CHiPS (2017)

‘chip happens’…really?

Yeah this one tagline should sum this entire movie up for anyone, if it doesn’t then…umm…like I dunno, wow!

So CHiPs was a light-hearted American police drama based around the Californian Highway Patrol that ran from 1977 to 1983. These guys patrolled the highways of California on their rather slick looking police motorbikes complete with cool looking uniforms and shades. The duo were young, good looking, slim, wore tight uniforms and looked dashing on their bikes, twas all about that baby. Essentially this was a TV show for young lads who looked up to cops or wanted to be cops (big change from the present day huh) and enjoyed cool vehicles.

The late 70’s to mid 80’s was full of these types of cool shows featuring cool vehicles and stuff. The Dukes of Hazzard gave the youngsters a cool muscle car to ogle at. Airwolf had an ultra cool all black helicopter. Starsky & Hutch had another cool muscle car. The A-Team had a cool looking van and lots of plosions. Knight Rider had a seriously cool all black, talking secret agent car. CHiPS was basically the same type of thing but it offered cool looking motorbikes.

chip2

What I found disappointing about this movie was the simple fact that they try to do exactly what almost every other movie adaptation of these cult shows has done. Firstly they have made it an adult movie with adult content. Secondly its a comedy bordering on spoof of the franchise. And thirdly the main characters aren’t actually doing the job of the original characters, they are using the positions as cover or just starting off. Yes I know they are trying to revamp the idea for the present day and yes I know they are also trying to add a fresh element. But these angles have been done before, this isn’t new or clever.

So the movie is actually quite violent and chock full of profanity and sexual/toilet humour. Yes I’m sure the teens may like this (maybe) but talk about alienating the core fanbase that maybe wanted to see something a bit more sensible for Pete’s sake. Not only that but as I’ve already stated the original show was quite a light-hearted affair with little violence, so this movie has completely rejected that. Maybe a more lighter approach might have worked guys, you know instead of poo, cock, ass, drug use, masturbation gags. I mean for Christs sake! Ponch (Michael Peña) is a sex addict in this movie, every time he sees female ass he has to go jerk off. Is that the best you can do with this material??

Jon Baker is played by the director & writer, Dax Shepard (gives himself the lead role huh), and boy he is bad. Apart from trying to look and sound like Owen Wilson (seriously the hair was a dead give away), this guy can’t act, he’s not funny, the hair just looks weird…almost like a wig, and he constantly goes around trying to show off his torso…like all the bloody time! Not only that but his uniform is clearly custom made to look as tight as possible to try and emphasis that. Peña’s uniform looks normal, Shepard’s looks like its bordering on skintight…yet he has no real physique. But seriously this guy was cringeworthy all the way through, a complete hit and miss mate, stick to…well actually just quit.

chip3

Obviously the plot surrounds trying to catch some criminals (robbers) and obviously there is a twist involved, not that you care because the movie tells you straight away. Baker is an ex-freestyle motocross racer so that inevitably means we’ll be getting some ridiculously over the top bike stunts later on down the line. His body is also wrecked from all the injuries sustained from that previous profession so there is this subplot about him having to take tonnes of medication all the time. Didn’t really catch on with that but without his painkillers his body locks up or whatever, I dunno. Basically it means that Ponch has to help him into the bath tub naked at one point because hilarity! Cue cock and balls in partners face visual gag.

The movie clearly has a deal with Chevrolet because that’s what all the main characters drive, its so fucking obvious. Towards the midway point the duo realise their bikes aren’t fast enough so they ditch them and, of course, get super fast modern bikes. Yep they both get a new sexy full body leather biker uniforms complete with police insignia; and two red hot motorbikes also with police insignia. Its at this point that the entire movie concept goes out the window and it could literally be anything. Just two leather clad stuntmen on turbo charged bikes, looking über cool and performing boring meaningless stunts.

This has to be one of the most lazy, mundane and pointless movies I’ve seen for some time. This falls into the xXx category of utter garbage of the highest order. I can’t even say the action was good because it wasn’t, in fact there was hardly any action at all. What you do get is so flippin’ dull its really quite amazing. You have a movies essentially about fast motorbikes and you fail to make it thrilling…or even look good??!! The humour was dreadful whilst the violence profanity and gore was completely unnecessary. Shepard shouldn’t have been cast and actors like Peña and Vincent D’Onofrio embarrass themselves. Almost the entire movie is just a series of setups for lame gags later on down the line, which you can see a mile off.

