Friday, June 29, 2012

MONSTER BRAWL!!! Makes me want to make a monster movie too.

Totally plotless MONSTER BRAWL punches us in the face with a fun but simple concept.  The idea is that you turn on your television and watch a wrestling show like WWE but instead of professional wrestlers you are treated to monsters biting each others faces off.  SOLD!  The makers say it is classic eighties wrestling with classic eighties monsters and they are right.  If you like those two things then MONSTER BRAWL will be an enjoyable experience.  If you don't then you probably shouldn't be reading this blog.

MONSTER BRAWL excels past its budget limitations because of the talent behind and in front of the camera.  Watch the behind the scenes documentary and see what everyone went through to get this movie made.  It will give you a deeper appreciation for what you are seeing.  For the most part the film achieves the goal of meshing classic monster movies with the excitement of a WWE showdown smashfest.  The monsters look great and strategically placing familiar faces from the wrestling world like Kevin Nash and Jimmy Hart into key roles brings success to that goal.  At one point Frankenstein and the Wolf Man are going at it in the cemetery busting tombstones over each other and giving us one heckola of a fight.  Then it occurred to me that I was really watching Frankenstein and the Wolf Man fighting each other.  MONSTER BRAWL suddenly develops a Universal Studios classic monsters movie vibe to it.  That is a hard thing to do.  Its a thrill to see these two fight to the death.  They never really did in the old black and white movies.  If they did it was way too short and not much to brag about.  MONSTER BRAWL can brag about delivering two classic monsters in an epic fight to the death without it feeling like a cheap generic knock-off. 

This is a funny movie.  I don't really remember the humor getting too immature which is what I was expecting from this low budget opus.  There is more imagination to the comedy.  At one point a monster named Swamp Gut is being punched in his large belly and he puts his hands in front of his stomach.  I immediately thought of King Hippo from the Nintendo game PUNCH-OUT.  Then suddenly one of the announcers, Art Hindle makes the King Hippo reference.  It was a good joke and I like jokes I get.  There is more video game humor with Lance Henrikson doing narration chiming in like the voice that says "FATALITY" in MORTAL KOMBAT.  Its a nice touch and there isn't a person alive that doesn't love Lance Henrikson.

Another nice touch is the back story to each monster.  While most of MONSTER BRAWL takes place in a cemetery with a wrestling ring in the middle there are moments given to each monster that break away and add some surprisingly stunning visuals to the film.  Director Jesse Thomas Cook shows what a truly great director he is by flexing his cinematic muscles during theses scenes.  Every back story is visually different with unique spooky atmospheres representing the different kinds of movies each monster represents.  I was really impressed.  My two favorites were Swamp Gut's with the swamp marsh and the Lady Dracula's in her mansion behind a beautiful garden and tall hedges.  It reminded me of a Hammer film from the sixties.  The beautifully filmed back stories and great special effects makes the film look like it had a higher production value.  Everyone involved should feel proud of what they accomplished.

I ended up having a fun time with this movie.  I am not really even that big of a fan of wrestling.  I will say that the ending was a little disappointing.  They end it with that "Stay Tuned" ending which made me feel like I just sat down on a corkscrew got up to find a new place to sit only to sit down on another corkscrew.  That was my only real gripe.  Are they making a sequel?  I hope so.  Will I have to stay tuned for another ten years?  They could have done better with that but otherwise MONSTER BRAWL makes good on what it promises.  I will say that I do look forward to a sequel and whatever movie these guys decide to make next.  Consider me a member of the Jesse Thomas Cook fan club.  Good job everyone.  Stay through the end credits.

Jason

MEAN GUNS: A good Christopher Lambert movie?

I am just going to come out and say it, folks.  MEAN GUNS is a good movie.  It is a simple, violent shoot'em up that happens to be a little on the unpredictable side.  A crime organization known as the Syndicate has Moon (Ice-T) gather a bunch of criminals together in a newly built highly sophisticated prison and have them kill each other.  Before there was BATTLE ROYALE there was MEAN GUNS.  What is really interesting is that instead of there only being one person allowed to survive this game allows for three.  That adds an interesting dynamic to this movie.  Alliances actually have real meaning.  Nowadays most of these movies only allow for one unless your movie is THE HUNGER GAMES which pusses out a little and changes the rules last second to allow two survivors.  I call that cheating the audience out of good dark drama.  Oh, well I am sure that happened in the book.  That justifies everything I suppose.

