Escape From New York is one of my favorite films of all time. It was the first R-Rated film I saw. I was just a kid (6 I think) and I was mesmerized. I watched it on HBO during the Saturday premier. I wanted to be like Snake Plissken, minus the eye patch that is. I vowed at that age I would get a big snake tattooed on my stomach. Flash forward, I don’t have a snake, but I have a big dragon tatted on my abdomen now. I own the original poster, framed in all its glory. I have the comic books, novelizations, shirts, board game, you name it. So naturally when a sequel was announced almost 15 years later I was excited. John Carpenter was re-teaming with Debra Hill to write, score, and direct Kurt Russell in Escape From LA the long awaited further adventures of Snake Plissken. I was there opening night and loved it. I cared less what critics and fan boys thought. I got to see Snake on the big screen. And now thanks to the great folks at Scream Factory I can see him on the small screen in a special collectors set to go along with their amazing Escape From New York Set.
Staring out in 1998 Escape From LA finds Los Angeles has become a crime ridden cesspool that is patrolled by the United States Police Force. We flash forward to the year 2000 when a massive earthquake hits LA causing massive flooding and actually splits the state into a separate island. The President tells the world it happened because LA is being punished by God for what it has become. He becomes so popular he ends up being elected President for Life and creates “Moral America”. Turning the United States into a Christian nation he bans tobacco, alcohol, drugs, red meat, guns, even sex before marriage. If you break the law you are shipped off to LA to live or you can choose to be electrocuted. Once sent to LA you can never return. The island is guarded and patrolled night and day. You try to leave you are killed.
Los Angeles is run by a crime lord named Cuervo Jones. He manages to contact the presidents daughter via a holo message and starts romancing her. He convinces her to steal the control unit for a weapon known as “The Sword of Damocles” It’s a satellite weapon that can basically black out the planet. It makes anything electronic dead. The presidents daughter, Utopia steals the control and when traveling on Aire Force One takes an escape pod to LA to deliver it to Cuervo. He plans on storming the US with the help of not only all the criminals of LA but with various third world countries as well. He tells the president if he tries to stop him he will black out the planet.
Well as luck would have it Snake Plissken has just been arrested for gunfighting and is set to be shipped off to LA. The president learns of this and gives him an offer. Go to LA, find the control device and bring it back. If Snake can do that he gets a full presidential pardon for all crimes. The present even stresses that he cares less if his daughter is killed as she is a traitor to the country. Much like in the first film snake is injected with a virus that will kill him in 10 hours. Snake agrees to the terms and takes a submarine to LA to find the device.
Once there we are introduced to a cavalcade of action and characters. In fact the cast is truly amazing. Steve Buscemi as Map to the Stars Eddie, Peter Fonda as Pipeline, Bruce Campbell as The Surgeon General of Beverly Hills, and last but certainly not least Pam Grier as Carjack Malone. The acting is top notch as is the action. A basketball game to the death being a highlight, as is Snake surfing a giant wave with Peter Fonda. Hang gliding, gunfighting, car chases, this has it all. Sure it’s a stylized version of Escape From New York but who cares? It’s a great movie from Top to Bottom! I had a blast watching it 20 plus years ago and I had fun this afternoon as well. Unfortunately all it had was a bare bones release. Well now thanks to Scream Factory that has all changed.
Scream Factory gives Escape from LA the full treatment. The picture is stunning. In fact it looks better than not only the bare bones release from another company, but better than when I saw it on the big screen. The sound is amazing. Not only do all the effects and gunfire bellow out of your speakers. But the soundtrack, which is amazing might I add sounds fantastic. This is the release we have all wanted and needed. Scream Factory has done an amazing job with this one, and not only is the transfer spectacular but its loaded with special features as well.
· NEW 4K Film Scan From The Original Negative
· NEW A Little Bit Off Beat – An Interview With Actor Stacy Keach
· NEW Beverly Hills Workshed – An Audio Interview With Actor Bruce Campbell
· NEW Part of the Family – An Interview With Peter Jason
· NEW Miss A Shot, Get A Shot – An Interview With George Corraface
· NEW One Eye Is Better Than None – An Interview With Special Effects Artist Jim McPherson
· NEW The Renderman – An Interview With Visual Effects Artist David Jones
· Theatrical Trailer
· TV Spots
· Still Gallery
The film is great fun, always has been. It’s a worth sequel to Escape From New York and now thanks to Scream Factory you can experience it the way you always should have. It’s a fun movie that has held up perfectly over time. Do yourself a favor and pick it up right away.
