10.12.2020

90's Action Attack!: The Big Hit (1998)

 


From The Director Of Jackie Chan's 'Crime Story' And Producer John Woo

by robotGEEK

Curiously, I'd never gotten to this one until now for some reason. Which is odd since I was probably at my peak "John Woo" phase when this came out. I mention that because this was a film he executive produced, and it's got Hong Kong Action Cinema written all over it. 

So I will admit that it's a lot of fun, if uneven. The action is impressive, and the cast is pretty great all around. The direction by Kirk Wong is really solid and it's soundtrack will definitely take you back to the 90's in a good way. I feel that the film only really suffers in two areas. One, with it's forced and awkward comedy, and two, with how Lou Diamond Phillips portrays one of the main characters. Essentially, everyone in this film is from New Jersey, so literally everyone talks like they're right out of The Jersey Shore, and it can be incredibly annoying at times because it's so over the top. But not as annoying as Phillips as he goes so overboard with his accent and portrayal that you literally have to watch it with subtitles to understand just what the hell he's saying. I'm not even joking or trying to be funny. It's absolutely ridiculous and really hurts the film overall, not to mention the fact that it just comes across as a stereotype in the worst possible way. Anyway, moving on. 


The Big Hit comes courtesy of director Kirk Wong, who directed the absolutely incredible Crime Story (1993) starring Jackie Chan, easily one of my favorite Chan films and at the time, one of his rare "serious" films as he has a penchant for including comedy whenever possible. But Crime Story was different, and that's probably why I loved it so much, not to mention that it's just goddamn gritty and violent as all hell. Seriously, if you haven't had a chance to see it yet, get to it. 

Wong does a really great job handling the action sequences here, incorporating a lot of the standard HK tropes associated with that genre. But it's also apparent he's working within the Hollywood system, which does make it look and feel a little different than what you'd expect from a HK action director. With that being said, there's a ton of action, and it all looks great, but it never truly feels 100% HK the same way Woo, Ringo Lam or Tsui Hark would have done it. 

Labeled an action/comedy, there are many repeated attempts at comedy, but for me it was just so forced and cringe-inducing. While Kirk Wong is really great at directing action, comedy is something else entirely. Or American comedy for that matter. It just tries way too hard, and all you end up doing is rolling your eyes. That's not to say there aren't some little clever moments that actually work, because there are a few here and there. There's this little bit about a VHS rental of King Kong Lives that was amusing, but like everything else, they went too far with it and killed it's potential as an actual funny comedy bit. So for me, most of it just didn't work. 


One of the biggest surprises for me here was the quality of action for sure, but the large and surprisingly impressive cast. In the leads we have Mark Wahlberg, Lou Diamond Phillips, Bokeem Woodbine and Antonio Sabato Jr., but then there's Elliot Gould, Christina Applegate, Avery Brooks, Lela Rochan and Lainie Kazan. If some of those names don't mean anything to you, you'll most certainly recognize them when you see them. It's a shame everyone is doing an awful over-exaggerated New Jersey accent the entire time. 

Despite my issues with the forced comedy, The Big Hit will certainly entertain you and satisfy the action itch, because the action was very well done and abundant. It's a shame Wong only made one other film, an American TV Movie called The Disciples starring Ice-T, which he would use the Alan Smithee pseudonym on, and not direct again. That was a long time ago. 

How to watch it:

The Big Hit is currently streaming on Amazon Prime this month 

10.10.2020

90's Thriller Throwback: Company Business (1991)


Fun, Slick & Engaging: A Truly Underrated Gem In The Spy/Thriller Genre

 by robotGEEK

This is one of those films that I always passed over at the video store, even when I worked in one as my first job. Nothing about the title or cover art suggested it would be anything I'd be interested in back then (the early 90's), so I never gave it a second thought. *I know this German VHS cover art above looks great, but check out the simple U.S. poster art below. When it recently popped up on both Amazon Prime and Hulu, I decided to do a quick search on it and discovered that not only does it come from writer/director Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), but it actually has really favorable reviews. Lets dig in. 