Christoher Lambert plays that one guy who didn't have to be there but volunteered anyway just like that one psycho kid from BATTLE ROYALE who volunteered because he enjoys killing and getting stuff blown up in his face.  Lambert insisted on being there.  But he is a little off.  He brought his daughter along and left her in the car in the prison parking lot.  Hey, it was a convertible.  He  didn't leave her to burn to death in an oven with wheels.  At first he is the cool character that kicks all kinds of ass and he has this back story about accidentally killing some kid and now wants out of this life of crime.  He is here for the money so he can start a new life with his daughter.  A noble reason.  Oh, yea I forgot.  I probably should have mentioned that the three who survived get to split 10 million dollars between them.  He is the one guy you are suppose to sympathise with.  But as the movie goes along you can see that he is having the time of his life blasting fellow baddies.  At one point he storms into a room full of not nice people running on top of tables and shooting them John Woo style with double pistols smiling the whole time.  I figure he was probably pretending that the floor was hot lava and the tables were safe.  They had to die.  They were standing in lava.

As the movie goes on however you begin to realize that maybe Lambert isn't the main character of this story.  There is another character.  A calmer more collected character.  I think his name is Marcus but I could be wrong about that.  Marcus is the main enforcer for the Syndicate.  He is a bad dude.  At the beginning of the movie he kidnaps an innocent woman who had pictures of people in the Syndicate doing bad things.  Obviously they want her dead so into the game she goes.  While everyone had to give up their guns before entering the prison Marcus got to keep his.  All the other suckers had to fight over the guns dumped in front of them at the beginning of the game.  Marcus is in the game for one reason.  He is to make sure everyone dies.  The first person he tries to kill is Lambert.  I guess Marcus didn't like HIGHLANDER either.  I feel ya, man.  I would have tried the same thing.  So you get the impression that Lambert is the hero and Marcus is the bad guy.  But Marcus saves and teams up with the woman he kidnapped at the beginning of the movie.  It is Marcus who protects her not Lambert.  Interesting......Well I think it is interesting.  You get that whole "Maybe Marcus is the hero" vibe and you come to the realization that you are not really sure if Mr. Lambert is going to make it through this one.  Even his daughter ends up wanting him dead.  Yikes.  That is when MEAN GUNS gets really interesting.

Director Albert Pyun (Director of my favorite JCVD movie CYBORG so there goes my credibility) gives us a strong Hong Kong style action movie with well filmed gun play battles that are a little ahead of their time.  Nowadays big studios do the same thing but with C.G.I. and none of it looks real or is annoyingly filmed with shaky cam to insure no one enjoys the action.  Take a look at the latest TOTAL RECALL remake.  In the trailer Colin Farrel takes down a room full of guys but none of it looks real.  Its like they all turn into cartoons and fly about the room with the camera roaming around frantically trying to capture every boring uninspired PG-13 moment.  Wow, you got the most expensive cameras ever!  Way to rub our average looking faces in it.  Are you trying to out do Michael Bay in the BIG, BLAND BLOCKBUSTER MOVIE department?  Good luck with all that.

This is one of those movies where everybody dies or at least almost.  At the beginning Moon has his henchmen dump a bunch of empty guns into the room from a balcony. Then they dump bullets for the guns. While the the criminals below struggle for weapons Moon makes his exit but before he goes he casually kills the henchmen as they are about to follow. You understand that everyone is a part of the game. Even Moon. At the end there is a three way stand off between Marcus, Moon, and Lambert. The music playing is inspired by Spaghetti Westerns. I like that even Moon is part of the game. Thom Mathews is in this one too. I figured he would have survived for sure. After all he took down Jason Vorhees in JASON LIVES: FRIDAY THE 13th part VI. How many people can claim that?

