A lesser-known early work of Jackie Chan, The Protector might not showcase his extraordinary physical talents as later films do, but it still manages to be an entertaining action flick where Chan’s charisma and dedication to his craft already shine through.
As someone watching only USA based movies, I did not at first feel for it when the movie took off to Hong Kong after the action packed New York opening footage – but as it turned out the bustling streets and vibrant atmosphere of Hong Kong end up actually quite captivating and entertaining cinematic experience.
On the paper one of the oddest couples put together in a movie, I was surprised to see the totally unexpected and fun dynamic between Chan and Danny Aiello, who both end up supporting each other – and the movie – more then adequately.
On the surface an American trigger happy action comedy of heroic friends from small rural down travelling to Columbia to save their friend, Let’s Get Harry actually has a bit more depth than that to offer.
From the get go the movie is quite honest that the guys are way over their heads for a challenge of this proportion, and this is evident through the movie as self-doubt and cowardism that does not always turn into heroism, which I found extremely refreshing in a movie like this. Even the mercenary they hire for the mission has his flaws and sometimes misjudges the situation gravely.
The sprinkle on the top of this donut is the great cast, each of which bring something of their own into the mix.
Not to be mixed up with Hollywood Vice Squad (1986) – which I always did – Vice Squad is a movie of a entirely different caliber.
At first coming across as an exploitative movie only to showcase naked skin and low-lifes of Los Angeles, Vice Squad does nothing of such but instead presents the viewer one of the tightest palm sweating action thrillers of the era.
Much of this is the credit of the director Gary Sherman, who paces and escalates the movie masterfully towards the end. Wings Hauser – of whom I’ve always been sort of on the verge if he is any good – makes a stand out role in Vice Squad as one of the most relentless, despicable, vile and chilling characters ever seen on the silver screen.
Resembling more of a video game than a movie, Fortress of Amerikkka follows an alternative reality in a small rural town somewhere in America where corrupt Sheriff and crazed militia group fight for the power and terrorise the citizen.
Like many other movies distributed by Troma, Fortress of Amerikkka is more of a experience that has a little bit of everything low brow and exploitative, and of course lots of bad acting and naked skin just for the heck of it and as an action movie it’s just a bit entertaining than it really deserves to be.
Bad Girls Dormitory starts off as any sleazy women prison exploitation movie out there: someone innocent gets jailed, they go to prison with a sadistic warden, corrupt staff and strict picking order between the prisoners. Catfights and topless shower scenes aplenty.
Compared to the other similar sleaze out there, Bad Girls Dormitory landed somewhere in the lower rank, with shoddy production values and with the whole movie looking like it was shot in a backstage of an empty restaurant.
What I did not see coming thought was that in the third act Bad Girls Dormitory turns from below average prison exploitation to actually quite good and entertaining action movie. If the movie had relied only on this aspect, the movie could have been something of a gold nugget instead of the kind of turkey it is.
Walking the Edge is a revenge / vigilante movie portraying an asian housewife seeking revenge against the killers of her family, and finding an unexpected ally in Forster, a taxi-driver who gets dragged into the action against his will.
The leading duo is an interesting, strange couple that never seem to mix in a believable way; I would not be surprised if the two leads did not get along behind the scenes as the always seem to be unhappy sharing the same space.
The film’s vigilante theme is a standard fare in every possible way, but with Robert Forster delivering a surprisingly charming performance as the reluctant hero with an unlikely love interest to the unlikely killer, not bothered by the complete lack of chemistry between the two.
Dubbed as the lost action movie of the 80s, and released fully restored in Bluray in 2012 with a showy marketing efforts, Miami Connection manages to live up to expectations with its zany plot of motorcycle ninjas battling with drug lords and picking a fight with a rock group specialising in Taekwondo themed music. Truly something that could have only written and released in the 80s without any self irony.
The musical aspect of the band Dragon Sound with mullets and ’stashes ad libbing unbelievably catchy songs like ”Against the Ninja” and ”Friends through eternity, loyalty, honesty” (sic) adds another awesome level to the movie, and right from the first song we hear them playing it’s quite clear that the viewer will be entertained here, no matter what the plot is: this is all about the atmosphere.
Miami Connection is the kind of a movie that would have not gotten good reviews or following when it was originally released, but the sheer amount of 80s style truly makes it a priceless treasure for any fan of the era.
Look, I’ve seen so many movies about Americans going back and actually winning the Vietnam war that I either look into two interesting aspects: realism or the total lack of it. P.O.W. the Escape very much falls into the latter category.
The story here is about hard boiled ol’ Colonel Cooper with a track record of never leaving anyone behind, now being assigned to rescue prisoners of war from a sadistic Vietnamese camp run by officer who persuades Cooper to escort him out of the country with a gold treasure.
Charismatic David Carradine is the perfect lead for this schlock and it’s downright ridiculously funny how he is immune to all the gun fire. When everyone else holds back, Carradine just rushes in to demolish the whole village; there is never any feeling of real danger which is not optimal for a action thriller. Other than that, P.O.W. the Escape is made to entertain, and as such it does keep the good action pace going on to the very last minute.