2/10

chip4

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2016)

Some people have been wanting to see a different angle on James Bond, perhaps diversifying the main role, well look no further. Yes I realise its a bit old hat to label this franchise as a mere Bond clone, but hell…in this movie they even go as far as to clone a classic Bond moment. That moment being the immortal sequence where Ursula Andress strides out of the sea in her white bikini. Said sequence was then cloned (or paid homage to) by Craig Daniels in ‘Casino Royale’, and now we have Vin Diesel doing the exact same thing in this movie.

So what’s this movie all about? Well not a lot really, and that’s just one of the movies problems. The basic plot surrounds the CIA recruiting Xander Cage (again) because they need him to track down and find a mcguffin that can control and bring down satellites from orbit like missiles. Yes Xander Cage was thought to be dead but low and behold he’s not, because of course. Get used to nonsense like this because in this franchise apparently no one dies, they could come back at any time.

So the bad guys who have stolen this mcguffin are of course a small diverse band of villains consisting of Xiang (Donnie Yen the martial artist). Talon (Tony Jaa the kickboxing martial artist), Serena Unger (Deepika Padukone an Indian actress) and Hawk (Michael Bisping a British MMA fighter). To combat these guys Xander brings in his own little diverse band of misfits consisting of Harvard Zhou (Kris Wu a Chinese model/singer/actor). Adele Wolff (Ruby Rose an Australian model/DJ/actress/TV presenter), and Tennyson (Rory McCann a Scottish actor).

xxx2

Anyway I’m not having a go at diversity but when you have these little teams of people that appear to be so painfully and obviously picked so as not to upset anyone and to try and include literally everyone, it just comes across as kinda daft. Dare I say unrealistic, but Christ what am I saying, look at the movie I’m reviewing here. The intro sequence sees Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) trying to recruit fecking Neymar Jr. for flips sake! For anyone not in the know he’s a soccer/football player.

But yeah, five minutes into the movie and I almost switched off. The entire intro is an utter shambles of stunt doubles, greenscreen and CGI, its horrendous garbage. Cage climbs and then jumps off some huge aerial tower with skies attached to his feet. He then proceeds to land perfectly in the jungle and skiing down the hills through the thick undergrowth. He then picks up his personal skateboard from some shack and proceeds to whip down the mountainous road dodging oncoming traffic or just bouncing off it. At the end we see his skateboard actually has his xXx logo on it. I swear it was some ‘Batman and Robin’ shit right there.

Amazingly I expected the movie to continue along this absurd line of bullshit but I was actually wrong! The movie does in fact take time to try and build something of a plot. It of course totally fails because this movie literally has no villains. What do I mean? Well the small band of diverse bad guys I mentioned turn out to be Triple X agents and are in fact trying to do the same thing as Cage. Yes there is indeed another villain in their midst, not hard to work out really, standard plot twist stuff. But when you do find out you’ll also realise what I mean by this movie having no real antagonist.

xxx4

But going back to my original take, a Bond clone/rip-off, yeah it kinda is really. It has all the standard spy guff that you’d expect including a young sexy female equivalent of Bond character Q. There is nothing new here, stupid stunt sequences like riding motorbikes with skis on water, jumping out of planes with no chutes, fighting on top of moving trucks, fighting on a highway in traffic, getting hit by cars but not getting injured, slow motion gun battles by the sexy female characters etc…All this but with shitty looking CGI and shitty looking greenscreen work. Oh and to top all that, Ice Cube makes a cameo when the good guys are in trouble…but then just disappears into obscurity again. Why would his character just pop up for one shoot out and not help out further? Why wouldn’t his character be in the entire movie?

Honesty I can’t remember the original two movies in this franchise. I know the second was more of a straight to DVD affair but the first movie was better than this surely? This doesn’t even feel like a stand alone movie, it just feels like a Fast and Furious spin-off flick. Hell this movie and the newer FaF movies are virtually the same shit! Just a bunch of over the top action sequences slapped together around a flimsy, non-existent plot. Stick in a load of half naked girls, rap/hip hop music and rave/party sequences where everyone looks sweaty and voila! Apparently movies like this make lots of money nowadays. This movie was so artificial, simply aiming to be hip, trendy and cool (über marketable to impressionable teens). All style no substance, tacky, lazy, definitely not sexy and definitely not cool. Just cringeworthy on every level.

