Saturday, May 26, 2018

Pass Thru (2016)

There's not much that can be said about this Neil Breen film that isn't true of all of his films. Someone with magical powers, possibly from the future, decides the Earth has gone astray but can be saved by killing 300,000,000 bad people... and he's the hero. There are people stopped by border patrol, an old man with an oxygen tank being pushed through the desert in a wheel chair, Breen as a tramp who uses drugs to 'pass thru' dimensions of space, green screen background for a party, a house explosion, and a very long explanation of what he's doing being broadcast on TV (and which does not seem to connect to the actual plot). Whether there are multiple storylines, or he just gets distracted from one, I can't tell.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Passage to Zarahemla (2007)

This is the first film I've seen supposedly based on a chapter of "The Book of Mormon," of which I have to admit I haven't read more than one page. Two teenagers, left orphaned, move in with their aunt in the remote woods, who tells them legends of the area. Then there's an earthquake, which creates a rift in time, which causes people to go back and forth between societies. Then it turns out that one of our heroes is carrying a baggie of drugs he got from a gang member and the gang seeks them out (drugs being hard to find in Utah, apparently). This leads to a confrontation between modern gang members and ancient warriors, which would be interesting if anything actually happens, but the kids are saved by a fortuitous second earthquake closing the rift at exactly the right time. It's about what you'd expect from entertainment directed at parents of young Latter Day Saints, but cheaper and dumber than it need be.

[Originally, my entire review was going to read: "So this exists."]

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Pamela's Prayer (1998)

I'm no fan of fundamentalist Christian films, but I'm also not someone who thinks they're automatically hilarious. This one is bizarre enough to be slightly entertaining. A single father raises his daughter to remain "pure" by never kissing a man before marriage, never dating, never actually interacting with anyone... and substituting prayer with him for those things. Then she turns 18 and has a date which leads to marriage - how this is possible in the world of the film is inexplicable. The film is creepy and very poorly acted, but it's technically good and mostly hangs together.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Order of One (2006)

aka Order of One: Kung Fu Killing Spree
This film is about a sword made from the spear that pierced Jesus on the cross, which gives limitless power and the fight for its possession. Despite a low budget, this is stylishly made, with good camera work and editing. It's very tongue-in-cheek, with action scenes having 1960's "Batman"-like graphics added; my favorite is "EYEBALL EXIT PUNCH!" One guy gets killed by a bullet hitting a grenade he's holding. There's a fight in a strip club. A guy gets dragged behind a car for quite a while. There's too many characters to keep track of and it sags a bit in the middle, but it's enjoyable. Recommended.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Orbitrons (1990)

This obscurity was really hard to track down; I wanted it because I thought Lyle Talbot is in the cast, but it's Lawrence Talbot, which given the date makes more sense. It's a black and white homage to 1950's trash sci-fi done on a minimal budget.Aliens from outer space invade the earth, the female being a dominatrix that wants to turn people into zombies and a passive male who wants to do it peacefully. It's slow and has a lot of footage of a motorcycle ride to pad the time. The only interesting thing is a dream sequence where a woman gives birth to puppies.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Ombis: Alien Invasion (2013)

aka Not Human
If you watch this (and you shouldn't), you'll find yourself thinking of films that did the same thing, only better, including "The Blob." A meteor hits a dying rural town and turns people into green slime monsters. then there's a visit from a space algae cowboy (not as interesting as that sounds), who seems to be in control of it. It's up to the townsfolk to fight back. Made for a reported $32000, none of it went to professional actors; almost everyone's performance is painful to watch. The special effects are quite bad. The dialogue is stilted enough for occasional chuckles.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Tourist Ömer in Star Trek (1973)

aka Turkish Star Trek, aka Omar the Tourist in Star Trek
Unlike most Turkish remakes, this is a fairly faithful recreation of the "Man Trap" episode of the U.S. TV series "Star Trek," with some other episodes sandwiched in - there's a Gorn, for example. I'm told Ömer Turist was a popular character in Turkish film and that this film isn't typical of his work either. It's impossible to know whether the intentional humor works or not, as it's not subtitled (yet). The Enterprise picks up a Turkish hitch-hiker, who plays "fish out of water" while a plot familiar to Americans unfolds. It's not terrible.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Nude Nuns with Big Guns (2010)

