Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bad/Awesome Flixxx Review: Superman II (1980)

"Come to me, Superman! I defy you! Come and kneel before Zod! Zod!" - General Zod

"Guy's a clod. Promises were made, gifts exchanged. I gotta hand it to you, you know. You always told the truth, a guy always knew where he stood with you." - Lex Luthor

"When? Where the hell have you been, mac, on a desert island?" - Diner owner to Superman

This was always my favorite superhero movie as a little dude. For some reason, 3 evil super beings with the same powers as Superman was such an awesome concept. They had the smart general (Zod), the hot female (Ursa), and the oversized brute (Non). Now the version I watched of this for this review was the much talked about "Richard Donner" cut. This cut is a good bit longer with more Marlon Brando as Jor-El and extended footage in the beginning telling more about the Phantom Zone, etc. I think its quite a superior film (no pun intended) to the Richard Lester cut from 1980. No reason to go into the details of why the switched and all that, you can look that up for yourself online. What we have here is a classic film where Superman is not only up against his biggest threat yet, but dealing with his desire to BE a human. Its a well written gem of a flick. I present to you Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, and Margot Kidder in SUPERMAN II !!!

This film is a very different film than the first cut that everyone has come to love. Even so, its still a better film. It makes more sense. See Richard Donner also directed the first SUPERMAN movie. They were actually filming them at the same time, so his sense of storyline was completely thrown out when he was let go from the movie. He had filmed 75% of it as well, so when they reconstructed this, it was as his vision was originally intended. Now the flick starts off with Jor-El banishing Zod, Ursa, and Non to the Phantom Zone. Then when Krypton exploded, the explosion sent their weird flying disc prison on the same trajectory as baby Kal-el's spaceship. Then we get a flashback scene from the first movie, showing the missile that Superman sent into space is what actually broke the super villains prison allowing them to escape.

So the villains head toward the moon and wreak havoc on some astronauts stationed there. Then they make their way toward Earth. Meanwhile Lex Luthor is making his escape from jail by hot air balloon and Lois is trying to trick Clark into revealing that he is really Superman. She tries by jumping out of the Daily Planet window but Clark saves her and makes her feel foolish. Then they are sent on assignment to Niagra Falls and she finally tricks him into revealing himself to her. Then they fall in love and Lois begins to go crazy because she can't tell anybody about who he is. Zod arrives on "planet Houston" and destroys a hick town. They fly to Washington and make the president "kneel before Zod". Everyone keeps telling Zod he'll be sorry when Superman comes to town. So Zod challenges Superman and its broadcast over all televisions the world over and they await his answer.

Superman doesn't hear any of this shit though, because he takes Lois up to his house at the Fortress of Solitude and spends the night with her. Then he asks the ghost of his dad what he should do. He decides to become a regular old pecker head shitty human and takes a bath in red Kryptonite. Bad timing. Then they start to head home and Clark gets the shit kicked out of himself in a redneck bar. Then he sees something on television about Zod taking over the Earth. Now he really feels like a shithead. So he goes back to his dad's ghost and his dad's ghost is like,"yeah yeah, I knew this was gonna happen", and he tells him he has to physically USE all the rest of the power in the Fortress to make it happen. And basically after it was done, he could never talk to him again. So he does that. Meanwhile, Lex had flown there and figured out that the fortress was Superman's house, and he then flies to the White House to exchange that pertinent information to the big 3 baddies for control over Australia.

SO... Zod decides Superman's true weakness is his love for the humans. Ursa suggests to him that they take the one he loves the most. So Luthor takes them to the Daily Planet to kidnap Lois. Then Superman shows up to whoop ass. But after a lengthy battle, decides that 3 of them with powers equally matched to his own was too much. He was outnumbered and couldn't win. So he flies off towards the Fortress. Superman knowing that Luthor was a treacherous jerk, let's him in on the chamber that takes away your power's secrets. Luthor rats him out according to plan, so they put Superman in the chamber, but ho-ho! Supes was too smart for them. He reversed the polarity on the chamber and with all of their powers drained, Supes makes light work of them. Then he pulls that reverse time trick and sends them back to the Phantom Zone, Luthor back to jail, and Lois back to not knowing who the Hell he really is. Which was just fine with him. Should you? DUHHHHH.

