seen. The cast is actually pretty impressive, and their bad acting doesn't get in the way of what is a fairly original story. The costumes while ridiculous do provide hours of excitement for your errogenous zones whether it be from viewing the tight form of Marc Singer as Dar, or the always bathing at innappropriate times with her friends Tanya Roberts......but mostly Singer. Not since Swayze have I had to stop and ask myself so many times.....dude are you gay? The answer to that question is without a doubt a resounding YES! I mean NO! Shit. Regardless of my own views (and sexual orientation), the Beastmaster is an excellent bad movie that will entertain you on many, many levels. Many levels. Many.
Hamlin Grade: 8.5
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
Does anyone remember those type of made for TV AIDS scare movies in which we watched in horror sitting in our health class, as we learned that if you stick your sausage in the wrong slot you were doomed for a quick death due to the crippling disease known as AIDS? Well one such movie made it into theaters back in 1995 and caused controversy and was regarded as a classic, this said movie was called Kids and it is so completely awful, one cannot believe how many suckers bought into such grotesque awfulness.
The feeble material follows the daily exploits of a teenager who doesn't believe in protected sex, because it's a pain in the ass (He even has a friend who thinks AIDs is bullshit) so his form of safe sex is to nail as many underage virgins, so he basically drinks booze, smokes pot, doesn't work and has sex. However one girl from his past has AIDs (and he's the only one she was with) and now she tries to warn him before he gives another virgin AIDs.
Wow, what an embarrasment! You know, there are of course teens like this out there and you know where you find them? They're on the Maury show getting paternity tests to prove they're not the father.
Oh and unlike a decent made for TV special about the dangers of AIDs, we get no glimpse of anyone actually confronting the problem at hand. So basically, Kids labors to deliver a message that AIDs is so very bad, and you shouldn't fuck so much, but yet it never even shows the teenagers in question actually learn their fate. So basically we watch as these really obnoxious Gen-Xers party, beat up black guys, insult gays, smoke dope and even rape passed out chicks, but what is the point, I ask? The truth, there is none and therefore this has no reason to be validated as the classic cautionary tale it is often labeled as.
However the biggest failure of this movie is that it's meant to shock you, it's meant to make you cry, it's even meant to titilate but in the end it becomes quite obvious that most of the time you want the kids in the movie to get wiped out by a mad slasher. In fact, I can't think of a more likable portrait of the HIV virus, essayed in this movie, in fact in a movie filled with such scuzzy characters, the only thing to root for was indeed the AIDs virus. And when a movie about the horror of AIDs ends up getting you to root for the virus, well, it just goes to show you just how feeble, Larry Clark's handling of the material is.
However making a bad movie is bad enough, but Kids isn't content with just being bad, no it has to plumb depths into creepy territory and by this I mean moments that got me to suspect that Larry Clark is a pedophile. In one creepy sequence we see four twelve year olds smoking dope while completely shirtless, it is shot so exploitive that it comes off as porno. It's really quite offensive. Also there is something exploitive and creepy about the way Clark films the sex scenes (One including a twelve year old boy, mind you!) in that he strives for a porno feel, and at times he succeeds in making it seem like authentic porn. I'm not one to ever claim about political correctness but come on this isn't art, this is porn! I mean how many twelve year old boys smoke dope sitting on a couch together while completely shirtless? So while porno in itself isn't offensive, putting underage kids in such situations is very offensive, oh and it's also illegal.
Also it doesn't help that the movie has no conviction in its plot. The movie is so repetitive, with the characters going through the same situations over and over again, so that we end up bored out of our minds. Not to mention forced to be in the company of asshole teens who every single minute of screen time, warrant our scorn and wear out our patience. Kids is the type of terrible movie, that the arthouse type get so giddy about as if it was a new thing that teenagers are sexually active assholes who cause trouble when not around their parents. I learned this back in my teens, and such a lesson only breaks new ground for the Amish.
However it stands to reason though, that this movie would be embraced by the Gen-Xer crowd, the kind who listened to grunge music, smoked dope, didn't work and discussed politics they didn't know jack-shit about, it stands to reason that this movie would be their mainstream representation. Because like the average Gen-Xer spouting philosphy back in the mid-90s, Kids is hopelessly inept, grotesquely hypocritical, creepy and just plain a pain in the ass. So in that retrospect perhaps this movie is accurate in it's depitcion of the Gen-X teens.
The question is, do you want to spend 90 minutes with such jerk-offs? I know I don't.
Ok. How about don't watch this fucking piece of shit.
Say Anthing... starts out like a pretty cool look at high school life....some music, some parties, some drinking, and then takes a hard right and crashes into a huge sopping wet vagina.
Lloyd Dobler (played by John Cusack.....who has essentially been playing the same fucking character since Sixteen Candles) is a slacker high school guy who decides to ask out the High School Valedictorian, Diane Court (played by Ione Skye...who has the most retarded name in Hollywood....if you can call her in Hollywood anymore), who is also the hottest chick in school. Ok, biggest error right there. The Valedictorian from my high school was brilliant mind you, but had a face you'd want to put out like a three alarm fire. So we suspend disbelief. So this jackass calls up the hot chick, and asks her out....and she agrees. I thought she was smart?
Just fucking kill me already.
So Lloyd takes Diane out on a date, which in high school means going to a keg party....where the two essentially never interface (see Sixteen Candles). However at this party we get to meet Lloyd's best friend Corey, who is a guitar playing nightmare, dancing a thin line between suicide and NASCAR style lesbian. Of course Corey is a bit upset because her former boyfriend, Joe who used her and threw her on the pile with the rest of the women he's destroyed has also shown up to the party with his new upgraded girlfriend. So Corey decides to sit in a room playing songs about Joe (there are some 60+, and thanks to Lloyd we know they are all about Joe and pain). You know that room at a kick ass party where all the tree huggers hang out and wallow in their misery.... there's always some asshole on guitar. That's Corey. Fortunately later on at the party, Joe finds Corey alone, and works his magic. Corey exclaims "You invade my soul Joe", to which he replies "Have sex with me." Of course she rebuffs his advances, and is left even more destroyed.
Joe's the fucking man!
Lloyd not having drunk all night, because he was the keymaster (a clever way to promote safe driving practices, unless you are the asshole who gets stuck with the keys), gets to spend the rest of the evening driving around looking for this Depeche Mode wannabe douche bags home along with his new 'girlfriend' Diane. Somehow this strengthens the attraction and lays the groundwork for a beautiful yet completely pointless romance.
Depeche Mode sucks.
Of course following the first date ala keg party, comes the obligatory second date with the family (wha?), in this case with her dickhead father Jim Court. Jim obviously doesn't like Lloyd and in many ways resembles the father of the bride from Bachelor Party. Lloyd of course opens his mouth and confirms what a loser he is to everyone at the dinner, and probably Diane as well. Regardless he gets a mercy bang out of it, in the back of his sweet ride (the Chevy Malibu), and their love making is enhanced by the soothing melodies of Mr. Peter Gabriel.
Do you like Phil Collins?
Lloyd and Diane's relationship comes crashing to hault for no reason other than the fact that like every chick on the planet earth, she overthinks, reads into, and decides their fate faster than the Cyberdyne Sky Net computer did in the Terminator (I know I just had a geek attack.....it was in a micro-second in case you didn't know). BAM! Lloyd is crushed. Cut to the very original scene of Lloyd standing in the rain, on a payphone crying to his sister (played by his real life sister Joan Cusack) about how sad he is.
Get some fucking balls Lloyd. At least you banged her.
So Diane's life carries on, as she prepares to study abroad in England because she so smart, and no American University would be good enough to challenge her like it does the rest of our pedestrian minds. Good news strikes! Jim Court her father is a thieving scumbag! Yes! Jim who looked down on Lloyd turns out to be a monster asshole, who's business is Nursing Homes, and has been scamming the ederly for decades (I guess someone has to). Of to a Federal Penal Colony Jim! Yeah it's a country club like atmosphere, but Jim still has to wear bright orange prison issues, and I'm sure some guys balls on his chin (this is speculation, but I deem it very probable). With no one to turn to, Diane accepts Lloyd back into her mouth....I mean life. Comforting her in her hour of need, they re-ignite their love for one another, and visit big Jim and the prison. Lloyd talks to Jim and explains that he will be joining his daughter on her trip to Europe. Jim of course is unhappy with the idea, but can do little about it.
