The whole nightmare neighbours thing has been done to death, anyone… MoreThe whole nightmare neighbours thing has been done to death, anyone remember the Aykroyd and Belushi movie 'Neighbours' from 1981? There are other examples that vary on the premise but the idea is old hat, this movie uses the old frat house theme against the homely couple which in itself is not entirely original. None the less its an opportunity to see Rogen act like a beer swilling unkempt overweight slob and...oh wait, that's not entirely original either.
So the young-ish couple with a baby living in some huge huge detached house in suburbia are horrified when the other huge huge detached house next door gets turned into a frat house. This kind of thing doesn't really happen in the UK, we don't have frat houses and the concept does sound quite ludicrous frankly although I'm sure this situation has been exaggerated. Most folk in the UK don't live in detached mansions either by the way. At first the young couple get on with the party mad...err frat guys/people, but sure enough tensions mount and eventually the situation boils over into a feud.
I kinda found this film to be along the same lines as the comedy 'Identity Thief'. Now when I say comedy I use that term loosely as both movies revolve around situations that aren't really funny, this is how I see them as similar. In reality if this happened to you (either movies plot) it would be horrible, a real nightmare, thusly watching this film kinda made me feel uncomfortable, I actually felt tense and nervous because the whole scenario is just nasty.
Sure there are amusing moments...kinda, at first everything is sorta OK but you know it won't last of course. It starts with simple noise pollution as the teens party all night long, little jibes here and there, nothing too bad. Then as things start to heat up Rogen's character attacks the frat house causing bad water damage which the lads somehow manage to fix by selling...dildos?! they make about 10K I think it was...wut?! From there on various things happen which just aren't particularly funny, nothing really seriously malicious like horrific serve vandalism but just dangerous pranks like somehow setting up Rogen's car airbags to go off on his work seat. How on earth did they manage to get into his work place and do that? let alone find out where he works. The same could be said for the airbag pranks inside Rogen's house...how? plus would they really make a fully grown male as heavy as Rogen fly in the air like that? it all seems illogical and it looked stupid.
I guess the whole thing just feels completely predictable and like something we've seen before many times over the decades, oh wait we have. All the usual drinking pot smoking visual gags, the nerdy older couple trying to be cool and mix in with the younger kids by dressing idiotically and talking like some street wise surfer rap hoodies (am I showing myself up to be out of touch with that comment?). The party montages are the usual epileptic fit inducing variety with hot scantily cad chicks, neon lights, dance floor grinding, insane activities and close ups of Rogen's bare disgusting hairy gut.
What's really kinda weird is the young frat guys keep threatening to do things to get back at Rogen and co yet they never really do much accept for the airbag jokes and just being plainly annoying. The film keeps building up the plot as though something epic is gonna happen but nothing really does. Then in the end after the frat house is shut down and you'd think the frat boys (mainly Efron's character) would be really pissed and out for revenge, he just makes up with Rogen as if nothing ever happened! I was like...that's it?!" after all that you just shake and be friends! what was the point of all this again?
I like Rogen I really do, he can be a funny guy, a good average Joe type fella in solid everyday bloke type movies, he's relatable. This just feels like a vain ego trip (seeing as he produced it) which just doesn't work and feels totally forced. Trying too hard and coming across as overbearing with the attempted laughs, get a new schtick Rogen.
So after the somewhat mediocre affair of the first film the boys are… MoreSo after the somewhat mediocre affair of the first film the boys are back for more vulgar adventures, this time down under. That's pretty much my whole synopsis right there, this film is virtually the same spiel as the first film but set in Australia, game over.
The film follows on from the last movie with Simon having relationship issues with the girl he met in Malia and Will doesn't seem to be with the nice blonde he met in Malia anymore. Neil has also moved on from his girl but Jay has run off to Oz to find the chubby bird he also met in Malia. So most of what happened in the last movie has been jettisoned for a clean slate and basically the story revolves around Jay going after his bird from the first movie.
No sooner have the guys met up in Oz and discovered Jay is actually working in a nightclub toilet (nicely done), Will bumps into an old flame and all four are dragged off up the eastern coast to Bryon Bay following her. After a slow start the story does pick up a bit when we meet Jay's uncle in Australia, I can't deny the obligatory stereotypical beer swilling racist foul mouthed Aussie is a hoot if somewhat predictable with the verbal gags. From there on the movie does nail each and every stereotype perfectly from the guitar playing, bead wearing, bracelet adorned, backpacking UK hippies with their silly head wear and earrings.