When a semi-retired spy is given an assignment to trade a Russian prisoner for an American, things don't go as planned and he soon discovers a trail of corruption and must work with his former prisoner to escape Russia alive

This wonderful little film is the true definition of a hidden gem. Beautifully shot, tightly edited and flawlessly crafted in a neat little package that brings back stark comparisons to the excellent 80's childhood favorite Cloak & Dagger more than anything else. I kind of went in expecting something serious and by-the-numbers, sort of like Peter Hyams excellent, yet simply effective The Presidio, but instead was treated to something that was fun and more lighthearted than I was expecting, while also being dark and violent when the time called for it. Most of that is due to writer/director Nicholas Meyer's razor sharp script and slick direction, but the undeniable chemistry between Hackman and Mikhail Baryshnikov really adds a lot to the fun.



Gene Hackman is just so damn good. He's so brutishly effective as a villain that it's all too easy for him to be typecast as one, so it's incredibly refreshing to see him turn in a good guy performance every once in a while, like he does here. I'd also like to mention there's a pretty great supporting cast of familiar faces all around such as Terry O'Quinn, Kurtwood Smith and Daniel von Bargen to name a few. It's just as if this film kept surprising me at nearly every turn, and I loved it. 


Nicholas Meyer directed this the same year he directed Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country, considered by many to be the last great Star Trek film from the original franchise. So not only was he incredibly busy this year, but he delivered a one-two punch of greatness in both the "spy/thriller" genre, as well as the "science fiction" genre. Which makes it all the more surprising to learn that after this incredible year, he only directed a TV Movie before calling it quits as a director. Gene Hackman, for his part, had just come off of Peter Hyam's excellent Narrow Margin, another great thriller from Hyams, and another great good guy role for Hackman. 

If you give this a chance, you'll find that this isn't your typical spy/thriller, in that while it is a serious film from start to finish, it has such a pleasant air about it that keeps it fun and engaging throughout. A sort of "fun" spy/thriller, of which there are far too few. As I mentioned before, the closest thing I can compare it to is 1984's Cloak & Dagger, which if you loved that movie as much as I do, then you'll surely love this. 

How to watch it: 

Company Business is currently streaming on Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime

10.02.2020

The Cult Corner: Death Machine (1994)


From the director of Blade, comes this mish mash of films that offers up ample amounts of inspired filmmaking

by robotGEEK

I literally just finished watching this, and felt compelled to immediately sit down and write down my thoughts for fear I might actually forget them, which happens a lot these days. And I have to be honest, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this. On one hand I can understand why people love it, but on the other, while impressive for a low-budget film, I found certain aspects of it off-putting. 

Let's start with the good. It's written and directed by former special and makeup effects artist Stephen Norrington, who we all know would go on to direct the first R-Rated Marvel film with the incredibly kickass Blade 4 years later in 1998, making cinematic history for a number of reasons. So you'll notice almost immediately it has a "quality" to it. While he hasn't quite reached the level of visuals he would attain in Blade, you see sparks of that brilliance here and there here. And I have to admit, for a guy who has never directed a film before, it's quite impressive for the most part. 



The big killer robot, aka the Death Machine, is revealed in pretty much the same way it was in Richard Stanley's Hardware (a film Norrington also worked on), only showing you bits and pieces of it until you get the full reveal in the third act. As the film progresses, you'll notice several more nods to that cult classic. As far as robots go, you can say that this one is pretty cool. Big, clunky and deadly, it's hard to really make out any sort of design to it all, but since you never really see it from afar for most of the film, it doesn't really matter. The action, when it "finally" hits, is pretty fierce and chaotic in a good way. 

You'll find some familiar faces, some of them surprising, like a young and very 90's looking Rachel Weisz in a very brief scene, and Richard Brake (31) doing some scene-chewing with legendary character actor William Hootkins (Batman, Hardware, The Empire Strikes Back) offering up some valuable credit.



One thing that I was not expecting was it's tone and tongue-in-cheek humor. It's as if it's constantly winking at the camera, making so many pop culture references, including one of Street Fighter (the video game), that you know Norrington is a nerd at heart. But yea, the film has a slight wink-at-the-camera sort of humor that kind of threw me off a bit for a while, but it was something I warmed up to. 