Lloyd's banging your daughter Jim, and he's gonna be banging her in Europe too asshole!
This movie is a train wreck of massive proportions. John Cusack once again has to show us that he is into kickboxing, in yet another movie, which he alternates every other film in self serving style with his love of cartooning. Ione Skye....what can we say about this fine actress other than....where you been bitch. Like most chick-flicks this one breaks no new ground. It follows the standard Boy meets Girl, Boy falls in love with Girl, Girl finds reason to fuck it up, Girl gets back with Boy, and Boy and Girl find love and happiness. Truly inspiring. Yes there are some classic lines in the film, that have been repeated on many a bad movie night, but these modest 2 minutes are difficult to find pleasure in while wading through the other 98. Save yourself the trouble and download the sound clips.
Go Fuck Yourself!
Hamlin Grade: 2
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
Often when a bad movie slides across your television screen like a shit out of your ass......you are able to recover quickly, grab the remote and rapidly change the channel. However, sometimes, a bad movie, is so bad that you are unable to stop watching. This is called No Escape.
Titled after the 1994 Ray Liotta epic, No Escape is when a film is so bad, that it stuns you (for approximately 118 minutes) and forces you to watch it in it's entirety. Like viewing an accident on the side of the highway, you too will be made to slow down and visually absorb every painfully graphic detail. You will have the urge to turn off the film, the desire to switch the channel, but you will be paralyzed and unable to act. This is No Escape.
When cinema reaches new lows, and your central nervous system shuts down.....there is No Escape.
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
"And what did he say exactly?"
Upon pondering the finale of a series, I kept my mind focused on the fact that can a sequel call for The Quickening rule if it completely has nothing to do with the others in the series? We should make a rule in that a sequel is made that has absoluately nothing to do with the original story. Kind've the way Bloodsport IV had nothing to do with Bloodsport I-III. Anyway the lead fighter in this sequel is Mark Dacascos who unlike Van Damme (Or even Sasha Mitchell) never found mainstream success and this sequel was in result of Sasha Mitchell turning down the role and Mark Dacascos' Double Dragon bombing big time all over the world. Hence a new story was crafted and Mark Dacascos became the kickboxer in Kickboxer 5.
"He said it will be a cold day on mars before he would kiss your ass and that you can kiss his!"
The movie starts out with Negall ( James Ryan of Kill and Kill again (!) fame) as a ruthless promoter who wants all the kickboxers to join his federation, if they don't he kills them. David Sloan is one said casuality, who in the beginning is shown to practicing on a punching bag as a group of thugs blitz him with uninspired moves. Sloan cripples one of them (Mainly because one of the actors broke his leg in a horse riding accident and they were desperate to explain why the guy was on crutches. ) Sadly the David Sloan in this film looks nothing like Sasha Mitchell, in fact the David Sloan sports curly hair and is like a foot shorter than Sasha Mitchell. So for this reason alone, in my mind this wasn't the David Sloan from Kickboxer 2,3, 4, after all Sloan was in the DEA, anyway on the DVD the movie is called "The Redemption" and there is no Kickboxer 5 on the title screen. See if you can follow this, the studio execs thought it would be a good idea to not just go by The Redemption but also tack on Kickboxer 5, because we all know that John Q would rent a title called Kickboxer 5 without seeing the previous installments. Lame.
"This one's for David!"
This is interesting (Well actually it's not really) but now there is a championship fight with Johnny Styles as the underdog. (The same actor by the way, was killed off by Sasha Mitchell in Class Of 1999 II) After getting his butt kicked for what seems like forever, he gazes into Mark's eyes and communicates in a language only known by telekinetic homosexuals and gets up to put a beating on the guy in question, He wins too. However it's here that Negall's lackeys (one on crutches) offers Styles membership in a federation of champions. Matt Reeves (Mark Dacascos) says that they have no power and that Negall's rules are toilet paper, Styles agrees to meet with the promoters anyway and after a lot of boring screen time, Matt Reeves learns that the same people saw David, right before he was killed. It never seems to amaze how a rumor this well known can go around, complete with a lackey on crutches no less, and yet no police action but I digress...
"Movement without meaning ain't nothing!"
Matt comes too late and Johnny Styles is dead (Thankfully because he can't fight worth a damn, he's wimpy looking and looks pretty silly with his mushroom haircut) and Matt decides to wack these bums out, with flip kicks, roundhouse kicks and basic martial artistry that is more appropriate for Karate and Tai Chi then it does for kickboxing. Matt also kicks a guy off the building, who then lands on the henchmen's car and they just drive downtown L.A with a dead body on their car. Yes, this is why Kickboxer 5 is unknown to even fans of the original series. We also meet Negall at a meeting in an awkward exchange with his lawyer. The lawyer says "Kickboxing doesn't make sense" which causes Negall to kill the hapless bastard without warning. This sums up the bad guys, who do really nothing but sip wine, shoot giraffes, frame our heroes and only fight one time in the film. This is why the movie is often considered the worst of the series. (It's not as dull as Kickboxer 3 though)
"Kickboxing doesn't make sense"
This is where we meet Paul Croft (Geoff Meed) who is of persumably no relation to Lara, he's hired to take Matt out in a hit, but he gets cold feet and decides to go to South Africa instead. (Most likely because it's cheaper to shoot in South Africa then in L.A) Matt is also going to put the hurt on Negall and his flunkies and the movie basically consists of these two guys taking turns beating up on Negall's mens who keep coming back for more. Talk about disappointing...
"I represent the new way of thinking!"
An enjoyable part is when Negall kicks the ass of an arrogant German fighter, who has such a bad accent, and acts so badly we end up living vicariously through Negall as he crushes the bastard's throat with a well placed claw. Also there are other things that make this hopelessly uninspired kickfest tolerable at times. Which I will go into in the next paragraph.
"Someone must pay for these absurd mistakes!"
James Ryan easily pulls off The Ironside agenda, especially when compared to the people who play his henchmen, including one guy who goes so over the top with his smarminess that he comes off more like a third rate car salesman then he does as villainous. Mark Dacascos seems bored with the ridiculous character he plays (The part is so clean cut, he makes Sasha Mitchell seem like Slayer) that it never rings true as to why such a pretty boy would know martial arts, let alone engage in kicking the crap out of people when he pays so much attention to his hair, clothes and indeed his ballet like movies. James Ryan overacts with such quality, that steals what little show there is here. Indeed when Ryan goes into why kickboxing makes sense, it's hard not to keep yourself from chuckling at the sheer nutty conviction he brings to the part. I'm not sure if it's a good performance but i'm fairly sure that it did keep me from turning the movie off. After all it's no easy task to play a prostituition racket leading, drugdealing, illegal gambling ring leading, giraffe hunting, wine sipping, disgruntled kickboxing champ who has a pet cheetah. Ryan and his English accent manage to provide what little life there is to be had.
"You're joking right?"
By the way, James Ryan was in a movie that got the MST3K treatment, not to mention Rage To Kill, which maybe reviewed some time soon. Movies like Redemption:Kickboxer 5 are hard to write up, because I was left indifferent to what I saw. Plus it has some moments of inspired goofiness, but typically it was utterly routine martial arts fare with only okay action sequences and some of the dullest plot angles ever shown in a martial arts movie. A sad way to end the Kickboxer series, I mean they could've at least had two fighters fight with broken glass on their hemp wraped hands. Ah the road not taken...