Overall 4out of 5 Stars!
The following 4K was provided to me by Warner Brothers for review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
I must stress just how much I love the DC Animated films. They are, simply out, amazing. Great stories, great voice acting, gorgeous animation, just a total package in terms of animated movies. In fact, in my opinion they rival the Marvel Live Action Films, Everything about them is perfect or darn close to it. For those of you that have been paying attention they run a tight continuity. Starting in Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox all the way back in 2013, the films all exist in the same universe created by the Flashpoint outcome. Well after 7 years and 38 films here comes the payoff, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. The final film in the DC Animated Series (Boy I hope not) and it’s a slam bang great one.
Having been defeated during the events of Justice League War Darkseid has been planning his revenge. He and his Fury army have laid waste to countless planets and now he is looking to regroup and take over earth once and for all. The Justice League plan to stop him before he gets to earth however and enlist the help of Zantanna and John Constantine (a favorite of mine) to stop him. The plan is to travel to Apokolips and defeat him before he has a chance to even come to earth. The Justice League will invade and attack while the Teen Titans stay to guard our planet. It seems foolproof except for the fact the Darkseid using his Apokolips technology is watching their every move through Cyborg.
Because of this Darkseid is able to easily defeat the Justice League as he has his created an army of Paradooms (Combination of Parademons and Doomsday) to stop them. He injects Superman with Liquid Kryptonite making him powerless, takes over Batman’s mind replaces Cyborgs tech with Apokolips tech and enslaves the Flash to run for eternity on a treadmill to power the planet. He turns the rest of the team into robot Furies and murders Zantanna. Constantine and Robin manage to escape during this battle and return back to earth.
We flash forward two years and find Darkseid in total control of Earth. He and his army, now lead by Batman are mining the earths core. Lex Luthor is working with them as well. They are doing permanent damage to the planet. Luckily Constantine, Raven, Robin, and the remaining heroes have a plan to stop him. Teaming with the Suicide Squad they must unite to try and not only stop Darkseid but save their friends as well.
This is an amazing film. Not just an animated film, but an amazing film in general. It’s a true testament to what the DC Animated Universe has become. Every thing is tied together, and irreversible damages are done. While everything wraps up its not all for the better. I was hooked from the beginning all the way to the final battle. This is without a doubt the best DC has done. The animation, voice acting, story, everything is as close to perfect as you can get. And having Tony Todd voice Darkseid was just a stroke of genius. It was so amazing I can hardly describe it.
Warner Brothers has done an amazing job with this transfer. Its one of the best looking 4K’s I have ever seen. Its bright and crisp and dark all at the same time. The sound is amazing and is just blares from your speakers. This really and truly comes to life in your home.
Throwing in everyone from Shazam, to Speedy, to even Steel, this was about as grand as you get. As I stated it’s the final animated film in the universe, but I for one am praying that they continue to make stand alone films as there are so many stories to tell and DC can do these better than anyone. If you love the DC Animated films this is the sendoff, and if you are just a fan of superheroes you need to add this to your collection today.
Overall 4.5 out of 5 Stars!
Who doesn’t love a good exploitation film? Better yet how about a “Nunsploitation” film? Yes there were/are films like that. One of the most notable was 1975’s Santanico Pandemonium. And yes before you ask, the film, or at the least the character was the basis for the character Santanico Pandemonium in From Dusk Till Dawn. It’s a very atmospheric little shocker that’s definitely worth watching.
Santanico Pandemonium is all about the battle between good and evil. Sister Maria is the most religious and pure nuns in her convent. One day she is approached by a naked man offering her an apple to which after some great shock refuses. The problem here is the guy offers her one again, and again, he even follows her back to the convent to offer it to her. She starts going a little Waco at this point seeing Satan everywhere she turns. She decides she should cleanse herself of these evil visions and puts a barb wire crown of thorns around her waist and starts whipping herself. Thank God that a couple of nuns some to her room to tell here one of their cows is sick (Maria used to be a vet). She goes to treat it and again Satan is there with an apple.