My only real complaint is maybe all the bad wigs and fake moustaches I see on some of these bad guys.  You can tell they were just trying to use the few extras they had over and over again to get a higher body count.  That is probably my only real gripe.  Mr. Lambert won me over with this one.  He was a lot of fun to watch even though it was hard at times to understand what he was saying.  Actually I like him in GUNMEN too but that wasn't a very good movie.  It had its moments though.  But if I had to only recommend one Christopher Lambert movie with the word "GUN" in the title I would have to say give MEAN GUNS a whirl.  Its straight up action with no boring love story and absolutely no car chases to play as filler.  If you like action shoot'em type movies with a bunch of extras in bad wigs flopping around from getting shot a bunch of times when one bullet would have done the trick then try this one on for size.  Hopefully you are as easily impressed as I am.

Jason

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dolph Lundgren's DETENTION.....Yea, I never heard of it either.

DETENTION stars Dolph Lundgren as Sam an ex-soldier turned history teacher at an inner city high school.  Burned out from teaching a bunch of ungrateful loud mouth trash talking yahoos, Sam turns in his resignation papers.  It is his last day at school and he is asked to stay late and watch the detention students.  Bad guys show up and turn the day into a really bad rip off of DIE HARD.

First thing you are going to notice is that there are a total of only five bad guys.  That's bad.  The reason being that you know that the action scenes are going to be few or many and unimpressive.  DETENTION has many action scenes. Almost every action scene goes like this: Bad guy enters room.  Bad guys shoot at nothing for five minutes.  Dolph Lundgren dodges bullets and escapes.  There really isn't much of Dolph kicking butt.  He is either great at dodging bullets or all the villains are expert shots shooting silouettes around moving targets the size of Dolph Lundgren.

The five bad guys (one is a cop and former soldier that toured with Sam) use the school as some kind of base of operations to steal a van full of drugs being transported by the police.  If you really think about it that really isn't very smart.  In fact it takes a lot of work to take over a school even if you are only expecting one security guard.  I understand that they use the school garage to transport the drugs into a different vehicle but couldn't they just use an empty warehouse somewhere instead of school that has alarms and cameras and such.  They actually steal the drugs with ease but instead of driving away with the merchandise they all stick around so they can be killed by Dolph and the bratty kids still trapped inside the school.  The bad guys plan on stealing the drugs and selling them to the secret service.  That don't make no sense, Yo.  I guess the secret service is big into the whole drug dealing scene.  The movie shows the bad guys lining the seats of a van with the stolen drugs but the drug exhange is done by helicopter at the school.  That don't make no sense either.  Why not go to a different location with the drugs, tell the secret service that you are changing the place of exchange and then blow up the school?  They were going to blow it up anyway.  Another thing.  What is all this buisness about being trapped in a school?  Have you ever heard of emergency exits?  They are never locked and they sound alarms to notify the authorities of bad stuff going down.  Or how about breaking a window or glass door?  I know one thing.  If you and I were trapped in a DIE HARD situation I would break out the nearest window and leave your butt behind.  I'm a nerd on the Internet, not Rambo.

Chester Lamb played by Alex Karzis is an eccentric theatrical muderous mastermind that is having trouble keeping his simple stealing the drugs from the coppers plan together.  He is a little over the top at times but he keeps you interested in what is going on.  Often playful in a mean spirited way Chester Lamb is really the only other highlight in DETENTION besides Dolph.  But even he and his cohorts are a little too colorful in their appearance and behavior.  They are a bunch of eighties looking punk rockers, two of which are from Hungary.  I guess that would explain why they look like they are from the eighties.  They are a little out of place in this modern action movie for adults.  If they weren't so big on killing and cussing you could easily transport all the bad guys in DETENTION into HOME ALONE 5.  The kids that Dolph is trying to save are loud, annoying and constantly getting in each others faces.  The less said about them the better.  One kid is in a motorized wheel chair and you instantly hate the little puke the second he scoots down the hallway almost running over everyone in his path not willing to slow down for anyone.  Granted at the end they all become good people (or dead good people) learning their lesson that being jerks doesn't pay but I still don't like them.  I was kind of rooting for the bad guys in this one.