I guess its no surprise the whole film is one big predictable cliche, we all know that right, we know to expect that but does this make for a fun flick? In all honesty no it doesn't, I still can't quite work out how or why this film has done so well here in the UK, well I know why...its because the TV show was so popular and it has a huge following that's why. I must declare I found myself second guessing almost every scene, every line of dialog and every gag, the whole scenario, the whole setup...everything was just so formulaic and predictable it really felt quite lame dare I say.
Sure there are scenes and lines that made me laugh of course. The most horrendous of these must be the lumps of poo shooting down the water chute after Neil has an accident at the top. This wasn't exactly funny...more utterly disgusting as the lumps of poo did look very real and the fact they hit Simon in the face followed by him gushing vomit did leave me actually gagging. Seeing Jay wanking under the covers as Will comes close to getting laid was very amusing, the lads getting stranded in the outback brings up some good lines despite the fact you knew right from the start that whole scenario was [b]bound[/b] to happen and Will having a spiritual campfire moment (and outburst) with the hippies was quite good.
I did find myself enjoying this in places but generally it all felt extremely repetitive in my opinion. Its all a thinly disguised rehash of the first movie, the plot is near identical and follows the same routine. The lads try to get in with the pretty folk, one or two of them manage to nab a sexy bird somehow, they all fall out over silly issues, they almost get their leg over but end up getting dumped in the end for a jock and then finally making up with each other. Hell even the verbal and visual gags are almost the same stuff rehashed but just slightly altered, instead of the 'pussay patrol' its now the 'banter brigade', worth a giggle but meh. The location this time made things more interesting and visually more exciting which I liked although I wish more had been set in the wilds of the outback. The short teaser trailers did tend to make you think that but alas twas no more than a tease.
The finale is again all the same guff from the first movie literately scene for scene including the end credit extras, plus it does feel like they shoehorned in as many cast regulars from the TV show as possible when they didn't really need to be there (Jay's dad?). In the end I do think this is better than the first movie outing but only marginally. The Aussie setting is great but lets be honest here...this film could of been set anywhere as they don't really take much advantage of that Aussie factor. I do believe (personally) that this franchise has now run its course and should quite while its ahead, its become very repetitive and making another in yet another location may not succeed.
The boys are back in town...again! and this time its PG-13 baby… MoreThe boys are back in town...again! and this time its PG-13 baby (sigh). All the Expendable team are back after yet another successful mission where they all had their invincibility cheats on...accept for Crews who forgot to enter his cheat code and gets nailed. But don't go getting too excited because low and behold he survives, they must have found an energy health power-up for him.
So the lads are getting on a bit these days, Arnie and Sly are pushing 70 years of age and the rest of the team aren't that far behind...well some of them. Anyway despite that Sly thinks its time to hang up everybody's boots because they are now officially (according to him) too old, yet Sly still carries on with the next mission even though he's the oldest and clearly looks the worst for wear. So off he goes to hire some young blood with the help of...Kelsey Grammer? really?? what action movies has he starr...never mind. So bottom line the tough old guns are out, the new young guns are in...aaaand there goes the entire premise of the franchise.
The whole plot is basically a play on how these guys are too old for this shit, yet in reality they're all genuinely too old for this shit (some of them) but they're still doing it!...badly.
The plot is not worth discussing really, its the usual good guys vs the bad guys this time led by Mel Gibson...the end. As you would/should expect its pretty much exactly the same spiel as the fist two films but with new team members. There are little remarks throughout from various characters that touch on the fact the movie is a complete parody of itself which didn't really make me smile. Instead they just got me thinking how stupid this whole exercise was and how sharp and accurate those little quips are...but not in a funny way, a serious way, like stop this ridiculous charade and lets get back to old school for Gods sake. What's more the little quips merely pinpoint what is actually wrong with this entire franchise...'so what our plan is to kick down the door and start spraying bullets?', 'that's a great plan...if its 1985'. Yes that's what we want! Oh Lord! if only this film was the caliber of a 1985 adult action flick! if only!
So as we know all the old school action men we wanna see have been left behind accept for Sly's ego. We are now left with some young guys I've never heard of accept for Lutz and a female MMA fighter who cannot act TO SAVE HER LIFE. Seriously I've haven't seen such bad acting in a major movie for some time, it was embarrassing to watch her try and be butch and tough. Her first sequence as the bouncer in that nightclub literately made me laugh out loud, absolutely terrible. The entire montage thing was so flippin' cliched, would have been OK if it was actually good.