Hamlin Grade: 3
Following the prime rule of The Quickening, Kickboxer 4 (wisely) ignores the previous entry and instead establishes itself as a more direct sequel to Kickboxer 1 and 2. Kickboxer 4 opens with a quick rehash of what Kickboxer 1 and 2 were all about. David Sloan (Sasha Mitchell in his third go around) is writing a letter to his wife and he explains that Tong Po gunned down Kurt (Who was played by Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Eric and basically forced him into the ring by torching David's gym. He also says that Tong Po cheated against Eric, which is untrue because anyone who's seen the first movie knows that Eric underestimated Tong Po and got his ass kicked. Oh and I forgot David is writing this "Dear Vicki" letter from prison (A place Sasha Mitchell would learn all about in the next three years) as he has been set up by Tong Po, after a DEA bust went awry.
"I know you, you're the pig who framed husband!"
David also tells his wife Vicki (Deborah Mansy) to lay low and hide because she might be in danger but before the warning is received, we see numerous thugs dragging a woman into a house, she actually holds her own against the thugs until we witness with awe as Tong Po comes out of the woodwork and uses a series of admittedly impressive moves to cut down the feisty Vicki. It's here Tong Po decides to put David through the same trial that he put his brother Kurt through, so Po rapes David's wife. However to show what a considerate guy he is, he takes a picture and sends it to David saying "He'll look after her while he's gone." Suffice to say David doesn't take this gesture too kindly.
"It's been a lot of hard years since Tong Po has seen me"
We find out that David has retired from kickboxing to pursue a career in the DEA. David is not the only one retired from the ring as Tong Po himself has retired from kickboxing to become a druglord. So these two titans have been pitted against each other in what will be the final confrontation. David is also in prison because Tong Po forced him to fight in a to the death match. (This would've all been avoided had David's oldest brother Eric had listened to Kurt and seen that the guy was crazy, that he was fucking crazy, although Van Damme's accent might've gotten in the way of getting this point across) So thanks to Casey Ford (Nicholas Guest) David's back out in the street and he's asked to take down Tong Po once and for all. David accepts the challange.
"Maybe i'll make you my girlfriend!"
However the only way to accomplish this difficult task is to get invited to Tong Po's tournament. And how do you get invited? Why you basically beat the crap out of bikers who threaten to make you their girlfriends. David whomps not only one biker but two at the same time! David also goes under the alias Jack Jones because Jim Jones would sound a tad too suspicious. David hits the road after receiving his invitation and decides to get a beer, so he walks into a bar and spots a young girl who is being harassed by various drunks, her name is Megan (Michelle Krasnoo, who believe it or not was in No Retreat No Surrender, but she was one of the uniformed kids practicing karate in the beginning. Yeah, I saw No Retreat No Surrender!) and she's a tough broad, she holds her own until the drunks whack her in the head with a bottle. David is apparently offended and so he kicks ass in what could arguably be the best bar fight ever. (And yes I saw Road House, in fact I saw Road House 2 which also follows the Mitchell substitution rule. Odd) The action sequence has Sasha Mitchell using a stool as a shield from darts and then using said stool to smash it over the head of a drunk! Another classic moment is how Sasha Mitchell starts out by putting his hand in the air as if he was waving, only to then come crashing down with a hook-punch. Also people go through windows, people are thrown into bathrooms, doors and all kinds of tables. This movie sets the record in terms of people thrown on various things that break. I of course was gleefully fascinated by the stool used to wack a guy right in the head. In fact it's so impressive that it would count as a # 1 "MXC most painful elimination" However David is greeted with a "fuck you" and Megan isn't all that appreciative of his help. Suffice to say she's going to compete in Tong Po's tournament.
"Just how hard are you Mr. Jones?"
David then arrives and learns that he must compete to impress the judges. It's here we meet Bill (Thom Mathews of Friday The 13th Part 6 fame!) the lead henchman of Tong Po, who doesn't even know what David looks like! David has to fight Megan and fight he does, Megan tries her best against David, and although he's relunctant to fight, it isn't until David is wacked that he knocks Megan out, although sadly he doesn't use a stool this time. David has qualified and he goes for some downtime. (That's one thing about David, he always at some point takes a breather, what gives?!) It's here Tong Po introduces himself and in the span between Kickboxer 2 and this movie, Tong Po has become a board certified shrink, a visionary record producer and drug lord. (I'm not kidding.) Of course we are sadly left out of any type of people who would visit Tong Po with their psychological problems. Tong Po might be a murderer, rapist, drug lord and overall badass but one thing you can't accuse him of is "Not taking the bull by the horn". Tong Po announces that he will be hosting the tournament and the winner gets a million dollars. Tong Po also gives Megan a chance to get in the tournament by fighting whoever will take her on, but she pisses Tong Po off somehow so she gets a beat down from Tong Po. Although it's broken up by Lando (Brad Thornton) one of the fighters also looking to win a million dollars and nail Megan. Things are obviously off to a kicking start.
"Don't be foolish, boy!"
Tong Po also is played by a different actor from the first two movies, so much so that a make up job has been applied at times so hysterically goofy, that it looks as if Tong Po had cosmetic surgery. This is of course credible because he did get his head kicked in pretty good in Kickboxer 1 and 2. Actually to be fair sometimes the makeup job looks okay but during these opening scenes it's obvious that it was a hot day, since the sweat and heat made his makeup melt. Also Tong Po plucks his eyebrows, because macho tough guys care about personal hygene? It's here the fights begin, David finds out that Lando is a childhood friend from the old days of Kickboxer 2 and rescue attempts are made to rescue David's wife.
"That's Mr. Smith, and i'm nobody's agent!"
Lando(His last name is Smith by the way) comes up with a plan to save David's wife, he will learn her location from the lead whore named Darcy (Jill Pierce) Seems Darcy has it bad for Lando and the only way to convince her to help him out, is to basically get her in the sack and to which she'll disclose the information. While getting a deal from Lando, that he'll take her away from this terrible life she lives. Darcy is relunctant at first but is convinced, however Bill (Tong Po's lead henchman) was eavesdropping and he learns of the whole plan which gets Lando captured and Darcy killed. Lando then gives up David's location and we find out that Lando is DEA. David is looking for his wife, when guards come, David beats up on them for a long time, until Tong Po catches him with an elbow and knocks him out. This of course delights Tong Po.
"He will be punished in the Thai style!"
Tong Po has also upped the stakes and turned this into a "to the death" tournament and all fighters who are too much of pussies to kill in the heat of battle are asked to leave. However Tong Po then shoots them all one by one in what is inarguably the funniest sequence in this goofy martial arts pic. Also David and Lando are dumped in the middle of the arena and it becomes a bonus round where anyone who wants fifty thousand dollars extra must fight and kill David. Nobody succeeds. Then Megan explains to the oblivious fighters that Tong Po plans to kill them all and that there is no money. This causes a riot and finally David and Tong Po meet in a epic battle complete with picnic tables and punchbowls!
"You, fight or die!"
David and Tong Po beat the crap out of each other, jump on tables, get knocked off of tables, get elbows in the stomach, get kicked in the face and in one great moment David hisses at Tong Po for no other reason except for the fact that there will be no fresh start-over with a different hand to play. So step by step and day by day, David and Tong Po duke it out.
"I don't remember there being much hope for you!"
Believe it or not, Kickboxer 4 is a rare example where a sequel is more fun than the sequels that came before it. (Keep in mind, I said sequels because this isn't as fun as Kickboxer 1, mainly because there is no Van Damme in a diaper scene and hands dipped in glass routine) Sasha Mitchell finally loses his whole "Nice guy" edge and delivers a performance that even Van Damme would be proud of. Indeed Sasha Mitchell barely speaks and when he does it's only to growl, threaten or insult. In other words,the way an action hero should be. Plus Kickboxer 4's' tagline to this day still sums up Sasha Mitchell. "Framed, Forgotten and Furious."
"Is that enough?"
Kickboxer 4 is truly a must see for anyone who consider themselves a contender in the stakes of bad movies. Plus it has a moment that will never be forgotten, a sequence in which nothing in the world mattered except for one stool and one person's head,a meeting that will forever define the existance of man.
Hamlin Grade: 6.5
"How could this happen?"