Bad/Awesome Flixxx Review: Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (1990)

"I was depressed, I was confused and I was turning Japanese." - Harry Griswold

"At the end of Mercury's next journey, the Dragon shall dance through the hoop of Jupiter. If at that moment the Monkey will ride the Jaguar and the Tiger will feast on the Nubile, the order of the Universe will be such that the Evil One will reign supreme for Eternity!" - Lotus

"I like a dog-faced monkey that has an appreciation for expensive sports cars." - Sgt. Kabukiman

I was so looking forward to watching this for a very long time. I thought for some reason that this was supposed to be a really good bad flick. I assumed since a lot of times when you see a promotion for Troma films you usually have two mascots dressed up or at least a guy in a Toxie mask and a guy in a Sgt. Kabukiman mask. Boy was I ever duped. This is one of those films that takes at least three or four tries even to get started. If you try to put this on and are even the slightest bit tired, you're done for. And maybe that's what you're looking for in a bad flick. Not me jack. This is grade "D" horseshit. I present to you, one for the books, SGT. KABUKIMAN N.Y.P.D.!!!

So apparently in NYC, there's a big underground Kabuki community. Legend has foretold that this old guy is supposed to pass his super secret Kabuki powers to a young actor in this community. However, the dude who was to become the superhero was brutally murdered along with his entire family. So the spirit of this mythic Japanese warrior is just hanging there inside of the old grandfather where unbeknownst to him his beneficiary has just been killed. Enter our protagonist goofball cop Harry Griswold. He narrates the story as if its a film noir. He's investigating the murder of the dude. We are introduced to and can tell right away something is up with this billionaire philanthropist named Reginald Stewart. He is responsible for bringing the Kabuki theater out of the small playhouses and into the spotlight in Manhattan. Meanwhile this chick Lotus is backstage somewhere preparing with her grandfather for the Kabuki actor who was killed to become the new incarnation of the hero that is to save not only the city, but the universe.

This grandfather is sucking down a box of mealworms just as our boy Harry is suckin on a chili dog. We're supposed to surmise that Harry is simultaneously going through the same ritual that this actor was supposed to go through. Lotus is getting super anxious since their dude hasn't showed up to receive his powers and she begs her grandfather to give them to her instead. He goes out for his performance with Harry in the audience, one of the Kabuki guys pulls out a machine gun just as Stewart and his entourage splits. More dudes pop outta the stage floor and fill grandpa full of lead. The audience laughs away and Lotus is screaming her head off. Harry figures it out, starts a riot and charges the stage. A thug tries to kill Lotus, but Harry straddles her and shoots his dick off. Lotus hates Harry right from the start. She throws him on top of her grandfather who kisses him and the magic mealworms jump into Harry's mouth signifying that he is the new Kabukiman.

Now we get another 45 minutes or so of Harry trying to cover up to his coworkers and explain why he's always dressing up in "dresses" and has paint on his face. We get more insight on just how bad Stewart is and what all he's involved in. Fast food chains, crooked churches. He even kills his own nephew. We get Captain vs Harry cop shit, and we get Lotus talking about women's rights. Harry has a cop girlfriend who was getting really close to the case. Finding out more than she should. So she gets attacked in the park and Harry tries to help but gets beat up enough to turn him into the full Kabukiman. Utilizing all his powers such as missile chopsticks, he defeats the thugs, but his girl is sent to the hospital. Stewart sends one of his thugs to the hospital to finish her off.