Everybody is covered in thick tan makeup its cringeworthy. Sly's face looks like a beaten slab of meat, Arnie has dyed hair, Ford looks dreadfully old (why he agreed to act in this I'll never know) and for some reason they turn Banderas into a bitch. The action isn't as bad as I thought it would be in places I'll admit. There is a solid punch to it at times but it really needs some claret to fly, it yearns for it, some nice fat exploding bloody squibs. Overall its choppy (no pun intended), the thrills can be decent but without warning all of a sudden it drops into pure crapola, awful CGI choppers and a dirt bike stunt sequence? really?? you could clearly see the course and dirt covered ramps!
As we plod slowly towards the predictable ending of the old school Expendables having to save the young newbies things just become more and more...annoying. All the team members are like explosive Gods raining down pain on all the faceless useless military that are swarming all over them. Not even tanks can stop them, how can a countries military be so utterly useless? Arnie throws out not one but two choppa quips that date back to his famous lines in 'Predator', Gibson's dialog is hilariously bad as is his over acting when he finally gets killed off by super Sly and as with before no one gets killed or even injured. I've said it before and I'll say it again, these films would be so much cooler if some of the good guys got killed off.
Yeah its a parody of sorts and not to be taken seriously even though Sly is clearly taking it all very seriously. Sly if you wanna be a serious badass then make these adult rated action movies. I have not taken to this franchise from day one after it became apparent they weren't gonna be proper action movies like I remember. I grew up watching these guys in real hardcore adult flicks where the blood flowed, limbs flew and the f-bombs detonated in every other line. This franchise does not give me what I remember, and I'm not even wearing my rose tinted specs. These guys need to remember their roots, the roots that made them famous, they didn't become famous for childish PG family fun films. Alas now I fear time has passed many of them by and unfortunately this was not a good final curtain.
The title for this film and the poster are pretty cool, I wonder if… MoreThe title for this film and the poster are pretty cool, I wonder if Fred Dekker borrowed the idea for his movie 'The Monster Squad'. Anyway here we have another horror anthology (not Amicus) that's piece de resistance was having Vincent Prince and John Carradine star in the bookend story. Other horror (anthology) regulars such as Donald Pleasence and Britt Ekland also pop up but no Peter Cushing this time. Carradine portrays real life British horror author Chetwynd-Hayes whose stories are what this anthology are based upon.
The film starts off in a fine manner with Price playing a vampire (he didn't play them often...or ever) and biting Carradine in a most polite way of course. To thank Carradine Price takes him to the Monster Club where various ghouls and...errrm monsters hang out and let their hair and fur down. Now this sounds pretty sweet no doubt but I'm afraid to say the entire idea is let down with the most dreadful looking sequences you'll have seen for some time. Think of the Mos Eisley space cantina in 'Star Wars' with all the alien creatures but no where near as good and with terrible costumes.
When I say terrible costumes I mean it, they look like kids Halloween costumes your mum bought at the local supermarket. Absolutely horrendous, so much so in fact I'm not even sure if it was done like that on purpose for comedic relief. What's even stranger is the musical interludes between the short stories, you have a horror tale followed by some weird ass pop group dressed up with bad makeup singing a bad song, was this filler? At one point Price gets up and dances with the monsters on the dance floor...I'm still not sure if I should look on this as uber cool or just a crappy run time extension, its nothing like 'Thriller' so don't get excited.
The actual stories are reasonable but pretty timid frankly, what's more they create new monsters or hybrids which sound daft. The first is based around a Shadmock which is the offspring of...something, I can't elaborate because the sequence where Price explains what monsters are called when they mate with other monsters is so confusing I just ran with it. Basically this creature looks like a pale male human but his whistle can somehow burn things to a crisp? whatever. The story is merely about a couple trying to get a hold of this Shadmocks huge fortune by having the young woman marry him under false pretenses of love. The setting and location are nice and atmospheric, bit of a 'Beauty and the Beast' or 'Phantom of the Opera' type premise but not up to the same standard.
The next short is about a vampire family, well the man of the house is a vampire but his wife and boy are not oddly. Donald Pleasence is part of a secret vampire hunters team that carry violin cases that contain stakes for killing vampires (Robert Rodriguez see this film?). Pleasence follows the boy and eventually talks him into exposing his father even though the boy never knew his father was a vampire. In the end Pleasence gets bitten and must fight off his own men, its very shallow and hardly a horror tale at all, its not even spooky really. It raises more questions than anything but I guess its only a vignette.
