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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Disappointing, big time, 16 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't get why so many people are of the "If you don't like it, you're not a true horror fan" attitude regarding this movie.

I love horror movies and I love gory movies, but I really didn't like 'House of 1000 Corpses'. From the samples in his music and the very name of the band White Zombie, I knew Rob Zombie was a big fan of horror movies, so I was really looking forward to this.

Unfortunately, this movie is what MTV would look like if it were rated NC-17: loud, busy, frantic, shallow, and largely mindless. Yes, the movie contains numerous references (homages) to past horror films, and that's a good thing, but other than that all it really has going for it is Sid Haig (who is hilarious, and comes across as far and away the best actor in the film).

The biggest problem with the film is that it never develops any atmosphere whatsoever, and thus fails to ever become scary. Zombie doesn't choose between a loud and zany carnival of a movie and an atmospheric and tense lost-in-the-middle-of-nowhere movie, so the result is a house full of murderous hicks in the middle of nowhere that looks and feels like a torture theme park on speed. The endless palette of colours, including fluorescents, and the jarring and fast-paced editing, and the hand-held camera work, and the insufficiently motivated switches between camera stock, these all add up to make the movie chaotic.

It doesn't help that the four main "victim" characters are not developed enough to be sympathetic. It also doesn't help that the murderous hicks are such a random assortment of characters with no clear reasons for doing anything at all. The mother and daughter are manipulative and briefly (only briefly) slutty, but otherwise don't do much; Tiny is underused; the musclebound one seems inexplicably to be a decent mechanic who actually fixes the car for no particular reason; the grandfather seems like nothing but underused comic relief...

And then there's Otis, who oscillates randomly between being a sadist and a wanna-be cult leader. His passions seem to be behind the family luring people to their house (and Captain Spaulding helps them, which doesn't make any sense for his business, killing off people who could recommend his museum/gas station/chicken shack to others). However, Otis' changes of mind come as quickly as the edits in the film, and likewise make little sense: he tells the cheerleaders about his bizarre ideas, only to torture and kill some, and give the rest to Baby as playthings. He tortures Bill, then makes him into a Fiji Mermaid for no particular reason. The family buries two people alive in a pit, supposedly as sacrifice to the unexplained zombie-like things in the pit, all the while playing an Alistair Crowley recording though the family are never shown to follow Crowley's religious beliefs. The pit is connected to a sort of dungeon, where a couple of people are using impossible technology to perform deluded (and fatal) experiments on people.

Some of these situations might be scary, if they weren't combined in such a haphazard and ludicrous way, and if the movie used a calmer pace and a more limited colour palette to develop at least a little atmosphere ... and character sympathy, and character motivation...

The film's story is derivative of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (which is okay: most horror plots are derivative), but the difference is that TCM (the original one) took the time to establish the setting and the victims' characters so that the sudden appearance of action and tension and gore is shocking and horrific. In short, TCM is good horror. This is not.

Please tell me The Devil's Rejects is better. Please?

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Sloppy, but a lot of fun, 19 September 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was the last movie I saw at TIFF this year. For some reason, tickets were still available 2 hours before show time - wow! Seeing "midnight madness" movies in the middle of the day is always a little weird, but I had no regrets after Buppah Rahtree (billed in the festival as "Rahtree - The Flower of the Night").

The plot is a weird amalgam of The Exorcist, Misery, Audition (the TIFF audience, no stranger to Miike's films, caught this similarity immediately), and the typical high school romantic comedy plot (albeit at university). These influences come together to make a unique horror comedy romance, bookended by voice overs that are far too melodramatic.

Rahtree starts out looking like an artsy take on a story we're all sick of by now: a young man, rich and cocky, manages to bed a quiet, studious girl who turned down the most popular guy at their university ... just to win a bet. Immediately afterwards, he starts to feel guilty, but nonetheless he changes his cellphone number and takes pains to avoid the girl (the titular Buppah Rahtree). Two months later, he apologizes, and tells her that he's going off to grad school in England. She tells him she's pregnant. With the help of his rich parents, they get her an abortion. Then, somehow, she dies.

