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!
A suicide cult (films original title actually), the second coming of Christ, the second coming of the Virgin Mary, the Devil, astrology, and science. When you throw all of that together, or in this case put in in a blender you get the cult classic film The Astrologer, from director and writer James Glickenhaus of Exterminator fame. It’s a weird blend of movie making to say the least, and. I had never heard of it. But when Severin announced they were going to be releasing it, I knew it had to be good, as Severin is my new go to company for these lost classics. And I have to say I was not disappointed.
The government has a secret group called InterZod. Its lead by a man named Alexei. See they have a theory they call “Astrological Potential”. It’s a cross between astrology and simple mathematics. Alexei has created this combination and by simply typing in a persons birthday can determine if they are “Privileged”. The majority are not, just normal everyday folks, but there are a very select few that come up with “Negative Potential” that basically means your evil. One of these negatives is Kajerste, a cult leader in India who is believed to be evil incarnate. He leads a cult where he convinces his members to commit suicide, amongst other horrible things. Now one of the reasons they are keeping an extra close eye on this guy is because it turns out we are days away from the Second Coming of Christ, and the government cannot let Kajerste get his hands on him.
To make things a bit worse, or I guess in this case a bit more confusing, Alexei’s girlfriend Kate is actually the second coming of the Virgin Mary who it turns out has already given birth to the Christ child, and sent him to live in an orphanage. Now because of this Alexei and one partners travel to India to take this guy out. Well, not kill him themselves. They plan to implant a vision in Kajerste brain convincing him to commit suicide via poison knife. He figures this out pretty easy and dispatches of her. Now during all of this Kajerste learns of the Christ Baby and kidnaps Kate to find out its whereabouts.
This films makes little to no sense, not because of the plot points, just because it contradicts itself every other scene. That doesn’t make it bad, in fact it sort of makes it better. This is not an action packed film like Glickenhaus’s Exterminator film but it is just a grimy. This is a great low budget gem from the 70’s that really needs to be seen to be believed. Explaining all of it would take longer than the actual run time. Overacting, out of focus shots, trippy visuals this has it all. Now as I said its not a slam bang action film or a blood soaked horror film, its like watching a fever pitched dream.
I had never heard of this so this was a first time watch for me, and Severin once again did not disappoint. I really look forward to their releases. They always bring out an obscure title or lost classic and the transfers are always amazing, especially considering the negatives they are working with. This transfer is no exception. It looks great and sounds even better. The audio transfer is great as its probably clearer now than it was when first released. All the bright scenes are vibrant, and all the dark scenes look smooth and not that awful blue color that plagues a lot of restorations. Its even loaded up with special features.
Sign of the Times – James Glickenhaus on The Astrologer
Monica Tidwell Remembers The Astrologer – Interview With Actress Monica Tidwell
Tales From the Set – Interviews with Filmmakers Brendan Faulkner and Frank M. Farel
Zodiacal Locations – The Filming Sites of THE ASTROLOGER
Suicide Cult Reversible Cover
Definitely different and most definitely a must see for fans of grindhouse films. There really is nothing that even comes close in terms of comparison so I have to highly recommend checking it out. Pick one up today.
Overall 3out of 5 Stars!
Bob Dylan, John Goodman, Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Dern, Val Kilmer and more are all featured in the film Masked and Anonymous. Now that’s a hell of a cast, and like I said, there’s more. It even has some really good quotes suck as “All of us are trying to kill time, but when its all said and done time ends up killing us”. That’s good writing. In fact Bob Dylan and Larry Charles wrote this film. If you’re a Bob Dylan fan it’s a dream come true especially for the soundtrack. Well basically just for the soundtrack.
Masked and Anonymous stars Bob Dylan as Jack Fate. He’s a rock superstar who is in prison in either the future or an alternate reality, its never really explained. Whatever world it takes place on things are not great, its essentially like a war torn civil war 3rd world country. Things are so bad that Uncle Sweetheart (John Goodman) is going to do a benefit concert to make things better for the world or something along those lines, but he’s a pretty sleazy guy so he cant really get anyone. Anyone except Jake Fate. And only Jack Fate for that matter. Normally the fact Jack is in prison would put a damper on things but a few strings are pulled and he is let out to perform this big benefit.