1.5/10

xxx7.jpg

The Giant Claw (1957)

Well 1950’s cinema gave us all manner of monsters, aliens, giant bugs, mythical creatures, doll sized people, invisible people etc…In the realms of over sized animals and bugs (arachnids) there was a large array including giant man eating grasshoppers, scorpions, tarantulas, praying mantis, ants etc…So it was naturally just a matter of time before a movie came along that had a giant man eating bird, because why not? If it can be even remotely scary there’s a chance there’s a 50’s movie about it.

In this wondrous movie life is generally fine and dandy for all the characters concerned, that is until a giant bird comes out of nowhere and starts to attack planes and such. Naturally most of the main characters in this movie are military types because of course they are. Two of the protagonists aren’t military types but are in fact civil aeronautical engineers that appear to be working with military types, so its all military type stuff as usual.

Yep so this giant bird is attacking planes and causing lots of panic and alarm. The problem is no one can prove its a giant bird at first, many think its a hoax or a UFO. Thing is, this giant bird is really quite giant, its described as being as big as a battleship, sooo…how has this not been proven yet?? Cameras are apparently not in use in this movie and everybody seems to be somewhat shortsighted because I really fail to see how a battleship sized bird could go undetected. Then you gotta ask yourself where this thing came from? How did it get so big? What does it eat other than people and planes? Where does it live? Are there more of them? Oh wait it actually comes from an anti-matter galaxy, because of course it does. But how did it…ah who cares, don’t question it.

So the giant bird in question turns out to be an alien basically, from another galaxy. That doesn’t stop it from looking like a bird from Earth though (kinda like a cross between a Vulture and a Condor). Anyway I say that lightly because this giant bird is most probably the most ridiculous looking special effect ever. The main clear problem is the birds head, oh boy! This thing literally looks like a Warner Bros cartoon I kid you not. The shape of the head is all wrong, it has this comical tuft of hair sprouting from the top of its head, the beak is permanently open with no movement and the eyes are…umm…beyond farcical. The rest of the bird isn’t too bad truth be told, the body looks fine, the wing span, feathers, claws etc…all look perfectly reasonable for this type of B-movie. Its that head, that hideous, static, wide eyed, dopey looking Looney Tunes head.

Unfortunately like many of these really bad B-movies the film is padded out with lots and lots of stock footage, generally military footage. Next to that you have a load of narration to fill in all the gaps where they couldn’t afford to actually film. Much of the run time revolves around boring dialog scenes with the characters as they discuss how to stop the creature, where it came from, what it wants etc…Then numerous other scenes of people in planes (exceedingly bad plane sets) looking out of cockpits in shock and horror as a large shadow passes overhead. When we do actually see the giant creature you can even see the wires holding it up.

The weird thing is at times the effects aren’t too bad. When the giant bird attacks Manhattan the model skyline with overflying giant bird and military aircraft actually looks quite nice. Obviously the black and white helps cover any noticeable flaws but overall some scenes do look acceptable. In fact when the bird attacks the Empire State Building I can confidently say it actually looked pretty solid, the crumbling skyscraper did look pretty competent. Alas things take a nosedive when the bird eats the obvious model planes and the live action pilots who are shot against a poor rear projection sequence. Then of course there’s all that stock footage of crowds spliced with real footage of a very small group of people reacting and running in terror.

Would you be surprised if I told you this bird turns out to be impervious to all Earthly weapons? Didn’t think so, aren’t these monsters always somewhat invincible? No amount of gunfire, shells, missiles, rockets or even nukes can ever bring these fuckers down. Turns out this thing can create its own anti-matter force field that also gives it stealth from radar, handy huh.

Again its a shame really because the movies poster is so incredibly awesome, really striking. Other than that there really isn’t anything I can recommend here unless you like to see amazingly bad special effects. On that front the movie is top notch, a full riot to be sure, but I can’t give it a good score for that because the movie is terrible. I do believe this movie is only well known (or infamous) simply because of its terrible giant beastie model. Everything else is pretty much as you would expect and no different from all the other 50’s monster movies. Shout out for the epic Morris Ankrum who clearly made a mistake agreeing to be in this. He still manages to be epic though, its the hair and tash that does it.

1.5/10

gc2

The Neptune Factor (1973)

OK let me just start by saying, this films opening credits sequence looks so cool. The way they have rendered the movies title, text and colour wise, is super sweet. I realise this is a minor thing but I notice these little things and this just looked nice to me, kudos.