On the negative side, I found the constant closeup shots a bit jarring. With so much of the film being shot up close to the actors or objects almost all of the time, I found it hard to make out any of the surroundings and really made it feel claustrophobic. It's a shame too because there were several moments where Norrington pulled back, and you can actually see what's going on and some of the films impressive production design, combined with some outstanding camerawork make for really beautiful compositions. It's a shame they're so random and infrequent. I'm not sure if shooting the film almost entirely in closeups was out of necessity, or a creative choice. 



Now, the main star of the film here is Brad Dourif, who plays the arrogant man-child villain Dante. If you look up any of the reviews for this, it's almost unanimous that Dourif is easily the favorite part of people's experience with this. To say that he played Dante over the top is an understatement. You can clearly tell he's having a good time here, but while most people enjoyed that, I found it incredibly annoying. To me, he played him like a puberty-stricken moody 13 year old boy who does nothing but throws tantrums and honestly, my favorite parts of the film were the moments he wasn't in it. 


While I found the first half curiously offbeat in it's tone, it's last act more than makes up for most or all of my issues by basically blending Hardware, Robocop 2 and Aliens into a rousing and satisfying conclusion. Overall it won't blow you away or anything, but it's impressive enough to keep you invested for the big payoff. 

How to watch it:

Death Machine is currently streaming on Amazon Prime in full frame, which honestly makes the closeups far more jarring than they probably are. Still, the fact that it's so easily accessible at the moment should warrant a watch. 

A German 3-disc Blu-Ray set in widescreen was released in 2015, which seems hard to find these days, and a recent import from Spain goes for around $25. Still no U.S. 

9.29.2020

Blu-Ray News: I Spit On Your Grave 4K Scan 3-Disc Collectors Edition Coming Soon


 Ronin Flix is now taking pre-orders for this insanely impressive new set of one of the most infamous cult classics ever released. Tons of new extras, a brand new 4K scan, posters, a book and well, I'll just let you read the details for yourself below. Pre-ordering now will get you FREE Shipping and $10 OFF. 

via Ronin Flix:

New collector's edition box set set includes New 4K scan of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978) from Director Meir Zarchi's UNCUT 35MM original camera negativedeluxe custom slipcase with original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Stothard, 2 collectible fold out mini-posters (16"x20"), 2 replica VHS box-style magnets (2"x3 1/2"), and a newly commissioned 44 page book featuring exclusive historical photos and liner notes by horror writers Michael Gingold and Meagan Navarro. Available while supplies last.



In 1978, one film changed the face of cinema forever: I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. Camille Keaton stars as Jennifer Hills, a young and beautiful career woman who rents a back-woods cabin to write her first novel. Attacked by a group of local lowlifes and left for dead, she devises a horrific plan to inflict revenge in some of the most unforgettable scenes on film. 42 years later, the sequel, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE: DEJA VU, sends successful writer Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton) back to where it all began to face the wrath of the families of those she left for dead. Kidnapped along with her daughter Christy (Jamie Bernadette), it’s a tense game of hunt or be hunted against a ruthless gang of degenerates overseen by a violently unhinged matriarch Becky (Maria Olsen). Additionally, this box set includes, GROWING UP WITH I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, an exhaustive analysis of the film's history directed by Meir Zarchi's son, Terry Zarchi. Available on Blu-ray for the first time in North America, this feature length documentary is what every I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE fan has been waiting for!


Starring Camille Keaton, Eron Tabor, Jamie Bernadette, Maria Olsen, Richard Pace, Anthony Nichols, Gunter Kleemann, Jim Tavare, Jonathan Peacy, Roy Allen, Alexandra Kenworthy, Meir Zarchi, Terry Zarchi, Tammy Scher (Tammy Zarchi)

Special Features: New 4K scan of I Spit on Your Grave (1978), High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) widescreen presentationsEnglish SDH Subtitles (Feature Presentations Only), A Horde of Special Features, 3 Discs