The final story is easily the best and revolves around a film director travelling to a small remote village in the English countryside to scout the location. There he discovers a century old race of ghouls that eat corpses. When trying to escape this village of the damned he only gets so far before discovering that more people outside of the village are in fact ghouls and escape may well be futile. Again many questions are raised but the tale is the most interesting and could easily be expanded, its basically your common zombie apocalypse type flick that obviously has lots of similarities with the 1960 film 'Village of the Damned'.
I kinda had high hopes for this film but felt disappointed in the end. Everything looks a bit cheap and nasty and the vignettes are pretty low key with little thrills or excitement to be had. The cast is solid as usual but that doesn't really make much difference, its all about the stories and apart from the final one its all very drab.
Amicus seemed to like anthology horror movies, this was their last… MoreAmicus seemed to like anthology horror movies, this was their last picture in a series of six including the original 'Tales from the Crypt'. The basic outline is as you would predict, the common theme of four spooky tales sandwiched between a bookend plot which is kinda hosted by an eerie narrator type.
The main character throughout the whole film is the horror maestro Peter Cushing who plays the owner of a small antiques store in London. One by one customers enter the store for bits of objet d'art but each one wrongs the shop owner in one way or another. Naturally this causes each person to suffer some kind of nasty cruel fate which appears as though the shop keeper may or may not be behind it...or at least knows of their fate.
The first tale sees David Warner tricking the shop keeper into selling him an expensive mirror cheaply. When he then holds a seance (as you do) he is visited by a spirit from within the mirror who sort of brainwashes him into killing people so he may materialise and travel 'beyond the ultimate'. This is probably the most curious of the tales and is nicely spooky, not much is explained so you're left to make up your own minds which is cool...sorta. Personally I really wanted to know more about the background but the looping twist in the tale is smart.
Up next is a strange one, a nice married man buys some matchsticks from an ex-serviceman (Donald Pleasence) to help him out. He then sees some shiny medals in Cushing's antique shop and wants to impress the serviceman by pretending to be ex-army himself. Unable to buy the medal because a certificate is required to prove you are a real ex-serviceman the man steals the medal. Impressed with the medal the serviceman invites the gent to tea and to meet his daughter (Angela Pleasence). Over time the gent has an affair with the young girl who seems to be some kind of witch. Eventually the kind gent and young girl end up cursing and killing his dominating wife then marrying, but the twist revolves around the gents young boy.
I didn't really understand this one, the gent is a nice guy trying to help the ex-serviceman, he's bullied at home by his wife and gets no respect from his son, his life is a misery. It seems he finds happiness trying to mix with the poorer man, yeah sure he stole the medal but it wasn't a malicious act. He just wanted to make the ex-serviceman happy, feel comfortable around him...he just wanted to be one of the lads really, felt sorry for him. The whole thing with the daughter was just weird and ended up making no real sense, very off the wall, I'm still not really sure what she was, how, what her father had to do with it and why the pair did or do what they do.
The elemental is based around demons or gremlins perhaps. Another posh well-to-do gent tricks the shop keeper into selling him something cheaper than it should be. On the way home a little batty old witch warns him of the elemental sitting on his shoulder...no one can see this creature but animals, small children and...errr other witches or crazy people. In time things happen that are totally out of the man's control and he seeks the assistance of the eccentric 'Madame Orloff'. I liked this short tale because the idea of an invisible little gremlin type thing perched on someones shoulder like a gargoyle and taking control is cool. I also think the short is boosted brilliantly by Margaret Leighton as Orloff who comes across like a character straight out of a Disney movie like 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' or 'Mary Poppins'. Must just add that the ending is kinda evil though, the whole thing goes from a quirky olde worlde English country witch casting spells to a much darker place.
Finally there is another almost charming ghoulish tale about a young man buying a very old highly detailed carved wooden door from the antique shop. This door of course opens up to another dimension or world where an evil occultist is trying to lure people so he can collect their souls? I think. Again the plot doesn't make much sense and isn't explained too well but its another visually fun tale in that typically old English manner with a large well decorated olde worlde house...suit of armour on display etc...This time the twist ending isn't a gloomy one though, that in itself is quite unique with these films.