That’s pretty much it. Lots a various characters are introduced, some memorable, some not so much. I could not really tell if I was watching a vanity project for Dylan, or an autobiography at times. If you enjoy his music you will more than likely enjoy this as he does perform in it. & or 8 songs are all done during the film, some clipped, some in full and to be honest the camera work on these gigs are very well done. In fact the editing of this film, which is clearly a low budget production is very well done. I have no issues with the cinematography and directing. The acting and writing leave a lot to be desired.
Dylan may be a great musician but he’s a bad actor. Not a single thing he says is done with any type of style or for that matter range or tone. He’s very much reading lines and staring at the camera. Lots of the actors are. Its almost as if they are confused by what they are reading. Only John Goodman really tries to play up his performance and have a bit of fun with it. But in all fairness to the cast this is such a weird surreal film its hard to tell if its comedy, drama, satire, or science fiction from one scene to the next.
Shout Select has picked this up, I would assume due to the large cult following this film has developed. There transfer is impeccable to say the least, and the soundtrack, the most important part of the film sounds immaculate. It blasts through the speakers in a wonderful way that brings everything to life. They even filled it with a nice assortment of extras.
NEW Interview With Director Larry Charles
Commentary By Director Larry Charles
The Making Of Masked And Anonymous
If you’re a Dylan fan this is definitely a must have for your collection. If your into Art House films this may be one you enjoy as well. I truthfully do not fit into either category, so this was a bust for me. Like I stated it had good cinematography and direction it just really lacked any type of story, it just focused on Dylan meeting different characters throughout the close to 2hr run time.
Overall 2 out of 5 Stars!
Plot Synopsis: Jenny is sent to a women's reform school. It is run by evil warden Sutter and her henchwoman Edna. Jenny will stop at nothing to escape but she also has to deal with Charlie the bully
There are two types of film lovers out there. Ones who don't like to think when they watch a film, and ones who do. The later would consist mostly of idiots. If you want to think, read a book. If you don't, watch Reform School Girls. The best women in prison film ever made.
Reform School Girls is the story of Jenny, a girl who gets sentenced to Reform School for being involved in a shoot out when her boyfriend tries to rob a warehouse, or some type of building. Not important. See the robbery, shoot out, and court scene only takes about 2 minutes total, then off to Reform School. Once there Jenny, and a few other new girls have to go and get washed down, as to make sure they don't have any body lice. Full frontal nudity baby, and were only 4 minutes in. See, thinking if for morons.
We are then introduced to Edna, the fat, lesbian head of the ward who keeps the girls in line. One of the new girls is named Lisa. She's not all there, but hot, and carries around a stuffed bunny. It belonged to her now dead brother. See she got sent to reform school because she ran away from her foster parents, after they locked her and her little brother in a hot box, and her brother died. I bet you didn't know you could get locked up for running away. Shouldn't her foster parents have gotten sent to jail, and she could have went to a new family? Ohh well. Edna doesn't let her keep her stuffed bunny, and eventually lights it on fire.
Around this time Jenny runs into Charlie, played by Plasmatics lead singer Wendy O Williams. Here lies my only problem with this film. Wendy has probably the nicest set of boobs this side of 80's Adrian Barbeau, but she looks 40. Come to think of it she was 37 years old at the time of this film. What the hell kind of crime did this lady commit? Most people get out of reform school when they turn 18, or worst case scenario 21. Well Charlie, and her girls run the unit, and get special privileges from Edna. That's mainly because Charlie sexually pleasures Edna. Jenny, and Charlie don't get along so a cat fight ensues. Lots of cat fights take place. So do lots of shower scenes.