  • DISC 1 - I Spit on Your Grave (1978): NEW 4K SCAN OF I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978) FROM DIRECTOR MEIR ZARCHI'S UNCUT 35 MM ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVENEWLY RESTORED DTS-HD MASTER AUDIO MONO, DTS-HD 5.1, NEW Jennifer’s Journey - the locations of I Spit on Your Grave featurette hosted by writer Michael Gingold, Audio Commentary with writer / director Meir Zarchi, Audio Commentary with Film Critic Joe Bob Briggs, The Value of Vengeance - Meir Zarchi Remembers I Spit on Your Grave, Alternate Day of the Woman Opening Title, Theatrical Trailers, TV & Radio Spots, Still Gallery and NEW Slideshow with Rare & Behind-the-Scenes Photos from the Set, Reversible Cover
  • DISC 2: I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu (2019): DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround, NEW Audio Commentary with Film Critic Joe Bob Briggs, NEW Cast Interviews, EXCLUSIVE The Making of I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu, Behind-the-Scenes footage with director Meir Zarchi and cast, Theatrical Trailers
  • DISC 3: Growing up with I Spit on Your Grave (2019): New DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround, EXCLUSIVE Deleted Scenes, NEW Terry Zarchi’s 8mm film starring Camille Keaton, NEW Home Movies – Camille and Meir’s wedding, Trailer

Ronin Flix // 1978, 2019, 2019 // 101 Minutes, 148 Minutes, 103 Minutes // Not Rated // Color // English with English SDH Subtitles // Region A

Pre-Order HERE for $59.99

9.28.2020

My Science Project Coming Back To Blu-Ray!


 I recently revisited this out of the blue, for no real reason other than it had just popped in my head and I felt like revisiting it. To my surprise, I quickly discovered this is a very hard film to get your hands on. Or at least in widescreen. From what I could gather, it only ever got a single DVD release, and it was in the dreaded full frame. There are a few uploads on YouTube, but they're all shit quality. Mill Creek actually released this on Blu Ray back in 2016 (I had no clue), and quickly went OOP. So of course it goes for insane money on the secondhand market. I'm talking anywhere from $50-$200 for a film that I barely remember and am not even sure if I'll like at this age. However, I was both lucky and surprised to learn it was released in widescreen on VHS in a Collectors Edition Clamshell Release. So thankfully I did get to finally see it in all it's widescreen glory. As for the film itself, I'll post a review on it sometime soon when I can find the time. But those of you who've wanted to either revisit this 80's cult classic, or check out this oddity for the first time, there's great and "affordable" news. 

Kino Lorber will be releasing this as part of their "Classics" series on December 8th. From the looks of it, we're not getting any special features, which seems to be the norm for KL releases, but we are getting this in HD and in widescreen. Oh, they're also going back to the original "unedited" poster art. If you recall with the Mill Creek release in 2016, they hilariously edited out the machine guns, which was so ridiculous. As you can see here in the cover, guns are in tact. 

Here are the details via Amazon:

• Audio Commentary by Film Historians Mike McPadden and Kat Ellinger
• Lossless 2.0 Stereo Audio
• Theatrical Trailer
• Optional English Subtitles

Color 95 Minutes 2.35:1 Rated PG
Michael Harlan (John Stockwell, Losin’ It, Christine, Top Gun) has procrastinated on his science project until the last minute, and his teacher (Dennis Hopper, River’s Edge, Blue Velvet, Speed) issues him an ultimatum: turn in a science project or flunk. So, Mike scavenges a military base’s junk pile for a suitable gizmo to pass off as his project. He finds one... and unwittingly unleashes the awesome power and energy of the unknown. Twisted dimensions… time warps… a fantastic realm where the past, present and future collide in a whirling vortex that takes the class on a startling adventure through time and space. The wonderful cast includes Danielle von Zerneck (La Bamba), Fisher Stevens (Short Circuit), Richard Masur (Scavenger Hunt), Barry Corbin (Stir Crazy) and Ann Wedgeworth (TV’s Three’s Company).

You can pre-order this directly from Amazon HERE. And I highly suggest you do so, because it will most surely sell out as it did before. My Science Project is set to release on December 8th. 

9.27.2020

Robocop: Prime Directives - The Robocop Mini-Series That Deserves Another Look


Robocop Meets Prime Time

by robotGEEK

Not to be confused with the PG-Rated family-friendly live action Robocop series from 1994, this 4-Episode-Mini-Series from 2001 pretty much delivers the goods within the confines of television, yet it's rarely ever talked about. Sure people love deriding that early 90's atrocity, but it's really surprising that nobody ever mentions this one, because I have to admit, after finally getting to see it, it turned out to be a lot better than I was expecting going in. 