So over the next hour (this movie's true fault is its length. It should have been edited for sure), Harry decides he can't do anything but figure out his powers. And he keeps getting in trouble with his boss. AND he needs Lotus to help him and there are montages, and they of course fall in love. And he turns into a clown for some reason, and there are chase scenes and there's this part about a shirt thief at the local dry cleaners. Then they catch Stewart in the act but the bungling cops let this one chick loose and then Stewart is able to enact his plan as "the evil one". "The tiger begins to feast on the nubile" as it goes, and Stewart begins to become the Evil One, but Harry gets knocked out. He comes to and begins to fight what looks like the Hobgoblin from Marvel Comics. Luckily Lotus stops the monkey from riding the Jaguar, but did was Harry saved from the resulting explosion??? You'll have to sit through this one to find out! Should you find out? Well, upon second viewing, its not much worse than any of the other Troma flicks which I happen to enjoy... It just suffers from being too long. So... maybe watch it on fast forward.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bad/Awesome Flixxx Review: Evil Dead II (1987)

"Then let's head on down into that cellar and carve ourselves a witch." - Ash

"I don't think so. We just cut up our girlfriend with a chainsaw. Does that sound "fine"? - Mirror Ash

"There's something out there. That... that witch in the cellar is only part of it. It lives... out in those woods, in the dark... something... something that's come back from the dead." - Ash

Sequel or remake? This usually is what people talk about when they are talking about this flick. I guess in the context of the film itself, it doesn't really fucking matter. Is it worth a shit? That's the question we should be asking. In all actuality its probably a bit of both sequel AND remake. A little retelling of the beginning and rewriting and polishing to make it a better story. Is it the best movie ever? No. Is it incredibly scary? No. Is it completely awesome and full of gross out, slapstick horror comedy? Yes. And with that I give you Bruce Campbell in (the middle film of Sam Raimi's trilogy) EVIL DEAD II !!!

So, second verse same as the first right? Not quite actually. In what is supposed to be a recap of the first movie (or so they say) we get a fresh perspective on our hero Ash and instead of his sister and gang of friends, we have his girlfriend with him. Very quickly they get excited for a romantic evening in this old cabin when Ash finds a tape recorder in the bedroom. On this recorder a professor explains he's made a wild discovery with his family in tow. It seems they found "the Book of the Dead" in the back of some castle and he brought it back to this cabin to decode it. He then recites some lines from the book that cause a wicked smoke to rise up out of the woods and give birth to true evil. From there Ash's girl Linda is out into the woods and her head comes off. Ash buries her and then goes back to the cabin where her dead body taunts him all night until he goes insane.

Just before daybreak, he's out in the woods fighting this evil and it throws him through the woods seemingly for miles and he hits a tree and splashes down in a puddle. When he gets up, he's possessed. But the sun comes up and the smoke goes back into the ground and seemingly so does his possession. He passes back out in the puddle for most of the day and then tries to drive his car outta there. No dice, the bridge is out. Suddenly, the daughter of the professor comes back from whereever and meets her dude. They can't get there by bridge so she hires this local redneck and his girlfriend to take them back out to her father's cabin. It seems she had been off looking for missing pages of the book.

Meanwhile Ash has been freaking himself out in the cabin. Talking to himself, seeing things, and finally having to cut off his own possessed hand which is trying its best to kill him. When Annie (the daughter) makes it back, they have to lock him in the basement because they think he's a killer. Finally they realize whats up and the professor's dead wife starts to attack Ash in the basement. They let him out and he ends up having to kill Annie's boyfriend who is also possessed. Then they're haunted for at least another half hour by Annie's dead mom.

The redneck makes them go try to help him find his girlfriend who has disappeared but Ash goes crazy again. Annie stabs the redneck and throws him in the cellar where her mother turns him into gallons of blood that sprays everywhere. Ash almost kills Annie, but sees Linda (his girlfriend from the beginning)'s necklace and transforms back into himself. Then they give each other a pep talk and he glues a chainsaw to his nub and fights off the demons as she recites the missing pages incantation that opens up a portal sucking everything back to the year 1300. Unfortunately it sucked up Ash as well and after quickly dispersing of a screaming flying hideous monster is hailed by the knights as their prophesized hero. To which he screams, "no, no, noooo, no......NO!!!" And this sets us up for the sequel which actually did come out a few years later. Should you? You already should have. Yes.