This is where the plot started to bother me. How did she die? Her "ghost" later is seen crying and screaming in her bathroom as she bleeds from ... well ... let's just say from where her abortion was. So apparently she was fine after the abortion but bled to death from it a day or two later? Hmm. Another character notes all the old books in her apartment, so personally I thought maybe she had sold her soul to the devil to get revenge, especially since the film is full of Exorcist references. In The Exorcist, Regan was POSSESSED, she was not an angry ghost.


There is also a sort of plot twist very near the end of the film which confused the heck out of me. Suffice to say there's another ghost and it is living in its original physical body as if nothing has happened (unlike Buppah's ghost who tends to just keep its body in the closet). Where did this second ghost/body come from and how did it make it all the way to Buppah's apartment? And why does it not seem to know it's dead? (Buppah even permanently injures it and ties it to the bed (that scene is the big Misery/Audition reference) - how can you do this to a ghost?)

All told, the plot has some problems and the dialogue is often weak (there's too much reliance on swear words for humour), and yet I enjoyed this movie, because it looks and sounds great, and it's quite funny. Director Yuthlert (who was very amusing in the Q & A session after the film) clearly has a lot of talent. I just think he could use some help with his scriptwriting.

13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
brilliant, touching, not what you expect, 26 February 2004

This film is a beautiful and haunting picture of Czech life during WWII. Particularly, non-Jewish, non-Nazi Czechs, although each of those groups are represented as well. The last few scenes of the film are ultimately a relief because, in light of the film's title 'Divided We Fall', the viewer half expects a pro-Communist forces message. This is not the case. The united Communist army representatives are shown as just as cruel to Nazis and Nazi sympathizers (even those who concede without a fight) as the Nazis were to... well ... nearly everybody. The title is, mercifully, not a political agenda, but a call for love and forgiveness - in this case, within what was once a peaceful and functional Czech community before Nazi occupation.

My only qualm with this film regards the way that the camerawork becomes unsteady and at a lower framerate whenever there is potential fatal danger to any of the characters. I appreciate that when we apprehend a very real danger, our perspective does indeed change to a nearly surreal state. However this cannot translate into the cinematic device employed in this movie, simply because the technique is used not only for when one person becomes scared, nor even only for when any character is scared, but when the AUDIENCE becomes sympathetically scared for the character(s), whether the character(s) knows what's happening or not! Thus, it seems pointless - or at least, it doesn't give the audience enough credit to know when they should be scared simply by how the story is unfolding. Personally, I'd rather a filmmaker flatter my intelligence by assuming I know the score, rather than point it out to me every time.

That qualm, however, is not as dire as it seems. Throughout, the movie retains its gracefulness, its fine pacing, and its delicate and unnerving balance between serene and severe, poetic and panicked. As an example, for a moment the picnic scene seems quiet, peaceful, lyrical, until we are suddenly (but without being hit over the head by daunting music or fast editing to drive the point home) reminded of the sickeningly casual scrupulousness of so many Nazis.

The movie is also extremely well acted. In one scene, Josef, Horst, and a high-ranking Nazi show up suddenly to the apartment which is central to the film. David, caught out of the pantry, dives under the covers with Marie to hide. Horst, probably a little drunk already, comes in and hits on the supposedly bedridden Marie, whose face succesfully commingles her disgust with Horst, her fear of being found out, and her discomfort (physical and ideological) with David lying right on top of her. This is immediately followed by another fine piece of acting when Josef steps into the doorframe, sees what's going on (i.e. that David is under the sheets), and goes from shock to fear to panic to decisiveness, suddenly breaking into a manic drunken look and dancing foolishly and singing a 'funny' Nazi song. His pretended drunken revelry is a ploy to distract Horst and the Nazi officer. Here, as many other times in the film, the line between life and death is suddenly, palpably a hair's breadth away - and yet without any guns fired, pointed, or even drawn. Another interesting theme throughout the film is the lies and deceptions by the good people in order to save one another, contrasted with the situations in which someone's honesty would condemn his friends. Sometimes it's ok, even necessary, to lie.