Overall its a good little collection of horror tales, three I liked with their old school visuals, quirky characters and stereotypically English gents (although not stereotypical at the time of course). The stars add much gravitas to the whole affair, what old 70's horror flick is complete without Cushing?! and on the whole the special effects aren't too bad considering. Charmingly old fashioned whilst not being too horrific, perfect Halloween fodder and great fun.
Requiem? requiem for what? a better movie? what does this title even… MoreRequiem? requiem for what? a better movie? what does this title even mean here?? So after the somewhat dubious PG adventures of both species in the last movie, this time its back to a proper adult rating where the franchise belongs. I am now issuing a guilty pleasure alert to any readers, yes that's right a guilty pleasure red alert.
Following on from the first movie we see the Predator ship leaving Earth's orbit with the impregnated Predator corpse on board. Low and behold the naughty spawn bursts from within the dead Predator and pretty much immediately becomes a fully grown mature Alien/Predator hybrid, any previous movie lore right out the window there. A lone Predator picks up the distress beacon and comes to Earth to mop up and take care of the situation, the lone wolf Predator.
The first thing to hit you about this movie which really really sucks ass is the fact the picture is so damn dark. I believe this has been mentioned by everybody in the entire world because it is in fact genuinely badly lit everywhere. Most every sequence of other worldly action is too dark, you're watching shiny objects bouncing around and glistening in the shadows basically. Kudos for keeping the creatures hidden from view for as long as possible and trying for a brooding scary atmosphere but they went a little over the top.
Now the main thing that stood out for me with this was the Predator design and overall coolness factor. The movie on the whole is generally pretty poor but its saved by having a really badass Predator in the lead role. In the first movie the Predators looked like roided up or overweight goons with Milli Vanilli dreads down to their arses, their faces looked TERRIBLE! with big eyes, plus they were useless teens. This time our Predator (protagonist?? antagonist??) is slim athletic, has regular length dreads, no silly adornments, no fanfare, a few tough-nut facial scars, a scary face just like Stan Winston's original design and loaded to the teeth with weapons of carnage. This dude means business, he's got the classic looks and the moves to match...so they got that right.
On the Alien side of things its funny because in the first movie they got these guys down to a tee perfectly, they looked awesome, right out of the Cameron sequel. This time around they just don't look right with their overly large (extended?) jaws and off shaped heads, when you see a full CGI Alien it looks fine but the puppet close ups are no way as good as the W.S. Anderson film. Then we have the Alien/Predator hybrid fiasco, what the hell happened here?! not even having Tom Woodruff Jr. inside could save this monstrosity...hell I think he even helped design the thing! The really sad thing is the initial designs you see in the making of documentaries are actually really good, it just makes you wonder how on earth they settled on the version that was used. The head seemed way too big for the body, the jaw was too big and complicated, it clearly couldn't move well being too heavy and it had tiny Alien tails for its dreads! In short you could hardly make out what you were looking at, along with the overly dark picture this did not bode well.
I guess the issue with the plot is basically its meaningless because in the end everyone gets nuked so...there was no need for the Predator really. The shady government types were just gonna nuke the site from orbit anyway. Naturally there are many little nods towards the older movies spread throughout, some are brave attempts like the National Guard battling the Aliens in a rain soaked street at night. Nice minimal Alien usage and good editing there just like in 'Aliens'. There is plenty of rehashed old well known dialog from the first two classic movies, similar shots of the creatures, similar jump moments, the same classic sound effects etc...it actually all works well I think, especially with the Predator.
Its a sad state of affairs really because this film does have many positive points, it does fit into the Predator/Alien universe nicely, there are solid advancements for the creatures (mainly the Predator) and its a decent next step for the franchise. Yeah sure the characters are all bland cardboard cutouts that you don't care about and are merely there to be killed off slasher flick style. This is both a problem and not a problem really, OK I admit you expect a bit more but really? we know this franchise, we know its all about watching the space aliens kill humans in more cool and disgusting ways and we knew from the start it was never gonna be epic.
Yes the movie could have been greater with better casting, dialog and plot but the film does the job, it gives us an adult Predator flick with Aliens instead of PG-13 dribble. This was never gonna be on the same level as the Scott and Cameron movies because lets be honest you need a much bigger production to do justice to some of the better story concepts that we've seen in the graphic novels. Violence blood and gore doesn't make a good movie you say? you don't need extreme splatter only a solid plot? Well yeah a solid plot would be nice but the violence and gore is a must, doesn't matter how good the story is without that adult rating its just not a proper Predator or Alien movie.