Bad/Awesome Flixxx Review: Chrome And Hot Leather (1971)

" man, you don't get it. You leave when you're excused. Now say it: P-L-E-A-S-E may I be excused?" - T.J.

"Don't worry about a thang boys, its just like pluckin' feathers off a hot hen." - Hank

"Holy Mackaral boy- ya done lost again. The only way we gonna get rich is to own tha casina!" - Jim

Here we have a motorcycle movie from 1971. The only thing different from this biker flick from any other biker flick is that usually we have someone from one of the biker gangs is one of the heroes. Or possibly we have a skirmish betwixt two different biker gangs and we see who winds up on top. This one is young veterans vs. biker gang and it paints the bikers in a negative light. There was a time when the biker was glorified and this shows the turn that begun to show bikers as more trouble than they were worth. Possibly stemming from negative newspaper articles and books such as Hell's Angels by Hunter S. Thompson, the wild biker was now the enemy, not some bohemian ideal lifestyle. Starring MARVIN GAYE (!), today I bring you CHROME AND HOT LEATHER!!!

Mitch a his squadron of Green Berets have just been released to head home from Vietnam. Mitch's girlfriend and her friend and driving down some long stretch of what looks to be Sedona or somewhere in the desert in California. They run afoul of a biker gang called the Wizards, and one of the bikers decides right then and there to make an example of them. He ends up running the girl's car off the road after smashing in their windshield with a chain whip killing both of them instantly. After being yelled at by the group's leader TJ, they hightail it outta there before anyone sees them and go into hiding.

So Mitch gets home and realizes his old lady has been murdered. He of course vows revenge. First things first. He goes looking around for any motorcycle gangs that live in the area since the person who found her saw some iron horses riding off from the scene while the car was still down in the ravine smoking. One part I don't understand is how exactly are all of those Green Berets from the same town? They were all just drinking together in a bar in Bangkok asking where they are all going, and Mitch is the only one who mentions going "home" to his girl. Seems unlikely that they were all from like Riverside, CA. Anyway, they hear about this gang called the Devils and then almost get into a fight in a bar with some other bikers asking about the Devils. So they decide to ditch their army fatigues, and buy matching red Kawasaki's(?) to fool bikers into thinking they're a gang. Only problem? They don't know how to ride.

So they head out to the desert and learn to ride these Kawasaki's in the sand. A brief montage later and they are pretty prolific. Then they're back out looking for the Devils. They split up and arent' having much luck until they come by this old gas station and Mitch meets up with some of the members of the Wizards. He follows them back to a bar they frequent and Mitch actually gets in with the chick of the dude who killed his old lady. By this time there's a power rift growing between T.J. (the leader) and Gabriel (the dude who killed the chicks). Gabriel thinks TJ is getting soft but TJ whoops his ass and shows him how soft he is. He even grants Mitch the alone time he needs with Gabriels chick. And Gabriel splits sulking.

Eventually Mitch meets back up with the other berets at the gas station and he fills them in. Then they go to an old friend in the military and secure all the bombs, guns, rockets, and whatever else bullshit they need to spook and beat the hell out of this biker gang. Then there's a whole big set up and they trap them up in the mountains and scare them and if you really wanna know the end, you'll just have to check it out yourself. Problem is... Should you? Well, I can't say that I fully back this one. There are at lease 100 other ones that are probably better. That's all I'll say. But if you like biker trash, go for it!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Bad/Awesome Flixxx Review: Watership Down (1978)

"All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed." - Narrator

"I'm in a mist! Everything's bad! Oh, I've got a funny feeling in my toe! *Hraka*!" - Bigwig mocking Fiver