Things go even crazier as a nun begins seducing Maria only to be revealed as Satan. After this weird encounter she figures to hell with it and just gives in. She stars raping and killing a few nuns, a villager, the works. She goes full on possessed and seems to love every minute of it. As rough as it sounds its actually tamer than some of the other nunsploitation films out there. Not saying this is not a vile film, with a very horrifying final act because it is.
The film moves at a very slow and methodical pace which helps to elevate the tension and turn this into part psychological drama which is not something you usually find in these types of films. Don’t worry though it still has ample amounts of blood and nudity. The score is haunting to say the least and really helps to set the tone for the film.
Mondo Macabro has done an amazing job on this transfer. This is by far and away the cleanest print I have ever seen of this film. The dark night scenes look gorgeous and do not suffer from that dreaded blue tint you can find in a lot of transfers. The art work is fantastic and the audio sounds great coming through your surround sound. This is a great film that’s only better with this transfer. Its even got a nice amount of special features
Two different HD presentations of the film
In Spanish with optional English subtitles
Brand new audio commentary by film historians Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan
Filmed interview with co-director & writer
Mondo Macabro is definitely a label to watch as they put out some really great titles, and there transfers are out of this world. This is a must watch films for fans of horror and exploitation so the combination of the two definitely make this a must have addition to your collection.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars
Plot Synopsis: After his family is killed in Japan by ninjas, Cho and his son Kane come to America to start a new life. He opens a doll shop but is unwittingly importing heroin in the dolls. When he finds out that his friend has betrayed him, Cho must prepare for the ultimate battle he has ever been involved in
Revenge of the Ninja was made in 1983, back when I was a young tender age of nine. I always watched Kung Fu theater when I was little and stumbled upon this classic film around 2 in the morning on Cinemax one night. I fell in love with it. It was my favorite film until Robo Cop came along. Funny thing though I've seen Robo Cop maybe 3 times in my life, and I own the Criterion DVD, but I've seen this hundreds. I watched it this morning. I wanted to be a Ninja, I bought a ninja costume and some throwing stars. My parents didn't give a shit what I did so I soon had a sword, chain, and nunchiks, and a sweet ass belt buckle that was really a throwing star. Cool toys for a nine year old.
Ninjas are awesome, they run up walls, disappear in smoke, wear neat costumes, and know a bad ass form of martial arts. Sho Kosugi was the man to me, he could kick Bruce Lee, and Chuck Norris's ass at the same time then disappear in a cloud of smoke. He was the ninja master. And during the 80's he was in more ninja movies they you could count. Ninjas were everywhere. And it was awesome!
In Revenge of the Ninja Sho stars as Cho, wonder why they just didn't call him Sho, he could have been the Japanese answer to Joey Lawrence. You know because he's always a character named Joey. Anyway, Cho's family,with the exception of his mother, and newborn son are slaughtered by ninjas. See Cho is in a different ninja gang and they kill each other. I think, it's really never explained, but it gives him a chance to go to America with his friend Braden to open an art gallery that will feature Japanese dolls. Problem is Braden works for the mob, and he going to smuggle heroine in the dolls. That's a really bad way to smuggle drugs, wont customs check all packages from Hong Kong? Also, if Cho and Braden are lifelong friends wouldn't Cho know hes a drug dealer? And shouldn't Braden just open his own Gallery, rather then get some guy all set up from overseas? Sounds like he's spending a lot of capitol here. And come to think of it maybe it was Braden who had the other ninjas kill Cho's family. That way it would be easy to get him to want to come to America. But that is too much plot. This is a Ninja movie damn it!
Anyway the mob double crosses Braden, but wait, Braden is really an American Ninja. Not too be confused with the also fantastic ninja film American Ninja, but he's a real American Ninja. He wears a demon mask under his ninja hood and kills the mobsters who double crossed him. He even send's a gang of thugs, complete with the most stereotypical Indian in film history complete with tomahawk's, pigtails, and yellow fringe boots to steal the dolls but Cho beats the crap out of them. Along the way he also kills Cho's mom, and kidnaps his kid. So Cho has to put on the ninja outfit and go fight Braden on a rooftop in the middle of town. I always wondered why they both put on there mask's before they fought. They both new who each other was. Oh well. The more I think about this who taught Braden the way of the ninja? They reference the fact it is an ancient secret! You think Cho would have know his friend is a ninja too. Don't ninjas hang out? In a part that makes no real sense. Braden kidnaps Cho's hot American girlfriend and son. He strips her naked and keeps her tied up by a hot tub! Yes a hot tub, naked. Not that I am complaining, I just dont see why he didnt lock her in a closet.