Its a film of two halves, the Predator side of the story, I think, is executed really well and looks fantastic, I really wanted to see more of this guy. Yes of course most of the things we see him do are just rehashed ideas or slight extensions from the last Predator movies but it just looks so cool damn it. You can't deny there are some excellent hero poses for the Predator in this, he just oozes badassery with those twin shoulder cannons. On the flip side the Aliens are reduced to cheap slasher thrills, just tacky monsters that kill faceless people that no one cares about, real 'Friday the 13th' 'Critters' B-movie type schlock. I told you at the start this was a guilty pleasure for me, I realise its bad in many areas but I also think its good in a few others...OK just the Predator then, but that is enough to lift it in my humble opinion. If you're an Alien fan then the first AvP movie is your bag, Predator fans I'm sure will enjoy this sequel more.
Not too sure what the title means here, there was no Empress in the… MoreNot too sure what the title means here, there was no Empress in the first film and the plot doesn't relate in any way to the first film either. Characters are also different to the original film despite starring Lana Clarkson in both.
What we have here is a slight play on Robin Hood. A king is killed in battle so his unruly son claims the throne for himself including the magical scepter which is the source of the kingdoms power. The kings daughter (Clarkson) protests this naturally and is marked for execution to get rid of her...naturally. She escapes, joins up with some other female rebel warriors (just like that) and they all band together to win the kingdom back hurrah!
Now I hope your not expecting too much here, you know what this will entail, much like the previous film and all the 'Deathstalker' films. Plenty of tits and ass, skimpy outfits, females killing poorly skilled swordsmen, Clarkson on the rack again topless and errr more poorly skilled baddie swordsmen trying to rape big breasted women (happens a lot in these films).
Pretty much exactly the same as the first film, there's a good rescue scene from the gallows which is similar to the sequence in 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' with Errol Flynn. There is a nice sadistic little girl Princess who is heir to the throne (if Clarkson's character is gotten rid of, the whole point of the film) whom I liked, her spoilt bratty ways are fun to watch as all around her cower.
Just like the first film the finale is way better than the rest with a semi decent sword battle within the castle. Costumes are quite nice in this film it must be said, a kind of Crusades thing going on with the good guys whilst the sets look suspiciously like sets used before, oh well. The lead male hero in this looks the part too, he actually looks like he could be in a proper film, the same can't be said about the cliched blonde lead Clarkson.
Well by now you will know if you like these films or not, a guilty pleasure possibly, just for a laugh and some naked girlies perhaps. Not as good as 'Deathstalker' though.
Along the same lines as the 'Deathstalker' franchise, no surprise… MoreAlong the same lines as the 'Deathstalker' franchise, no surprise seeing as its another Corman production. Again you must check out the poster for this film, so so very sexy and awesome yet as usual nothing like the actual movie, such a shame.
Set in the Roman era apparently, never noticed myself, the plot revolves around a small band of female warriors and their Queen trying to save the Queens sister from nasty Romans. Nothing really happens for the entire film to be brutally honest and its really rather dull.
Of course there are the obligatory topless scenes for many female characters and some soft porn sexy moments which will keep any hot blooded male interested, but not for long. The finale is pretty good with a semi decent fight sequence within a semi decent set. All the sword fighting is pretty hokey looking but its fun to watch all the extras pretend to be proper swordsmen/women.
End of the day I watched this because of the cool film title. Yep I'm a perv, but for what other reason would any male watch this? certainly not for the epic historic story line or quality acting oh no. Its Corman and its all about big breasted blonde women in skimpy outfits with swords killing men, expect nothing less.
How about that for a movie title then huh sounds like a children's… MoreHow about that for a movie title then huh sounds like a children's weekday TV series on BBC1 or some cheesy children's adventure book. Looking at the movie poster really concrete's that theory, it looks like some hammy children's adventure book cover, like those old 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books, remember those? I half expected this to be an adaptation of a children's book but surprisingly it isn't...but the whole premise predates the 'Back the the Future' franchise which makes you think.
So basically a young Fred Ward plays the protagonist 'Lyle Swann', also known as the Timerider...kinda. During the Baja 1000 cross-country bike race he goes off course and ends up riding into a scientific experiment that has been set up to...errm send things back in time. Without knowing what's happened to himself Swann is now biking around the wild west of 1877 and naturally stumbles into all manner of problems with hilarious results. Well not really but you can guess the type of childish stuff that's gonna happen here right.
