Monday, January 23, 2012


Well let us just face the facts, folks.  It is a cruel cold world and happy endings are few and far between.  When things line up and start to point to the inviting half open door of awesomeness, WATCH OUT(!) because balanced atop that door just on the other side is a bucket full of cold harsh reality.  I should have known that THE EXPENDABLES 2 was too good to be true.  I should have learned from last years disappointments in my own personal life that I shouldn't get my hopes up.  But I did.  I dared to dream big.  I expected nothing more than a action packed violent film that trumps the original.  Then I found out that THE EXPENDABLES 2 is going to be PG-13.  PG-13?  How about PEE-PEE 13?

I know it is too early to judge because I haven't seen the movie yet.  Who knows maybe the whole PG-13 is just a hoax.  And who knows maybe one day I will discover a large vein of gold deposited somewhere far up my butt.  Not bloody likely but I am going to keep digging just to be sure.  What I have read so far is that Chuck Norris doesn't want any bad words in his movies because kids maybe watching.  Uh, last time I checked THE EXPENDABLES was made for adults.  Wouldn't the more violent aspect of the film be more disturbing to kids?  I believe honestly that the film was probably written to be PG-13 to begin with.  A harder edge film probably wouldn't interest a high on values Chuck Norris anymore.  If you think about it changing all the unpleasant words but still having lots and lots of stabbings to the face will still land you an R rating.  If the first EXPENDABLES had no bad words in it but still had all the blood and guts and torso removings would that mean it was PG-13?

Violence matters, folks.  You can't just make a big action movie dependent on big car chases, big explosions, and big heights to hang off of stuff.  Those are called adventure films.  Which is better ROBOCOP or ROBOCOP 3?  Which was the more violent film?  Which one was the smarter film?  Which film didn't insult the audience by visually lessening the consequences of what it looks like to be shot?  Which film left the greater impression on you?  Did a jet pack flying Robocop make up for the lack of blood?  It is a larger spectacle to have a flying Robocop than one that simply drives around.  Violence is an ugly thing and when you water it down you weaken the horrible aftermath of it.  It makes violence not seem so bad.  When ED-209 is unloading two cannons into some poor bastard in ROBOCOP you see how horrible it is to be shot.  At least it didn't look too pleasant for that corporate executive guy, what's his face.

I am predicting that THE EXPENDABLES 2 will have a lot of car chases, a lot of kung-fu, a lot of jumping from explosions, and neck breaks galore.  Maybe a bloodless stabbing or two also.  Will that be better than droves of baddies blown to pieces by a fully automatic shotgun?  I can't wait to see a fight between Stallone and Van Damme but will it be so over the top in it's scale to make up for the lack of on screen violence?  Is this going to be way over indulgent like Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi's final fight in EPISODE 3?  I doubt the fight will top Scott Adkins and Van Damme's fight in THE SHEPHERD or any fight scene in a Isaac Florentine film.  Being a large action film does not mean great action film.  I want another RAMBO part 4 not STOP OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT.

I will see THE EXPENDABLES 2 in the theater.  I am sure I will like it.  But I know it won't be great.  I know already that it could have been better.  It will be fine at best.  Despite having some major flaws THE EXPENDABLES part 1 will be better.  It did not compromise.  A good action film never compromises the integrity of it's art no matter how cheesy it is.  Fix your film, Stallone.  We want blood and major impalement issues galore.  This time how about using practical realistic effects.  Stop relying on C.G.I. cartoony blood.  And don't put another Shinedown song in your movie.  They suck. 

I can only hope that one day I will wake up and all of this was just a bad dream.  Until then I will be more excited for UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: A NEW DIMENSION and BULLET TO THE HEAD.....Oh, and THE RAID!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

HELLBOUND! Watch CHUCK NORRIS fight Evil by punching it in the face!

HELLBOUND is about Chuck Norris fighting the Devil.  Well maybe not the Devil but the Devil's right hand man named Protanos or at least I think that was his name.  Protanos was sealed in a tomb during medieval times and was accidentally released in the fifties.  After his release he spent the years becoming an archaeologist searching for pieces of a sceptre that will give him power to rule the world.  But he made one big mistake.  He threw a hooker out a window onto Chuck Norris's car.  Whoops.