After an enjoyably dumb Kickboxer, and a dumb yet mildly enjoyable Kickboxer 2, we got Kickboxer 3. An abortion of a movie that the producers thought "Hey let's make this into a character driven drama about the downside of Rio! As the worst of the series, it stands to reason that this particular sequel would end paving away for Kickboxer 4:The Aggressor which would use "The Quickening" approach in pretending this sequel didn't happen. Considering the results here this wasn't such a bad idea.
"Next week you fight to be the best!"
The movie starts out with David Sloan (Sasha Mitchell) and Xian (Dennis Chan) traveling to Rio, to fight against a ruthless kickboxer named Eric Martine (Ian Jacklin) who is so tough he... Actually that's why this movie is such a failure, we don't know what this fighter is capable of because of the complete lack of screen time. Anyway Sloan is here to fight against this guy and along the way he has his camera stolen by a local street kid which leads to the first action sequence in this deadly dull movie.
"Come on kid, don't do anything stupid!"
The kid apparently has connections because David Sloan gets into a fight with three guys and it's here which explains the problem with the movie because we have a kickboxing champion beating up poverty stricken drunks who live in Rio. A step down if there ever was one. Anyway David gets the camera back and takes a switchblade away from the child thief. However the kid comes back and introduces his sister and bonding begins between David, Xian and these two street kids. Boring.
"This guy needs a beating!"
At a kickboxing charity event, which apparently people pay tickets to watch kickboxing champions roundhouse paper cups of people's heads, sits Martine's promoter Frank Lane (Richard Comar) who is in the business of selling Rio street kids to the highest bidder. In other words he doubles as a pimp. Now see if you can follow this, this is a movie in which we are supposed to believe that a kickboxing promoter who's fighter is going for the championship, doubles as a pimp. Anyway he spots the street kids at the fight and kidnaps the sister after some lengthy "character development"
"How many did you kill in the kitchen?"
David and Xian catch wind of this from a hysterical kid, who begs the kickboxing champ to aid in finding his sister, of course being that David is a good guy, he agrees. So it's here where David and Xian interrogate people, go to jail for a day and blitz the wrong guy's house before finding out that it's Lane who has the girl in question. Of course, right here is a prime example of why this movie is so lame. A kickboxing movie should have lots of kickboxing. Say what you will about the rest of the series, they at least deliver what's expected. However Lane is ready for the dynamic duo and he offers them a deal.
"Have you ever gone water skiing? How about without skis?"
Things grow pretty ridiculous here. The deal that Lane offers isn't that David throws the fight (Which any bad guy worth his weight in evil, would do) he rather forces David to train. And by training, I mean torture. David is forced to go water skiing without skis. David is forced to run up cliffs with a backpack filled with rocks. David is dropped in the middle of the ocean and forced to swim back and David digs a ditch. This is all supposed to deplete David of his energy and make him weaker, therefore, easy to beat. However when compared against the vigorous training of the first film, David's sadistic training is a cakewalk. I mean he wasn't forced to do the splits or kick palm trees. Also Lane makes a bet which basically consists of everything he owns, he bets it all on Martine. A move he will live to regret.
"I'll let you know at the fight"
David and Xian are finally dropped off at the hotel, where David catches up on his beauty sleep. This gives Xian time to go out in the rain forrest, find snakes, various leaves and make a recovery potion which will restore health. Xian also wraps David completely in mud which I assume for mainly homoerotic reasons. Still David drinks the snake venom and voila it's fight time!
"I'll see you in the ring, punk!"
David in his weakened state manages to pretty much clean the floor with Eric Martine. (Oh yeah, by the way, the main bad guy fighter) In what is essentially a one sided match. David does get smashed in the family jewels although it's because of cheating on Martine's part. Also while David continues kicking the crap out of Martine, Xian rescues the sister and although Lane tries to go back on his deal, Xian and David prevail and the girl is now safe from the evil streets of Rio.
"They had a doctor examine to see if she's a virgin!"
David and Xian decide to use some of their money to put the kids in a good school and help out various street kids of Rio. Of course they don't want to take care of the kids (and who can blame them) so that's what they decide to do. However David and Xian find out that Lane has more girls and they had a doctor examine if the girl was a virgin. (She is, persumably because she's not very attractive) So David and Xian blitz Lane's beach house and set the hookers free. Oh and this leads to a one on one between David and Lane, because nothing makes for suspenseful entertainment quite like pitting a kickboxing champion against a lanky, snivelling, wimpy pimp. So a fight breaks out and David is almost shot until the kid saves the day and in the most painful moment has a heartfelt i'm so sad I killed someone moment. Movie ends with David, Xian and the police chief getting drunk. Which sadly equals the most exciting moment.
"Killing people never feels good"
This is an actual line uttered by Sasha Mitchell, you see he explains that it's wrong to kill people, despite the fact that he broke into the wrong guy's house and killed his henchmen. So this goody-goody moralizing makes for some eye rolling moments. Also for a movie called Kickboxer 3:The Art Of War there's very little kickboxing or for that matter action. In fact most of the movie consists of is Sasha Mitchell walking around Rio taking in the sites. Once again this entry is the only one that doesn't have Tong Po in it and the reason is because it's so bad that audiences hated it. I did too, and I loved Kickboxer 1 and 4. Still the main problem is that there is hardly any action and when a movie is called Kickboxer 3, the lack of such, only guarantees a one way trip to the land of sleep. Even the producers pretended this movie didn't happen as the 4th movie neglected any tie in to this particular sequel. A wise decision.
"Sometimes what you see is what you get, almost never"
The trailer hinted at some cheesy action fun, sadly this potentional was sadly unrealized and worst of all it hardly has any kickboxing. All i'm saying is, if you call yourself Kickboxer 3, have the decency to put lots of martial arts action in it. Or don't bother.
Hamlin Grade: 2
"Where will I be when the last man dies?"
Kickboxer 2 starts out with the image of Sasha Mitchell sleeping in his bed. Because nothing at all exemplifies what kickboxing is all about, then a hero who needs his beauty sleep. He awakens to his gym to a cheesy song called "My Brother's Eyes" and David Sloan (Played by the forementioned Sasha Mitchell) beats up on a punching bag for a couple of minutes before showing Brian Austin Green that he can indeed beat the crap out of him blindfolded. Also onboard is Heather McComb who is a street girl. That these kids don't drink or do drugs is amazing given that it's L.A, still David Sloan gives lessons in his gym which seems to consist of him beating the crap out of his top student, while the kids look on in amazement.
"I am somebody, See, I'm a teacher!"
David Sloan doesn't want to get into the ring because his brothers were killed in Thailand by Tong Po and David figures if he can lay low nothing will happen to him and he can run his gym in peace but because his gym is about to be repossessed he has no choice but to fight for the kickboxing championship. He does so and after a few minutes of jumproping decides that is all the training he needs. He also fights because his best student and best friend Brian (Vince Murdocco) wants to turn pro and David doesn't want him to sign with crooked promoters.
"Sometimes it's better to flow instead of attack!"
The lead promoter, Justin Machiah (Peter Boyle) wants to of course hype up kickboxing, which David finds amoral, despite the fact that if hyped his business would no doubt spark interest in the sport and more money would be put in and more people would learn it, therefore giving David more business. But I digress. Naturally David Sloan easily defeats the put upon champ Neil Vargas (Matthias Hues from I Come In Peace) and utters the unspeakable words that Machiah's kickboxers are lame and his corporation is crooked. Not that anyone would care since nobody disputes boxing as being crooked. However this upsets Machiah and his Thai business partner Sangha (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) who burn down David's gym and shoot him in the leg. It's here through this would be dramatic moment that David starts doubting himself to the cheesiest song ever recorded. The lyrics go like this "To hurt to cry, i'm fighting back the tears, I wanna run and hide from all those wasted years, in my lonely room, I sit and stare a man aloooooone!" Of course my theory about what the song is about, is masturbation because when I ever I think about the wasted years and my lonely room being alone, the rest comes naturally, right?
"Get up, you're a Sloan!"
