Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Martial Arts Fest! The Invincible Killer (Hong Kong, 1978)


I know I proclaimed gems so this post makes me a fucking liar. Sorry but its true I am a right son of a bitch. Part of being a reviewer of un-reviewed cinema is venturing into the unknown and The Invincible Killer is pretty unknown. I obtained an english dub of this movie which probably did not help as I hate Hong Kong movie dubbing.

Anyways The Invincible Killer stars Chan Wai Man as a family man trying to escape his triad past which continues to haunt him in his jobless hours. Sorry if that is vague but that is as deep as this movie gets. Chan Wai Man is a rare good guy role here but its fucking wasted, he does fuck all except wander about and react to people, either on a street or within someone's lounge. The Invincible Killer is an exceedingly boring movie which was only made tolerable by the sudden appearance of one of my fav HK faces, Eddy 'fucking' Ko. Now Eddy Ko is the legendary villain of Dreaming The Reality and is still acting to this day. In this movie you can see him with a pure pimp moustache in a disco tracksuit fucking to a 70s deep fuck soundtrack if you really want. i dug this, but this is the sort o sick fuck-o I am.

As for the kung-fu action, there is very little, what there is is very stiff and laboured, it succeeds very little as an action movie, nor as a triad or crime drama. So all in all it's merely a piece of shit that deserves to be forgotten.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Martial Arts Fest! Pantyhose Hero (Hong Kong, 1990)



Backing up Sammo, is the ever smug Alan Tam, a Hong Kong actor who has never been a fan favorite but does as well as he can here with the material on offer. He's like Jacky Cheung mugging but with Andy Lau's smugness. So him and Sammo are hard boiled cops sent undercover as a gay couple to find a killer who is preying upon the local gay community. Add in some gangsters and you have the basic framework to wrap around the action and gags. To find Pantyhose Hero funny depends on your tolerance for very out dated low brow comedy, it's an endless parade of rude gags, limp wrists and falsettos. The only true sequence I thought actuaslly crossed the line was when Sammo and Alan recieved their 'gay training' from a female cop, a bit that went on too long and contained some right old crap out of the mouth of the female cop, rubbish about categories of gay.

The rest is as solid as this kind of film can be, Sammo always directs great action, even making Alan Tam look well hard, wielding a spade in the first action scene like a viking with a big axe. Elsewhere Sammo takes what seems to be a full impact hit from a car. Some brief shoot outs are also in the bag, along with the usual fist and feet type conclusion. For those that care, there's an abundance of fubtitles to amuse you. Some pictured here. Pantyhose Hero came at a time when Sammo's star was descending, if not already descended. Before this he was on fire, after this it was fucking Burger Cop. Pantyhose Hero is for those with a tolerance for Un-PC HK movies of the 90s, basically Wong Jing comedy type stuff. Anyone else should just watch the fight clips on youtube.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Green Slime (US/Japan)

I'm back baby. To start I thought MONSTERS. Then I thought SPACE. Then SPACE MONSTERS. Then Kinji Fukusaku's The Green Slime from 1968. A year of shitty hippie records and when Yakuza movies started to get dark. Lots of shit went down but also some actors wore boiler suits on some shoddy sets and were filmed by said Kinji running away from slime monsters.

The story is pretty simple, the crew of a space station, Gamma 3, blow up a big space rock headed to pulverise the earth. Returning after a successful mission with a smidgen of green crap on one of their space suits, soon the slime is multiplying and taking over the station gobbling energy with tentacles and zapping anyone that gets in their way. Add in some crew bickering and you have a bit of drama for good measure.

I have read that this is a complete turkey of a film. The Green Slime is not at all. I've seen far worse sci-fi films and creature features never mind rubbish kung fu films. It is shot well enough, fast paced enough and has enough spark to transcend its dated nature. Of the actors I only know Richard Jaeckel, a former marine turned character actor, who I know from films like Ulzana's Raid. They all do well enough, the entire film is no worse or better than the average Star trek or Doctor Who of the 60s/70s. The rather bumbling monsters are very Dr Who like but manage to retain some sort of menace somehow. Indeed the monsters aren't really the focus, it's more the crew's reactions to them. they could easily be evil clones or magic robots and the film would work just as well.

I struggle to say much about this film though, it is a pretty standard vintage sci-fi adventure that is fairly solid but shouldn't really draw psychotronic surfers riding the waves of oddball cinema expectation too much, it's really only Fukusaku's name that drew me to this. The Japanese hand print is all over this, from the miniature work, to the suits, to the off-beat soundtrack that sounds like Yoko Ono farting onto glass. An enjoyable time waster but not a classic.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Back In Action (USA, 1993)



Thanks to the GGTMC podcast and community and 'Fist-Of-BList' blog I've been on a tear of US action movies. Somehow I've managed to burn myself out on HK cinema at the moment. I've managed this before, you watch too much of the one thing and you no longer give a fuck about it. Or a film so loathsome it burns your eyes and sears your very soul. Cyber Ninja put me off movies for at least 3 weeks last November, Philip Ko's Techno Warriors threatened the same. At the other end of the spectrum you get movies that validate your passion for the form, that intoxicate the brain like a vat of farm cider.

Back In Action is such a bastard. Basically it is a buddy movie with former karate champ Billy Blanks and ex-wrestler Roddy Piper. Piper is a cop and Blanks is a former marine turned cabbie on the warpath over his sister being threatened by mobsters. This is a little movie that thinks and acts BIG. There's constant action and the movie is very violent. The physical impact of the flick actually rivals some of the Hong Kong product of the 1980s. I'd swear some of Blank's kicks actually send the stunt men flying senseless. He also uses lots of stupid sub Bruce Lee yelps and growls when hitting people. Add in Piper pulling off fucking wrestling moves when bringing the shit to mobsters and I was laughing with delight.