Anyway so what the heck is this all about? The title could be mistaken for a hardcore fantasy flick or a hardcore space set sci-fi flick. It is in fact a sci-fi movie all about deep sea exploration and research, dare I say a kind of very early version of ‘The Abyss’…kinda. But don’t get too excited because this movie isn’t that awesome. The plot is set deep deep beneath the ocean waves (Off Nova Scotia, north Atlantic) where a small team of scientists research undersea earthquakes. Ironically the undersea lab they are all living in gets hits by an earthquake which sends the lab tumbling down a deep ocean trench. Luckily just before this happened a few team members were leaving the lab for their leave, so now they must go back down to try and save the remaining stranded team members. Time is of the essence.

So this is an early 70’s movie and boy can you tell. All the blokes look like amateur porn stars and their hair is…lets just say dated. Its really quite amusing to see all these blokes clearly with receding hairlines but trying their best to pretend otherwise. But the women don’t get off that easy either, its quite hilarious to watch Yvette Mimieux’s hair change from scene to scene. She clearly has curly/wavy hair and has it straightened here, so in one scene you can see its been straightened (with the usual static electricity side effects). Then in the same scene but seconds later it might be all over the place as if someone just ruffed it all up.

nf4

The technology is also fun to observe, indeed its incredible to think we could do such things back then with such outrageously dated equipment (same with the moon landing). The small submarine the team use looks quite agreeable, in other words it looks like what you’d expect a small deep sea sub to look like these days, but chunkier. Its all the internal controls which makes you smile, the array of big coloured buttons, huge metal gear-like controls and levers, massively dated VHS looking recording equipment and monitors etc…Its all so corny looking but also so heartwarming. Of course much of it may be pure fantasy and artistic license, I don’t know what the cockpit of a deep sea sub would look like so….

But here’s the thing, from the start of this movie you kinda assume its gonna be a realistic take on deep sea research. Apparently producer Sanford Howard did a lot of research himself to try and show a highly realistic vision of oceanographic research, aquanauts and the danger they encounter. For the most part this all goes well…right up to the point when they go down the deep sea trench and discover gigantic monster sized fish, anemones, crustaceans etc…All of a sudden we go from a pretty technical looking flick with real threats and real science, to an all out fantasy flick with giant crabs. Worth mentioning the fish are actually tropical yet the ocean is the Atlantic, hmmm. The crew do mention the bottom of the trench being warmed by undersea volcanoes though, but still, hmmm.

Truth be told this was a lifeline for the movie because up until that point everything had been going pretty slowly. But do the various giant sea entities help matters? Well again not really because nothing actually happens. They go down the trench, they encounter giant creatures, watch them through their viewport and that’s it. The giant fish merely swim past or have a nose, the crabs and lobster merely walk around, sea anemones react as they do and that’s it. One crab does try to push the sub around a bit, as does a fish, and apart from losing power for a short time that’s about the height of the excitement you get folks. Don’t get me wrong its still kinda fun in a cheesy, Doug McClure kinda way, but its also underwhelming. Really wanted someone to venture outside and get eaten.

nf5

Effects wise its a mixed bag. All the internal sub sets and gear looks really good, very authentic. The equipment the crew use, their outfits, terminology, the oceanlab, ships on the surface etc…its all spot for the time. They do in fact use real minisubs, ships, cranes, undersea labs etc…its all real footage and at the start they clearly shot underwater for a time (using stunt doubles). As the movie proceeds underwater for the exploration things continue to look good within the minisub, I have no complaints here. Apart from the obviously dated equipment it all looks really neat and nicely claustrophobic. The problems start when the crew discover the giant sea creatures, which are actually real creatures not made up monsters (alas). All they have done here is shoot real footage of real creatures and fish, then blown up that footage and used rear projection against the actors to give the impression the fish are huge. At the same time they also used small models of the minisub against real sized fish which looked so flippin’ cute. Remember when you’d put little toys into your goldfish tank…there you go.

