Tuesday, 27 March 2012

When to move on?

While I am enjoying watching films that I wouldn't otherwise have even heard of I am starting to tire a little with the reviews. They can get a bit repetitive, especially as there is not a lot to differentiate between some movies and 100 words doesn't let you go into great detail.

However, I don't want to just stop as I feel that would be unfair on the few people who read (and hopefully enjoy) this blog. As such I have decided to go for the century, that is 100 reviews, and then call it a day. I think that would give it a nice finish.

The blog will forever remain on the internet to access, or at least until somebody decides to remove it.

As of this post I have produced 52 reviews if my maths is correct, so still plenty of reviews to come, including Martial Arts Mondays.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Martial Arts Monday: Golden Ninja Warrior (1986)

Out of the martial arts films I’ve seen so far this is the most grown up. It's also the least comprehensible. Between all the random fighting there is a sleazy prostitution ring storyline, complete with naked flesh and a brutal torture scene.

There is also a rather nasty rape scene, but the girl gets her revenge.

A side story concerns two ninja clans fighting over a statue but there is no focus on this for the majority of the movie.

Usually I would say this kind of thing is nonsense but fun, unfortunately the rape scene spoiled it for me.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Believers (2007)

Believers tells the story of a cult that has used a mathematical formula to determine when the apocalypse will occur, and it’s tomorrow! Some paramedics get caught up in the mass suicide shenanigans but not much else happens.

Mostly set in the cult’s underground lair the film is heavy on obscenity filled dialogue and not much action. It doesn’t help that the main protagonist (the cult are the bad guys) is a dick and treats everyone like morons.

I don’t know what to make of Believers. There is a good story in there somewhere but the execution is somewhat lacking.

Monday, 19 March 2012

The Ultimate Weapon (1997)

In the late 1990s when Hulk Hogan wasn’t in a wrestling ring he was starring in no brains action films such as this. He also seemed to be calling in favours for his mates as Brutus Beefcake is in it as well.

A half-decent little movie to switch off and veg out to there are numerous idiotic enemy henchmen, plenty of explosions and more than enough clich├ęs to keep you watching. Some may call it scrapping the barrel with regards to the script but these things aren’t about high art.

Enjoyable in its absurdity I could happily watch it again.

Martial Arts Monday: Undefeatable (1993)

I’m not sure why this film is so universally derided, apart from a few wooden performances it’s generally a well-constructed film.

The story is coherent, characters sufficiently developed and the fight scenes are excellent and varied. There is sometimes a little confusion as to who is who as murder victims all look very similar, but that is the point of the story.

By no means worthy of awards, Undefeatable held my attention for the full 90 minutes. There is far more good than there is bad.

If you’re a martial arts fan you should track this down. A credible effort.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Video Nasties and Film Classification

Last night I watched a documentary on the Horror Channel about the "Video Nasty" furore that took place in Britain in the early 1980s. It was interesting to hear from some of the people who participated in the various debates and had a hand in proposing (and pushing through) the legislation that we have in place today.

Following the programme I had a discussion with my Mother (who sat through part of the show, and only had a very mild interest in the subject) in which she made the argument that the incredibly violent films that were on the "video nasty" list should be banned, and I made the counter argument. She also said that she doesn't like the looks of at least half the DVDs in my collection and that maybe I should just watch decent, more mainstream films instead.

While we disagreed on this last point we did both come to the agreement that the BBFC film and video classification system that was introduced as a result of the 80s controversy is a good thing. I agree that once somebody reaches the age of 18 and they are legally considered to be an "adult" they should be allowed to watch any material they choose as long as the material was produced legally.I also agree that certain material should not be generally available to children. There should also be some films that are banned outright.

Feel free to add your opinion in the comments box for this post.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Manster (1959)

The Manster is a great little film that far more people should know about. It is one of those old horror/sci-fi B-movie type things but whereas most of them are awful, cheap, quickly made affairs this one seems a little more considered.

Filmed in 1959 you can forgive the sometimes ropey effects as the story and characterisation is generally good. The scientist character is both pioneering and menacing at the same time and the main character is suitably three dimensional.

The women never get hysterical and there is a strange morality behind it all.