Without trying to sound too predictable myself, this movie could easily be a spin-off of sorts to the third 'Back to the Future' movie, watching this really made me wonder if Zemeckis took a bigass leaf out of its book. The start of the movie virtually shows us nothing more than the title character riding through the barren Mexican desert on his bike, literately that for around 20 minutes! oh and a touch of plot revolving around white coats and and their unprotected unguarded science experiment. Seriously they are conducting this major experiment in the desert yet there's no one there to safeguard it or keep people or roaming animals out the way.
Once in the wild west of Mexico Swann comes across all the things you'd predict he would such as bandits, outlaws, a lovely lady, priests and terrified locals. It is reasonably amusing how Ward's character doesn't know he's gone back in time, there are some nice moments based on that idea but most of what happens you can see coming a mile off like the locals thinking he's a demon from hell, Swann falling for the pretty female, the bad guys wanting his bike etc...I can't really complain about the cliched plot line because the film was made in 82 and back then this wasn't cliched or predictable, ditto the situations Swann gets into, nothing original or particularly exciting but back in the day it would have been different.
I did like the twist ending surrounding his great great grandmother and father, bit of a time paradox thinker which shows that had Swann never gone back in time he would have never existed. There are some loop holes though like the fact his dirt bike get left behind, it gets destroyed but its still back in time...so wouldn't that alter history somewhat? Then there's the usual old silliness of all the outlaws shooting at Swann on his bike yet failing to hit him every time. I also liked the bit of dialog from Peter Coyote (the grizzled baddie) saying had the south (Dixie) had the bike they would have won the civil war...not too sure how a dirt bike would have won them the war to be honest. Funny how the bad outlaws in this movie are from the south, because anyone from the south at that time was obviously bad.
Another thing I noticed towards the end of the movie which made me sit upright was the death of Coyote's villain (spoiler alert). In one sequence this baddie is suppose to get killed by a chopper tail rotor which is rescuing Swann. Now you see his final moment with a close up of his face, then it cuts away to screaming, but seconds later you see the character alive and well whilst you still hear his screaming in what appears to be a huge editing blunder. Either that or I'm simply mistaken which I really don't think I am because hey...its me.
Yep I'm sure there are some folk out there remember this and will be outraged at the fact I'm saying its a dull bland boring ride. Unfortunately its just that...its just really unexciting without much genuine action to keep your attention. Ward is stoic as ever and Coyote hams it up nicely with plenty of snarling alongside a western drawl, but watching some dude bounce around on his dirt bike like Evel Knievel whilst slack jawed yokels attempt to shoot him gets mighty lame mighty fast. The story only becomes really interesting right at the very end with the nice time paradox twist, up to that point its no way as cool as the movies poster makes it out to be.
Back in 1973 Howard the Duck was created and began life as a secondary… MoreBack in 1973 Howard the Duck was created and began life as a secondary character for the Man-Thing comic, a kind of grown-up adult version of Daffy Duck visually. Now I know nothing about the comicbook lore of Howard, absolutely zero, all I know of is the film which I am going to review for you. Although after a bit of homework it does appear that Howard has some of the most outrageous zany and bizarre comicbook roots I've come across with many many crossovers, masses of villains with silly names and a highly convoluted story line.
Now this was the first major Marvel movie adaptation of one of their characters and unfortunately it was a big flop. I've always been a bit of a fan of the movie since childhood but admittedly on a rewatch I can see how bad it is...in places. The main sticky issue is the many various plot holes throughout and the fact its also been slapped together in a rather childish manner. Howard is apparently sucked from his home planet to Earth via this big ass laser beam thingy which is being worked on by white coats back on Earth. The first few big errors and questions being how in the hell does Howard survive flying through space and wouldn't this take rather a long time...crossing the universe. Plus how does he survive entry through Earth's atmosphere and that nasty landing? and why was he the only duck to be sucked up?
One thing that always bugged me was why Howard's planet was basically exactly the same to Earth accept ducks were the dominant species. The premise is fine just as it is with the Planet of the Apes franchise but why would their civilisation be exactly the same as ours with currency, store names, famous people etc...As far as I'm aware Howard's planet is just far off in the universe, another galaxy far far away, its not in an alternate dimension where this type of stuff would/might happen, so that whole aspect felt really stupid to me, just a few lame visual gag opportunities.