Another major issue I had with the movie is how the oceanlab got to its final resting place in the deep sea trench. There was an earthquake and we see the lab topple down the side of the trench, OK. So the lab will presumably just go straight down and crash at the bottom, supposedly implode too it was mentioned but that never happens for some reason. When the minisub ventures down into the trench the crew discover an undersea world, they’re travelling for quite some distance along this trench floor apparently. When they eventually find the lab it feels like they’ve being searching for miles and miles, so how did the lab somehow go all this way? Also when they find the lab the survivors are outside fighting giant eels…but but the pressure??

nf6

The movies poster is epic, it drew me in, I knew I had to see this. Alas the movie doesn’t quite live up to said poster, something I have grown accustomed to with these old movies. But nevertheless the movie is still a fun time it must be said. Part of this is down to the hilarious performances from the cast. Ben Gazzara’s over acting as he tries his very best to be this tough, macho, über cool, smooth talkin’ deep voiced sub Commander. I haven’t seen anyone try to look so cool in front of the camera for some time, loved it. Then of course we’ve got the legendary Ernest Borgnine as one of the oceanlab crew, a chief diver. What can I say? The man is epic, he looks his usual gruff self and what’s left of his hair literally goes everywhere when its wet, brilliant stuff. I just adore how bad hair was back in the 70’s. Naturally you can’t have an adventure movie without a bit of young totty to show off, hence Yvette Mimieux and her flowing locks.

If you like classics like ‘Fantastic Voyage’ then this movie will be right up your particular alley of enjoyment. Yes it might be hokey as hell, kinda lethargic and the threats aren’t really that threatening. Yes you aren’t gonna feel that much tension or excitement with this movie, but its still a good old fashioned romp.

6.5/10

nf2

Stryker (PH, 1983)

It would be very easy of me to say this was a simple rip-off of the first two Mad Max movies but hey, come on, seriously…take a bloody look at this thing. Its a flippin’ rip-off of George Miller’s dystopian creation…visually at least.

The Earth is a scorched barren wasteland. Small pockets of people is all that is left of the human race after a devastating nuclear war. The most precious commodity now is water (sound familiar?), not food, not fuel, not bullets or guns because apparently there’s an abundance of that stuff, no its H2O. The remaining small groups of people fight amongst themselves for the water. Kardis, a tyrant with a loyal following wants the location of a colony that has a natural spring. Said colony is peaceful but remain hidden to fend off the violent Kardis and his black leather wearing minions.

There is seemingly only one man who can help the colony and stop Kardis, that man is Stryker (Steve Sandor), oh and his black leather clad partner Bandit…excuse me?. Stryker is your complete stereotypical 80’s anti-hero…that has been cobbled together from other movies. He’s a silent, roguish, gruff, tanned, muscular bloke with longish hair. Unfortunately the hair is slightly blonde, very curly (almost an afro) and doesn’t look very cool. He wears a tight vest to show off his big arms, he has on what looks to be armoured shin pads and camouflage type pants (similar to Snake Plissken in ‘Escape from New York’), and he often wears a cowboy hat and bandana around his face. Naturally he’s a dab hand with all types of guns and knives.

str2

His sidekick, Bandit, is also very quiet, slim, athletic, actually has more muscular tone than Stryker and has wavy black long hair complete with bandana. As already said Bandit wears all black leather and is also darn good with guns and knives. Both of these (apparent) butch blokes travel around the desert in…wait for it…a black, heavily modified 1970 Ford Mustang that just so happens to look very similar to the Ford Falcon in that other desert set flick.

The baddie named Kardis looks like Ben Kingsley and dresses relatively sensibly, albeit with a slightly Arabic look. Its his henchmen that look bloody ridiculous and are somewhat of a copyright infringement. All of his men are dressed in black leather, some wearing odd helmets, masks, goggles, body harnesses/fetish gear etc…It literally looks like they just stepped off the set of ‘Mad Max 2’, its so blatant. The only real difference is these bad guys travel around on tanks (which does look badass), although they do use the odd battered vehicle.

Again ripping ideas straight outta other specific movies, this movie also has a band of female warriors that are all incredibly sexy looking. Each and every female warrior is wearing very tight skimpy booty shorts that show more arse than anything (its very nice). They all wear white clothes (as do all the peaceful goodie people) and in another blatant copyright infringement some wear what looks to be white American football type shoulder padding (yes from ‘Mad Max 2’ again). All these female warriors also tend to use bows, arrows and crossbows rather than guns. So essentially these characters are just another stolen idea.

str6

There is very little dialog in this movie which is somewhat unsurprising I guess seeing as most of the actors are dubbed. But the lack of actual talking is still quite odd really, its like the movie is just one long collection of action sequences stuck together around a crap plot. That plot basically being, the baddies are after the water, the goodies have to stop them, guys wearing black bad, people wearing white good…and that’s it. There are various characters that do get captured and whatnot, there are some flashbacks to explain what happened between Kardis and Stryker etc…but none of it matters. Baddies wear black, goodies wear white…fight!