Hard to find, but worth finding.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Martial Arts Monday: 36 Deadly Styles (1982)

The plot here is a little difficult to follow but at least it’s one complete film from what I can make out. This one also has some blood on show which was worryingly absent from Ninja Squad.

Nice to see some comic moments, and the copyright infringing insertion of the Pink Panther theme made me chuckle.

The fight scenes are well put together, but would you see any of the moves on screen in a real fight?

The dubbing was okay, only one out of context American accent. An average martial arts film, and just about passable for general audiences.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Yesterday's Target (1996)

Yesterday’s Target is another one of those films that doesn’t really know what it is; part sci-fi, part action, part thriller. The trouble with this example is that it doesn’t do any of them very well.

Action is sparse but there is also a lack of filler or explanation scenes, each section of the film lumbers on to the next without any tension or reason.

Add to this woeful acting of a woeful script and you have on your hands a film that serves no purpose whatsoever.

Being a made-for-television movie is no excuse for a viewing experience so dreadful.

Fist Of Honour (1993)

Fist Of Honour is partly what I’ve come to expect from a PM Entertainment movie, there are a few shoot-outs, fist-fights and cars going up in balls of flames, but this one is a bit different in that it has a semblance of a plot.

It’s an attempt at a story of the same proportions as GoodFellas or The Godfather but doesn’t come close. The worst actor on the payroll is given the lead role and interesting characters are killed off far too soon.

Not unwatchable but could’ve been better if it wasn’t being rolled off the PM production line.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Last Man Standing (1995)

Last Man Standing is more or less what I have come to expect from a PM Entertainment production, which is a generic action story filled with plenty of special effects.

The story here is a cop against a criminal gang who are in league with some bent cops, nothing that hasn’t been done before. Adequate acting, more so from the bad guys, as per usual. The effects are where the budget goes in this kind of film; here we have some chases and some big explosions.

No originality but that isn’t what you are after with a generic action movie.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Hands Of Steel (1986)

An Italian production from 1986 featuring a cyborg assassin, you could be thinking that this is going to be a rip-off of The Terminator, but strangely it isn’t. The cyborg has human emotions but it came out a year before RoboCop so it isn’t even a rip-off of that.

This film surprised me as it is lacking in a few departments but is still largely watchable. The story sort of makes sense and the effects are fairly realistic. Characters are believable and the soundtrack is futuristic yet contemporary.

I was expecting a turkey but got a film that entertained me.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Martial Arts Monday: The Ninja Squad (1986)

I have unintentionally managed to collect a few martial arts films together but so far have only watched Master With Cracked Fingers. As such I have decided to start a new, alliteratively titled feature called Martial Arts Monday. I think the name speaks for itself really, so onto the first film.

The plot for this is difficult to follow until you realise that there is one original film with additional footage spliced in later. Not an uncommon practice back in the day it seems.

God knows when the original material was filmed but my guess is sometime in the late 1970s. This film would work perfectly well without the 1986 footage in my opinion.

Unintentionally funny due in part to the atrocious dubbing, and moments of on screen inactivity set to music with breakneck bpm’s. I laughed out loud a few times.

Poor generally, but a lot of fun to watch.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Land Of The Free (1998)

The star of The Expert is also the star in this, and here he does the same kung-fu moves coupled with wooden, emotionless acting he did in that.

Add William Shatner to the mix and you are close to a so-bad-it’s-bad film.

The only thing saving it is PM Entertainment’s trademark lavish special effects. Cars flip over, buses roll down highways and helicopters fall out of the sky in balls of flames.

The DVD I watched has sound synchronisation issues which spoilt the film as much as anything else.

Not a film worth seeking out, I won’t watch it again.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Darkbreed (1996)

KABOOM! No expense spared on explosions in this very watchable action sci-fi film.

Parasitic aliens have taken over the bodies of a space mission crew. One lot of humans want to stop them, the military wants to keep them alive. Standard story but delivered adequately.

For the low budget there is a lot going on; lots of the aforementioned explosions, some nasty gore effects and a convincing transformation scene. Some of the acting is a bit hammy but you don’t expect much from these sorts of films.

Throw in a slimy man-in-a-rubber-suit alien and you have a fun 92 minutes.