Now this laser is suppose to be measuring the density of gases around Alpha Centauri? why? Is that all it does cos I always thought it was some kind of space bridge for travelling across the universe...or whatever. Twas a huge piece of kit and it isn't really explained why it was built and for what purpose. The scientist characters mention the laser was taken over by an unknown force yet we never find out what, I presume the space demons did it. We do also get some back story for the space demons but its vague to say the least, they were banished to the 'Nexus of Sominus' by persons unknown, this is an area beyond the planets soooo...beyond the known universe? and what exactly do they wanna do with Earth?
You see this film is kinda a mixed bag really, you look at the poster for the movie and its visually striking, looks really cool. Its a really neat design idea with the fat smoking cigar and this tells you outright this isn't exactly a kids flick. And its not...this is not a kids flick in any sense which I like, I love that about it, they tried to stick to the comicbook source material which you know they wouldn't do today. Howard the Duck was always a grown-up comicbook character, a bit like TMNT in that aspect and this film does do a reasonable job in sticking to that although they jettisoned the dark satire and swearing. Its not hardcore material by any means but the film is quite dark, there are some edgy moments...some soft sexual moments, a hint of bestiality! and of course the infamous duck tit sequence including duck magazine porn.
So the movie generally is relatively dark and moody which is a plus point but its clearly more of a special effects extravaganza over plot. It might not look it now but back in the day it was, the effects were there to try and lure in the recently acquired Star Wars fanbase...which it did. I do have to give kudos to the effects though, in particular the duck costume in the film which utilised an animatronic suit and actually looks pretty good to this day. Put it this way the 86 suit looks way better than the recent CGI version we see in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'. The makeup on Jeff Jones was also really well done and looked pretty intimidating and spooky truth be told, he looked like a demonic John Carpenter. Add to this the amazing Phil Tippet creation using stop motion which still looks awesome and again quite scary, easily the highlight of the whole movie...and some really nice glowing flashy lighting bolt type effects throughout which are just as good as what you see in 'Ghostbusters' (mostly).
Again I gotta question the dark overlord creature though, it looks like an insectoid type creature yet it can generate and expel massive charges of electric-esque energy bolts from it eyes, tail and claws/fingers (depending on form). I know it doesn't matter but it just doesn't look like a creature like that could do such a thing really, also how come it needs a human body to gestate in? how did it get inside 'Dr Jennings' body? how did it get out? how did it fit in there? When the other overlords come through the laser portal thingy they appear fully formed or grown so...do they transform into some kind of energy or spirit when entering Earth's atmosphere which enables them to enter a human body?? Surely Jennings would have been killed after it had left his body down to the amount of abuse he suffered...I don't get it.
In general there are many many mistakes everywhere with this movie, some tiny and some not so. Like the fact Leah Thompson's character goes to Tim Robbin's character for help because they are good friends and she thought he was a scientist but he turns out to be a lab assistant...but wouldn't she know that already? Its also so stupid that no one seems to think a talking duck is weird because no one ever calls the police or army or whoever when they see Howard. They just laugh or abuse him or even treat him like a regular person despite the fact he's a talking duck....errr K.
Gotta be honest Leah does make up for a lot of the crapola in the film, she is truly lovely and has totally rebooted my crush. Leah (like 'The Goonies' and Kerri Green) did bewitch my fragile little mind when I was young and its happened again! the rest of her girly band aren't too bad either! Jones is also great fun and really does the whole body snatcher thing pretty well methinks, love his body movements when he throws out his powerful energy bolts. Robbin's...errrrrr lets not go there, he's the simple minded sidekick that attempts to offer comedic relief with immature slapstick, oh and he wears glasses because he's a nerd cliche.
Yes the film is chock full of nonsensical plot holes and errors which stand out like a duck at a giraffes only party. I think if you can overlook that and try and enjoy the film as a very loose fantasy with some fun performances from Leah and Jones alongside a reasonably heroic score then there is joy to be had here. I know there is a shit tonne of bad dialog, puns, innuendos and gags which really come across as infantile at times but the semi-crass twisted warped and perverse sense of humour and visuals that spring up here and there are quite fun.
Visually its a product of its time, you can tell its an 80's Lucasfilm production (just like those Ewok movies) and I kinda like that. Definitely not as cool as I remember it being but I still enjoyed some of it, its very uneven but the idea is quirky and fresh...well Howard is. Here's hoping for a solid reboot which remains faithful to the comicbook source.