Archive for the ‘Trash movies’ Category

 

 

Movie starts with an illegal Kickboxing Tournament, a classic trope from the 90s. So far- so good. Now, what you would reasonably expect is that the star of this movie is this young, buff Karate student played by Ian Jacklin. Makes sense. Yeah, his acting is maybe not perfect but at least he looks the part of an action hero.

 

But things are never that simple are they? Our young hero gets the living daylight beaten out of him and he ends up freakin’ brain dead and now we’re left following his teacher trying to avenge him. Sensei George (skinny, older man from Macedonia) wakes up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. His nude, blonde (and out of his league) girlfriend Sara tries to comfort him. He relents and has sex with her but still suspects somethings wrong with his missing student.

First thing in the morning he goes to see Tony’s mother who suspects things considering she found an envelope of 10 000 dollars and the mysterious card. Scarily at the same time her boy was harvested for organs (probably to be sold on the black market). Man, these people are even more evil than the usual tournament organizers (like Dana White or Shang Tsung).

George calls his girlfriend who turns out to be a Police detective (didn’t see that one coming). Unfortunately she wasn’t helpful in tracing the mysterious number from the card So, next he tries to find the company with a Spade logo (like the envelope). He ends up in a seedy warehouse and you guessed it- get jumped by some bad guys! They try to “teach him some American maners” but he answers with some well placed kicks. Mustached villain tries to run away but George hunts him down and in the end he talks. Man behind the disappearance is called Verdugo (Jorge Rivera). That name seems to ring a bell with George.

He visits his master- fantastically long- haired George Lynch who explains that Verdugo can’t possibly be alive because he was killed running drugs in the Golden Triangle. Turns out he actually survived and just got a cool- looking eye patch.

An being a true villain that he is he sends some goons to the George’s dojo, he doesn’t want anyone messing with his operation. Now, this is the fun part, his main henchmen is none other than Frank W. Dux (controversial Ninja/ Spy/ Creator of Bloodsport).

His blue belt tries to get involved and kid gets shit kicked out of him! I’m starting to think that George isn’t such a great Sensei after all, I mean his students constantly act like dumb asses- he must be partly responsible.

“Nothing important- just your life”

Unfortunately Dux just threatens him with a gun and we don’t get to see the fight between  the two. Too bad ’cause Dux was usually behind the cameras (Bloodsport, , Lionheart, Only The Strong) as a choreographer– it would have been interesting to finally see him in action for a change.

Police lady gets some info from her fat “hacker” friend and it turns out that George was the one one testified against Verdugo. Lynch spouts some more ancient wisdom to George as he gets prepared to end things between him and Verdugo once and for all.

Turns out his other student Garry also got invited some time ago so he uses that connection to finally track him down. Before the revenge he start training like crazy, full 80s style! His girlfriend doesn’t seem entertained by that but he pays her no mind. She finally confronts him in late hours in his Dojo with words like “…what are you doing here, I never see you anymore” Remember kids Karate will wreck your personal life. Jorge solves things by sleeping with her right there on the dirty floor. I mean this dude’s got only two ways of solving anything problem: fighting and fucking and I don’t know which is scarier.

We finally get down to business. Garry let’s himself be captured by Verdugo goons.  George follows them and then makes a sneak attack on Verdugo’s compound with a freaking crossbow! Man’s got style.

After saving his student from what seems like certain death George challenges Verdugo and he gets shamed by his ritch friends to take the fight. Of course it turns out Sara followed George who followed Garry (everyone is tailing everyone here) and she shows up with the police to break things up. She kinda forgives George for going behind her back and they team up to fight Verdugo (and his evil Doctor Kramer).

Verdugo yelling “you ruined my career, you ruined my life” and George’s answering “it was a shitty career” strike with a bit more truth than originally intended. But don’t worry they don’t get to meta- they get into a sword fight. Round 2: Begin!

 

My favorite thing is that no one takes George into custody despite of obviously murdering a man with a sword just minutes ago.

And all that with a journalist showing up before the arrests were even done with a TV Anchor spouting the names of every ritch and powerful person watching the tournament. This lady’s got more info than any other character in the whole movie, I’m impressed! She could have solved everything by herself- and without any bloodshed.

Verdict: Now, having an illegal Karate tournament revenge is not a bad plot by itself, we all love a good (and brutal) revenge story but when the said teacher is a skinny man from Macedonia with his English (let’s not talk about his acting) leaving a lot to be desired for.

But if you look closely at the credits Jorgo Ognenovski actually wrote the story so that’s not really shocking. Maybe the safer bet was for him to just write/ produce and maybe play a foreign villain. In that case this movie might have had a bit wider release, something in line with an average 90’s Gary Daniels kickboxing movie.