David is then trained by Xian (Dennis Chan) the same sensei from the first film, who sadly doesn't force Sasha Mitchell to do the splits. My guess was that Mitchell used his starpower from the classic TV show Step By Step to lay down the law and say, I will not do the splits because I can't and because i'm the biggest star you've had since Jean-Claude Van Damme, my word is the law. (This was directed by the same guy who gave us Cyborg!) So instead Sasha kicks tires, climbs rope, does push ups and forms which apparently make him a better fighter.
"The old man is good, David is getting better, soon the circle will be complete"
After recovering David is invited to watch his best friend Brian fight for the championship, however because Sangha is Tong Po's old trainer, he devises a ridiculous plan to have Tong Po beat the hell out of Brian while David watches helplessly in the crowd. Actually that's not true since because David freaks out, the security escorts him out and then in slow motion we watch as Po unleashes brutal hits that end up killing Brian, and no security guard is available because all of them (maybe 3 of them) are holding David back. Also Tong Po shows how mean he is by throwing a ref out of the ring. I must admit that Kickboxer 2 offered me something i'd never seen before. In that i've never seen a fat old guy thrown out of the ring in slow motion with fight music blaring on the soundtrack.
"This is my fight, it's just something I gotta do, now!"
Aside from the fact that Brian took his mom to his fight, rather then a girlfriend or fuck-buddy or something that a professional athlete would have, we see David moping around in a restaurant where Xian explains that he wants revenge for the murder of his neice. You see Tong Po gunned down Kurt (Played by Jean-Claude Van Damme), Eric and the love interest from part 1 (in order to make a connection to the first movie) and Tong Po wants to regain his honor by fighting the brother of the guy who kicked his ass. This is of course as ridiculous as it sounds since there is no guarantee that the brother would even be a good replacement. I mean what if the brother is fat, or what if there's only a sister? However this is why Brian had to die, why David's gym had to be torched and why a fat old ref had to be thrown out of the ring in slow motion.
"I hear no fat lady singing, so kick his and let's go home!"
This is inarguably my favorite part of Kickboxer 2, but then again a bloody fight sequence where blood, sweat and tears pour by the gallions are always looked at by me in high regard. Sasha Mitchell despite his status on Step By Step, is a pretty decent martial artist, who would have thought that the schmuck on Step By Step could throw a mean roundhouse and do spinning hooks with piercing technique? Him and Tong Po share in a bloody fight sequence which finds Mitchell all bloodied up and roughed up, indeed he can barely walk at the end of the fight sequence, so you know it was a pretty even match. However Tong Po is demolished and left to live in his personal hell, of knowing that the world's deadliest kickboxers was brought down by Cody from Step By Step, however we haven't seen the last of Po because there is still Kickboxer 4. Where he abducts David's wife, although sadly it's not Dana from Step By Step.
"You must have patience!"
Kickboxer 2 has its moments of fun, sure, I mean the shock of seeing Cody from Step By Step can't be all that bad (Well it can, but I mean dull) however what is the biggest shock about Kickboxer 2 is Sasha Mitchell himself. Not only is he a decent martial artist but he actually act. No, I'm serious he delivers a performance that is adequate and indeed far more competent then Don Wilson, Daniel Bernhardt or Steven Seagal in reciting his lines. That being said there are too many sequences of David soulsearching and way too much padding in the plot which only gives us the required amount of acting. The action, like the original, is exciting, well shot and indeed provide the mediocre rating spelled out.
Hamlin Grade: 4
The Mitchell Substitution Rule is when a long line of sequels is made to star a lower priced star after the original star is too priced out to obtain. Named after the great actor Sasha Mitchell, who took over for Jean-Claude Van Damme, in Kickboxer 2, 3 and 4. The Mitchell Substitution often casts the replacement actor as the brother, best friend or the same guy played by the priced out star from the first movie. Ain't nothing like the real thing is an old yet true saying and it's even more true of this rule. Unless of course it's Sasha Mitchell or Treat Williams. Cause come on we all love actors named Treat and Sasha!
Actually this is true, Sasha Mitchell and Treat Williams are the only actors ever to be an adequate replacement for the original star. (Jean-Claude Van Damme and Tom Bereneger).
"Tokyo,China, Bangkok, i'm kicking ass where ever I go!"
It's no coincidence that Kickboxer is often remembered as Jean-Claude Van Damme's most signature efforts. The reason this is the movie that people remember is because Van Damme not only fought a guy twice his size after only training for a couple monthes with a sadistic sensei (Played by Dennis Chan) but the novelty is that Van Damme fights with a sumo styled diaper, with his hands dipped in broken glass. (Okay he has rope tied around his knuckles, but you get the idea) Also the real attraction is that Van Damme does spin kicks and delivers a message that hits home today, even more so then when this was made..
"Must train different in America, your defense stinks!"
Kickboxer's story unfolds like a true martial arts epic. It follows the smooth sailing of ultra slick Eric Sloan (Dennis Alexio) a champion kickboxer who has no trainer outside of his brother Kurt (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Eric's training seems to consist of hitting pads and lightly tapping his brother. So things are pretty obvious from the get go that this champion is going to take a fall. Also he sports the Jerry Curl which alone is a giveaway that a thorough asswhumping is in order. Sammy Haggar once said "Winner takes it all, loser has to fall!" And fall Eric does.
"I saw the look in his eyes, he's crazy, he's fucking crazy!"
The opponent in question is Tong Po, a muscular asian dude who intimidates Kurt by kicking a wall until plaster from the ceiling falls out, if looks could kill, Kurt would die and Tong Po finishes off his bizarre routine by using his elbow to hammer the wall, which is apparently supposed to be intimidating. Of course Kurt is impressed and he tries to talk his brother out of fighting, but he fails and the fight is a slaughter, as the fight ends with Kurt shouting "Asshole, asshole, you can't do that!" at least that's what it sounds like. (Van Damme's accent is thicker than Rosie O'Donnell at a Sumo Wrestling match.) Tong Po apparently not content in crippling Kurt's brother, kicks Kurt into the audience and then rips up the championship belt that belonged to Eric. Kurt find a crusty black vietnam vet to take him and his brother to the hospital and it's here we get Van Damme's huge emoting scene.
"I Want Tong Po!"
Kurt is heartbroken over his brother, so he vows vengeance, although not before shedding tears. No action star has ever been convincing when having a crying scene (Yes, not even Dolph Lundgren) mainly because our heroes make other people cry, rather than show their soft side. However it's here Kurt finds a trainer to whip him into shape, the sequences come off as torture, since we get a scene where Kurt is forced to do the splits by a rope and pulley. Other such torture includes kicking a palm tree down and fighting a bunch of drunk guys that your sensei provokes to fight you. Mr. Myiagi had his style and Xian (the trainer's name) has his own special brand. Of course it becomes obvious that Xian liked Kurt and Eric's brother David (Sasha Mitchell who would soldier on in the sequels) because the training is less painful and viscous. Still Kurt whips himself into shape and he's prepared to take on Tong Po the ancient way.
"You must last to the end, or brother die very slowly!"
However the mobsters that employ Tong Po, aren't confident enough in Po's skills so they kidnap Kurt's brother Eric, let Tong Po rape Kurt's love interest and even throw a knife at XIan's dog. They want Kurt to throw the match, however after a rescue, Kurt and Tong Po batter each other for a long time before Van Damme gets serious and does spin kicks until they take Tong Po apart. The fight sequences are very well staged and indeed the movie makes a very enjoyable 90 minutes.
"Kick the tree!"
Everything about Kickboxer is predictable but it did deliver what it guaranteed on the cover. Which is mainly Jean-Claude Van Damme flexing his varnished muscles, training for the big match and of course a real knock em out climax. You pretty much get what you paid for and if 90 minutes of people getting the snot kicked out of them is your thing (and we all know it is) this should be very pleasing to you.
"I don't care what you think I could kill you if you blink!"