Now, full disclosure. I still haven't seen the 1994 series that only lasted a single season, but just based on it's reputation, it's not popular in the least. In fact, I haven't met a single person who actually likes it. We all know that they decided to follow in the footsteps of Robocop 3 by making it PG, and including a kid as one of the main characters, but seeing how Part 3 crashed and burned so miserably, I'm surprised they would continue down that path just a year later with the series, instead of changing course. Whatever the reasons, the series died a sad death and it would be 7 years until they tried to resurrect it once again. 



Instead of going for the full-on series this time, they decided....."smartly", to make this a mini-series. Only each episode of this mini-series is an hour and a half long (the length of your average film), making the entire endeavor a whopping 6 hour's to sit through. The episodes (Dark Justice, Meltdown, Resurrection and Crash and Burn) all carry their own distinct storylines, but still part of a much larger storyline that spans the entire 4 episodes, so you have to watch them all to know what's going on. 

Prime Directives is awesome. It felt like the kind of Robocop show we all had wished for. I mean, we were never going to get a high dollar show that would match the budget of the films, so all of those people who complain about how low-budget it all looks really must have thought otherwise. But for a television show, Prime Directives looks exactly like what I was expecting it to. And unlike the 1994 PG rated series, they went the R-Rated route here. It's not a hard R, because while I did spot a scene with boobs "once", and maybe a few curse words here and there, I think that rating is strictly for the violence. It's not crazy violence, or even gory for that matter, but there is a helluva lot of action going on in each episode. So much so that sometimes it was exhausting. 



Oddly enough, despite all it has going for it, like nonstop action and impressive Robocop suits, it's also equally bad in the ways that I like. For example, a lot of the acting is laughably awful, the dialogue is really hammy, and the casting is.......not good. There are so many cringe-inducing moments where certain characters are trying to act like badasses or villains that it's entertaining for the wrong reasons. Casting was just way off across the board here. Though I found Page Fletcher (The Hitchhiker) to be a decent Alex Murphy/Robocop, he's surprisingly short when compared to any of the actors who played him before in both film and the tv series. It's just hard not to notice, especially when the character of Cable (basically an upgraded 2-gun slinging Robocop) comes into play. He's so badass in so many ways, even if he just looks like a shinier, bigger Robocop. 

I must admit, as much as I enjoyed it, each episode, or I guess technically they'd be considered a TV Movie considering how long they are, was a chore to sit through at times. They're basically too long for their own good. While it's fun seeing a shit ton of action and carnage, there were many times when I felt it overstayed it's welcome. And then there are the many storylines going on simultaneously. While most of them connect in some way, it just felt like there were too many of them and trimming down some of those subplots would have been welcome. 



Yet despite my issues, it's hard to deny it's charm, because it tries really, really hard to capture the magic of the first 2 films, most notably in its attempts at satire. I loved it overall. It's violent, cheesy and gloriously over the top on a budget. It may not be the Robocop series we all dreamed of, but it's the closest thing to capturing the tone of the first 2 films. And let's face it. It's been 33 years since that landmark first film. 2 cartoon series, a live action series, a live action mini-series and a big budget remake later and nothing can match that kind of magic. But for my money, despite the awful acting, casting issues and outdated tv-grade CGI, Prime Directives gets pretty close. 

How to watch it: 

Currently, the entire 4-episode mini-series is streaming for FREE on The Roku Channel, so if you currently use a Roku device to stream apps on your tv, or use a Roku Smart TV, you already have it. I'd take advantage of this opportunity before it's gone. Otherwise, you can purchase them on DVD individually for roughly $10 each new and used. I haven't seen them released as a set yet. 

9.14.2020

Bad Movie Night: Firecracker (1981)


by robotGEEK

Low-budget maestro Cirio H. Santiago (Equilizer 2000, Naked Vengeance, Wheels of Fire) directs this martial arts flick starring the impossibly sexy Jillian Kesner as a woman who travels to Manila to look for her sister who's gone missing. When she arrives, she soon discovers her sister was mixed up with and killed by the local mafia and illegal underground fighting ring organization. Being a martial artist herself, she immerses herself into this seedy underworld to find out what happened and exact revenge.