This film has it all, violence, blood, nudity, and ninjas. Man I love ninjas. This was hardcore violent action, not like that pansy Bruce Lee who just kicks people. No, these ninjas break necks, stab people, poke out eyes, throw spikes, they mean business, ninja business. Even Cho's kid beats the crap out of kiddie street gang who try to take his bike. This is not a family to mess with.
This film was basically remade a few years later as Pray For Death, which I will review soon. I cant recommend this enough. It holds up year after year. I showed it too my wife once, she watched it without falling asleep, so I guess that counts as a female recommendation. Check it out now!
Overall 5 out of 5 stars PERFECT REVIEW!!!
Plot Synopsis: A new kid at school must battle a vicious gang when he falls for the leaders girlfriend
Tuff Turf! Forget that Sixteen Candles, and Weird Science crap, this is where its at. Sex, violence, sleaze, and a bad guy who looks like David Hess's son. Oh yea, it stars James Spader, and Robert Downey Jr.
Tuff Turf centers around Morgan Hiller, played by James Spader. He comes from a rich family, who for one reason or another, are now poor. See his dad lost his job, and they had to move to the hood. They never said what his dad used to do, but now he's a cab driver. Which brings me to wonder, could his dad not have gotten a cab driver job back where they lived before? So Spader rides around the seedy parts of town at night on his 10 speed bike, guess his dad sold his car, when he stumbles across Little David Hess's gang robbing some old guy. Morgan breaks it up and peddles off, so he can go home and get some sleep before his first day at a new school. See where this is going yet?
Well when he peddles into his new school, who do we see also attends? Yes David Hess Jr.'s gang. Hess Jr. is actually Nick, the leader of a tough street gang that runs the school. Not much of a gang. he just has three other members, and his smoking hot 80's slut style girlfriend. So Morgan meets Robert Downey Jr in class and the two become best friends. Downey even invites Morgan to see his band play later that night. As the two BFF's are leaving Nick and his gang spray paint Morgan, and smash his bike. Morgan doesn't seem to care as he's busy staring at Nicks slut Frankie. Bad choice in names. I went to school with a girl named Frankie. She was a fat bag of yeast. Ugly as a CHUD. But this chick is hot.
So later Morgan steals a car and drives off to see Downey's band play. In a cool twist, all the music is from Jim Carrol Band. Can you guess who shows up as well? That's right Nicks gang. They don't see Morgan at first, as hes busy dancing with Frankie. 80's dancing baby. You know where everyone is dancing completely in sync. Well they grab Morgan, beat him down, and steal his car. Problem is, he stole the car in the first place, so Nick and his gang get pulled over and arrested for car theft. This was just a dumb scene though, as nick and his boys already had a car.
Seeing as how Nick and his boys are sitting in jail, Morgan decides to start romancing Frankie. He picks her up in Nicks car, see the guy never should have left it parked by that club, and takes her to a country club, then a jazz bar. I have to say this was a huge slow down to the film. It goes on for like 20minutes, and is just very boring. But the action picks up when Nick and boys trap Morgan in the locker room at school, and beat the shit out of him. Its actually a cool scene. they take towels and load then up with locks, then just whip the shit out of him.
Later that night Nick proposes to Frankie, and as he looks like David Hess, she has no choice but to say yes. So when Morgan finds out about this, he does what any man would do. He asks her to have dinner with him at his parents house. Yea, sounds dumb, but its going somewhere, See Nick and his guys see her there, and when she leaves they ask he to help them rob some shmuck, like they were doing in the opening scene. She says yes, until the shmuck in question is Morgan's dad. She freaks out, so Nick and his guys attack. Well, its not much of an attack. Morgan's dad actually beats the shit out of all of them until Nick shoots him. Which makes me wonder, if a 50 year old fat guy can beat the crap out of all of these guys, why was everyone afraid of them?
She calls Morgan from the hospital to tell him what happened, and rather then stay by his dads bedside he takes her home to have sex with her. 80's sex. You know where you hear the slow music as the girl gets naked, then you see a few random sex scene shots before it fades out and you have to uses your imagination. Well Nick sees this, which proves he has no life and just sits outside Morgans house and watches him, and flips out. He beats down Frankie's dad, and smacks the shit out of her as well. Then he calls Morgan, and tells him to meet him at the warehouse in 20 minutes. I wonder how Morgan knew what warehouse to go to.