Highlight though has to be Blanks fighting two guys in his boxers. Not so much Blanks in his pants but the fact that the two would be assassins resemble the UK's Chuckle Brothers in circus outfits. Truly bizarre and the sort of golden moment that people in the know relish. Add in car chases, bitch slaps, pissed off Police Lieutenants and various teeth rattling gun battles and this is one hell of a good time. The film's soundtrack also seems to have been done by a funk rock band or whoever scored Seinfeld. Back In Action is as memorable as Tiger On Beat and has the same sort of feel. Does that make Roddy Piper the American Chow Yun Fat?

I got this on DVD for 56p!

I'll be covering more movies like this from now on. Also coming up will be Korean sword flick week covering shit like Musa.

As an aside I'm going to be coming up on Podcast without Honor and Humanity's 101 episode covering Memories Of Murder eek! Also check out new podcast Mill Creeps, who've just reviewed Robo-Vampire and shit fest R.O.T.O.R. Mill Creeps is the sort of podcast I dig, covering little known movies rather than ones every bugger has seen.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Podcast That Never Was

For the last three months I've tried my hand at pod-casting. It didn't work out well. Hats off to those that manage it. The actual recording process is fine. Watching a movie, making notes and fleshing out talking points was rather enjoyable. It was what came after that killed it.

Audacity.

The audio editing just slew my enthusiasm for the format as something to explore. It really is a whirlpool down which you get sucked. Every "eeh" or "umm" became an audio blemish I had to erase and soon I was swimming in a sea of audio correction. It was then I had a nirvana that I detested the sound of my voice and could not for see myself being able to stick to a routine of recording and releasing a regular schedule of episodes. I work shifts, have two children and would depend on time when my wife was at work so I could record.

I'd rather spend that time getting drunk.

So pod-casting therefore seems like a job. I did my work experience and I'm declining the position of Hong Kong pod-caster.

Writing to me is easier, if I build up a backlog of reviews I can make a decent blog out of this ramshackle piece of shit. Only time will tell.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Dentist (1996, USA)




The Dentist is a grisly left field psycho flick from the hands of Brian Yuzna, director of Society and starring television actor Corbin Bernsen as the titular character. Shot in just over two weeks, this little film is a like Falling Down redone as a medical horror, Corbin Bernsen's character of Alan Feinstone perfectly matching the mental degradation of Michael Douglas's in the other, bigger budget thriller. Basically Dr Alan spies his wife, played by model Linda Hoffman, giving the muscled pool guy oral sex and goes off his rocker slowly but surely, plagued by visions of stains, rot and his wife as some mental sex mad harpy.

After getting interrupted stalking the pool guy, he shoots a dog which alerts the police to something not quite right in his neighbourhood. He attends his work and over the course of a day, slowly breaks down and becomes less a dentist and more Norman Bates MD. Helping him along the way is a sinister taxman and Mark Ruffalo as a vain talent scout whose model Dr Alex ends up gassing and groping. Ooh matron!

I really enjoyed this film, its well shot, sleazy and laden with black as pitch humour. Yuzna maintains a steady tension throughout, you know Feinstone is going to go bananas but there's never a clear order or definition to how or what he is going to do. If anything you feel sorry for the guy as his wife is a complete cow. Bernsen is superb as the dastardly dentist, a vain man obsessed with cleanliness in all forms. His reactions to oral sex are hilarious. There is gore, mainly mock ups of mouths with zoomed in shots of teeth breaking up and stabbing needles but its gruesome as it's grounded in what could go wrong with dental equipmemt if you dentist was indeed a mad mental killer. If I have one criticism it's that the ending is a little flat, Feinstone and the police lack any sort of oomph, even if the main cop is played by Ken Foree. It's lifted a little by the closing minutes, a mini vision of what hell must be like for a mad dentist. An expert study of pulpy madness.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Scared Stiff (Hong Kong, 1987)




Real life always gets in the fucking way doesn't it. I never did complete my sordid Christmas coverage so fuck it, here's a piece on Scared Stiff instead. Starring Eric Tsang, Michael Miu and Chow Yun Fat, this is one weird arse hybrid of comedy, horror and stunts. The film starts as a comedy about two sex starved yuppie arseholes who live in a horrid 80s house and pretend to be remote controlled robots in order to grope 80s Hong Kong yuppie women. This lasts about fifteen minutes and believe you me, you'll want to throw the dvd out of your house window. Crass, garish and as funny as a boil on your nose, it'll give you a headache unless the sight of Eric Tsang wrapped in tinfoil floats your boat.

Thankfully it gets better, in a very strange fashion. There is suddenly a violent robbery that the two berks get involved in, sending Michael Miu into a coma where its discovered he has super brain powers. These super brain powers let him go into dreams if he's hooked up to some mad computer. Scientists put him to use for various reasons that make no sense, including a dream sequence where he hunts vampires with an old priest played by Wu Ma. It then turns into a giallo thriller as Eric Tsang is hunted not only by the robbers from earlier but by some unknown killer who seems to have stepped in from a Mario Bava film. There is then dirty cops, fall from heights and stalk and slash sequences before a telepathic blow out in a scrap car yard with cars flying here from there, squashing and crushing assorted bad folk.

Constant Hong Kong madness from start to finish but in more of a popcorn fashion than some of the more gore drenched nutsoid movies out there. The film switches tones and plot more times than a cat licks itself, one minute comedy, the next ultra-violence by way of careening telepathically driven car. Scared Stiff makes no sense whats so ever, but it does not have to. It's a little 1980s Hong Kong gem wrapped up in silver robot tinfoil for your eyes to savour.