The beginning of HELLBOUND is surprisingly good for the most part.  After we are treated to the comforting CANNON PICTURES logo the film starts off with a king riding a horse with a small army of soldiers armed with crossbows following on foot.  A priest is with them and he points to the direction they need to go.  He leads them to an old church (I think) where Protanos is conducting a ceremony where he is about to sacrifice a baby prince which will give him his power to rule the earth.  This is a pretty exciting scene where soldiers are fighting monster dressed as monks.  If a soldier is killed by a monster then the dead body jumps back to life as a monster too.  Protanos is pretty good at fighting off the steadfast king and his merry men but he isn't very good at not getting stabbed in the back by an old priest carrying a big stick.  So down goes Protanos.  He is locked away in a tomb until hundreds of years later he is released by a couple of grave robbers.   That is all the exciting stuff, folks.  After the promise of a larger more epic film we are then treated to a buddy cop movie that tries it's dangness to not go anywhere as slowly as possible.

Now in modern times we are introduced to Chuck Norris (playing a character named Sgt. Shatter which means they have officially ran out of cool badass names for action heroes.) and his partner Jackson.  Jackson apparently has made an important life decision to live out his days as a Whoopie Goldberg impersonator JUMPIN' JACK FLASH style.  That is okay though because Chuck likes to dress like Don Johnson from the show MIAMI VICE.  HELLBOUND was made in the nineties.  Does that mean Chuck is from Canada?  Through the course of the movie the two Chicago cops stuck in the eighties get involved in solving a case that takes them to Israel where they eventually discover that Protanos is a demon and overall jerk. 

The whole fish out of water story is very unsatisfying.  The two cops run around getting in where they are not wanted but nothing ever happens.  That is to say that Chuck doesn't kick much butt in HELLBOUND.  I think the makers of this film forgot that they had Chuck Norris in their movie.  There is a short fight scene in the middle but it feels tacked on and it is not very memorable.  The ending does get better with the final confrontation of Jackson and Norris versus Protanos.  Poor Jackson is tossed around like the cereal piece in a child's bowl of Lucky Charms.  Chuck Norris on the other hand has no problem taking on the ancient powerful demon with his Fists of Punching, his Ferocious Feet of Explosion and his Powerful Beard of.....Stuff.  This is a pretty awesome scene that probably birthed all those Chuck Norris jokes that were so popular a few short years ago.  You see the movie doesn't build Chuck up to be some super powerful angel in disguise on earth to search for Protanos or have him as a descendant of an ancient race of magical demon hunters.  No, he is just Chuck Norris and that is the only fact he needs to beat the Devil's right hand man.  I think that is pretty darn awesome..........and hilarious.

Chuck is likable and the main attraction to this film.  He just doesn't have that strong of a presence.  The problem is that the film wants Chuck to be a cool role model for the kids yet somehow still be a rated R renegade anti-hero.  Is this a family friendly film or hard action film?  I mean there are at times some gore here and there.  And it isn't too pleasant to see a woman tossed out a window and crash land on the hood of Chuck's car.  So why did they put an annoying kid in this movie too. No action just some stupid kid that they have to chase around to fill in the running time and conveniently have information needed for Chuck and Jackson to move on to the next scene of talking.  HELLBOUND suffers from some really bad ADR too. The hooker I mentioned in the first paragraph of this review is completely ADR'd. Her voice and words don't even come close to matching what she is saying or what she looks like. It is very distracting. Poor Chuck has a few of those moments as well but I'm not going to tell him that.

HELLBOUND was a movie I didn't expect much from so I shouldn't complain too much.  It has a strong beginning and ending but the middle is annoying and gets pretty tiresome with scene after scene of talk and buddy cop camaraderie.  I kept waiting for those scenes where thugs would show up for no good reason other than to get kicked in the face.  But it only happened once.  For shame, HELLBOUND.  For shame.


Monday, January 9, 2012


There are a lot of things that suck in this world but RANA: THE LEGEND OF SHADOW LAKE is not one of them.  Basically RANA is a low budget CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON.  There is a lake.  In this lake is a monster.  According to Indian legend if you throw gold into the lake you will get cool stuff.  But if you pee in the lake instead of getting out and using the bathroom which is the polite thing to do you will be harpooned.  The legend goes something like that.  Maybe that is not entirely true.  I wasn't paying that much attention when they were explaining the legend of Rana.  Either way I figure gold or not if you get anywhere near Rana you will get yourself perished. 

Apparently Rana doesn't like bad actors getting anywhere near it's lake of doom.  The dialogue is terrible.  You can tell that this was probably the writers first script.  The acting?  Nonexistent.  Imagine making a movie in your backyard and having your friends and relatives play the characters.  It's kind of not good.  But despite all of this I can easily say that this movie rocks.  Why, you ask?  Because I have really terrible taste in movies.  Also like ALIEN FACTOR you can see that this film has heart.