Anyway Morgan shows up, and the 80's fight ensues, with Morgan holding his own until Nicks gang grabs him. Just as Nick is going to shoot him, Robert Downey Jr. shows up with two doberman pincher's and evens the odds. So Nick, and Morgan have, what is actually a cool fight scene that features, swinging from a rope, a board with nails, an axe, a gun, and a fair amount of blood. Not only does Morgan win, he actually kills Nick, then takes Frankie to the jazz club as the credits play.
Great film. Spader was a bad ass pretty boy. Robert Downey is fantastic in everything. Kim Richards, as Frankie cant act, but who cares. She was hot. And Paul Mones as Nick was effective, based on the fact he looked like David Hess's son. The soundtrack is good, and I love that fact its not your typical 80's high school film. Its pretty hardcore in spots. Highly recommended.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!
The following Blu-ray was provided to me by Warner Brothers for review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
Titans, the second best show on the DC Streaming Service (sorry but Doom Patrol is tops in my book) had an amazing first season and now its back with a vengeance for its second season. Can it possibly live up to where the first season began. In short yes. DC has done a masterful job casting and creating these characters and with top notch action sequences blended with humor it’s a cant miss show for comic book fans, or simply fans or action shows. It appeals to very broad audience much like the Arrowverse shows they have on the CW.
Titans Season 2 pick up immediately where season two ended with Trigon having Dick under his control and ready to take over the world. Luckily the Titans are able to take care of this and wrap it all up with time to spare in episode one. I have to say that was the only thing that disappointed me this season. It was such a short wrap up it didn’t need to be a cliffhanger pick up. Season one could have had a longer last episode to simply end the story if it was not planned to go through season two.
That’s ok though because season 2 sees Dick visit Bruce Wayne and head back with Raven, Jason Todd, and Garr to Seattle and reform the Titans team. We flash forward 3 months and Dick and his group rescue a young girl named Rose Wilson, who as it turns out tis Deathstrokes daughter. Meanwhile Dr Light has escaped prison and is going after the Titans for revenge leading to Hawk, Dove, and Donna and Kory return to Seattle to help the rest of the group. Thus forming an almost larger that life group of Titans both Past and present.
The season then follows Deathstroke as he plans on getting his revenge against the Titans, Dick in particular as he blames them for the death of his son Jericho. Through this story we are not only introduced to Deathstroke, and his children Jericho and Rose but we also meet Superboy, Krypto, Blackfire and more. The Storyline is a bit convoluted at times in the sense it has a few too many twists that end up making it seem like its contradicting itself, but I can say if you stick with it, it all does manage to come together in the end. And yes, the only spoiler I will give you Dick does finally become Nightwing towards the end of the season.
The action is fantastic. Its on par with a big budget movie, as are the special effects. This may technically be a television show but its leaps and bounds better looking than any network or even Netflix show out there. This is just a great action packed ride from the first episode to the last. I cannot stress how well its made, and how great the chemistry is between all the actors. DC has got a winning formula with their live action shows and animated films. I really hope as the streaming service grows they start making more original shows as the ones they have are so great.
If you don’t have the streaming service fear not as Warner Brother has released Titans Season 2 on Blu-ray. I have to say the transfer is remarkable. The show is for the most part dark and the picture is incredible. The score for this show is very well done and fits the pace of each episode to a “T” and I must say it sounds amazing coming from your surround sound. Everything is put together great and this is a great way to sit down and binge watch a show that you need to see.
I loved Season 2 as much as I did Season 1, Probably more in fact. For that reason I must stress that even if your not familiar with these characters pick this one up today. You will love it.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!
Plot Synopsis: David Sloan must travel to Mexico to save his wife from a savage international terrorist.
Sasha Mitchell as David Sloan returns in Kickboxer 4. See things are different now. Xian is gone. They don't say where, but I assume David fired his ass after the whole slavery thing in part 3. David married a beautiful woman named Vicki, opened a school together, and even helped the feds try to bring down Tong Po, who is now a Mexican drug cartel leader. The latter did not end well. Po framed him for killing an undercover agent so David is sitting in jail, and as he's in jail and cant do anything, Po kidnaps his wife, and takes her to his compound out in the desert and keeps her locked up. He doesn't kill her, or rape her, or torture her, he just keeps her locked up. Plus he send David pictures of her. Why David just didn't show these to the feds, or even cops is beyond me. But David has his own problems in prison, as Po has men there. Well there not really a problem. David beats them down pretty handily.