Admittedly there are a lot of reasonable action sequences involving vehicles. Nothing you hadn’t seen before in some other movies (ahem) but they have been directed and carried out pretty well all things considered. Yes there is a tanker sequence, of course there is, no its not as good as that tanker sequence. Yes there are many nice shots of Stryker’s souped-up car against sunsets, closeups, the roaring of the engine as it thunders down the deserted highways etc…Honesty the car is sweet, they’ve done their best to match (or copy) the iconic Ford Falcon pursuit special and its not half bad, I wouldn’t say no. Other vehicles are standard desert bound stuff like jeeps and various 4×4 things. The female warriors have a neat looking three wheeled motorbike thingy.

str8

Most of the action is pretty hokey as you might expect with men throwing themselves around when they get shot. Lots of explosive squibs to simulate gunfire, wounds and ricochets etc…The locations work nicely, I believe its all in the Philippines but I could be wrong. Sure some of it looks to be in quarries and some rundown ruins but it does the job. Everything looks yellow, dusty, rocky, sandy, battered etc…what else do you need for an apocalyptic movie in the desert? Steve Sandor is clearly having a ball being this supposedly ultra cool anti-hero, he growls and snarls when required, ignores the sexy women like a true badass would do…I guess. His sidekick Bandit is virtually mute but does get a sex scene, so not gay then? Jury is still out on that because he sure as hell doesn’t like it when Stryker leaves him at the end, dude almost breaks down in tears in front of his new hot girlfriend.

The movies poster is sexy stuff, its literally why I watched the film! I was predictably somewhat disappointed to discover the poster isn’t really accurate (how many times man? how many times?). Going in I knew this would be a mix of many things that have come before, twas bloody obvious, but is that bad? I mean, yeah sure its bad in a legal moral sense, but for entertainment purposes its actually alright. Yes the movie is cheap and tacky but thumbs for effort, credit where credits due, this ain’t half bad for a low budget B-movie. The fact that it looks like there was not much health and safety involved whilst making this makes it even more impressive and fun. Final thought, someone really needs to explain to me why there was a band of Jawas/Dinks in the desert. I…I really didn’t quite understand that, quite simply, why is there a band of little people in the middle of the desert?

5.5/10

str11

K-9 (1989)

Back in the day, this was probably the first time in my life that I discovered Hollywood made identical movies. Maybe it was something I had missed previously or just never thought about, or maybe it was a simple case of this being way too obvious to miss. Of course the other movie I refer to is the Tom Hanks vehicle ‘Turner and Hooch’. It wasn’t really until the mid to late 90’s that I started to notice this identikit film making occurring again.

The plot couldn’t be simpler, its essentially a spin on the old trusted buddy cop movie. Just remove one of the human elements and replace with a dog and watch the hilarity ensue. And that’s the plot in a nutshell. Loose cannon and smartass Chicago detective Dooley (James Belushi) needs a partner, but he’s none to happy about getting one. His by the books chief basically tells him you’re getting a partner, like it or lump it. So in order to kinda avoid getting a partner Dooley opts for a police dog, easy right? Well guess what?? Yeah its not easy, in fact the dog turns out to be an intelligent nightmare that doesn’t like orders (did ya see that coming?). So this oddball duo of unruly K-9 and wise cracking cop must work together to take down some stereotypical 80’s drug kingpin type.

Now essentially you have to remember that back in the day when this movie came out, buddy cop flicks were all the rage. These fast paced, profanity ridden, violent cops vs criminals flicks were the equivalent of superhero flicks right now, they were literally ten a penny. Naturally most flicks went through the obvious ideas of different racial double teams, age differences, sensible and crazy, by the books and not so etc…So at the end of the day this movie actually had an original concept, well one, everything else was your standard fair.

k92

Its been a long long time since I saw this movie and its really quite scary how dated it is (and how old I’ve gotten). One of the first scenes sees Dooley sitting in his car playing on a Nintendo Game & Watch, back when those little gems were considered mobile gaming. It was so odd to watch this scene because I fully remember thinking back in the day how cool those Nintendo handhelds were and how much I really wanted one. Its also cute to notice that all the sound effects you supposedly hear from said game, clearly do not, those games didn’t make sound that advanced.