The tradition of great titles for mediocre films continues. A bus full of nuns smuggling coke gets stopped by a biker gang who then forces the nuns into prostitution. One hears the voice of god telling her to get revenge, which she does. There's three rape scenes. There's maybe a hundred breasts. There's a lot of gunfire, but little acting, direction or script. There's a lot of annoying title cards. This is like a low budget version of "Grindhouse" by people who have not watched a lot of actual grindhouse films.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Not Cool (2014)

aka Shane Dawson Movie
Well, at least this film fails in a somewhat original way. A YouTube celebrity (who I have the barest recollection of) was one of two people to make a film from the same script; it's about relationships at the turn from high school to college. This one decided to add: anonymous oral sex in a restroom, vomiting in someone's face, drinking urine and eating feces (two different scenes) and whatever other gross-outs they could muster among extreme over-the-top overacting. None of the humor works, perhaps because the medium is too different in format from YouTube, perhaps because it simply sucks. Which it does.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

No Holds Barred (1989)

This was the first film produced by Vince McMahon and WWE (then WWF) and was meant to launch Hulk Hogan as a film star. "Rocky III" remains his best work. In this, he plays a wrestler pulled out of retirement to fight in a league where, as the title says, no holds are barred. The current champion is played by Tiny Lister. Jesse Ventura and a number of other wrestlers make appearances, as does David Paymer, who was definitely slumming. The bad guys are cartoonishly bad, the good guys cartoonishly good, Hogan emotes oddly and the fight scenes are uninteresting. It's silly and not good, but it's nowhere near the worst film Hogan's made.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

No Blood, No Surrender (186)

The people who have trashed this film seem to have missed the fact that it's a parody. It's a Filipino version of "Rambo" - there are others - starring the least brawny leading man possible, and I'm including Weng Weng. Speaking of Weng Weng, this film's star, Palito, also did a James Bond spoof, which I can't find a copy of. "Samson" is subjected to bullying that seems inspired by the Three Stooges, until he can't take it any more and fights back. The humor comes from seeing toughs getting beaten by a small skinny guy (plus things like his character being named "Samson"). Action star Fernando Poe makes a cameo. Humor doesn't translate well, but this is not so-bad-it's-good.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ninja Apocalypse (2014)

Cheap rip-off of "The Warriors." There's four ninja groups, one's leader gets killed, someone gets framed for it... and then there's zombies and people have superpowers and a bunch of random nonsense happens between fights. It's shot well (for once), but it's dull for long stretches.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Night of the Warrior (1991)

This is probably the least interesting Lorenzo Lamas martial arts film. He plays a guy who runs a strip club and is forced back into the world of kickfighting against his will. There's one decent fight at the start and a mediocre one at the end with a guy who I've seen in a lot of these things over the years (but who I am not looking up). The film is overly-stylish and is more a moody thriller than a martial arts film, which is probably why few have seen it and those who did were disappointed. It's not terrible - though there is a scene that inter-cuts a Lorenzo sex scene with shots of his mother being murdered - but there's nothing to recommend it, either.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Night of the Kickfighters (1988)

aka Night Raiders
A martial arts film with Adam West? How could I not watch that? West, alas, is not a kickfighter in this, but a millionaire with a laser weapon and a daughter who gets kidnapped. He hires a balding pudgy martial artist and his not-so magnificent seven to rescue her. Among the crew is 7 foot tall Carl Struycken, who is ludicrously slow and awkward in fight scenes. There's a woman whose accent keeps changing. There's a magician who trains by having cinder blocks broken on his chest while on a bed of nails. There's a ton of silly gadgets, some miniatures, a chase scene, a bar fight, stock footage - including a still frame, guys talking on phones after hanging up, dead characters returning, and... grape feeding and head massage by a giant while wearing a negligee and a snake. It's actually kind of slow until the final confrontation.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