Jenny, and the new girls have to see the schools shrink, who trys to help them. Jenny tells her of all the horrible things that are taking place. Personally I think she should have kept her mouth shut. She could have just kept quiet, and gotten into more catfights in the shower. The girls have to go and do manual labor out in a field somewhere. This makes no sense. They just keep raking the same piece of dirt for hours. But its cool, they get nice and hot in the sun, and have too cool off. They find a cat, and Lisa names it after her dead brother, and sneaks it back to the dorm. Too bad Edna finds it and stops it to death. Also while they are working in the hot sun, getting nice an sweaty Jenny hits on the guy who drives them there. He tells her to meet him in his truck after light out, and he will help her escape. She goes to his truck, and they have, wait for it, 80's style sex. Music, quick shots, and lots of boobs. When he's done he tells the guard shes in the back, and she gets busted, then tortured by Edna. Meanwhile Lisa cant take the death of her cat, and her stuffed animal for that matter and dives off the tower in the yard killing herself.
Jenny can take no more, and decides to inform the shrink of everything going on, and agrees to testify in court against the reform school. Shame Edna finds out and hoses her down until shes basically catatonic, and cant talk. But don't worry just as the hearing against the warden starts Jenny breaks out and leads all the other girls in a full scale riot. Edna tries to stop them with a shot gun, that must have come from another planet, as she fires 37 shots without ever reloading. By this time Charlie has had her fill of Edna, steals a bus and runs it into the tower Edna is standing on and kills her. We then see Jenny getting released while some fresh young things are going in.
Once again, I love this film. I loved it when I was 12 because, I was 12, and it had boobies. I have loved it ever sense. Whats not to like? I mean this was fantastic. I mean even the girls reform school outfits were slutty looking. We got to see these girls shower so much, none of them were ever too dirty. They fought, with plenty of hair tossing around. And the soundtrack was mostly done by Williams, who I was always a fan of. I showed it to my wife back when we were dating, and she even had a good time watching it. Hell I watch it at least twice a year if not more. You have to check it out. Unless you want to think. If that's the case watch Citizen Cane, just remember, that film has no boobies.
Overall 4out of 5 Stars
Plot Synopsis: Almost the whole staff of a tax consultant office is slayed by a team of professional killers, only Paul Damone can escape. He didn't know that his partner used to wash gangster Louis Sarazin's money and had to testify as chief witness against him. Paul's brother Johnny, best bounty tracker of Boston, visits Paul to protect him, but can't prevent that he and his pregnant wife are targeted by the same team. Now Johnny's out for revenge.
Lorenzo is back with a vengeance in Bounty Tracker. So if you haven't guessed by the title he's a bounty hunter, or bounty tracker if you will. He's Johnny Demone. The best hunter in the business. In one of the strangest opening scenes in film history he impersonates a nerdy Englishman to gain entrance into a hip hop bar. Shouldn't he have been acting like a gangsta? Well he has a flask that when opened is really a smoke bomb (yes I'm serious) he yells "fire" and everyone runs out, well everyone except for the criminal he's after. He must have been watching the guy for a long time to know he would be the only guy to not run out of the building. After beating the crap out of the guy and his bodyguard the cops show up instead of the firemen and arrest the guy. That's how we learn he not really a sissy Englishman, but a bounty tracker.
Unfortunately Lorenzo's brother works for an accounting firm who has been helping a mobster launder money. When the firm decides to turn over the evidence Matthias Hues, the quintessential bad guy of the 90's and his team of mercenaries walk in and kill everyone, except Lorenzo's brother who runs out the back door. Well luckily for Matthias Mr. Lama's brother is being guarded by the worst precinct in LA, as they just take him back to his house. Yes his house, with his pregnant wife, not a safe house or anything, just his house. But don't worry 3 cops are guarding him. Yes 3, even though the hit squad after him just took out an entire office building. Just about this time Lorenzo shows up for a visit. And wouldn't you believe that so does the hit squad, who after dispatching of the Keystone Cops kill Lamas's brother, and pregnant wife. But not Lorenzo, he beats down and kills one of the baddies, and sends the other's running in fear. Well not really they just leave after they pop his brother. They knew Lorenzo was there, so obviously they are the dumbest hit squad alive as they leave behind a witness, who killed one of their team members.