DETENTION wastes Dolph's potential.  This could have been about Dolph being more of a mentor to these kids showing them there is a different way of life besides being a jerkola.  Then halfway through the film after establishing a bond with his class bad guys show up and Dolph kicks their butts.  I was actually expecting this movie to be more like THE SUBSTITUTE.  What a great movie that could have been.  Dolph could put his wisdom into the character teaching punk kids about responsibilty and not doing drugs and whatever else teachers do.  But no we get a standard half assed DIE HARD complete with exploding helicopter at the end.  Not much imagination here.

Despite not being very good I did enjoy DETENTION.  I can only recommend it to die hard Dolph Lundgren fans.  He doesn't kick that much butt and you do get tired of seeing him run from the fight but it is nice to see Dolph in a teacher role.  I hope he does more movies as a mentor type.  He certainly taught me a valuable lesson.  It takes more than five bad guys to take down Dolph Lundgren.

Jason

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

THE AGGRESSION SCALE: Badassery comes in small packages.

THE AGGRESSION SCALE is what excellent low budget film making is all about.  It has a simple story propelled by interesting characters acted by terrific actors.  The film is stylishly filmed without being obvious.  There isn't a bunch of shaky cam crap that directors like to do to try and make something intense or chaotic.  I think directors do that crap because there is a director wanting more attention than what is going on in the film they are making.  (*cough* HUNGER GAMES *cough* cough* puke*)  Art is all about them and not the art.  Its a smart movie.  It is also an extremely ironic movie. 

Ray Wise is a mobster out of prison for a couple of days.  He wants his money and he wants those who stole it to die very badly.  He gives Dana Ashbrook a list of people to kill.  The man at the end of that list has a son named Owen.  After his father and step-mother are murdered Owen takes his step-sister into the woods where he springs traps on the murders dispatching them one by one.  Owen is a thirteen or fourteen year old boy.  He has problems of the mental variety.  The creators of AGGRESSION SCALE describe it as HOME ALONE meets RAMBO and they are right.  You have a young boy springing traps on criminals but all bloody and murdery like.  No cartoon like consequences for these bad guys.  Owen's traps are meant to hurt and kill.  Like FIRST BLOOD there is a scene where we get to learn how badass Owen is.  The bad guys find a box where Owen's medical history is kept.  There they find reports on how aggressive he is along with photos of bullies who are forever maimed after their altercation with him.  The whole thing creeps them out to the point where Derek Mears' character worries openly when he is told to go into the woods and get the boy.  Think about it.  Derek Mears played Jason 'freakin' Vorhees in the FRIDAY THE 13TH remake.  JASON VORHEES IS SCARED OF THIS KID!

Owen doesn't speak.  He seems to have little attachment to his family.  When they talk he barely hears them over the  high pitched ringing in his ears.  They don't fit into his violent world.  He goes along with them but he doesn't pay them much attention.  Only when his step-sister violently stabs one of the bad guys in the back does he feel any kind of connection with her.  He is a boy constantly thinking of violence.  Where ever he goes he is constantly looking around formulating imaginary traps in his mind.  You wouldn't be surprised if one day he snaps and kills his whole family.  They are just there and that's it.  A character like him is usually the villain but not in AGGRESSION SCALE.  He is the hero.

After about ten minutes of watching THE AGGRESSION SCALE you realize you are watching something special.  Why wasn't this film released in theaters?  It would have done well.  The characters have real personalities.  The bad guys are all badass yet have moments where they are awkward around their boss or do something stupid and they know it.  They come off as working class folks who happen to be murderous thugs.  Everything feels down to earth and realistic.  I think all the blood is practical effects making the violence a lot more convincing and shocking.  The movie is never slow even during the character development moments which occupy the large portion of the beginning of the film.  Its all interesting thanks to the great acting of all who is involved.  The characters are all genuine.  You care about the family and you feel horrible when the parents are murdered.  Placement of the camera and where it moves to is given great thought.  It is subtly creative.  Its a wonderful film to look at.  This is a far cry from director Steven C. Miller's first film AUTOMATION TRANSFUSION.  The guy learns from his mistakes.  Good job.  I can't wait to see what he works on next.