New York Vampire (1991)

aka Undying Love
This had an interesting idea - a man who wants to commit suicide becomes a vampire; I mean, he can't die, so that's an interesting conflict. Unfortunately, the film does nothing with it. We see a failed razor blade suicide and then the guy's friends make fun of him as the loser who can't even kill himself properly. He meets a model at a party and she's a vampire and she bites him and then there's issues with the head vampire. None of the usual vampire lore is followed, as they walk around in daylight and don't even have fangs. It's just a poor low-budget horror film.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Necroville (2007)

Cross "Clerks" with "Zombieland" and remove the budget and you get this film. Two guys get a job as sort of exterminators in a town that has zombies, vampires, werewolves and a few ghosts and assorted monsters. I thought it was actually pretty good, despite the poor acting and effects. There's some gore and shocks (a baby's brains get sucked out) and some intended laughs. There's a surprising kill of a vampire that's original... and when was the last time you saw something original in a vampire film?!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

17 More Godfrey Ho Ninja Movies

I've already reviewed several, but I just watched or re-watched a bunch of these and I don't want anyone to have to wade through weeks of posts of these. For the uninitiated, Godfrey Ho, often under pseudonyms, made films from old footage in one of two ways: 1) Take an old film, add new footage involving ninjas and let the audience deal with characters who got older, fatter and changed their hair. 2) Take two old films and splice them together, so characters obviously in different places, interact - in the worst cases actually cutting between fights. His films have certain rules, such as "Only ninjas can kill ninjas," "Ninjas have supernatural powers - such as bilocation - which aren't mentioned until they happen," "Good ninjas wear different colors than bad ninjas (though the color code changes from film to film)," "Sometimes ninjas are European guys named Richard who wear headbands that read 'NINJA,'" and the best films have a dirt bike chase and stolen music.

Ninja: American Warrior (1987)

This one has a scene where an actress keeps her back to the camera because they couldn't get the original actress. The last 20 minutes are actually pretty entertaining, but nothing makes sense.

Ninja Commandments (1987)
A ninja tries to retire, but gets framed and then has to battle those who think he broke a rule. Meh.

Ninja Death Squad (1987)

A special agent is sent to stop a ninja squad assassinating military leaders. He manages to make himself invisible and so cause an earthquake.

Ninja Destroyer (1986)
This one bogs down in plot about an emerald mine. Our hero has to fight both rivals for the mine. The final fight has some choice lines of dialogue.

Ninja Dragon (1986)
A gangster movie has some Richard Harrison footage spliced in. The movie stops abruptly, which is common in Ho films, but this one is especially jarring. One of the less interesting ones.

Ninja Empire (1990)
(aka Ninja Knight, aka Ninja Knight: Thunder Fox)
I ended up seeing the other film with the same title by the same director twice before finding this. This one's about stopping a prostitution ring. Skip to the end, where both ninjas throw away their guns, just to somersault to the others' guns and then end up with a sword vs. shotgun showdown.

Ninja Force of Assassins (1988)

This one has gangsters and Interpol and White Ninja vs Black Ninja, though the White Ninja becomes two Blue Ninjas and the 2 guys who become 10 Black Ninjas do not include the original Black Ninja.

Ninja in Action (1987)
Stuart Smith is in a lot of these films. Here he's trying to find the murderer of his girlfriend's father. At one point, he whips a guy, lights him on fire, dunks him in water and puts needles into him... remember, he's the hero. There's a prologue that gives away the ending.

Ninja Kill (1987)

This has Richard Harrison and Stuart Smith and Joseph Lai got partial directing credit. This one has yak riding - that's all I remember.