Then on a fateful day a DEA agent tells David that every year Tong Po holds a fight to the death tournament at his compound on the Day Of The Dead. And asks David to go undercover, enter the tournament, and take down Po. I'm not sure why the DEA doest just raid the place, but I guess this makes for a better plot. So David agrees to go and fight to the death. They tell him not to let Po recognize him, he responds "Threes been a lot of hard years between me and Po." which leads to my only complaint with the film. He looks the same. His hair, his face everything. He was to lazy to eve grow a beard and go undercover. He just puts on a pair of sunglasses. That's it, sunglasses. He looks the same!
So he goes to a tryout fight and beats down some bikers and gets offered a spot in the tournament. He stops off at a bar on the way there, can you see where this is going? Well theres some little girl there who gets in a fight so David beats the crap out of the entire bar. He pops down to Tong Po's compound and has to fight the short girl he saved at the bar. He puts her in the sleeper, and gains access to the tournament. Keep in mind he takes his sunglasses off for these fights, and still no one recognizes him. Dont you think Po would have given pictures of Sloan to all his guards and had them memorise it, as he has his wife locked up. No he doesn't, in fact he doesn't even watch the qualifying matches.
So the next day all the fighters are having breakfast together with Tong Po, but don't worry, he doesn't recognize David, he's wearing his sunglasses. They bring the girl back and a brawl ensues, when, as she is being beaten up a young fighter comes to her rescue. This guy recognizes David right away, as David was his instructor a few years ago. He obviously has seen David with sunglasses. So the tournament begins, and let me say it is fantastic. It features over 15 different styles of martial arts, all choreographed to perfection. Then, the last fight is of course David, who will have to take off his sunglasses. How does he keep his cover you ask. Simple. Tong Po is conveniently looking the other way during the fight. Hes watching Davids former student hit on one of his chamber maids. When David wins he puts his sunglasses back on just in time as Po turns around.
The next day all the fights become fights to the death. While this is going on Davids former student is having sex with Po's chamber maid, and David is trying to find his wife. They are both captured, and tortured. Turns out Davids former student is really an undercover DEA agent. He must be the top undercover agent, as hes not wearing sunglasses. So they throw David, and the agent out to the other fighters, and Po tells them to fight. Don't worry David beats them all down, and when everyone finally realizes that there will be no winner they all turn on Po's guards. David does chase Po down and just destroys him. Po doesn't even get in one punch. He just runs away. Which is ok, because the DEA never comes and raids the compound. So I guess he just ran to a car drove into town and laid low for a few days. David gets his wife and the credits roll.
First complaint, the whole sunglasses are my disguise thing. That's just ludicrously awful to me. 2nd is that this is the the real Tong Po. Its some other actor with a horrible prosthetic on his face. He looks nothing like Po, and hes also about a foot smaller. Other then that I have to say I love this film! It is my favorite of the series. I have seen it over 30 times easy. I can watch it over and over. The fight scenes are 2nd to none. They are absolutely fantastic. Anyone who likes martial arts films will not be disappointed. Highly Recommended, as this is the best film in the series!
Overall 4.5 out of 5 Stars!
Plot Synopsis: David Sloan travels to Rio for a kick-box exhibition. There he saves two youngsters and stops a white slaver.
Today were looking at Kickboxer 3, witch also stars Sasha Mitchell as David Sloan. This film is slightly different from the other films, as it has more plot development. Now don't let that scare you. The plot is thin. Just like it should be. nd I must say Sasha Mitchell in my opinion is much better on screen then Van Damme.
So David Sloan is now the Kickboxing World Champion. I guess beating down Tong Po made him want to get back in the ring. Xian is now his trainer, and manager, and they are off to Rio for an exhibition, because David says "We need money" Ok, Xian is sure a shit manager, as how much could you make for an exhibition? Why not have a world title fight? And who keeps managing this guys money? He should have gotten a nice insurance check from his burnt down gym. And what happened to his gym, and the inner city hood he helped? And when did he become world Champion? Guess your not supposed to think of that.
