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End of Days (1999)
Dark, depressing and stupid
For a movie to be good, it has to have a good story regardless of the actors, director, music, etc. This poorly scripted flick probably sounded good as an idea with Arnold taking on the devil, but the finished product is a mess.
The main problem with the movie is that the devil is presented as being practically omnipotent. He can control people's minds, survive explosions and is unhurt by gun shots. If this is the case, why doesn't the devil just kill or control Arnold as soon as he meets him? If the devil wasn't as powerful, the movie might have been a little better, but not much.
There are also scenes that draw unintentional laughter. The one that stands out for me is a scene where a little fat lady kicks Arnold's ass in a New York City house. She throws him around like a rag doll and tries to crush him with a piano.
In addition to his beating by a little fat lady, Arnold also suffers a brutal beating and crucifixion by a bunch of satan worshippers, but a few scenes later he's as healthy as a horse and ready to kick butt. I wish I had his recovery ability.
The action sequences are nothing special either. They've all been done before in better movies than this.
Gabriel Byrne does a bad New York accent. Kevin Pollak cracks a few jokes, but doesn't do much else. And Rod Steiger plays a priest spewing out a bunch of religious nonsense.
Skip this one.
Black Friday (2001)
Let me start by saying that I think Gary Daniels is a great martial artist and a good actor. Unfortunately, his martial arts skills and acting ability can't save this lame flick.
The box cover for Black Friday shows Gary Daniels holding a sword, but he never uses a sword in the entire film. In fact, a sword never appears in the film at all.
The beginning includes a long scene between Gary and an Oriental woman that has absolutely no significance to the plot at all.
The pacing is so slow at points that I started fast forwarding through it. This is compounded by the overuse of slow-motion sequences throughout the film. There's even a mind-numbing fifteen minute scene using a wide-angle camera shot of Gary and another actor sitting on a bench talking.
There are two overly long fight sequences that are poorly staged and poorly filmed.
There's also a laughably bad explosion scene that looks entirely fake.
Another bad aspect of this film is the blaring music that accompanies almost every scene. A good sound track can enhance a film, but here it's just plain distracting.
A bad script and poor direction make this flick one to skip.
The Master (1984)
Decent ninja series from the 80's
This Master aired on NBC in 1984 during the ninja craze of the 80's. It only lasted thirteen episodes. It starred Lee Van Cleef and Timothy Van Patten. Van Cleef plays John Peter McAlister, a ninja who comes to America from Japan searching for his long-lost daughter. Once in America, he meets Max Keller, played by Timothy Van Patten, who teams up with McAlister to help find his daughter. Along the way, the duo travel in an A-Team-like van and engage in various adventures while helping those in need. McAlister also teaches Keller the finer points of ninjitsu in his spare time. The Master takes place in various cities across America, however, it was shot entirely in Los Angeles, CA. Sho Kosugi also appears in a handful of episodes as Okasa, an evil ninja hunting McAlister.
While I enjoyed this series, the casting was questionable. Lee Van Cleef was a fine actor, but he was totally miscast in this series. He was in no shape to do any of the fighting required for this series. He is quite obviously stunt doubled by Sho Kosugi(wearing a skull cap!) in almost all of the fight scenes. Van Patten is also stunt doubled in some of the fight scenes.
This series was released as a series of seven videos with the name Master Ninja.
If you enjoy ninja flicks or martial arts in general, give this a try.
P.S. Look for a pre-Striptease Demi Moore in the first episode.
Silent Rage (1982)
Okay at best
Silent Rage has Chuck playing a small-town sheriff who goes head-to-head with a murderous, seemingly indestructible villain played by Brian Libby. My favorite scene in this movie is unrelated to the main plot line. It's a fight sequence where Chuck singlehandedly takes on a gang of bikers in a bar. The fight scene at the end of the movie between Chuck and the villain is also well done.
This is not your typical Chuck Norris action flick. This is a science fiction/horror movie with some martial arts thrown in. Some of the characters are killed in graphically violent ways, which include:
1) A woman is axed to death. 2) A man is axed in the head. 3) A woman has her head slammed into a wall. 4) A man is stabbed in the neck with a syringe. 5) A man has his head twisted snapping his neck. 6) A man is bear-hugged to death.
The ending of this movie leaves open the possibility for a sequel, but one was never made. If you're in the mood for a Halloween-type movie with some karate fights thrown in, check this out.
Breaker! Breaker! (1977)
Breaker!Breaker! was Chuck Norris' first American-made movie in which he had a leading role. It was also his first movie as a good guy. This ultra-low budget flick has a clean-shaven Chuck playing a truck driver searching for his lost brother in a corrupt town run by an even more corrupt judge. While this isn't one of Chuck's best films, it is worth a watch for diehard Norris fans. I have to admit I love watching Chuck beat up bad guys and this movie delivers the goods. While the movie does drag at certain points, the fight sequences make up for the slow pacing. It's also quite obvious that this movie was made to capitalize on the CB craze of the 70's.