Ninja Project Daredevils (1985)
aka Ninja Masters of Death

This one's about a soldier who tries to stage a rebellion. I think.

Ninja Phantom Heroes (1987)
aka Ninja Empire, aka Ninja Knight: Brothers of Blood

Okay, this one involves a guy in a labor camp getting set free if he can take down a crime organization. This one seems to have its fans, but I don't know why.

Ninja: Silent Assassin (1987)
aka Ninja Operation:Knight and Warrior, aka Black Ninja
Another one with both Richard Harrison and Stuart Smith. A police officer's wife is killed and he searches for the killer. The witness to the case he's working on is also killed by the same guy. He goes to Hong Kong to search for him, meeting three others also seeking him. Then they add a kid whose father was also killed by him. This one has more recognizable stolen music than most: the "Miami Vice" theme and a Genesis song.

Ninja: The Battalion (1988)
One of the least interesting of Ho's films. Four germ warfare experts are kidnapped to create a weapon. The secret password code is so weird and complicated that it's mildly amusing.

Ninja the Protector (1986)
aka Project Ninja Daredevils, aka Ninja: The Story

This one has Jackie Chan in a small role, but it's a Richard Harrison flick. This one has two brothers fighting a forger.

Ninja, the Violent Sorcerer (1987)
aka Ninja, the Violent Sorceror
This one has Chinese hopping vampires fighting ninjas. If you're unfamiliar with Chinese hopping vampires, you'll be bewildered.

Ninja Thunderbolt (1989)
Another Richard Harrison vehicle. There's a chase between skiers shot from a distance and I think it might just be one guy. There's a chase with an under-powered Honda. There's a chase where ninjas where roller skates (pink ones, at that). This one has its fans. I liked the roller skates.

Ninja USA (1985)
aka Ninja in the USA, aka USA Ninja

Two cops investigate a drug dealer. That drug dealer saved the lives of the two cops when they were kids and he was in the military (back story!) and now he has ninjas in his employ. This one's one of the more entertaining efforts.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Mutant Vampire Zombies from the 'Hood! (2008)

This was directed by a guy who went on to make films for The Asylum and stars C. Thomas Howell, who was in good films in the 1980's, mediocre films in the '90's and Asylum trash since. A solar flare in Los Angeles causes people exposed to it to turn into zombies and also keeps fires from lighting, though none of this is explained. Whether we're dealing with mutants, vampires or zombies, is also never clear. There's a couple of unaffected cops and two rival gangs - one black, one Asian - and they have to take matters into their own hands. There's humor, which sometimes works, but it's played mostly straight, which, given the title, was unexpected. The effects are okay, the acting passable, the story and direction adequate; I'm not sure if the washed-out overexposed look was intentional or not. It's not terrible.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Mega Python vs. Gatoroid (2011)

Yes, the CGI is that bad.

1980's teen singing stars Tiffany and Debbie Gibson are the leads in this SyFy film and 1960's bubblegum star Mickey Dolenz shows up. An animal rights activist releases giant pythons into the Everglades, they decimate the gator population, so a park ranger feeds them a sort of steroid so they can grow big enough to fight back. It's tongue-in-cheek and exactly what you'd expect with the title and the cast.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Mac & Devin Go to High School (2012)

Snoop Dogg has given some credible performances in decent films; he's also made films that are just friends messing about. This is one of the latter. The film would run an hour, but has an additional 15 minutes of an animated joint discoursing on apparently random subjects. Wiz Khalifa plays an uptight high school valedictorian-type who's taught to chill and be cool by Snoop (a 15 year student - the jacket in the photo above is the best part of the film) and a large amount of weed. Mike Epps is in it, as are some other musicians whose faces I recognize but who I can't name and can't be bothered to look up. The humor might work if you're stoned. It doesn't look like much effort was put into it and I've seen that it's supposed to be part of a trilogy, but it's probably just a vehicle to sell copies of the "Mac & Devin" album.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Master of Disguise (2002)