Ray Wise is a great mobster who orders his men to go out and kill everyone who took his money.  "Make it loud and messy" he tells them.  His eyes have a fiery violence to themselves.  He has a kid too that may have a similar mental condition as Owen but they don't get into that at all.  The kid just seems to behave the same as Owen did at the beginning of the film.  Dana Ashbrook is a powerhouse of badass as goes out and kills all those involved with the stolen loot.  I barely recognized him.  Last time I saw him was with Ray Wise in TWIN PEAKS.  He looks a lot older and a lot more badass.  Derek Mears really impressed me.  He can be huge and scary yet vulnerable and a little goofy.  He has the best 'getting shot and falling down' death I have ever seen.  He really looks like he just died in front of the camera.  Never seen someone fall that way before.  Very convincing.  I would like to see more of him in stuff too.

THE AGGRESSION SCALE is a darn satisfying film.  It is a wonderful surprise that everyone should watch.  Owen is a great character.  He even kills a spider with a self made blow dart.  That will get you a ton load of 'brownie' points in my book of cool.  I really have nothing negative to say about it.  Its a fast moving film that never bores but gets better and better as the story runs along.  I highly recommend.  Tell your friends and be the coolest.

Jason

PROMETHEUS, are you reading this cuz I'm not sure I am.

PROMETHEUS takes place in the same universe as all the ALIEN films but it really isn't tied to them.  Only visually can you put this film together with the others.  You have the horse shoe ship and the Space Jockeys from ALIEN.  But you also have the familiar face mask melting and creatures that resemble the aliens from original Ridley Scott film.  There are familiar large tunnels and rooms full of egg looking contraptions that remind us of the alien face hugger eggs.  At one point there is a design on the wall that if you squint your eyes and use your imagination you can see the resemblance of a Queen alien.  PROMETHEUS is full of  all kinds of that crap.  It keeps us nerd folk distracted while the film goes from a perfect 'hail mary' to a fumble to a complete dropped ball.  To be honest I am not sure how I feel about this one.  It has a lot of good stuff mixed with some surprisingly confusing moments, unclear character motivations, and bizarre C.G.I. monster creations.  There is a giant C.G.I. face hugger at the end, folks.....Well sort of.

Not wanting to be just another creature feature in dark corridors, PROMETHEUS tries to be something different.  Unfortunately for us different means the same old thing from something else.  Apparently there are only two kinds of stories about space travel that you can tell on the big screen.   Either you tell a story about a bunch of guys going after Unobtainium or you make a space movie about the origin of life.  The big problem with PROMETHEUS is that it is too small for its own britches.  Here is a free tip for all you wannabe science fiction writers out there.  Don't tell a story that tries to explain the origin of life.  It is not a smart move and the writers of PROMETHEUS figured that out probably halfway through writing the script.  The first half of PROMETHEUS is excellent.  We are introduced to a bunch of working class space explorers including a robo Michael Fassabender. (Who steals the show if you ask me.)  They have spent two years in hybernation on a space ship heading to a planet to discover answers to the origin of life.  They all look like regular folk type people you would find on a spaceship and not a bunch of young Hollywood models........Well with the exception of Charlize Theron.  Exploring a new found structure on the unfamiliar planet called LV-422 leads to some really cool visuals and discoveries about the Space Jockeys.  The characters move about and add life to the story with their own personal quirks.  But when the movie tries to explain what all these discoveries are it either doesn't or it just asks more questions.  Too many times I was baffled by the lack of explanation.  I felt like I was watching THE PHANTOM MENACE again.  I expected some clarity to what I was seeing but it either did not come or I may have missed it.  Not really sure.