For me the biggest treat of the movie was the legendary B-movie bad guy Richard Lynch here being all hilarious and awesome as a wise Martial Art Master. Having practically nothing to do with Martial Arts he more than makes up for it with his style (long hair and black kimono) and attitude.

Trivia: Of all things we expect to get in the movie like this, the biggest shock was a cameo from Frank Dux as a main henchmen of Rivero’s character. I’m only disappointed that he didn’t have any fight scenes. I mean you have the inspiration behind Bloodsport and you don’t have him Dim Mak anybody? That’s a shame!

Also, dojo scenes seem to be filmed in Dux’s Dojo, you can clearly see his framed photo. Either that or Jorgo really loves promoting his enemies.

On the side note- in a classic Ninja fashion Dux’s role isn’t advertised and his name does not appear in his official IMDB page.So, it’s like he was never there. Man, he truly is The Secret Man.

Trivia 2:

According to our research Jorgo Ognenoviski is in politics now and is actually an independent political candidate for the mayor of Bitola, Macedonia. Man, maybe he can give Arnold run for his money if he keeps it up!

 

You wonder what this movies is about? Well, in 1980s we were still in the first wave of Jamie Lee Curtis career as a Scream Queen. She followed up the all- time classic John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) with another Carpenter gem- The Fog (1980). The she took a bit of a detour to Great North with Prom Night (1980) and then continued the Canadian tour some months later with a New Year themed Slasher featuring none other then at the world famous illusionist David Copperfield! So, how did it go? We’ll let’s go through it step by step.

Movie predictably starts with a bunch of nerds. Sigma Phi fraternity pulls a prank by promising him young Kenny a hook- up with a hot chick. They just fail to tell him that the chick was dead for a long time! Can you imagine someone going to all the trouble of getting a dead body into a student bed just for a stupid prank. I know they’re medical students but still. Kenny is horribly traumatized by the prank ends up in the mental institution!

When going insane make sure to spin in circles!

Three year later the gang is back to it’s usual hijinks, this time preparing to board a train. They are already drunk and wearing costumes (not a must have for a New Year celebration, but to each their own) but the real party is just about to begin.

Nerdy prankster with a Groucho Marx is looking for his girlfriend. Girlfriend is of course a blow up doll. He keeps spouting his lame comedy routine to everyone’s delight. Now, predictably he is the first to go (seemingly killers hate pranksters even more than their regular victims- slutty blonds). They board the train not noticing that somebody put a (real) sword trough the comedian and then took his place.

                                                                                                                          Being a funny guy always ends in tragedy

The Magician (David Copperfield) is talking with his assistant, tall blond called Charlie, feeling he is not yet prepared for his performance. Who is financing his thing? You’d espect these students to be in debt by now- not living it up.

Black dude in a lizard costume compliments the “new and improved” Groucho and his comedy and offers him some hard liquor. Groucho accepts and then proceeds to murder him in one fall swoop by busting his head on the bathroom mirror. That’s what you get for liking bad comedy.

 

Train conductor finds the murder victim in the bathroom .The only logical thing to do-hide the murder! I’m not sure that’s helping anyone in the long run. They even say “Bathroom is out of order”– man, that’s cold.

At some point the main organizer and OG Prankster Doc (dressed like a monk) comments that he didn’t hire a magician at all? But Alana’s boyfriend Moe just shrugs it off like it’s no big deal. The killer somehow manages to throw the body away and take the lizard costume (this is starting to become a pattern) and conductors decide to just accept that the dude was just drunk (ignoring all the gallons of blood that were there just minutes ago). It seems people will believe anything as long as it’s easier for them.

Bubbly girl Mitchie (also a bit drunk at this point) runs into train conductors carrying the Lizard. She helps Lizard Man walk and starts hitting on him instantly. That will prove to be a fatal mistake.


I guess she likes them coldblooded it seems.

After finding Mitchie dead too conducter finally figure out that there’s something wrong with this whole trip. Alana (Curtis) figures out that she’s gone and they finally admit they found her dead. If that wasn’t enough we are treated to another Copperfield act but thankfully Moe shows up bleeding like a pig in the middle of it. It seems bodies are starting to pile up.

 

They finally stop the train to try to prevent further killings. They trice to organize everybody and make them take of their masks. While freezing outside Alana finally figures out that Kenny is back and Doc then seals himself in the sleeper car where murderer is hiding. Naturally he doesn’t make it. After finding his decapitated body Alana figures out that the Magician must be Kenny in disguise.  Carne looks him up but the Magician manages to disappear?