There is actually a lot of dubbing going on in this movie. Obviously the dog can’t talk so in order to add extra emotional impact to scenes throughout the movie they stuck in lots of growling and whining type dog noises. Again its funny now because when I was a kid I thought the dog was actually making those noises. Indeed I can’t deny that this idea does work on a number of occasions, nothing hilarious of course but its amusing. In fact the chemistry between Belushi and the dog is one of the high points of the film (well it would have to be really wouldn’t it). Belushi is clearly having a blast over acting and showing off, but this isn’t annoying surprisingly. He genuinely comes across as a cool bloke, someone you’d be happy to have a beer with. His character is very likeable and down to earth, whilst his interactions with the dog are also very likeable and fun. Sure its all very predictable these days, you know exactly the kind of stuff that your gonna see here (doggy poop, loud barking, breaking stuff, chewing stuff, eating stuff, looking cute etc…), but its enjoyable.

On the flip side of being cute the dog also turns out to be a badass when it comes to taking down criminals. Again this is not something that is much of a surprise, of course the dog will be cute and cool at the same time. Of course the dog will be unruly and rebellious, and of course the dog will also save Dooley’s ass and basically reverse the roles. Yes that’s right, Dooley for the most part is basically the doofus of the duo, where as the dog is the clever detective, cute huh.

k94

Speaking of baddies, the main antagonist in this movie (played by the wonderfully evil looking Kevin Tighe) is the absolute epitome of 80’s action movie villains. He’s a middle aged executive looking boss (a slick suit) who’s clearly loaded and clearly pretty old and in need of henchmen to carry out his dirty work. In fact, like many action movie villains, he’s clearly so loaded you do kinda wonder why he’s doing what he’s doing. Just looking around at this guys property, cars and general lifestyle, he seems to be doing pretty well for himself, so why risk it all? Naturally all his henchmen are slick suits, you know the type, they just stand around looking smart and obey every order. I always wonder if these guys actually have any sort of personal home life, or if they’re maybe gay with their boss…because they mindlessly obey and never leave his side.

This is one of those movies that was pretty cool back in the day because that’s all you knew, but nowadays its generic as fuck. For the most part its mainly all about the comic interactions between Belushi and the dog (of which there were many used). Most of the actions sequences are pretty standard fair except for the ones which involve the dog attacking (obviously heavily padded) people and biting their crotch. Its all directed well and looks good truth be told but that can’t hide obvious stunt doubles, bad dubbing and a very lightweight plot. Oh and the blatantly obvious emotional hook where the dog gets shot is (or was) obvious and highly predictable. As was the sequence where you think the dogs dead but low and behold he’s not! As if the movie would ever end with the flippin’ dog being shot to death, come on people.

In short, Belushi is a hoot I can’t deny; this was back in his heydays when he was actually a biggish draw. How funny is it to watch Belushi clutching the dogs leash whilst he’s being helplessly dragged across the background of a shot? Pretty funny actually. The movie is definitely fun and (I think) much better than the alternate Tom Hanks version. This feels more for adults where as the latter was more soppy. We could of done without the whole doggie sex thing with that ugly poodle though.

7/10

k93

Double Team (1997)

This movie is believed to be the last action flick from old Van Damage to achieve a theatrical release. However, apparently this is not true, from what I’ve read Australia got three more offerings after this. I actually find that hard to believe really, looking back at this. What do we have here? A movie about an odd pairing, a double team action flick actually called double team! And what better way to really mix things up in search of some originality than teaming up with an actual basketball star. One could also say what better way to try and milk cash from the dumb gullible public.

Yes Van Damme is the star here naturally, but enter Dennis Rodman, one of the Chicago Bulls top players from a superstar team that was (at the time) virtually unbeatable. Rodman was essentially the perfect gimmick, he was a notorious player who would often clash with his opponents and game officials whilst at the same time managing to be highly effective. His crazy, bad boy, rock ‘n’ roll visage of tattoos, piercings and dyed hair was also a big lure and quite unusual for the time. This was an era before top sportsmen covered themselves in tattoos and had severe cyber razor haircuts, hence Rodman’s outrageous look was always front page news for sports.

For any Europeans reading, if you took this approach, it would in essence be the equivalent of casting Neymar or maybe Eric Cantona (minus the tats) alongside Van Damme. What better way to bring in the big bucks for your standard action crime thriller comedy.