The movie is about a monster in a lake that kills people but there is a little more imagination here.  The lake is suppose to be rich with gold but the lake is bottomless.  Rana's hands burns everything they touch.  You can see steam coming from it's hands when it walks around on land.  That insinuates Rana is some kind of demon possibly.  This isn't your typical creature from a lake movie.   RANA does have spooky atmosphere even though the hokey music will take you out of the mood.  The fact that the movie was filmed in the seventies and on location at a real lake adds to it authenticity.  This kind of a scary movie.  There are some jump scares that are pretty effective too.  I think I jumped three times which never happens especially in big budget horror.  Once I even saw it coming and it still made me jump.

I saw this movie back in the day when I was like ten on the USA network.  A friend of mine found it on DVD under the title CROAKED distributed by TROMA.  Why would TROMA change the title.  The original title is much better and doesn't insinuate that this is a film about a giant frog monster.  If you saw this back in the day then you might actually like it.  It's nice for the nostalgia factor.  It is one of those contradicting films that has more negatives than positives yet somehow it is still good.  I wouldn't change a thing.


Friday, January 6, 2012


INVASION U.S.A. is a movie about what not to do when invading America.  Rostov (played by Richard Lynch) is a soviet agent planning on starting a series of terrorist attacks in the good ol' U.S.A.  in a attempt to bring it down.  So what does he do to start this invasion?  Why he goes straight to Chuck Norris's living shack in the middle of the bayou and blows it up......Correct me if I am wrong but wouldn't that be the last thing you would do?  Guess what happens when you blow up Chuck Norris.  You get your butt kicked.  That is exactly what happens to Rostov.  Now to be fair I can't really blame Rostov's logic in his preemptive strike.  Rostov is plagued with nightmares of Chuck Norris kicking him in the face.  Can you imagine that?  I would probably take a shot at Chuck too if I had such nightmarish visions.  I feel kind of sorry for ya, Rosto.  Lesson learned:  Don't piss off Beardy McBeard.

In my know nothing opinion this is Chuck Norris's finest film and best acting.  He is a cold mean presence in this movie which is kind of unusual from his standard laid back generic good guys he played before this and after.  Norris has few lines but when he speaks his voice is stern, precise and barely above a whisper.  Less is more with this actor.  His one liners are pretty clever like "If you come in here again I will beat you with so many rights you will beg for a left" and "Rostov, it's time to die".  Well maybe that last one isn't so clever but it is scary especially if you are Rostov.  Chuck is a total badass running around and showing up at just the right time and in just the right place to shoot bad guys with his two Uzis and knife them in the hand to get them to talk.  He even has a duel with Rostov with rocket launchers.  It can't get more badass than that!

INVASION U.S.A. is a very tight script rushing to the action scenes with little time to develop the characters or generate a boring love interest.  Most action films have some woman running around with the protagonist for no reason other than to have a pointless love interest.  INVASION does have a woman reporter that comes in from time to time to raise questions or show up conveniently in a car so Norris can take over the wheel and pursue fleeing bad guys.  But before any level of love interest can develop the script brushes her aside in favor of more Norris gunning down baddies or blowing them up with their own bombs.  Good stuff.  Even at the end after Rostov is completely obliterated the movie just ends on a shot of a victorious Chuck Norris.  There isn't even a scene where Norris emerges from the building to a crowd of reporters and police.  Pushing past them only to stop at the smiling sexy reporter who says "Can I have that exclusive now?" for which he replies "ROUNDHOUSE KICK TO THE FACE!"...I mean he says "Here is you exclusive." and then kisses her.  None of that here.  This movie follows the HAMMER STUDIOS rule :  When the monster is dead the movie is over.

Another thing to note is how extremely violent INVASION U.S.A. is.  Civilians die by the boat load.  I would dare argue that more innocent people die than bad guys.  The violence itself can be rather extreme too.  Rostov has a tendency to shoot guys in the balls and even smashes some chick snorting coke face down to where her straw is shoved straight up her nose.  Screaming bloody murder she is violently  thrown through a window.  Yikes.  One scene has a young couple making out on a deserted beach at night.  In horror movie fashion a bad guy creeps up and murders them then smiles at something funny going on the screen of the portable t.v. the couple brought with them on the beach.  Rostov shows up in a quiet neighborhood street during Christmas time and starts blowing up family houses with a magical bazooka that never needs to be reloaded.  What a bad dude.  I do need to get me one of those magical bazookas though.