Firecracker has a lot going for it, but doesn't quite reach the level of Bad Movie Night classic, except for one glorious sequence that really makes the entire experience worth it. There's a scene where our heroin Susanne Carter (Jillian Kesner) is being chased by 2 thugs. While running for her life, her clothes repeatedly get caught on items that rip them off, where she's left in her bra and panties. And then in a surprising role reversal, she then taunts the thugs into chasing her even further where she attempts to take them on using her martial arts skills. Her bra is ripped off in one of these fights and she's left nude and kicking this guys ass. I have to say, this surprisingly long sequence is fucking amazing and even if you find the rest of the film a bit tedious, this sequence is worth the effort. 

That's not to say the film is uneventfully bad all around. While I did find it dull for good portions of it, Santiago sprinkles enough foot chases and old school kung fu fights to keep you invested. They're not great fights by any means, but really harken back to the old school way they used to shoot and edit these fights (with the exaggerated Enter The Dragon-style sound effects taking center stage), which brought back a lot of good memories for me. Much like a lot of these Philippines movies of the 80's, it's a good mix of Filipino and American actors, with Malibu Expresses mustache'd star Darby Hinton sharing the screen here with Kesner. But while Kesner is a true ass-kicking goddess on the screen, I personally found a minor character of Rey, played by martial artist, director, writer and producer Rey Malonzo, to be the real standout. Only popping in from time to time, he steals the scene every time he shows up. He's like a hybrid of Bruce Lee and Yeun Biao, kicking ass and taking names with such ferocity that aside from the nudity, leaves the biggest impression overall. 



There's also a truly bizarre love scene that will blow your mind because it's unlike anything you've ever seen. I can only imagine what was going on in Kesner and Hinton's heads while this was being filmed, yet it adds to the films overall nuttiness. 

While it won't rank up there with the best of the Bad Movie Night classics, it's definitely worth a watch. 



You can currently watch Firecracker on Amazon Prime and for FREE on TubiTV. 

9.11.2020

The Cult Corner: The Boxer's Omen (1983)


One Of The Best And Strangest "WTF?" Movies I've Ever Seen

by robotGEEK

At this stage in my life, having been a fan of cinema for the entirety of it, you'd think that by now I've seen just about everything that could surprise me. Even more so the fact that it's a Hong Kong production, because I had an intense HK phase back in the early 2000's where I devoured every HK fantasy film I could get my hands on, which honestly was during a time when that wasn't so easy, often relying on bootlegs. But I'm always happy to come across something that blows my mind, especially when I've never even heard of it or knew of it's existence. Enter The Boxer's Omen. A fucked up 1983 horror/thriller/fantasy/action/mystical/martial arts film from the legendary Shaw Brothers Studios


To my surprise, I'd never even heard of this film. It was only brought to my attention when it was mentioned in a film group on Facebook that deals with occult films. A quick search revealed that this film, while possessing rave reviews, is really difficult to get your hands on. But that's another story. The short of it is that I got my hands on a copy, and knowing absolutely nothing about it going in, other than it dealt with witchcraft and the occult, it proceeded to literally blow my mind and melt my brain. 

The best way I can describe it is that it's a mixture of Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain (1973) and Giulio Paradisi's brilliant WTF hybrid The Visitor (1979)......with some Zu: Warriors From The Magic Mountain (1983) and Nicolas Wending Refn thrown in for good measure. It's truly a fantastically bizarre mish-mash of so much random shit that even trying to pin down a narrative won't make you understand what's happening any easier. I can tell you that it begins with a story about revenge when a boxer is permanently paralyzed during a boxing match by the one and only Bolo Yeung, and the paralyzed boxer's brother vows revenge, only to have it veer completely off course into a totally different film about witchcraft, monks, the occult, evil, black magic and a wizard who looks suspiciously like the love child of John Carpenter and Al Leong. Then, only to go back to the story about boxing and revenge in the final act of the film. 