So as you can guess Lorenzo swears revenge and goes after Hues and his team. Luckily for him he noticed a snake and knife tattoo on the guy he killed, and even more lucky, even though this is a team of mercenaries who have been around sense Name, they guy happened to get his tattoo in LA, right where Lorenzo is staying. Talk about luck of the Irish. So Lamas finds a crippled Latino with the same tat who tells him he used to work for Hues, and it was Hues who crippled him when he wanted to leave the gang. Sidebar, Hues is a moron, he keeps leaving behind witnesses. Luckily for him the cops in this town are morons. This crippled guy now spends his time helping young men get out of gangs, or something like that. But Lorenzo does learn that Hues studied Korean Martial arts, just blocks from where he is. Boy for a mercenary Hues didn't leave LA much did he?
So Lamas goes to this Dojo, and beats the crap out of everyone. Then the evil sense comes out, we know he's the sense because his uniform is a different color, and we know he's evil because he has a cheesy mustache. I have to admit this is one of the better fights I have seen in films. While Lamas is doing this, Hues goes to the crippled Latino guys house and kills him, and as hes leaving the thug kids the old man helps see a guy with a ponytail leaving, and assume its Lamas. Even though Hues is a blond, where as Lamas has dark hair, and Hues is about 1 foot taller, and 50lbs heavier. Oh well if they were smart they wouldn't need an old man to mentor them in gang life gone wrong. So they decide to go after Lamas, even getting the drop on him. But he just tells them he didn't do it, and they believe him, proving they are the most trusting former gang members in history. So they decide to help him.
So Lamas armed with his 3 gang stooges go off for the final battle in an abandon junk yard. As you can guess Lamas, and Hues have your typical 90's martial arts final battle. This is no spoiler, as Lamas kills him, avenges his brother and gets the 100 thousand dollar bounty. He then gives a cut to the gang kids and decides to hang around and help them out. Which is good, because he obviously can make a fortune here, as the cops had been looking for Hues for years, and Lamas tracked him down and killed him in like 2 days. That, and if a mercenary team is so stupid, the common criminals must be real morons.
With all that said I really do dig this film. Great fight scenes, cool 90's straight to video cast, and a good pace make this a great watch. The only drawback is the reformed street gang kids. They added nothing to the story, and in fact dragged it down in the scenes they were in. Other then that though its a fantastic film, that I recommend watching.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars!
Plot Synopsis: Kurt Sloan is the corner-man for his brother, U.S. kickboxing champion Eric Sloan. When Kurt witnesses his brother become maliciously paralyzed in the ring by Thailand champion Tong Po, Kurt vows revenge. With the help of Zion, a kickboxing trainer who lives in a remote area of Thailand, Kurt trains for the fight of his life
Kickboxer, starring the muscles from Brussels Jean Claude Van Damme is a very different film. Let me re phrase, it was a little different for its time, as it has been ripped off numerous times. It's like, Rocky 4 meets, Shootfighter, with a touch of Game of Death.
Van Damme stars as Kurt Sloan, the brother of ISKA World Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion David Sloan. See in the opening scene David disposes of another challenger to his title, and in his post fight interview is asked what he thinks of the fighters from Thailand. He says bring them on, then looks at Van Damme and tells him to get him a flight to Bangkok to fight there best. The next time we see them they are over in Bangkok geting ready to fight. Turns out Van Damme is one crappy manager. He books a third to last main event with the champ, with no reporters, no PPV, no hype, no nothing. Just some crap fight, in a crap arena, in the middle of the day.
Turns out Kurt has to fight Tong Po. I have to say, Tong Po is bad ass! Well in all of Kurt's training, I guess he forgot to check out the Thai rulebook so he would know Elbows, knees, and headbutts are legal. He didn't read that book, probably cause Van Damme is a bad manager. Eric gets destroyed, and when Van Damme goes to throw in the towel Tong Po kicks it back, winds up and prepairs to drop the big elbow on Kurt, thus proving Van Damme is also the worlds worst corner man. He was like less then a foot away, and had plenty of time to jump in, or even just grab Tong Po by the hair to stop him, but he just yells "Noooooo!!!" in typical movie fashion. So with Eric left laying, the lovely promoters have him stretchered out and left laying in the street. Thankfully an American with a heart of gold shows up and takes them to the hospital, where we learn Eric is paralyzed, leading Van Damme to swear revenge.