If you are interested in getting into Chuck Norris films then I would highly recommend this one.  I haven't seen all of his work yet but I gotta admit he hasn't done very many good ones.  Most of his are guilty pleasures at best.  INVASION can be one of those too but I think as an action movie this one is excellent.  It could have been way cheesier to the point of DEADLY PREY silliness.  It came close with that magical bazooka yet somehow the film manages to retain it's serious tone.  I think the thanks for keeping the film in line is Chuck's cold demeanor and the brutal violence that is spread throughout usually perpetrated by the excellent Richard Lynch playing Rostov.  Maybe it is a stupid film but I think that the film delivers the goods and more so.  ROUNDHOUSE KICK TO THE FACE!


Thursday, January 5, 2012


Lundgren looks kind of pissed.  I would be too if I was in this film version of suck.  Okay, I admit it.  I bought this movie on blu-ray.  Yes, I am well aware of the craptasticness of Uwe Boll who happens to be the worlds worst director.  But c'mon, guys.  Give me a break.  The movie has Dolph Lundgren in it.  The year is 2012 the year of THE EXPENDABLES 2.  The time is now to celebrate.  In my defense I do have two good reasons why I bought this movie and contributed to financing Uwe Boll's future cinematic atrocities. 1.) It has Dolph Lundgren in it and I like to support his movies cuz he is awesome.  2.)  I am an idiot....

Dolph is a ex-military turned martial arts instructor who is pulled back in time for some reason.  There he meets a king and they talk.  Then they talk some more.  Then as the movie goes on the king and this strange man from the future talk even more.  It goes on and on like this until the king who turns out to be bad (surprise surprise) is killed by Dolph in Dolph's bathroom in present times.  That is pretty much the entire movie and I am only slightly exaggerating.

Once again director Uwe Boll has put to film (yet again) a script that is obviously a first draft treatment.  Remember BLOODRAYNE?  I swear to you there is no story here whatsoever.  Lundgren has to go kill a witch for some reason who turns out to be good while the king who sent him on this mission is the real bad guy.  Every direct to video action movie has the same story.  But Uwe goes a little further in the incompetence department.  You see there are these Darth Maul like bandits that show up to start up some nerd style LARPing action scenes.  They work for the witch but when Dolph finds the witch in their village they allow him to find the witch because they are really the good guys BUT then we find out that only the witch is good and the bandits are controlled by the king.  Maybe I missed something but why not just have the bandits kill the witch if he needed her dead.  I know there was a lot of talking in this movie where they may have explained why but after about five minutes into the first conversation Lundgren has with the king my mind tuned out.  Each conversation he has with the king goes on forever and it gets to the point that you actually dread the appearance of the king because you know you are in store some more pointless meandering never ending blah-blah-blah.  My mind blah-blah-blah'd its way through this movie so I have no idea what was going on.

The first IN THE NAME OF THE KING: A DUNGEON SIEGE TALE was suppose to be a movie adaptation of the game DUNGEON SIEGE.  Instead the film completely ripped off  THE LORD OF THE RINGS movies.  It took me forever to figure out why Uwe didn't just call the dang movie DUNGEON SIEGE.  Looking at the unnecessarily long title and similar look to the film I now know why.  There was a video game that came out recently called TWO WORLDS.  Is this suppose to be a movie version of that game?  I am not going to even try to figure that one out.

If you find castles made by LARPers hot and sexy then IN THE NAME OF THE KING 2: TWO WORLDS is just the movie for you.  Uwe loves filming the front gates of the cardboard castle.  You will see the gates open to let people out.  Sometime you will see the gates open to let people in.  Then there is a shot where the gates close because it is night time.  I was kind of wondering if there was some kind of weird fetish thing going on with the gates.  I guess I am too normal to understand those things. There is no script so Uwe has to fill up the time some how.  I would also like to point out that medieval times Europe or Britain looks a little too much like the vast wilderness of Canada.  I'm just saying.  There is no attention to detail.  The sets and costumes are all fake and too clean looking.  Lundgren's character doesn't even seem all that surprised or concerned that he has just gone back in time with no clear way of going back.  Apparently the king wants to destroy the future.  I still have no idea why.  That would be like if I decided that the year 3012 sucked and I wanted to destroy it.  Why?  I would be dead by then anyway.  What a complete waste of my life researching time travel and spending billions of monies on fraudulent time machines.  I could be more productive spending more time drinking and getting rejected by women.  Again maybe the movie explained why during all the boring talking scenes.  I don't know.  By the time they were explaining everything I was day dreaming about more important things like STAR WARS stuff and other nerd crap.

There was a C.G.I. SyFy Channel Original Movie quality dragon that provided Lundgren with the best line in the movie but that is the only good thing I will say.  I think the title 'TWO WORLDS' is a reference to Uwe Boll's mental state.  We live on Earth world.  Uwe lives on Mars.  That's kind of mean.  I am sure Uwe is a nice guy who really enjoys making movies.  He just isn't nice enough to stop.