Why does the movie fall apart once the movie tries to explain where we came from?  Well life coming from aliens doesn't quite explain everything.  It is really easy to write "life came from aliens" on a piece of paper as if it were the ultimate answer.  But then you think "Hey, where did all those aliens come from?"  PROMETHEUS simply dodges the question by stating the 'where did the aliens come from' question.  At least that is more than what MISSION TO MARS did.  Man did that movie suck.  Then you start wandering where everything came from which leads to the Big Bang Theory and then you ask what caused the 'Big Bang' and you are left with nothing.  Because nothing cannot create an explosion.  I didn't even mention how life is so complex that even man has no real idea of how it came about or how it works.  Then you get into all the religious theories and stuff and the whole thing becomes one big mess in your brain and you can't get to sleep because of it.  To be fair PROMETHEUS does try do the whole "God and evolution can be true" explanation by having our lead heroin put back a beloved cross around her neck after it was removed due to possible contamination.  It is a clumsy effort though.  The whole point is that we are not looking for Scientology.  We are looking for an entertaining but smart science fiction movie.  Tell a different kind of sci-fi is all I am saying.  Prometheus was a mythological character that was struck down by the gods for trying to be their equal.  In the movie, Prometheus is the name of the ship that at the end strikes down the horse shoe Space Jockey ship who are suppose to be our gods stopping them from destroying our world.  Man's triumph over God?  I guess that is suppose to be smart imagery or something.  Whatever.  I hate it when I get metaphorical.

Michael Fassbender plays a very handsome C-3PO.  What a really great character.  Also a very confusing character.  His name is David.  David understands that he is a robot but he is advanced enough to be curious and have wants even though he says he does not.  At one point in the film he infects the male lead scientist with organic slime that ultimately makes the poor guy get sick and all weird looking forcing him to get blow torched by Charlize Theron.  Why did David do this?  And why did he choose the lead scientist?  You would think that the Weyland Corporation wanted him to infect someone so he can bring a specimen home but that never happens.  The movie never explains it that way.  He just did it for curiosity sake I think.  Gotta fill in the blanks somehow.  Right, movie?  Did I mention that Michael Fassbender is handsome?

From the start of the movie all the way to the end we are given inspiring science fictiony visuals connected by strange confusing events.  At the beginning this humanoid alien is left on a planet.  He drinks this gross stuff and then falls apart all the way down to his DNA.  I figure that they were on Earth.  This is how they seeded Earth, right?  But they use landscapes that are also shown on the planet LV-422.  I could be wrong about that but I don't think so.  So did the beginning take place on Earth?  Then when the Prometheus ship enters the planet's atmosphere they immediately find a strange unnatural structure.  That must be one small planet or one hell of a coincidence.  We see a hologram of a bunch of Space Jockeys running from something.  What were they running from?  Or why did they need to get to where they were going so quickly?  Then they find the corpses of a bunch of Space Jockeys who have holes in their chests as if something burst from their insides.  Sound familiar?  What killed them?  Where are the answers?  We are given nothing.  Its stuff like that which makes me want to not like this film.  Ultimately this 'intellegent' science fiction film descends into typical disaster movie cliches ended by the standard alien in the escape pod routine. Did the two aliens fighting at the end remind you of the stupid alien fight scene at the end of DREAMCATCHER?

By the way visual effects artists need to get laid.  At one point this snake like alien appears out of some black slime.  The astronaut that finds it leans in close and says it is a female.  He can tell just by looking at it.  I assume the head of the creature was suppose to look like a vagina.  That's how he could tell.  I was confused.  The reason being that what I saw was a snake with a ball sack for a head.  Have you people never seen a vagina before?  The alien looks like a pair of testicles in a scrotum with a fang that protrudes out.  What an expensive way to let us know you are all a bunch of virgins.  Maybe PROMETHEUS should have been more about explaining the 'birds and the bees' to the nerdos out there.


Jason

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN

Is this suppose to be MAD MAX?
DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN is the only true sequel to the original DJANGO.  I put that in there because I think it is required by law or something to state that fact since just about every review I have read puts that disclaimer in their review.  Director Nello Rossati does a fantastic job of reclaiming the classic Italian Western style going so far as to set the film in the west (technically Mexico) but film in Columbia and to give director credit to his alias Ted Archer.  A whole heckola of Spaghetti Westerns gave European actors and directors English names to trick American audiences into believing they were watching an American western.  There are still a lot of people out there that don't even know that  A FISTFULL OF DOLLARS, FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE,  and THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY are Italian westerns.  FOOLS!  Even though its not a better film than the original I think DJANGO STRIKES BACK is better than what it is given credit for.  You can't go wrong with a dude running around with a Gatling gun shooting bad guys in the face, is all I am saying.