That being said, let’s see what we have here. A quite mediocre and far fetched crime comedy about three generations of men whose grandpa is something of a small time thug, and the father is a recovering criminal, now a jefe in the meat packing industry. Three of them decide to go ahead and do a heist for some experimental science stuff, and of course it doesn’t go as planned.
The following events kind of tie the broken family together, but in a way that’s never satisfying, or something I could take with me as a memory or a lesson for life. Life your own life and don’t do what your gramps wants, maybe?
I’m not quite sure whether to call this one a harmless or useless action movie. In any case, the world would have remained the same even if American Rampage never existed.
The movie does a little of everything seen elsewhere in the genre, but with less oomph and craftsmanship. The female lead seems like a nice change of pace on the surface, but remembering that this is still at heart a woman revenge movie, American Rampage feels less like something new and fresh, stinking more of a typical exploitation movie of the era.
Speaking of which – since there is not enough content here to fill a VHS tape, the movie is padded with numerous far too long nude scenes to help the movie make it to to the 90 minute mark.
Like Future Force, the movie is made with low budget with no fancy FX work done and relies heavily on dimly lit scenes, which are not fancy, but do their job. As a viewer I found myself rooting for the leading couple, and the movie itself also concluded in a totally satisfactory way.
How would you like a movie like First Blood, but with multiple Rambos running around in the forest for the price of just one?
Enter The Devastator where a Vietnam vet reassembles his combat strike force to fight a horde of cannabis farming hoodlums in the California forests. And yes, there is even the corrupted Sheriff of a local small town after this bunch of John Rambos.
Compared to First Blood, this one is a paper thin show where no character or act of violence has any real weight to it: it’s just a bunch on random guys running and gunning around the mountains. One of the protagonists is a show wrestler kind of big guy who walks around laughing maniacally, and one of the real upsides of the movie is the moment he finally gets gunned down and rendered quiet.
80s was an interesting era for David Carradine: while his star was falling (before the 2003 comeback in Kill Bill) he performed in around 40 movies during the period. Needless to say that’s a heck of a lot of movies.
Future Force is one of his many low budget movies, directed straight for video rental market. He plays the part of a headhunter working for a loose organisation of misfits called C.O.P.S (Civilian Operated Police SystemsCivilian Operated Police Systems) somewhere in the distant future of 1994. There’s nothing much noteworthy in the movie, and if it wasn’t for Carradine’s great screen presence there wouldn’t be much of a film here. That being said, Carradine does manage to lift the movie from being totally forgettable, to barely enjoyable.
If Future Force ticked your interest, you’ll be delighted to know the movie received a sequel called Future Zone in 1990.
As I watched King of the Mountain with a ruggedly handsome rogue driver wearing a leather jacket and boasting a wild curly hair, I could not to think this is where the iconic TV series drew its inspiration.
Some petrol heads race on the iconic Mulholland Drive over the Hollywood Hills and young Steve manages to beat them all, and breaks the old record by an eccentric mechanic Cal, who used to rule the hills. In a more interesting subplot there’s bunch of Steve’s musician friends in the brink of success who have to sell themselves short to make it big in the business.
Car racing movies where aplenty in the era, and for me this movie did not really do anything exceptionally well, or in a way that would stick with me. Anything you see here is bettered in multiple movies preceding or succeeding King of the Mountain.
If I see the name of Fred Olen Ray on a movie I know what I’m going to see will be entertaining. Many times hilariously bad, but always entertaining. And Bulletproof might be the most hilarious of them all. Plus every other imaginable superlative.
I honestly can’t tell if Bulletproof is an action comedy spoof akin to Hot Shots!. The movie manages to include every single Hollywood action cliché: there’s the rogue cop lead, tons of bad dialogue and kill lines and all latin American Marxists, Russian communists, arabs, ie all of the American’s favourite enemies of the era. And it is all such over the top and ridiculous that the movie will leave one entertained laughing – or scratching their head in disbelief.
This is amplified furthermore by the fact that the lead role is played by Gary Busey who just comes across plain goofy jumping around the scene and grinning like a madman. I do love Busey and having him in the movie like this is honestly just first topping on a cake. The second? His character in the movie is called McBain.
Yes, actually.. McBain.
Something of a cult classic, Alien Private Eye starts weird until it turning into pretty much basic B-level action movie. The plot goes that there’s a guy from a faraway planet that resembles earth visiting earth and working as a private detective. There’s also a drug spreading from his planet called Soma, the alien he has pointy ears and he has some kind of wearable shooting suit in the end.
Aaaand this is pretty much as much as there’s scifi in this movie. Not much of the scifi aspect is backed in any way, and the movie could have very well done without the forced intergalactic connection.
As the weirdness fades away and we are left with the B-movie remains, that action is not bad at all, but everything before that is just so jarring that I won’t be looking forwards to seeing this movie again any time soon.
Deviating from the conventional lone protagonist formula seeing in the vigilant movies made in the vein of Death Wish series, The Annihilators assembles a team of veterans, each contributing unique skills and experiences to combat the rampant street gang.
While not groundbreaking in any way, the film compensates with an engrossing flow of action and thrills, providing a surprisingly entertaining 90 minutes.