Van Damme starts wandering the streets trying to find a school to teach him how to Tai Box, but no one will. But wait the American with the heart of gold shows up and takes Van Damme to meet Xian who agrees to train Van Damme. He trains him by tying meat to his leg and having a dog chase him. He drops coconuts on him, makes him do forms under water, has him kick down a bamboo tree, and finally spars with him using flaming hot torches. And for his final test, he gets him drunk and has him pick a fight with 3 guys in a bar. Van Damme wins, so they set up a warm up fight with some other Tai Fighter, who Van Damme disposes of.
So naturally the head promoter, who is dirty, and a criminal. Sets up the fight. Why is the bad promoter always a mob guy? Well to make sure Van Damme loses, they grab Xian daughter, who Van Damme is now in love with and take her to Tong Po so he can rape her. Told you he was a bad dude! The evil promoter then goes to the local mob and bets 100 grand on Tong Po in the fight, and to make things more interesting they have a Taipei Death Fight, where there hands will be wrapped in cloth, dipped in glue, then dipped in broken glass. But hold on, they need one more piece of insurance. The evil guys capture Eric (See they didn't forget about him) and tell Van Damme if he doesn't throw the fight they will kill him.
Now as Van Damme is fighting Tong Po, Xian and the American with the heart of gold, his name is Winston by the way, I just like calling him The American With The Heart of Gold. go and save Van Damme's brother. Just as it looks like Van Damme is about to lose, Eric starts yelling for him to win. Van Damme has Xians daughter cut off his glass ropes on his hands, not sure why, I would have sliced the guy who crippled my brother up. He then Hulks up and throws his patented spin kicks and beat Tong Po, then he and his brother hug.
OK, a few things I have always wondered. After Eric is crippled why doesn't Van Damme go to the American Embassy and have Tong Po arrested? Also why did the local mob hang out with Tong Po? He didn't run protection for them, or traffic drugs. They must just like him because he's a fighter. Wouldn't raping the girl Van Damme loves only make him madder, and more motivated for a fight? And finally wouldn't you fire Van Damme as your manager/corner man the second you woke up in the hospital? If I was Eric, I would have bet on Tong Po, and stayed kidnapped so Van Damme would be crippled to.
With all that said I did love this film. I saw it when I was 15, and liked it so much I began studying Thai Boxing when I turned 16. I was pretty good, but Tong Po would beat my ass blindfolded with one arm tied behind his back. He really is one bad dude! I highly recommend this film. It's held up very well over the years.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars!
The following Blu-ray was provided to me by Warner Brothers to review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
The DC Streaming Service has been killing it for me to say the least. I really enjoyed Titans, I thought Doom Patrol was one of the best shows I have seen in many years, and now they are hitting another home run with Swamp Thing. Sadly however due to budget cuts, tax rebates, and various other production difficulties Swamp Thing was only around for 1 season. 10 episodes are all that exist currently. Now if you don’t have the streaming service. Warner is putting this out on Blu-ray for you to enjoy.
Swamp Thing centers around Alec Holland and Abby Arcane. Abby works for the CDC and is sent to a small swamp town out in Louisiana where people are suffering from some type of swamp virus. She used to live there so she has no problem returning and once there meets Alec Holland. Alec is a scientist who is also investigating the virus and believes it comes from a mutagen being dumped into the swamp. They find the body of one of the victims who all at once begins to sprout plant like tentacles and attack them. They burn him and escape only to find cases of the mutagen being dumped. Alec leaves Abby to try and track down more but is shot and blown up. As his boat sinks into the Swamp he is pulled under by various vines. He emerges a short time later as the Swamp Thing.
Much like in the comics he has the power of healing, controlling the swamp and the creatures around it, and as his heart is good he helps to defend the swamp against polluters. He re-teams with Abby in the hopes of stopping the company behind the dumping and to avenge his murder in some ways. The show featured many tropes from the comics. They treatment of land, the love and beauty of the swamp and the Swamp Things connection to protecting it. It even introduced Ghosts, evil corporations who want to dissect the Swamp Thing, various villains and even the Phantom Stranger, and a personal favorite of mine, The Blue Devil.