I don't want to spoil anything, but the ending of the film is a little odd. Yet I wholly embrace it. Film is an art form, and so it is allowed to employ a non-literal ending for the purpose of meaning. If you are put off by such unreal scenes, I suggest you watch less Jerry Bruckheimer movies from now on.

This film is, overall, a masterpiece. It is visually beautiful, has a moving and well-crafted story, and is certainly the best Europe-during-the-holocaust film that never shows you a ghetto or a concentration camp. The other best Europe-during-the-holocaust films, which do show these places, are Schindler's List, Life is Beautiful, and The Pianist. I recognize that Divided We Fall is much harder to find for sale or rent than these other 3 films, but really, everyone should watch all 4. I firmly believe that the more well-made films you see on the subject, the more understanding you'll have, and with these four combined, you get four different flavours: Czech, Polish, Italian, and American (about a German, among others). Divided We Fall is not to be missed.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A moody, moving masterpiece by Murnau, 28 October 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Last Laugh (titled 'The Last Man' in German, which probably warrants a discussion in itself) is a beautiful, emotional film, taking the viewer from the touching to the abjectly depressing to the excessively jovial. As many have pointed out, that last step is a little disjointed.

**SPOILERS - although you should watch this movie for sheer enjoyment, not to be surprised by the ending!***

Emil Jannings gives a superb performance as an unnamed doorman for the Atlantic hotel. The movie opens with some fine camerawork - descending into the hotel lobby, crossing the floor, and watching the doorman escort guests to and from taxis under an Atlantic umbrella to protect them from the pouring rain, which is shown through the revolving door. The energy, poise, grace, and magnanimousness of the doorman is thus shown in the context of his environment: an immediate suggestion of the symbiosis of this man's pleasure and this man's job.

Then, something goes wrong. The porter who should be there to help take the bags from the taxi driver and carry them to the lobby isn't there. The doorman calls for him but he's nowhere to be found. So the doorman steps beyond his call of duty, and carries a heavy steamer trunk into the lobby. Unfortunately, he is old, and this leaves him sore and out of breath, so he takes a break. The young hotel manager notices this break, makes some hasty notes in his little notepad, and the next day, the doorman has lost his job - because, we are to assume, the manager thinks him too old to be an effective doorman anymore. However, the hotel has arranged for their oldest employee of all to be retired to a "home", so the doorman can inherit that job - here Murnau gives the audience some time to appreciate the (former) doorman's shock, horror, misery, and utter defeat due only to losing his beloved job. It is only after a few minutes of this that his new position is revealed: the rather demeaning labours of a bathroom attendant.

The old man steals his old, beloved doorman's uniform and wears it home, saying nothing to his wife, daughter, brand new son-in-law, or nosey neighbours about what has happened, and pretending to still be the same jovial doorman. The next day, his wife decides to bring him lunch at work, and there she discovers the truth. There also is one of the most memorable shots of the film, though the purpose of its nature is unclear to me... To get to the men's room from the main concourse of the hotel, there is a double glass door, a short downward stairway, and then a double tinted glass door; a porter informs Jannings' character that someone is here to see him, so he emerges from the lower doors just as his wife has her face pressed against the upper doors... and in an extremely quick shot, Murnau's camera moves with lightning speed towards the wife's shocked face, pressed against the glass. I'll hazard a guess that Murnau didn't have faith in his actress' ability to convey the necessary shock and horror, because the wiser choice to display these things to the audience would be an acting-oriented shot, rather than this one: it SCARES the audience, with its sudden, fast-approaching vision of a wrinkled woman making a contorted face!

Anyway, the wife rushes home and tells the daughter. The nosey neighbour (who was always nice to the old man before) overhears and immediately starts a chain of gossip that reaches everyone in the apartment complex. I could digress here and question what Murnau is implying about women or old wives or even apartment building culture, but that's best saved for another time. Suffice to say when the old man comes home, the entire neighbourhood laughs at him, and his own family seems embarrassed to be seen with him before they rush him inside hoping nobody sees. They then stand sternly - albeit with hurt expressions, too - before him, as if they were a tribunal. Most viewers assume that his family's reaction is due to the fact that he now holds such a dishonourable job, not worthy of respect, and fully worthy of the neighbours' laughter. I can't help but wonder if in fact they're more upset that he lied to them, not trusting the family's solidarity and ability to work through hardships. At any rate, he does not know how to deal with them so he returns to the hotel to sleep in the washroom, in a scene which is complemented perfectly by the music and the soft focus to create one of the most heartbreaking moments I've ever seen on film.

Then the ONLY intertitle of the film - there is no dialogue whatsoever, which I found a remarkable testament to the fine acting and directing - interrupts the most moving scene and declares that, although the film should end here, the author took pity on the character and gave him a (highly unlikely) happy ending. We then see the happy ending: a wealthy old bachelor died suddenly while washing his hands in the old man's bathroom, and his will stipulated that his entire fortune go to the person in whose arms he died - as it happens, the old man. (This complex bit of plot is revealed in shots of the newspapers the hotel guests are laughing uncontrollably over - somewhat odd, as it doesn't seem that funny to me.) The film concludes with a drawn-out scene of the old man feasting heartily in the hotel restaurant and allowing his friend the night watchman to join in, then tipping all the hotel staff (except his replacement as doorman) and letting a beggar ride off in the carriage with him and the watchman.

Though the final portion of the film is stylistically in keeping with the first part, it is a bizarre, sudden, and very large digression from what had been a continually downward-moving story. From the utmost dregs of the unjust, sad, and pathetic, a sudden unprecedented intertitle lifts us into the utterly joyous and ideal. Cruel, mocking laughter is wholly replaced by "well how about that, isn't that swell" laughter, and for the first time, the old man doesn't stagger from the hotel in darkness at the end of a long day's work, but leaves it joyously, in a carriage, laughing, at midday. The main ideas of the film clearly carry through the interruption, but it's impossible not to be a little miffed by the suddenness of it all. It's also strange that absolutely no visual suggestion of the old man's family occurs after the intertitle - they have absolutely nothing to do with the happy ending, and whether or not they can be forgiven is absolutely not addressed.

Nonetheless, Murnau has crafted a moving and beautiful film, perfectly accentuated both by his highly accomplished cinematic style (the drunken scenes are wonderfully realistic, by the way) and by Emil Jannings' utterly sympathetic and believable performance as the doorman. Questions aside, I gave The Last Laugh 10/10 (more than I gave Nosferatu) and sincerely hope more people see it.

7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Immensely disappointing, 1 July 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Recall American Psycho - highly original, well-acted, carefully directed, and containing some of the darkest black humour ever committed to film - so for most of us, it was laugh-out-loud funny. Whether you liked it or not, it was also gruesome.

The "exciting and much anticipated sequel" is none of the above. Why was it never in theatres? Because it's horrible.

Mila Kunis is college student Rachael Newman. At the very beginning of the movie we learn that Rachael killed Patrick Bateman (the original psycho) as he was killing Rachael's babysitter. WHAT?! Part of what made the original film so effective was that it left us wondering whether all of the murders had really taken place - it made us uncertain, and then it abruptly ended. Now we're told that yes, it all really happened, and the ever-meticulous Patrick

was killed by a frightened little girl - who, by the way, completely got away with killing him. Preposterous! I wanted to turn the film off right there. Purist that I am, however, I suffered on...

Rachael goes to college, studying criminology under a professor who for 25 years was the FBI's greatest hunter of serial killers. Apparently, when the FBI couldn't figure out who killed Patrick Bateman, their top agent left to pursue a career in teaching. Who decided to cast William Shatner for this role? He teams up with Bad Script to make this character lack any of the coldness, ruthlessness, professionalism, quirkiness, or insight that you'd expect from such a legendary FBI-type.

Rachael wants to become the next great FBI agent so she can make a living catching serial killers. (Naturally, she has harboured an immense hatred of them ever since Patrick Bateman killed her babysitter.) In taking Captain Kirk's class this year, Rachael can apply to become his new Teaching Assistant next year - and 9 out of his 10 Teaching Assistants to date have been selected to study with the FBI.

Naturally, Rachael proceeds to wipe out her competitors for that coveted TA position.

You'd have to be heavily drugged to stop from being offended by how unrealistic this film is. For example, nobody questions Rachael when the boy she went out for dinner with and who later was shouting drunkenly in the hall of her dorm disappears. Nobody notices one character fall out a window. No police question Rachael, and the school is not panicked, even though one student was brutally murdered in the middle of the day in the library. A girl is missing for a few days before anyone notices she's hanging from a noose in her room (there's also, magically, no signs of struggle).

And let's face it, Mila Kunis isn't exactly Schwarzenegger. How the heck does she kill a security guard and a janitor without getting injured herself? Speaking of which, all of the murders in the movie are essentially off-camera - you see one person's legs twitch as he is strangled, you see Rachael's arms rise up to deal the killing blow, but that's it. The only gore is on already-dead bodies: the guard has a knife through his hand. OK. But the janitor has his mop rammed through his mouth and out the back of his skull. Is this Mila Kunis or Jason Voorhees?! How strong and over-the-top is this little woman?

Also ludicrous is the psychiatrist (Geraint Wyn Davies) who, after his first session with Rachael, immediately breaks the law by calling her professor and warning him that one of his students is a textbook psychotic. Both psychiatrist and professor proceed to do absolutely nothing about this. At the end of the film, the psychiatrist seems surprised that Rachael committed all of these murders. He then writes a bestselling book about how Rachael was such an ingenious serial killer.

Midway through the movie there's a laughably pathetic attempt to compare Rachael to Ted Bundy, and to further suggest that she is something unique: intelligent and methodical, yet utterly psychopathic and murdering in a downward spiral of increasing rashness and depravity. Whatever - the writers of this film wouldn't know good plot and character development if The Godfather hit them over the head.

There's also a 'twist' ending that confuses more than it explains, and scores high on the lame and unbelievable factors.

Did I mention that Mila also teams up with Bad Script to create a character who never, not for one single fleeting instant, seems obsessive or manic enough to kill people who stand in her way? She's too casual and composed, even when the script suggests she should start to lose control.

In closing, don't waste your time. Yes, she's crazy. Yes, she kills a bunch of people. Yes, this film manages to ruin itself, AND to try to ruin American Psycho by destroying its catch ending. Yes, it's pretty sad that they couldn't get Christian Bale to return to play Patrick in the brief scene at the beginning. No, you really won't care about the fates of any of the characters - even Rachael. No, no role in this film is sexy, or funny, or interesting, or believable, or has any good lines to deliver. Oh, and a couple of the classroom scenes were shot at the same time, then used for different days - how many times have you seen every student in a class come back the next day wearing the EXACT SAME CLOTHES?

Tadpole (2000)
Some saving graces, some just grating, 3 March 2003

Tadpole is not a particularly quirky or a glaringly independent little film, so don't be suckered in by its success at Sundance. Much better films have come before it, and much better films will follow.

Apparently, Tadpole was filmed in digital video (DV) - I don't know what the identifying characteristics of DV are, but I didn't notice: to me, the movie just looked like it was all filmed on a handicam. (Indeed, the graininess and the occasional time you notice the movements of a handheld camera do nothing to advance the movie - they just make it look cheap.) At least the DV in this didn't alienate me from the setting as much as it did in films like Vidocq and Star Wars: Episode II.

As far as films about teenage boys falling for older women go, Wes Anderson's 'Rushmore' is clearly better than 'Tadpole'. However I'll give you two reasons to see Tadpole, and both of them are very strong reasons.

(1) The dinner scene in the restaurant. In Rushmore's restaurant scene, the protagonist is being utterly obnoxious to the point that the scene isn't amusing, but Tadpole's scene is classic comedy. Who knows what? Who suspects what? The lies are woven and stumbled over, the looks are exchanged, and the scene is far and away the funniest in the film.

(2) Bebe Neuwirth - absolutely perfect in this role, sexy, sly, vampish, she gives the most devilish looks throughout. If you're like me, you'll want to smack Oscar for not seeing the forest for the trees - he gets drunk and has sex with Diane (Neuwirth) while drunk, then regrets it and wants nobody to find out, as he continues to lust after Eve (Sigourney Weaver) ... come on, man! Neuwirth (in this film, anyway) is far sexier than Weaver, and even sexier than the pretty young thing from Oscar's school).

Some devices used in Tadpole work, and some don't. The doorman at Oscar's father (John Ritter)'s swanky apartment building is a cheesy way of tracing the progress in the film: in his three scenes, his conversations with Oscar go from blunt to friendly and, so obvious it's somewhat offensive, the doorman goes from not opening the door for Oscar at all, to closing it behind him, to opening it and closing it for him. Actually, this wouldn't be such a bad concept if not for the fact that Oscar hasn't really changed at all - he's still pretentious, single-minded, inattentive, and somewhat annoying to the audience (as he passes up both beautiful and more homely girls his own age, as well as a beautiful 40-year-old, to relentlessly pursue his stepmother). So if Oscar hasn't changed, why are the doorman's interactions with him changing?! While I mention it, lusting for one's stepmother could be seen as a semi-legal Oedipal complex of some sort, but the film never comes close to exploring the roots or possible meanings of this.

Devices that do work: the recurring song "She" and the Alice in Wonderland statue. The latter appears only briefly, but it's not very subtle - Diane (Neuwirth) finishes a sentence, and then in the silence her eyes lead you right to the statue. Both the song and the statue hold contextual meaning rather than contentual, so their effect on you depends on your knowledge of them - they'll either be meaningless, or flatter your intellect. "She", which most of us associate with Elvis Costello, was actually written by a young man lusting after Edith Piaf, who was much older than he. 'Alice in Wonderland' was written by a middle-aged man (Lewis Carroll) about and for a very young girl for whom he is romoured to have held amorous affections. In this light, the song's connection to Oscar's love for Eve and the statue's connection to Diane's relationship with Oscar are obvious.

Overall, I cannot hate this film, because it was well acted, it made me laugh once or twice, and it had some nice, thoughtful touches. (It also made me want Bebe Neuwirth, but that's none of your business.) However, the film doesn't go beyond cute, as it doesn't explore any of the issues it brings up at all. It even neglects to show the most bare-bones social implications of relationships that border on statutory rape: after Diane's relations with Oscar are revealed, Eve has one - largely inconclusive - discussion with Diane, and then almost all of the supporting characters, Diane included, seem to drop off the face of the earth for the rest of the film. The film is only 70 minutes long, which seems awfully short, but when you see that the filmmakers refuse to get any more philosophical than the light humour of the Voltaire quotations used to divide the sections of the film, you will actually applaud the decision to not drag it on any longer.

I should add that Oscar's schoolmate is my favorite character after Diane. Although he goes to the same private school as Oscar, this young man has none of Oscar's pretentiousness. He plays with a basketball, he warns Oscar to stay away from his mother, and he hopes Oscar will go out with the hot girl from school so that he can get introduced to her friends. At the same time, he's not nearly as one-dimensional as typical teenaged movie males - he has an ability to read his friend that is normally reserved for female characters. A small role, but well written and realistically delivered (no overacting).


Ironheart (1992)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
How much would you pay to laugh at a horrible film?, 10 May 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this on sale - NEW - at my local store for $6 and said "hey! an action film with that guy from Bloodsport and Enter the Dragon, directed by the guy who did Enter the Dragon - and it's cheap!" So I bought it. Oops! This is possibly the worst film I've ever seen, and I've seen some doozies.

You know how movies which are intentionally campy, like Evil Dead II and Dead-Alive, are AWESOME? You know how movies that are supposed to be serious but turned out so awful that you have to laugh out loud, and watch them again, like Lionheart (an old Van Damme film) or John Carpenter's Vampires, are pretty cool? This film, Ironheart, manages to be NEITHER of those. I don't know what the filmmakers were thinking, but it looks as if this movie was made with no time to shoot, no budget for anything, and no script to speak of. (While I'm on the script note, I should point out that Bolo Yeung has NO LINES in this movie - the only reason he gets first billing on the box is the fact that he's the only actor in the film that you'll ever recognize (unless you're a Jackie Chan fan, in which case you'll recognize the bad guy - and you'll want to call him Giancarlo!).)

What's also sad is that this film is from '92. By that time, T2: Judgment day had come out, so you know that the era of 80s campiness was over... but not quite. After this, you'll think 80s Chuck Norris films, high-school comedies, and Jason/Freddy sequels were works of sheer genius.

Things to know:

1) Nobody in this film can act for beans. The closest you get is Richard Norton looking appropriately rich and cocky, and Bolo Yeung looking appropriately mean ... and cocky. Everything else is dreadful.

2) The martial arts scenes are forgettable - just many instances of white guys with lots of muscles taking off their shirts, yelling, running at Britton Lee, getting kicked by Britton Lee, getting punched by Britton Lee, then falling down. Even the final showdown against Bolo is disappointingly short, and about as creative as the design of my running socks (and equally stinky).

3) The rest of the action is pathetic, too: the guns look like they came from the toy department at K-Mart, and indeed they fire with the sound of a capgun. When someone gets shot, they bounce around a little bit, then lie still with splotches of brownish-red liquid on their clothes. Britton Lee apparently gets shot in the side, but you don't see it at all, then later that day you see the wound ... I've had paper cuts that were worse than that!

4) Of course then the girl dresses the wound, then they kiss, then next thing you know they're lying in bed talking after sex. Huh? What? Believable development of the love interest, as well as any kind of character development at all, are overlooked completely in this film. Remember how Bruce Lee's characters didn't need to have sex with anybody to be cool?

5) The car chase is by far the worst I've ever seen. It looks like the director was sitting on the curb with a hand-held camera as the two cars weaved down the road doing, oh I don't know, about 30 miles an hour? Don't try this at home, kids, these people are professionals! Hah!

6) Really bad writing. Here's a scene for you: Lee is being followed, so the girl follows the followers to "warn" Lee, but her car is too slow. So by the time she catches up, Lee and the bad guys are out of their cars and there's a gunfight in progress. Lee has killed two bad guys, but the third is shooting at Lee when the girl almost runs Lee over, so the bad guy runs away. (Huh?) Then the girl's car stalls and she can't start it. She tells Lee she's involved now and she's coming with him. He points out to her that they can't leave her car there because the bad guys will trace it to her. She somehow convinces him that he should decide how to deal with this problem - so he shoots the gas tank and blows up her car. (And remember, later that same night they have sex.) Huh?!?

7) If you look closely, in more than half of the nightclub shots, the dancers are very much out of sync with the music. The dancers are also all way too co-ordinated with each other (apparently in the '80s all people at dance clubs took dancing lessons). There is a girl in the DJ booth with a microphone, but she never does anything except dance. The bouncers tell people who are fighting to "take it outside" - without moving their lips. In one scene, the only bouncers Lee and Stevo pass by are just inside the entrance, but with their backs to it! Also, apparently, if you're a major character in the film, you can go straight to the head of the line.

8) Lee notices the first time he is being followed, but he doesn't notice the second time - even though it's the same guy in the same car. The girl, however, notices. Bad guys get followed twice, but they never notice.

9) Lee is worried the bad guys will trace the girl's car back to her, even though they have already seen him show up where she works twice. The girl proceeds to leave her child at work, in the care of a friend, while she is off having sex with Lee. DO NOT learn parenting from this film!

Can't think of more gripes right now ... you get the idea ... Ironheart is so bad, it ain't even funny, it's SAD.