Franco Nero returns as the title character for the first time in a long time.  Django has buried his past and has become a monk.  When he discovers that his daughter has been kidnapped by some bad dude on a boat Django digs up his trade mark Gatling gun and sets out on a crusade to save his daughter.  He replaces the coffin for a hearse.  I thought that was kind of neat.  The body count is high and the characters are interesting so you shouldn't have too much trouble enjoying this one.  The main villain is Orlowsky a military officer who captures tribes people in Mexico and uses them as slaves in his silver mine.  He is a similar character to Col. Jackson in the first DJANGO.  They are both racists who kill for fun with no morals whatsoever.  Orlowsky is so bad that the people call him 'El Diablo'.  In English that means 'The Devil'.  I bet you didn't know that.  I didn't.  Anyhoo he loves the name.  In fact a peasant woman is captured that he falls in love with and he actually seduces her to the dark side.  That was pretty creative if you ask me.  Usually the female lead character would resist the villain's charms and eventually hook up with the hero.  Not in DJANGO STRIKES BACK.  That girl gets herself murdered by a jealous slave chick with a whip.  I didn't see that coming. 

I hate to speak metaphorically about films but it is kind of hard to ignore what I think the main theme (or whatever you want to call it) of the movie is.  DJANGO STRIKES BACK seems to be about good triumphing over evil.  I know that is what most movies are about but this one seems to have some strong religious overtones to it.  Django represents God being that he fights for good saving the innocent and comes from a monastery.  He kind of looks like Jesus.  Orlowsky is obviously the devil seducing the innocent or keeping them as slaves and murdering them in some horrible fashion.  At the end when Django is rescuing everyone and all the bad guys are dead he has a duel with El Diablo Orlowsky.  Orlowsky tries to escape but finds himself at the edge of a pit with hundreds of newly freed slaves at the bottom just waiting to get their hands on him.  Django shows up shooting Orlowsky's sword in half.  Then he simply walks toward El Diablo forcing him to walk backwards falling into the pit where he is engulfed by hundreds of arms like flames.  The whole dang thing looks like something out of Revelations where the devil is thrown into the lake of fire.  I don't know.  I am probably just trying to be smart when really I am not.  I don't think the makers where thinking that but the scene reminded me of all that biblical stuff.  Maybe if they called Orlowsky 'Cookie" I would think the whole movie was some kind of violent homage to THE BOZO SHOW.

DJANGO STRIKES BACK is a great action filled western.  They really exploit the whole gunning bad guys with a machine gun aspect of the Django character.  Apparently he is so accurate with it that he can shoot a bunch of baddies with it and miss the wall of innocent people that are running around two feet behind them.  Hilarious.  I think they try to create some similar gothic moments from the original Django using fog and crosses and the same wind sound effects.  Doesn't quite work but it is a nice try.  It is the thought that counts.  DJANGO was the western set in the mud.  DJANGO STRIKES BACK is the western set on the water.  I like that idea.  Too bad there was never a RETURN OF THE DJANGO.

Some thoughts on Quentin Tarantino's DJANGO UNCHAINED.  If you are going to call your movie DJANGO you better have a large body count and a dude lugging a Gatling Gun around and shooting people in the face with it.  I don't think we are going to get that from UNCHAINED.  I know it will be a great film but I am expecting something similar to INGLORIOUS BASTARDS where all the action is taken out and replaced with well written scenes of people talking around tables.  (Oscar gold!!!)  Good but not what we really want.  Do we really need a prequel to JACKIE BROWN?  It would be nice to see Quentin direct an extremely violent action film.  At least he always gives us something that is different.  I know the title DJANGO UNCHAINED is based more on the concept of countless westerns that stole the name 'Django' in an attempt to fool audiences into thinking they were actually watching a DJANGO sequel.  At least Franco Nero will make an appearance.  That will give UNCHAINED some street credit for us nerdos who love Italian Westerns.  Yes, we do exist.

Jason


Whoa!  Calm down, Rambo!