"Look. Look. That's the place for us. High, lonely hills, where the wind and the sound carry, and the ground's as dry as straw in a barn. That's where we ought to be. That's where we have to get to." - Fiver

Wow.  I started this review a good long while ago.  Then I got super busy.  Its been a long time, but I've watched a shitload of flicks and kept notes, so prepare yourself to be immersed.  It is the holiday season though and maybe we'll all have time to catch up on some old favorites.  This film is based on a book written by Richard Adams, the same man who brought us PLAGUE DOGS.  Although this story deals with displaced rabbits instead of dis(mis?)placed doggies.  Anyway, its not nearly as heavy as PLAGUE DOGS, but in the vein of animated apocalyptic animal movies such as SECRET OF NIMH, or ANIMAL FARM, this pill should be easily swallowed.  I give you WATERSHIP DOWN!!!

So there's a quick prologue telling us that the animal god Frith made all the animals and ended up getting pissed at the prince of rabbits because he wouldn't control his rabbit constituency.  So Frith made rabbits taste good to a great many other animals.  But then just to give them the upper hand and be kind of wishy washy and fucked up the ways some gods can be, he made them swift and cunning and said, "yeah they'll be alright."  Fast forward, and we have this psychic weakling rabbit named "Fiver" who starts running around telling everyone they have to get the hell out of there because something bad is going to happen.  The only one who vaguely believes him is his brother Hazel.  They decide to go tell the rabbit mafia "the Owlsy", but they tell them to bugger off.  Hazel gives in to his brother and decides to help save as many as he can and they convince about 8 to come with them but end up having to fight the rabbit cops to get away.  Worse than that?  The only chick with them gets eaten by a hawk on day two.  BUMMER.

One of the Owlsy rabbits Bigwig comes with them.  Then they end up meeting this other rabbit named Cowslip who invites them to come hang in his "warren" with all his boys.  But Fiver thinks this is a bad plan and him and Hazel split.  The rest of the group kind of wants to stay and just as Bigwig is giving them the business for "making waves", he gets trapped in a snare and almost dies.  They get him out and realize that those other rabbits trick outsiders into coming to their spot and a farmer feeds them and protects them if they give him sacrifices.  Which doesn't make any fucking sense to me.  How did they strike this deal with the farmer?  Sounds suspect.

So they find a bunch of chicks at this one farm but they can't rescue them b/c the animals are too tough.  Then they actually find the "watership down" warren that Fiver has been seeing in his visions.  Hazel becomes the chief and they start hanging out with this pelican.  The pelican tells them they need chicks and he'll go scout out the farm for them.  Hazel gets shot, but the pelican helps him and tells them he found another dangerous warren full of chicks for all of them. They find a wounded rabbit cop named Holly from their old warren who tells them they shouldn't go to this Efrafan warren because its a totalitarian state and ran by a bunch of pricks.  So here's where the facade falls away and we realize its definitely about politics.  No SMURF analogies here, its right in your face.  So Bigwig infiltrates the Efrafan warren and becomes a rabbit cop again and starts spreading the word that he's their to rescue the chicks.  There's this HUGE rabbit boss named General Woundswort and he's tough.  Bigwig gets the chicks to split with him and with help of the bird they escape down river and back home.

So the Efrafan rabbits track them back to the watership down warren.  They tell them to surrender the escapees and Bigwig.  Hazel tells them Hell no, but then the Efrafan rabbits take siege on the warren.  Fiver passes out and has a vision about a dog.  Hazel gets the idea to let loose a dog to kill all the Efrafan rabbits, but he's worried that it'll kill his warren too.  So he prays to Frith to take his life for his warren.  Frith hears him but leaves it up to him.  So Hazel looses the dog and it comes and breaks up a heinous fight between the General and Bigwig.  The General tries to take on the dog and we'll leave it there.  Check it out for yourself and see what becomes of the watership down warren.  Should you?  Yeah if you can score a copy.  It should be easier to find than PLAGUE DOGS, and you'll cry less as well.