However Kickboxeris one of the rare cases where it delivers exceeds expectations due to the message at hand. I mean fuck Driving Miss Daisy, that 1989 clunker might have had good acting, but did Morgan Freeman chop down a tree with his foot? Did Jessica Tandy avenge her brother's honor with her fists dipped in broken glass? I thought not. And although some people argue that Driving Miss Daisy had a positive message, so does Kickboxer. The positive message here is that the best way to solve problems is to learn how to kickbox so that you can beat people up. Best friend steal your girlfriend? beat him up, in fact beat her up too. Is the super going to throw your ass on the street? beat him up. Do your grades stink? Beat up your teachers. IRS coming after you? Beat em up. Well actually you don't want to fuck with the IRS, but you get my point. Where as the message in 1989's "best picture" only translates to race issues, the message in Kickboxer is universal. Beat em up is the message and it's the only message people understand this day and age.
"You bleed like Mylee, Mylee good fuck!"
Once again this movie is truly inspirational.
Hamlin Grade: 7.5
While home for the Holidays, I was surprised to see that my parent's owned Peter Jackson's latest effort, King Kong. After reading Pat's review earlier this year I wasn't particularly eager to view this epic remake, but a few days with the family was all I needed to convince me to sit down for three hours and contemplate the actions and life-style of a giant monkey.
Jackson creates a grim atmosphere of financial strife and general desperation by setting the beginning of this tale in New York City during the great depression. From out of this dismal atmosphere, we first meet Ann Darrow, played magnificently by the lovely Naomi Watts. Her ground-breaking performance leaves little doubt that she is the greatest actress of our age. She is complemented by the dramatic performance of Jack Black as Carl Kenmam, and the frighteningly handsome Adrien Brody (Jack Discoll.) With this important character development established, although I must say quite rushed, this group of unlikely characters sets off on a sea voyage into the unknown. This is hardly a pleasure cruise, as Jackson delves deeper into the various psyches that are placed in a desperate situation on the mystic waters of the Atlantic. A portrait of the human consciousness that Jackson is masterfully painting is interrupted by the action sequences of Skull Island. I think these scenes are more of a distraction than anything and hardly worth mentioning. That being said, I do feel compelled to disagree with Pat on Kong vs. the Tyrannosaurs. A giant gorilla disposing of three tyrannosaurs seems completely reasonable. That's why Kong is the king baby. . . it's science!
Out of this shameless display of eye candy, a very unusual and tender love story grows between the beauty and the beast. Never before has the so called "forbidden love" been displayed so beautifully on the big screen. Jackson really cuts to the core in King Kong with the message; there is no right or wrong, only love. Does it matter that it be between a woman and a monkey? Are we not all just animals aching for that special touch?
Unfortunately, art imitates life as this heartfelt love story ends in tragedy. How can the special bond of bestiality exist in a world of fear and ignorance?! Where people would rather hate, kill and destroy then understand and open up their hearts to the giant ape that lives in all of us. In reading Pat's review of King Kong, it becomes obvious that he missed the point completely. I don't blame him though, I blame the society that taught him to feel shame rather that love.
Hamlin Grade: 3
When an actor performs on a level so powerfully wretched that everyone surrounding him (even painfully mediocre and down-right bad actors) seems to have been touched by the Thespian Gods. I'm surprised that Oscars have not been handed out to many of Sylvester Stallone's co-stars because by comparison they look like geniuses. To put it in scientific terms, the Sly Sly Stallonify would be equivalent to a black hole. Sucking everything in its path into the unknown darkness. No, no, that's not it . . . maybe it's closer to a supernova; a brilliant ball of fusion collapsing in on itself . . . no, that's not it ether. I guess that the Sly Sly Stallonify is in itself a scientific anomaly that should be studied for who knows what damaging effects the catastrophic performances of Stallone may have on the fabric of our universe.
Fletch is a killing word!
White Squall. First off, what the fuck is a squall? Secondly, why is it white? Do squalls come in any other color? Could you have chosen a less marketable title for your movie?
White Squall is the story of a sea captain (a man who is dancing dangerously close to the line of pedophilia) that loads his sailing yacht to the gunwales with supple, shirtless, young boys, to "teach" them, and then gets caught in a storm (oooh a White Squall), sinks his ship, kills half of them, the crew, and his wife.....and is put on trial where he loses his captain's license. That's it. That's White Squall!
Ok, so lets go back to our first question. What is a White Squall (aside from a really shitty movie)? A white squall, by definition, is (thank you dictionary.com) a whirlwind at sea or a violent disturbance of small radius not accompanied by clouds but indicated merely by whitecaps and turbulent water. Ok great. So essentially the title of this movie is the natural phenomen that kills them, and takes up all of 5 of the 129 torturous minutes. Calling this movie White Squall, is as clever as calling a movie about JFK, Rifle. Fucking brilliant.
So Jeff Bridges plays the Skipper who captains this school on the high seas. A 'working' ship, where young boys can parade around shirtless and learn the benefits of a nautical education, and perhaps some regular schooling peppered in, and provided by the Skipper's wife (who also is the ships doctor), and the cook (who is also the captains first mate). So parents for some reason agree to send their kids on a ship for a semester at sea, rather than attend an actual school. Are they kidding? A school on a yacht makes about as much sense as opening a school in a strip club. How much are you actually going to learn?
White Squall, collects some of 1996's hottest young men which include Scott Wolf (of Party of Five, and Double Dragon fame), Jeremy Sisto (Suicide Kings), Ryan Phillipe (the former Mr. Reese Witherspoon....good move dumping that meal ticket by the way), Balthazar Getty (he was in Young Guns 2....., Grissom from CSI, and Vigo Mortesson killed him), Ethan Embry (Vegas Vacation...way to jump on that franchise at the right time.....why not buy some Enron stock now), and a bunch of other assholes. So this collection of trust fund babies get a ride on this elitist vessel of knowledge....and a one way ticket to their doom. Honestly by the end of White Squall the only thing I was pissed about was that the storm wasn't more efficient and killed them all.
The characters are completely unlikeable, so you really don't care what happens to them. Jeff Bridges character is such an asshole, that he makes Anthony Hopkins portrayal of Captain Bligh in The Bounty seem like a great guy (if you haven't seen The Bounty, check it out, it's worth it just to hear Hopkins yelling at Mel Gibson... DAMN YOU MR. CHRISTIAN!! DAMN YOU SIR!!). I'm amazed the crew didn't fuck him up and toss his ass overboard. However there was little need, since the Skipper was a completely incompetent sea-man and drove his ship to the bottom of the ocean anyway. White Squall ties itself up with a long-winded, and completely unecessary court room scene, that ends with the surviving boys speaking on his behalf. The whole movie could have ended with the traditional slow clap (Not Another Teen Movie), but chose to go with the ringing of the ships bell (yeah good job saving that precious item assholes while your friends were drowning below deck), which I guess was some symbolic full circle gesture that was lost on me (much like the entire feature).
Unless you are into young shirtless boys, being repeatedly berated by an old asshole on a sailboat (which means men of the cloth will love this flick), White Squall has nothing to offer you. Thankfully most of the young men in White Squall watched their career's sink faster than the ship did after this bad movie.
Hamlin Grade: 1.5
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
It's ironic when you look at the glossary term and see "Aniston effect" which basically means an actor or actress paying his or her dues by making low budget crap before (finally) hitting it in the big time. However the ironic part is that i'm awarding "The Aniston effect" to Angelina Jolie who believe it or not was in a sequel that Jean-Claude Van Damme refused to be in. What is also most interesting is that the Cyborg franchise has given us such actors as Jean-Claude Vn Damme, Angelina Jolie, Elias Koteas, Jack Palance, William Katt and Zach Galligan(!) Now when we consider that Cyborg itself was a critical disaster with only cretins like me enjoying it ironically, we are left with a sequel that was made to capitalize on a movie that nobody (outside of Van Damme fans) liked.
Normally I could add in that this somewhat follows the Quickening path, given that it basically has nothing to do with the first movie, however being that we see some Jean-Claude Van Damme footage of him beating up mutants, I can't say that this is a good example of The Quickening. (I guess I could make a case for The Guttenberg but given that the actors are far better than the thespians in # 1, or that this is overall a far more competent movie I can't give it this either) I can also say that this is a prime example of a movie being both a letdown and improvement in both ways.