There seems to be exactly one person who likes this movie, so I've kept from putting this particular film on the blog until now (I've lowered my standards yet again). Dana Carvey stars as Pistachio Disguisey, unwittingly the last in a line of disguise experts. And I do mean unwittingly. His parents are kidnapped, so his grandfather teaches him the family business so he can get them back. This leads to a random assortment of episodic half-finished skits in silly costumes, punctuated by sophomoric humor. The cast could've been good, with better material: Jennifer Esposito, Harold Gould, James Brolin, Brent Spiner, Edie McClurg, Keenan Thompson, Jessica Simpson, Kevin Nealon, Michael Johnson (the track star), Bo Derek, Naya Rivera, Paula Abdul, Jesse Ventura and, as young Pistachio, Cole & Dylan Sprouse. There's not one joke that I can remember.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Mrs. Brown's Boys D'Movie (2014)

aka D'Mrs. Brown's Boys Movie
I stumbled onto this without the requisite knowledge of the TV show upon which it's based and there's this weird cultural divide where in England, a man in a dress is automatically funny and in the U.S., a man in a dress is usually considered unfortunate (and I just watched a bunch of Madea films - I might review one). Add to this that it's about an Irish family, which again is comedic gold in the UK and not here, and you can understand my quandary. Okay: a woman's fruit stand is threatened by a giant corporation and her family fights back. There's blind ninjas for no good reason. There's stereotyping that becomes offensive. There's "breaking" that's left in, which I'm guessing was one of the popular things about the TV show. There are some scattered chuckles. It's not abysmal, just not good.

Friday, May 4, 2018

My Uncle the Alien (1996)

This film doesn't even try. The daughter of the President of the United States is trying to save an orphanage in Los Angeles. She inadvertently mentions that her "uncle" who happens to be an alien, will protect it, causing some press reaction. She nearly gets killed by a cab, she gets her backpack stolen and she gets kidnapped. The feds chase the bad guys into places like a wax museum (which is not well-utilized; it might as well have been a factory) and the ransom money is used to save the orphanage. If you don't see at least two flaws in that plot, you might be dumb enough to enjoy this.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker! (2001)

Chris Seaver makes some of the worst films out there and he seems to be rather proud of that and the badness is at least partly intentional. In this, a woman who's a candy addict gets her candy stolen by zombies and has to fight to get it back. The director appears in black face, doing a sort-of Bill Cosby impersonation (there's pudding pop jokes). Lloyd Kaufman, Debbie Rochon and The Naked Cowboy are in it; Rochon returned for the sequel (!) where she fights a Teen Ape. Just over an hour long, there's less than 10 seconds of thought involved.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Mr. Nanny (1993)

It's "Kindergarten Cop" done badly. Hulk Hogan stars as a bodyguard to two children so terrible that they scare away their nannies and he has to be their babysitter/nanny as well. There's a villain with a shiny metal plate in his head named Thanatos. It's never explained why the bad guy wants the computer chip that Hogan's boss has, nor why he coincidentally has a vendetta against Hogan (to be fair, there might be a reason for the latter having to do with getting that metal plate). There's "Home Alone"-like slapstick where the nanny gets electrocuted, knocked down steps, crushed and hit in the head with a bowling ball. There's a ton of terrible dialogue meant to be funny - you could do a workshop on "hack comedy writing" based on this. Sherman Hemsley shows up, which is probably the best thing going for it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Mom, Can I keep Her? (1998)

Every schlock movie director seems to do a kid's film at some point and this is Fred Olen Ray's. Justin Berfield stars as a kid who befriends a 500 lb. gorilla escaped from a carnival (played by Don McLeod, wearing the same gorilla suit he used for American Tourister luggage ads). Supposed comedy ensues. Gil Gerard, Brinke Stevens, Mary Woronov and George "Buck" Flower all have roles. It's cheap and it doesn't work as comedy, but it might actually entertain small children, which puts it ahead of most films of this type.