So when David gets there some homeless kid, and his sister try to steal his camera. He chases the kid down, beating a guy up along the way and decides to help the kids out. He and Xian buy them lunch, and take them to the matches. So David puts on a little show, and meets his opponent for next week. Some crazy looking guy who fights dirty. Sorry but he's no Tong Po.
We then meet this guys manager, and guess what, he's a bad guy. All promoters in these films are bad guys. This guy is at least a serious bad dude, and he kidnaps homeless girls, and sells them into slavery. Guess where this is going yet? But before the obvious can happen he makes David an offer for him to throw the fight. David says no, and its on!
So the guy of course kidnaps the kids sister to sell her, but he just does this for money. Which made little to no sense. Shouldn't he have said, "You throw the fight, and I'll let the girl go!" no this guy has a better plan.
David and Xian do something smart and go to the cops this time, they cops just blow them off so David and Xian go after the girl themselves. They get caught in the bad guys house, and his master plan is revealed. See he wants David to lose so badly he has his goons beat him up. No that didn't happen. He threatens Xian and the girls lives if he doesn't lose. No that doesn't happen either. Instead his master plan is to take him to an island and have him train real hard so he's tired for the fight. Yes I'm serious.
He makes David run up a cliff with rocks in his backpack, dig a hole, and swim. He must not know that Xian trains people much worse. To the bad guys credit David is exhausted when they drop him off back and the hotel. But don't worry Xian gives David a mud massage, and has him drink some cobra venom.
So the next day at the fight David destroys the bad guys fighter, and as he had bet all his money on him, he's now dead broke. David grabs the girl back, and just leaves with her. He takes her to the doctor where they find out she has been "examined" if you will. So David, Xian and the girls brother go to get revenge. The little boy gets the revenge when he stabs the bad guy. So David and Xian take there winnings and invest it in a fund for the kids, and have them sent to an orphanage. Guess they didn't like them enough to bring them back to America.
Overall this was a good film, and kind of a nice change, as it focused on more then just the usual fight to the death plot. Sasha Mitchell does a great job, and once again I have to say his Mui Thai skills are very convincing. I recommend this for not only fans of the series, but action fans as well. Available on DVD
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars
Plot Synopsis: This movie is suppose to be a sequel to the movie which starred Jean-Claude Van Damme. Only now the movie revolves around the brother of the character that Van Damme played. David Sloan is the brother Van Damme's Kurt Sloan. He runs a Karate gym. Now Mr. Sangha, the Thai government official who handles Tong Po, the brutal kickboxer whom Van Damme in the previous movie, wishes that Tong Po would have another shot at Kurt Sloan, so he could vindicate himself but Tong Po in a fit of rage shot and killed him thus depriving him of an opportunity to face him again. But when they hear of David, they decide that he will be the one whom Tong Po will face to regain his honor. But when David is injured, Xian David's teacher is brought over to help him with his recovery. And when he recovers, they set David up to fight Tong Po; who will survive?
Well, it's not the road back for Van Damme, as Sasha Mitchell stars in Kickboxer 2, yes Cody from Step By Step. But dont' worry he's actually a very accomplished martial artist in real life. Mitchel stars ad David Sloan, brother to Kurt and Eric from the first film. He runs a gym in the hood somewhere, and teaches lessons to inner city youths.
Well his gym is going no where when suddenly a promoter shows up saying he's creating a new kickboxing league called the UKA. Guess what, hes a promoter, so he's also a bad guy. David doesn't want to sell out to the man, but he needs cash to pay the bills so he has a match again their champion, played by quintessential 90's bad guy Mattheus Huges. He beats the crap out him, then when interviewed says the UKA is crooked, and riddled with drugs, and they have no talent. So being the promoter is dirty he send Hues and a few other goons to beat the crap out of David, and set his gym on fire, which in the process kills a street kid who was staying with him.
So, with our hero laid up in the hospital, who do they call? A personal trainer? The cops? A licensed physical therapist? No they get Xian the guy who trained Van Damme in the first film. He helps David recover by having him do push ups, swimming, and throwing him off a building with a rope tied to his leg.
Meanwhile, Davids prize student has been lured to the UKA, where we find out the money guy behind the crooked empire is Tong Po's manager! Turns out Tong Po shot Kurt and Eric Sloan in Thailand, and because of this he was never given a rematch. Can you see where this is going yet?