Did I say standard action crime thriller comedy? Why yes I did, and here’s why. Jack Quinn (JCVD) is a counter terrorist agent who is supposedly killed in action trying to take down his nemesis Stavros (Mickey Rourke). Quinn is obviously not dead but instead has been stuck on a secret island colony for agents that are too valuable to kill off and too dangerous to set free. There he must continue to assist in counter terrorism but in secret, away from the rest of the world forever. In the mean time old Stavros kidnaps Quinn’s wife because some how he knows Quinn is still alive. Quinn must now break free from the colony to save his wife. Spoiler alert! Quinn does break out and winds up hiring Yaz (Rodman) to help him in his quest.

dt3

K so first lets just remember that this is an old JCVD action flick so there will be many many cliches, tropes and stereotypical bullshit. The colony idea was a nice touch, I did like that and I felt that plot could have been the entire movie. Quinn simply trying to escape a secret government island which houses super spies supposedly killed in action. That is a pretty solid prison premise right there and they could of really explored that with lots of fighting action. Sure its unoriginal but it sounds like it could of worked.

Aside from the neat colony aspect the rest of this movie is pretty trashy really. For a start there is a huge amount of dubbing here which is really obvious. I’ve no idea why its like this but it just comes across as shoddy. In the original colony part of the plot there is a whole subplot about each imprisoned agent having a ‘guardian’ that watches over them in case they try to escape. In Quinn’s case its his old agent friend Alex (Paul Freeman). The movie sets up this whole angle between these two characters yet it goes nowhere, literally. When Quinn escapes some other bloke pops up to try and stop him. No clue how this guy knew about Quinn’s escape plan, he’s just there and gets killed, so aimless.

Even though Mickey Rourke’s baddie character has a stupid name this guy was genuinely intimidating, to look at at least. This was at a time before Rourke got fucked up from boxing and then proceeded to have various bad facelifts so he does look good. Rourke has clearly gotten into shape for the role and learnt some martial arts too; this combination of heavy muscle and moves does make Rourke look like a worthy opponent for Van Damme. Indeed the final fight scene between the pair is actually pretty darn good with some thumping fisticuffs. Again though the use of dubbing and an obvious stunt double for Rourke makes it look and sound shoddy in places.

dt4

As for the main man Rodman, well he lives up to his extravagant flamboyant image by dressing in the most absurd ways possible. When I say absurd I mean luminous skintight lycra, luminous vests, armbands, his awful nose and earrings and various sets of bizarre looking shades. All the while his hair changes colour throughout which I don’t get because when does he have the time to do this process?? I should also mention that during the movie he throws out numerous corny quips that are basketball related, and towards the end of the movie he runs around topless for no apparent reason. Obviously the director (Tsui Hark) wanted to get his moneys worth from Rodman so why not have him topless showing off his ink and whatnot.

Speaking of the finale, its supposedly set within the Colosseum in Rome…oh boy. Well for starters clearly its not, it was actually shot at Arles Amphitheatre in France. Secondly the entire arena area is fully lit up when Quinn and Stavros fight…like how? Why would the arena be lit up at night? Surely it would have been completely locked down overnight and surely if all the lights were on someone (security) would notice. Thirdly, Stavros has a tiger on hand to set upon Quinn…ugh! This has to be the most ludicrous part of the movie, where the literal fuck did he get the tiger? Did he steal it just for this one meeting or do they have tigers at Arles Amphitheatre? Why not just bring lots of henchmen and guns? What if the tiger didn’t wanna attack Quinn and just laid down and went to sleep? Lastly, Stavros had already set up mines in the arena, which means he presumably broke in beforehand, killed all the security? and turned on all the lights, OK. But please tell me, why set up all those mines when you yourself could step…oh too late.

dt2

In the end a mine blows up the entire amphitheatre with Stavros and the poor old tiger. Said explosion manages to destroy the entire historic site in a huge ball of fire and death that Quinn saves everyone from behind a vending machine. Yeah…because you have lots of soda vending machines within historical Roman sites (how did it not melt anyway?). At the same time Quinn’s super agent friend Alex turns up, obviously to catch or kill him because he’s Quinn’s ‘guardian’. This got me a little confused because I didn’t think these agents were allowed off the colony to find someone who has escaped. Why not just use government forces or the military or something, the same people that brought him to the colony in the first place perhaps. Spoiler alert Alex lets Quinn go because…duh!

I’ve been hard on this movie and for good reason, its littered with farcical nonsense, bad dubbing and a totally bonkers finale. The whole thing is a very stupid and very pathetic Bond-esque thriller with lame comedy. The only highlights that save the movie from being a total disaster are Rourke’s great villain and some decent fight sequences. As said the addition of Rodman was a completely tacky gimmick and unfortunately that’s what the movie is most remember for.

5/10