Yes in terms of quality, acting, directing, script and story this is a far superior to it's predecessor. But the letdown is that it's nowhere near as unintentionally hilarious or for that matter as moronic as the first. So it's hard to criticize a flaw such as this, I mean, Imagine if they made a Troll 3 that was actually reletively well made, mediocre in its execution and so on. You have to give it a higher mark, but secretly wish it wasn't. That's how Cyborg 2 is.
Anyhow the movie stars Angelina Jolie, who plays a cyborg (Finally a part Jolie is convincing as) who is helped by a karate instructor (Elias Koteas in what could be the greatest miscasting of the decade) escape from the corporation who has planted a liquid explosive in her body that is somehow less toxic than Billy Bob Thornton's liquid explosive. See the corporation want to detonate her explosive body to wipe out their rivals. So we have many escape sequences, and of course the great Jack Palance makes his appearance as Mercy, a cyborg fighter (Who I think is supposed to be Jean-Claude Van Damme's character from the first, a theory I hold because he knows how Van Damme rescued the cyborg in part 1, and being that nobody was keeping score, let alone cared, indicates that it's probably him, and even if it's not, the movie is far more enjoyable if you pretend it is this way.) Palance easily ( I mean EASILY) pulls off the Ironside agenda, where as Elias Koteas is a capable character actor, he is by no means a Van Damme like ass-kicker. Angelina Jolie has never been good but is at least hot to look at and although it's a little creepy seeing her in a sex scene with a much older Koteas, at least we have the movie that no doubt will contain her best performance.
However the cheesiest performance comes from Billy Drago. One of the things great about Bad Movie Knights, is that they plaster the worst actors of B. movies today, while I personally think Michael Pare and Gary Busey can act under the right circumstances, one guy who has never been good and is always dependable in giving a performance so awful it makes the movie, it's Billy Drago. Why we don't have Drago's face plastered on Bad Movie Knights, is anyone's guess. Here he gives a performance so bad, so overwrought that he would've been right at home in the first movie. What is even more amusing is that he plays a character who has plastic surgery and is paranoid about messing up his face. Of course we also get to see a nude scene and anyone who truly wants to see Billy Drago in the buff is someone who needs professional help.
In the process of Cyborg 2, lots of action occurs, Elias Koteas and Billy Drago take turns kicking the crap out of each other, Jack Palance drops zen-like comments, cries and says would be one-liners, Angelina Jolie shows us her tig ol bitties and the future is saved. The movie also looks nice (the first one did too) and at times almost works as a Blade Runner style movie. Unfortunately with the Drago onboard you just know it's gonna get ridiculous and boy does it ever. However in the end we have a diverting time waster for curious B.movie fans, or for just those who want to see Angelina Jolie naked. I myself give it 4.5 Hamlins just because it's the only time i'll ever see a cast that contains Angelina Jolie, Jack Palance, Elias Koteas and Billy Drago. This alone is why I bought the DVD from the bargain bin.
Hamlin Grade: 4.5
Dade Murphy was a bit of a trouble maker as a child, but alas, most children with exceptional intelligence often are. One day they're Mommy's little angle, the next thing you know they have created some crazy handle for themselves and hacked into some government computer system! Take for example, Dade, or should I say "Zero Cool," who at the age of eleven crashed 1507 systems, including Wall Street trading systems that caused a seven point drop in the New York stock market. Pretty smart kid, too bad he wasn't smart enough to evade capture. Our young Dade is let off relatively easy with a bunch of probationary restrictions and fines. Fucking minors . . . throw the book at 'em, I say! You think they are bad now, just wait, you'll wish you had gassed them till they died from electrocution!
Fast forward to the present day, 1995. Location; New York City. Dade and his mother have moved to the Big Apple just in time for his eighteenth birthday. Yes, now that Dade is legally an adult, he is no longer on probation and may resume those nasty habits. He wastes no time in creating a new catchy handle; "Crash Override." If you are a teenage computer super geek living in NYC in the year 1995, there're a few rules you have to abide by if you are not going to be socially persecuted. First, you're going to need a pair of roller blades. It's relatively new, hip, and the preferred mode of transportation for any respectable hacker. Second, you're going to need to find some BMX motocross equipment, shirt, pants, padding, etc. Not only will it protect you from those potentially nasty Roller Blade spills, but it's fashionable. As a computer geek, you are expected to make appearances at all raves, parties, and social happenings dressed to kill, and nothing will perfect that fierce entrance you're looking for than some motor cross gear. The third and last point; as a hacker you're going to have to have the hardware to do your sinful business. A lap-top, and not just any old lap-top, it's got to make statement! What you do is spend at least $2500.00 on a kick-ass machine and then you'll want to spray paint it in your own style. Don't forget the keyboard! Dade is now equipped with all the necessary gear to be quickly accepted as an "elite" in the local hacker community, befriending such colorful characters as the Phantom Phreak, Cereal Killer, and Lord Nikon. Everyone is friendly, and yet tension builds in a sexual and violent nature between Dade and Kate Libby, aka "Acid Burn," who is played by a young Angelina Jolie. These rapscallions are forced to put aside their differences to battle perhaps the most devastating acting tandem ever; Lorraine Bracco and Fisher Stevens are the Villains in this film, but their acting is pure evil!Not since doing Stallone week can I recall acting of this caliber. Will Dade and Kate find love or will the overwhelming terror of the performances of Bracco and Stevens tear these young hackers apart? Can a group of Goth roller-blading motor-cross cyber-geeks save the world? Do you have the guts to find out?!
Hamlin Grade 4.5
Fletch is a killing word!
What happens on those occasions when you've decided to sit down to enjoy a film and the wardrobe, hairstyles or art direction just won't allow that suspension of disbelief to set in? You've been Hacked! This term derives from 1995's smash hit Hackers. A film that follows the adventures of computer geeks who are so fashion conscious it's a wonder they had any time to turn on, let alone master the workings of a computer. I have yet to meet a cyber nerd who has three wardrobe changes a day. In 1995, New York City had packs of roller blading teens, wearing BMX-Goth outfits accented with leopard skin. Well that's what the costume designer of Hackers would have movie goers believe. Such absurd production design that is so disjointed from the rest of a film is found throughout Hollywood. So the next time you find your mind wandering on that ridiculous set or a bazaar quaff that has no business appearing in the movie you're watching you'll know you've been Hacked!
Fletch is a killing word!
Dolph Lundgren. Ever since the man appeared in 1985 he's been kicking some serious ass. He fucked up Carl Weathers and Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV, made Lou Gosset Jr. cry in The Punisher, helped the late Brandon Lee bring down the Yakuza in Showdown in Little Tokyo, showed Jean Claude Van Damme how to act in Universal Soldier, and even got to beat the shit out of Keanu Reeves in Johnny Mnemonic.
Lundgren has moved onto the direct to DVD films later in his career, but he still continues to provide his fans with explosive action packed features that don't get bogged down with all of that annoying acting, plot and storyline. Bad Movie Knights is proud to SPOTLIGHT Sweden's favorite son. Dolph Lundgren.
Check out some of Dolph's Bad Movie Knight Highlights:
I Come in Peace
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
Oh hell yeah! This is probably one the best Dolph Lundgren movies ever (and if you don't think Lundgren rocks go suck a dick) , and without a doubt the most unknown of his features. I Come in Peace pits Dolph Lundgren against an extraterrestial drug dealer in present day Houston! What more do you need than that?
Dolph plays Detective Jack Caine, and along with FBI Agent Arwood (played by Brian Benben) stumble onto a drug war between to aliens. The evil alien (played by Matthias Hues....he's the steroid monger from No Retreat No Surrender 2) interrupts a drug deal that Caine's partner was trying to bust, and kills everyone with a flying CD that is fired from his wrist (he's got some pretty sweet gear strapped all over his forearm). The alien takes the heroin from the deal, and begins to execute his plan. By injecting the heroin in massive doses into humans (through the use of a coaxial cable....this alien loves his audio visual accessories), the alien can than extract endorphines from the head (by jamming a large hollow blade through his victim's skulls....again, this device comes from his Swiss Army forearm) and refine them into a perfect drug....which will eventually be distributed on his home planet (most likely Jupiter, as it is the 'evil' planet of our solar system). The alien drug dealer spends large parts of his day accosting his victims by throwing them to the ground, opening their shirts, injecting the heroin through his RCA cable into their chests, and then extracting the drugs from their skulls and afterwards enjoys a gingerbread latte at Dunkin Donuts. Oh yeah, everytime he molests one of his victims he states "I Come In Peace".....hence the title of the movie. Got it?
The alien however is hunted by a law enforcement alien and the two wage a battle that lays waste to Houston in a manner that has not been seen since Michael Caine led a swarm of killer bees there in The Swarm. The alien drug dealer manages to get the drop on the alien cop, and mortally wounds him.... during one of there many spectacular shootouts. Their weapons kick ass.....hand held pistols that fire rounds like gattling guns. Nice.
Fortunately, the alien finds Detective Caine who has figured out that it is an alien killing the murder victims, but no one believes him. The wounded alien tells Caine and his partner about the drug the evil alien is harvesting and makes them promise to stop him. Then he explodes....the preferred method of dying by all off-worlders.
I Come In Peace, is one of those early 1990's movies that is low on acting, decent on story (although there are parts ripped from Predator, and most of the Cop sequences are the standard shit you see in any Detective focused movie), but high, and I mean on high on explosions. The weapons that the aliens carry blow the shit out of everything. There is a shootout in a parking garage.....well, not many automobiles make it out alive. The movie also delivers some classic lines that are well worth watching for. The strange thing about I Come in Peace is that it has an alternative title. Dark Angel. Why? No fucking clue. I've never seen a box with that particular title, however it does seem to be billed as such on the web. Other than that this is one of Dolph Lundgren's coolest movies, and as always, he lays down the Ironside Agenda with little difficulty. Dolph, Dolph!
Hamlin Grade: 8
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
There are moments caught on film that truly inspire movie goers for generations to come. My three favorites are when 1)Rocky runs up the steps pumping his arms in the air. 2)When William Shatner yells "KAAAAAAAAHN!" and of course the sequence in Live By The Fist which finds kickboxer Jerry Trimble defending his cherry from brutish Fillipino prison thugs, while completely in his underwear! This scene inspired me in the most unusual way, in that I realized that fighting in a shower in your underwear is almost as gay as George Takei after 5 beers.
Speaking of the Takeisenhour, he's in this classic boys behind bars, epic. (Just the sound of Takei in a prison somehow makes the movie seem far more homoerotic, I mean we're not even going to imply what "Live by the fist" means. I'm guessing they were asked to drop the ing from the title) Things are of course off to a high flying start when Jerry Trimble defends an asian woman from various asian thugs, and it's here he gets knocked out and when he awakes he has a bloody knife in his hand and because there are no lawyers(Since he has no blood on him), he gets sent up the river. (In which he fights in his underwear!) I forgot to also mention that Jerry Trimble also killed a man while saving the woman, so immediately he's marked for murder by the leader of one of the gangs. Many fight sequences occur with Trimble fighting with a plastic pickaxe (I worked a labor job when I was 19 and a pickaxe is very heavy so watching these guys fling it around as if it were nothing was humorous)
Around this time we learn of Ted Markland and he runs the white group in the prison. Of course the thing I was wondering is how exactly a racist redneck could end up in a Filipino prison, let alone start a group of white supremists. Anyway he wants Jerry Trimble to join and because Trimble doesn't, he also marks Trimble for demise. Of course Trimble eventually joins Takei's gang for reasons that are definitely not homoerotic. After all, any guy who can fight in his underwear in a shower is a guy that's right up Takei's alley. Okay, okay i'll stop making jokes of the overall gayness of this movie, but keep in mind it has George Takei and features a blonde stud fight in his underwear while getting wet and all this, couldn't have been on accident.
Anyway the various gangs are actually under the thumb of the prison warden, who wants Takei dead, and wants to silence the only woman in the film, she's a human rights activist, who sees nothing wrong with wearing sexy clothing in a fully male prison, where security is really quite lax. Not that it matters our resident babe ends up being rescued by Trimble who after pounding the pavements with his opponents he escapes on a boat and rides off into the sunset with the human rights activist. Of course we all know what happens next, since any man who has escaped from prison with a human rights activist in skimpy clothes would end up happening in real life. Although the half assed ending cuts right to the credits, we do get to see Trimble eye that sweet piece of human activist ass and it's here Trimble expresses heterosexuality, it took only 90 some minutes to do so.
As it stands though Jerry Trimble would go on to star in such, uh, classics as Breathing Fire, One Man Army and Stranglehold. Meanwhile the audience is left to flounder in the gayness and ineptiude of Live By The Fist. So I say Fuck Brokeback Mountain, this is the movie that ushered in a new era of thinking, without this movie, a movie like Brokeback Mountain could not have been made. Period.
No Retreat No Surrender 2. I don't even understand the thinking behind this one. In no way whatsoever does it have anything to do with the original masterpiece No Retreat No Surrender, in fact it strays so far from the original it actually represents a level of the Quickening Principle that has never been reached (unless you count Troll 2.... but at least that had trolls in it) .
No Retreat No Surrender 2, doesn't carry the story of No Retreat No Surrender forward (which would have been fucking impossible, since No Retreat No Surrender had no story to speak of as it is), it contains none of the original cast, and in fact has replaced said all star ensemble with a group of thespians that are far far worse. In fact all of these assholes should be arrested for their performances in this disaster. So why the ruse in which this is supposed to be a sequel? Other than attempting to capitalize on a film that was so horrible in the first place and probably made little to no return on their investment, what was the logic behind this move? The producers probably would have done better calling this feature Gigli 2, as they may have made some change on the box office receipts, and this title is probably closer in storyline than it is to No Retreat No Surrender.
This movie should have been called An Asshole goes to Thailand and uses his Karate on a bunch of other Assholes who respond in kind by using their Karate on the aforementioned Asshole. Hell for a little added credibility and to give the franchise some weight, why not trick people into thinking that this is a sequel as well and call it An Asshole goes to Thailand and uses his Karate on a bunch of other Assholes who respond in kind by using their Karate on the aforementioned Asshole: Part 2.
The movie's main star is irrelevant, and so is his girlfriend, who provides the impetus for the whole picture as she is kidnapped by some Russian guys because her father has some less than legal dealings with them. The irrelevant main star, hooks up with Cynthia Rothrock (probably the most famous female martial artist in film....she can't act to save her ass, but her skills appear formidable.....I can't decide if she's attractive or not, but I'm sure after a 12 of imported I'd snap a shot off in her.....perhaps I'm being to forthcoming here?), not in a sexual manner however, but rather as a fighting force and upon discovering the whereabouts of his girlfriend they plan and execute their assault. They come face to face with the main Russian bad guy (he's the dude who played the alien in I Come in Peace, a sweet Dolph Lundgren action flick......I'm way too lazy to look up his name, and honestly don't fucking care) who looks like he's been taking steroids since he was in his mothers baby maker. Rothrock is killed, and gives us a half ass death scene that further inspires Mr. Irrelevance to do good. Bam! Final Battle. Karate, muscles, explosions and who fucking cares. This whole paragraph which took me less than two minutes to type will bleed you of 104 minutes of your life.
While the movie does provide some fantastic bad acting, balanced with some decent action sequences (the final fight sequence while blatantly homosexual in some spots is never ending and fairly exciting.....maybe because of the gayness?) it is otherwise a blemish on the No Retreat No Surrender franchise. Luckily, I think I am the only one who has ever seen this movie. Personally, I can't imagine anyone who was in this picture actually sat down to view it either. If they did, they all would have killed themselves. Oh, and by the way, on IMDB, the film is listed as No Retreat No Surrender 2: Raging Thunder. You gotta love that. As if repackaging the film under a new title years after its original pathetic release would do anything to excite viewers. Raging Thunder must refer to the bowel movement that will occur from viewing this visual laxative.
Hamlin Grade: 4
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,