So after David recovers he goes to the fights to watch his ex student fight....you guessed it Tong Po. Po beats the crap out of the kid, and kills him. Why wasn't Po arrested? He keeps killing people in the ring. Its then we learn the Xian daughter was also killed by Tong Po, and he came to the states knowing this whole plan, as a way to get revenge. Sidebar, I would have killed the old man then and there!
You know not once in the first film did Van Damme mention he had a brother. Come to think of it, why didn't David fly over to Thailand when his brother got crippled? And why did Kurt, and Eric stay in Thailand if they owned a gym back home? And if Po killed both Sloans, and Xian's daughter, why didnt he kill Xian? I'm mean thats the guy who trained Van Damme, thus causing all his problems to begin with.
Ohh well. So David agrees to fight Po in a Tiape Death fight, ala Kickboxer 1. And as you can guess, Po beat the crap out of David, until he leans down and says "your the weakest of all the Sloans" Why do bad guys always run there mouths in films? It never ends well for them. So David Hulks up and beats the shit out of Po.
Xian decides to move to LA and I guess live with David in his burned up gym, broke and in the hood!
I like this film. Sasha Mitchell is a much better actor then Van Damme, and his Kickboxing is much more realistic. And to prove how bad ass this film is, it opened again the Tim Burton Batman movie. Kickboxer 2 is far Superior to Tim Burton's Batman. I recommend this film. Its out on DVD.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!
Jess Franco has had quiet a long and illustrious film career. From some of his more well-known films such as Barbed Wire Dolls, 99 Women, and Faceless, he has a few almost completely unknown titles as well, which can be expected when you have a filmography that spans decades. One of these less well know shall we say films is from 1983 and titles Cries of Pleasure. Like quiet a few of his films this is pure violent sexploitation, and actually based (albeit loosely) on a book by the Marquis De Sade.
Cries takes place in the span of a single day in one home with only interactions between a few people, the main one being Antonio. Antonio loves having sex. Heck when he was little he raped his maid. Now fully grown she is madly in love with him, but I’m getting ahead of myself. See Antonio married into money. A lot of money. His wife, Martina not only comes from wealth but she’s also a bit on the insane part. Actually she’s pretty much full blown breakdown nuts. She’s getting out of the insane asylum and Antonio has a plan to get rid of her for good.
First he has to bring home his new girlfriend Julia and have a lot of sex with her. He actually gets her on board with taking care of Martina, but then he gets the urge to violently assault his maid which ends extra badly, and kind of makes Julia start to have second thoughts on this matter. That’s not good as he wants to have so much sex with Julia is causes Martina to just go full on insane, have a breakdown, and get committed to the insane asylum for life, or worse. Problem now is that not only does Julia realize he’s nuts and violent to say the least, but she starts getting more and more attracted to Martina, who shows interest as well. This leads to not only sexual tension, but lots more sex. Things get even worse after that but I can’t spoil the ending.
After watching Franco films for many years I really want to know how this one is not more well known. I never heard of it, and I’m upset about that because it is actually one of his better films. He uses a lot of handheld shots that really add to the surreal feel of this film. Sure the film is low budget, and take place in a villa, and no where else, but the way Franco filmed this is just amazing. He’s able to take the violence, and soft core sex and ties it into the most basic plot between a group of five people and turn it into something almost magical. Its like watching a fevered dream come to life when your awake.
Severin has done another masterful transfer on this lost classic. The colors look great. This is a pretty bright film in spots and there is no glare or blur. The colors are all crisp and vibrant. And the nudity is so cleaned up it comes across almost tasteful, even though this is Euro-Sleaze at its best. The audio is fantastic. Nothing comes across muffled or fogged. It really is like watching a new film. And as its Severin they have included a great amount of Special Features.
In The Land Of Franco Part 1: Stephen Thrower Tours Multiple Franco Locations in Portugal
When Donald Met Jess and Lina Part 1: Filmmaker Donald Farmer Interviews the Power Couple in 1993
Jess Franco’s Golden Years: Interview with Stephen Thrower, Author of ‘Murderous Passions & Flowers of Perversion – The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco’
Fans of Jess Franco, and films of this nature will undoubtedly want to add this to their collection. If you have never watched a Euro-Sleaze film this is as good as any to start with. Not for everyone’s taste, but definitely a must own for fans. Pick yours up today.
Overall 3.5 out of 5 Stars!