Would you think judging by the movie poster that the final epic battle between the evil king and Dolph Lundgren would take place in Dolph's bathroom?  I can't get over that and the fact that the number 2 appears twice side by side in the title.  2+2=4.  Does that mean Uwe Boll accidentally made IN THE NAME OF THE KING part 4 before making parts 3 and 4?  You have to be careful when you put numbers in your titles.  Oh, well.  It could be worse. Remember 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS.


Monday, January 2, 2012

POINT BLANK...The one with Mickey Rourke.

POINT BLANK is about a bunch of convicts who are freed by some dude with a rocket launcher while being transported across the country.  Afterward they take over a nearby mall for some reason.  I think the main bad guy, Howard,  who planned the escape saw DIE HARD too many times and wanted to live out the remainder of his life pretending to be a gay Hans Gruber.  Yes, Howard is gay.  And yeah, I know that the mall is just a front for Howard's criminal empire so it would make sense to at least go there get a bunch of money.  But then they just stand around waiting for a chopper.  I don't think it was really necessary for them to kill a bunch of people and take over the joint.  If they needed to  escape then why didn't they escape WHEN THEY ESCAPED?!!!

Mickey Rourke plays Rudy Ray an ex-special forces, ex-Texas Ranger turn farmer (I think) who has a brother who was an inmate that helped orchestrate the escape.  Rourke goes in by himself to either bring his brother out alive or put him down himself.  I thought that would make for some pretty interesting drama but it doesn't pay off all too well.  The problem is that this movie kind of drags and has a tendency to veer off the more interesting brothers on opposite sides of the law story and start developing the secondary characters who are a couple of convicts that like to tell their life stories so we can feel sorry for them.  When the film starts to get going the movie stops so these other characters can blah-blah-blah the movie to death. 

Even though this is Rourke's only lead role in an action movie I think POINT BLANK earns him the right to be in THE EXPENDABLES.  Mickey Rourke is a good badass for the most part with his bulked out muscles and rough looking face.  He is bigger than Rambo.  Maybe too big.  The problem is that his body looks as if it is packed with delicious meats.  Watch out there is a giant ham running around in a combat vest shooting bad guys in the face and awkwardly dodging bullets!  Rourke is intimidating as hell but sometimes during the shootouts and kung-fu take downs he seems uncomfortable in the role.  Bruce Willis he is not.  But Rourke has his own unique screen presence.  He doesn't need to say a lot to get the point across that he can kick butt.  And he is really good at shooting bad guys in the face especially when they are wearing ski masks.

The movie has some good moments.  Danny Trejo almost steals the show as being one of the most badass crazy villains ever.  The dude likes to kill and he loves cocaine.  Maybe I should try cocaine too.  He has two battles with Rourke in this and during one of them Trejo catches a bullet with his mouth!....Sort of.  That isn't what kills him though just to show you how badass Trejo is in this.  Rourke's brother Joe Ray is somewhat of a compelling character in this.  He is not really a bad guy but somebody who is a reluctant pawn who has no choice but to side with Howard because he has been sentenced to death by the state and this is his last chance for a second life.  It is interesting to see the two brothers avoid killing each other in the midst of all the chaos that is going on.  If the movie would have focused more on these two the movie would have been great.

POINT BLANK is one of those movies that copies from other films big time.  There is some John Woo style action moments lifted straight out of HARD BOILED.  There is a Gatling gun that magically appears on the roof of the mall so this one guy can pretend he is the terminator from T2.  He shoots a bunch of cop cars before getting made not alive anymore by a hail of gun fire.  There is a moment when Joe Ray is wounded and just about to reach the end of this tunnel to freedom when he is shot in the back by Howard.  The whole moment is filmed like Leon's death at the end of THE PROFESSIONAL.  And obviously you can see the CON AIR and DIE HARD influence big time.  The only thing missing is that Rudy Ray didn't have a cool catch phrase like John McClane did.  Instead of saying "Yippie-Ki-Yay, Mother F*ckers", Rudy should be saying "Zippidy-Doo-Da, Dingalings".  Yeah, that would be awesome.

Still despite the many weird scene transitions, odd music choices, Dutch angles galore and plot holes the size of my ego I got to say that I enjoyed this film.  It may not be as well put together as most action films but it is as badass as it is bad.  When people get shot they bleed all over the place.  This isn't PG-13 action.  Danny Trejo is a show stealer and the body count is high.  I had a good time watching this one even though no one else in the room did.  Whoops.  POINT BLANK is a stupid movie but I'm a stupid guy so I liked it.  THE END.