It's this middle part of the film that really throws everything you ever thought about cinema out the window and completely melts your eyes. But in a good way! Filled with so much random fucking imagery (so much of it amazing!) and really insane practical effects work, it's as if they got together, took some acid, and decided to film whatever popped into their heads. That's exactly what it looks and feels like. Being someone who's actually taken a lot of psychedelics in my time, the shit I saw in this film gave me strong flashbacks in the best possible way. Throw in some hot full frontal nudity for no reason, a trippy score, and you've got yourselves the making of a good time. 

In terms of plot and story, it's a fucking mess, with most of it making absolutely zero sense, but in terms of it's visual eye candy, it's superb. Often creative utilizing simple tricks like lens filters to achieve certain effects, and a whole lot of gooey, gory practical effects, there's no mistaking the skilled surreal artistry behind the camera. Nearly every frame of film is a work of pure widescreen cinematic art often reminding me of Jodorowsky's Holy Mountain. You may not know what the whole point of the film was, but you sure as hell can't deny it was one of the most trippy and beautiful things you've ever seen. 



The Boxers Omen has been released on DVD, but is very expensive, going anywhere from $60 to almost $200. It may or may not have been uploaded to YouTube for all I know (I haven't bothered to check), and if you're a much more tech-savy person than I am, you might even find it streaming somewhere on the down-low.  

9.03.2020

90's Action Attack!: The Killing Zone


by robotGEEK

While this particular film had been sitting in my "Amazon Watchlist" for a very long time, it wasn't until watching the Bad Movie Night masterpiece L.A. Wars recently that I finally felt compelled to give this a try. Why you ask? Because this is written and directed by the same guy (Addison Randall) who wrote L.A. Wars, as well as the hilariously awesome Shotgun, and if those films are any indication, I knew I was in for a good time. 

When a Mexican drug kingpin vows to avenge the death of his drug kingpin brother, it's up to ex-con Garret Bodine (Deron McBee) to help the police and keep his town safe. 

While not nearly as great as L.A. Wars, The Killing Zone did not disappoint. And to be quite honest, it was better than I was expecting. So let's get to it. 

Now this is really low-budget. While it may be under the almighty PM Entertainment's banner, I'm pretty sure it was a film they acquired after the fact and released under their name, because PM has a very specific quality to their action, and sadly, none of that is in here. That's not to say that the action scenes aren't entertaining in their own right, because they are. Just in a totally different way. Meaning, they're entertaining because they're so bad. Filled with random shootouts, it's the reaction shots of the people actually getting shot that are hilarious. I can't remember the last time I laughed out loud as often as I did by the reactions of those getting killed. It's hilarious! 

The fun doesn't stop there! The film looks so cheap that the opening and ending credits look like it's an 80's TV show. And the music, while highly entertaining, sounds like they're taken right out of vintage Nintendo games. Seriously, you can take so much of the music in here and insert them into any old NES game and it would fit. 

If you've had the pleasure of watching L.A. Wars, then you know what kind of hilarious dialogue to expect. Former American Gladiator and wrestler Daron McBee is amazing as the lead. He's so over the top in so many ways (the way he dresses, acts, and just being so goddamn huge in general) that he sells the shit out of it. It's a shame he never made it as an action hero in the DTV market the way Brian Bosworth and even Roddy Piper did for a brief time. He had the goods!

My only real complaint was that the film did a great job building up to a finale that promised to deliver a really big payoff of revenge. But when it was all said and done, the ending fell flat compared to it's promising conclusion. Nothing in the final act measured up to anything that happened leading up to it. And let me tell you, there's some great stuff in this film. One particular scene that stands out is when a mute bodyguard takes on a whole gang. There's so much fancy handwork going on in this fight that you almost don't even notice that none of his punches land, which is hilarious, and a guy who attempts a karate kick ends up losing a shoe in the middle of a kick as it goes flying clear across the screen!

While the ending is a bit weak, The Killing Zone is still a lot of fun. Hilarious action and dialogue, a larger than life lead, and some of the funniest kills I've ever seen in an action film....ever. Do yourself a favor give this a watch. It was the perfect solution to my dead Saturday night. It's not a good action film, but it sure as hell is a fun one. 

The Killing Zone is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.