Sadly, as I stated it was cut short and ended after just 10 episodes out of a planned 13 so all the questions were left unanswered. The 10 episodes we got though were all amazing. A very different tone than the two films, and leaps and bounds more advanced than the previous series. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed all of that, but this was taking everything to another level. It was just a great show that unfortunately ended to lose ends that were never explained.
The special effects were amazing, this is the best I have seen Swamp Thing Look. The Blue Devil looked amazing. Much different than his comic book counterpart. This Devil was much more menacing, and really looked like a demon. It was fantastic. This is special effects on an entirely new level when it comes to television show production. The acting is top notch as well. It was such a great show. Hopefully it will get picked up somewhere else. I mean during the last Arrowverse crossover, “Crisis on Infinite Earths” we get to see Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol, and the Titans, so hopefully CW or maybe even HBO can bring this awesome show back to life.
Action packed, with a heavy rooted (no pun intended) horror vibe this is just a show that many people can enjoy all on different levels. Comic Book, horror, action, even drama fans will like this one. Even though it does not have a definitive ending pick it up and watch it. You will be glad you did.
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.
Its no secret that I am not a fan of the Shining. I’ve mentioned that in multiple reviews, articles, and interviews. I just found it incredibly boring. Maybe it was because I saw it so long after it was released, or I was simply not in the mood for it at the time I watched it, but it never did anything for me. Sure the acting was great, and the plot was good, but it simply never clicked with me. Needless to say I never read the follow up book Dr. Sleep, nor did I watch the Shining Mini-Series Stephen King wrote back in 1997. See King didn’t care for the Shining film and decided to remake it as a miniseries so it would be closer to his book. Dr. Sleep is an adaptation of that book, but also changed in parts to connect the original 1980 film to it.
Dr Sleep turns the focus onto Jack Torrance’s son Danny. Danny, still haunted by the events of what happened at the Overlook Hotel has an encounter with the old ghost from the bathtub, which leads him to seeing Dan Halloran again. Dan was the Chef portrayed by Scatman Crothers in the original film who also possesses the “Shining” He warns Danny that since the hotel is closed the ghosts have nothing to feed off of, and want his Shining to feed. Dan teaches Danny how to trap these evil spirits away in his mind.
Cutting ahead 20 years Dan has become an alcoholic to help suppress his Shining abilities. He ends up getting help and even a job as an orderly at a nursing home thanks to his AA Sponsor. He begins using his powers to help take are of the dying patients and give them peace. They nickname him “Dr Sleep” because of this. Things seem to be going ok for Danny until he begins hearing messages from a girl named Abra, who also has the same Shining powers. She is actually able to use her powers to control peoples minds. She is being chased by a group known as True Knot. They are an evil group who feed on the energy they call “Steam” which is in fact the psychic abilities that people possess. They find them and kill them to increase there own life cycle. They want Abra as she is the most powerful person out there. She needs Danny’s help as he has the ability to use his powers to trap them in his mind. Of course this all leads them back to the Overlook Hotel for a final showdown.
So for a guy who hated The Shining, I really enjoyed Dr Sleep. It’s a long movie, let me get that out the way. The Directs Cut clock just above 3 hours. But its never dull. Sure its psychological horror, but its all very interesting. The idea of a psychic vampire draining cult is pretty great in my opinion and it really held my interest throughout the film. Ewan McGregor gives an outstanding performance as Danny going from troubled drunk to hero. His range of emotions is fantastic and his chemistry on screen with Kyleigh Curran as Abra is fantastic. Rebecca Ferguson is another stand out as the evil leader of the True Knot Rose the Hat. She’s simply evil and menacing in every sense of the word, and never once does she play it to campy or silly.
Warner Brothers has released this on Blu-ray and like all there films the transfer is fantastic. Everything looks marvelous. Its some of the best dark footage I have seen. The film boasts a chilling score and it sounds great bellowing out of your surround sound speakers. Its got a few special features, but the most important is the full 3 hour Directors Cut, which is a bout 40min longer than the theatrical, and in my opinion it’s the version to watch.
Fans of The Shining will enjoy this follow up, and even the few out there like me who don’t hold it in such high regard should like this one as well. It’s a really cool story with a lot of great twists and turns. Well-acted, and well directed it’s a great film for horror fans who enjoy psychological scares. Pick it up.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars!