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Matters get to a great start in this at least with some nice special fx work depicting the inception of a war in space - Great say I and I was immediately filled with high hopes.....but it was sadly not to be for any initial positivity was subsequently dashed horribly upon sitting through this to the end. Frankly, this film is a mess; Irritating characterisations, a story that goes nowhere and poor action sequences do not a good movie make!
Both main stars, Howell and Piper are utterly wasted in their roles although the latter at least does appear to be enjoying his role somewhat whilst the supporting cast are made up of infuriating oddities such as an annoyingly voiced priest/bookie, David Carradine as a psycho ventriloquist(!) and an annoying soldier who spends half the film beating up on his subordinates.
There's really very little to say about this film in fact other than to avoid it - it's ninety or so minutes better spent on the toilet if you ask me.
Cyber Tracker (1994)
Undemanding but fairly enjoyable
Those action mad loonies of PM Entertainment, Joseph Merhi and Richard Pepin deliver this somewhat fun Terminator rip off starring former kickboxing champ, Don 'The Dragon' Wilson.
Funny thing is, despite his obvious skills in the ring, I have never much liked Wilson's on screen fights and this film proved no exception. Even the final fight against martial arts star Richard Norton a fight which should have been awesome, proved to be decidedly mundane.
But enough about the fights what of the rest of the film you might ask?
Well, it's derogative stuff at best and clearly knows it but with Merhi and Pepin on board, plots invariably play second fiddle to the action scenes at any rate. In this regards, there are some admittedly cool sequences on offer which really elevate the film.
Acting wise? Probably best not mentioned but overall a fairly fun little film that should keep action fans mildly amused for ninety or so minutes.
Black Friday (2001)
You know, I always feel really sorry for Gary Daniels for not making it bigger than he has. OK, so he isn't exactly a great thespian by any stretch of the imagination but in terms of martial art skills, our Gaz is without doubt, one of the very best the West has to offer. How sad then that he has invariably found himself landed in some rather mundane affairs at best. I also find it doubly sad to compare the wonderful production values of something along the lines of the criminally underrated, Fist Of The North Star to the vast majority of his subsequent efforts. Such is the case of the film reviewed here for instance, which if the truth be told, more closely resembles a student film in terms of production quality. Shot on cheap video stock, this somewhat bland effort meanders along pretty aimlessly, effectively completely wasting Gary's talents with even the fight scenes themselves hardly ticking the boxes.
I'll give it credit for a nice twist at about the hour mark but even this can hardly compensate for the decidedly lacklustre direction and excessive 'talkiness' that so permeates proceedings.
For fellow Daniels' fans it's probably worth a peek but just don't get your hopes up as this will likely leave you sorely disappointed. A real shame.
Queen's Messenger (2001)
A poor show indeed for Daniels fans
Gary Daniels headlines in this sadly flat and by the numbers action flick which was shot on the cheap in Eastern Europe.
Our man plays Captain Strong of the SAS who is assigned the task of Queen's messenger - a role which seems to attract trouble like a magnet. Indeed, no sooner has our hero cuffed the requisite briefcase to his arm, he is besieged by a succession of loonies, all eager to murder him and anyone around him. Unfortunately, the above synopsis probably makes this sound much more interesting than it actually transpires on screen; In fact, in regretful truth, the film itself is somewhat of a chore to sit through from beginning to end suffering from bland action scenes, clunky dialogue and some pretty risible acting from most of the (clearly non-English speaking!) cast. Most disappointing of all,Daniels himself hardly gets to show off his fine martial arts skills! - Sacrelige!!!
How sad especially, to compare the production values of Daniels earlier, Fist Of The North Star to this shoddy effort made only five years later. A real shame for Daniels who could and indeed should, in an ideal world, have gone on to much greater things.
Sudden Death (1995)
There's trouble at the big game....
Powers Booth absolutely shines as a particularly nasty piece of work in this Die Hard inspired outing starring Jean Claude Van Damme. As many other reviewers have detailed the plot I will omit the said details and cut straight to the chase as regards the film quality; Good news.........this is rather splendid stuff in fact!
It's clearly a quality production wise, has oodles of tension and some great action set pieces throughout. OK, so there are a few rather bloody stupid moments such as in one particularly ridiculous scene, amidst the middle of all the action, Van Damme dons goal keeper duties and goes out to play ice hockey(!!!!!) - but if you can just put them to the back of your mind as (unintentional?) humour, then you should have a great time with this.
Vintage Van Damme
The target of much vitriol upon its initial release, it would appear that attitudes have however somewhat mellowed towards this early Van Damme vehicle. In this post apocalyptic tale, our favourite ripped Belgian plays a tough as nails hero for hire with a score to settle against a particularly ruthless bandit called Fender. Albert Pyunn directs this somewhat bleak tale with a touch of visual panache and includes a fair few rather exciting action set pieces as our hero shoots, stabs and of course, kicks his way to his final objective.
Whilst Van Damme's legs and feet are certainly on fine form, the same cannot sadly be said of his acting chops....... Still, it matters not and in truth he doesn't get many lines to bumble through at any rate. Funnily enough, Van Damme isn't the worst actor on show anyway......that honour must go to the aforementioned main bad guy but he cuts such a menacing presence that it matters not a jot not a tickle again.
Visually stylish with a great musical score, Cyborg is essential viewing for Van Damme fans.
Great final third......shame about the rest
Albert Pyun is hardly known for his stellar directing skills so it came as little surprise when I began to watch this to find it a horribly disjointed and muddled affair. Indeed, such is the case until about a third of the way through before things do finally start to settle down! Certainly I'd previously heard many good things about the film as regards its action sequences but in truth, said scenes don't really kick in until the final third or so(!) bar one or two OK sequences such as the start. Having said this, when the said scenes do take place, they admittedly do so in style; Indeed, whilst we have to wait for the action to kick in, when it does, it doesn't let up with some superb stunt work on display, big and beautiful explosions and bullets flying left right and centre. Also of note is some very good special effects work such as one android/cyborg who's face opens up to reveal a gun - yikes!
Fans of Gruner may be a little disappointed initially to learn that the kickboxing champ hardly performs any of his trademark martial arts in this but as if to make amends, he performs many of his own stunts - always a sign of a true trooper! Finally, keep an eye out for a pre-fame Thomas Jane in this who gets some early exposure in this......by exposing himself!!!! Oo er!
Well worth a look (the film that is, not Thomas Jane's - um, oh, you get the picture!)
Fearless Tiger (1991)
Incompetent in virtually every conceivable way............
.......But oh so much fun! Yes indeed, step right up folks for here we have a real stinker; Witness in disbelief a lead actor (who happens to be none other than Joseph Merhi's brother!) who can barely speak the English language(!), some pretty lousy fight sequences throughout (especially surprising considering that the legendary kicking maestro Jean Frennette is on board here!), Bolo Yeung dancing...badly(!), and some of the very worst acting performances this side of an average children's nativity play! Yes indeed, this is a truly amateurish mess if ever I've seen one; But you know what? Such gross incompetence in every area only serves to make this all the more endearing; Truly, this took some staggering ineptitude to make by all those concerned. Yay, I hereby do award this travesty my highest recommendation for fellow bad movie lovers.
Traitor's Heart (1999)
Shades of Total Recall.......
......Feature in this fairly decent conspiracy thriller starring Bryan Genesse. Genesse plays Nick Brody, a family man who seems to have the perfect life; A perfect (and bloody hot!) wife and a pleasant little nipper called Sean. However, after a chance meeting with a mysterious stranger, Brody stumbles upon ever more convincing information that his past is not what it seems..... You see, Brody was involved in a helicopter crash five years previously and has no recollection prior to this time. Indeed, it becomes quickly evident that many powerful people don't want Brody to remember his previous life and will stop at seemingly nothing to prevent him uncovering the truth.
Unfortunately, this was erroneously marketed as an action film which in truth, there isn't that much of. Needless to say, this will inevitably disappoint those wishing for a quick fix. However, if you approach this as a low budget conspiracy thriller then you may well glean some not inconsiderable enjoyment from this as I did.
At last! The sequel to Monsturd!
Well, it's time to throw political correctness right out of the bloody window now as the comedic genius of Rick Popko and Dan West bring us the long awaited sequel to the faecal favourite, Monsturd. This time the dastardly Dr Stern is performing experiments upon special needs students which whist initially highly beneficial (it turns them into savants!) has a rather unfortunate side effect........it subsequently transforms them into flesh hungry zombies! In no time at all Butte County consequently descends into chaos as the ever growing army of the living dead devour all in their path. It falls upon our intrepid heroes from the first film to save the day....but will they survive this brutal onslaught?
Well first things first, if you are at all offended by either a) politically incorrect depictions of disability or b) bucket loads of gore then I'd hastily advise you to give this one a width berth. For those of you left, you're in for a real treat with this guaranteed!
What can I say? This is simply hilarious fun from start to gore drenched finish with gags (and entrails!) flying left right and centre. It's also great to see virtually everyone involved with the first film making return appearances here again to, not least of all Popko and West themselves as the bumbling, bickering deputies.
Best scenes? So many to choose from and indeed far too numerous to list but for me the very best bit is another extended puking scene just like in Monsturd which features here as Dr Stern is handing our weak stomached heroes the entrails from a corpse (don't ask! - You really need to see it to find out why!)
Tremendous stuff and definitely one of the funniest films I've seen all year. Now......please, please can we have another sequel?