Now with a new gimmick, a witch killer goes after Alana. She barely escapes with her life and manages to lock her self up in the compartment. He still tries to stab her but she turns the tables on him and stab him in the face. He continues going after her but she pushes him from the train car. Nightmare seems to be finally over.

 

Or is ti? They finally find the Magician but he is in fact murder by his own swords.Alana tells that to Charlie, his assistant but the wig comes off and it turns out that she is in fact Kenny! Kenny was cross- dressing as the assistant this whole time. She tries apologizing for her part in the prank but he doesn’t want to hear it. He insists on a kiss, and she finally obliges him. Unfortunately for Kenny he again looses his mind and starts spinning uncontrollably. Old man conductor shows up and whacks him with a shovel. He drops like a rock (and something rolls out from the ovbious stand in dummy). Water washes the body away with only a single shoe remaining while the train rolls on.

This scene is comedic gold

Verdict: Even thou I must say I sincerely enjoy the early part of Jamie Lee Curtis‘s career I would still say that Terror Train is a bit of a weak link for me. Gimmick of changing the costume after every kill sounds interesting on paper but in reality murderer lacks visual identity (see Jason Voorhees) and that definitely hurts the movie. Also, it takes them way too long to “get the train rolling”, it takes pretty much an hour for tension to really rev up.  And as much as I loved Coperfield‘s stuff as a kid, cutting to his performances every 10 minutes is not helping the pacing of this film.

Trivia: Jamie Lee Curtis would continue with the Horror genre with Australian Roadgames (1981) and go back to playing Laurie Stroude with Halloween II and her Horror streak would finaly be broken in ’82 with a comedy Coming Soon. She wouldn’t return to the genre ’till Halloween H20 (1998) and now mostly forgotten but batshit crazy SF/ Horror Virus (1999).

Trivia #2: Marie was played by none other than D.D. Winters, real name Denise Katrina Matthews– later known as Vanity. You might remember her from another cult classic- The Last Dragon. She was also in a Carl Weathers‘s awesome Action Jackson and had a sucesful musical career with Prince– produced Vanity 6 trio and two solo records. Unfortunately, she died way too soon in 2016.

 

 

 

Most first time directors begin their careers with a zombie film. Why? I don’t know, I guess it’s a cheap way to make a first feature film. Shot on 35mm foralmost no money by first time director Brett Leonard  (also known for Lawnmower Man) The Dead Pit is perfect example of this claim. It features some impressive make up and effects work, especially considering the budget. Michael Hinton created the film’s optical effects, while the prosthetic special effects were created by FX artist Ed Martinez. Other than that it is complete crap with unintentional black humor.

deadpit

 

At an overfilled and under-staffed mental hospital, Dr. Colin Ramzi (played by Danny Gochnauer) decides to use the excess patients for his own personal experiments into death and the unknown. His evil deeds are ended abruptly when his colleague, Dr. Gerald Swan (Jeremy Slate), puts a bullet in his head. Dr. Ramzi and the corpses of his experiments are then sealed up in a mass grave beneath the hospital and forgotten. Well, only for twenty years, until a mysterious Jane Doe (played by Cheryl Lawson) arrives at the hospital with no memory of who she is or where she came from. She complains about not losing her memory but rather someone got it stolen from her. Hm I think I know where this movie leads to. Anyway, apparently Jane Doe got so upset about her memories theft that she causes an earthquake and unrest at the, until then, peaceful underground mass grave. Result of this: we get to see Dr. Ramzi gets free from captivity, leading the army of loyal zombies. And also we get to see Jane’s tits in wet shirt.

Untitled

 

While Jane is wandering around freely wearing only underpants and tight shirt Dr. Ramzi continues his research. So that means he needs more bodies. You can guess what comes next. Meanwhile, Dr. Gerald hypnotizes Jane where he discovers her real name is Sarah and that mother tried to take her away from her father when she was only 3 years old. Hm I wonder why? Of course, all of this is followed by inconvenient flat acting. The following night good Dr. Ramzi is back. He kills one of the lunatics and one of the staff member, whose head he later uses to scare Jane and drive her insane.

 

Dr. Gerald hypnotizes Jane once more. She remembered crazy surgeon experimenting on her. Dr. Ramzi somehow takes control of her body and in his own voice threaten Dr. Gerald. Ok now we got The Exorcist element here. This movie keeps expanding in a way no one could possibly expect. Dr. Gerald gets so upset about this that he throws poor Jane out of office and then helps himself with his secret stash of whisky. On the other side of asylum, Jane and some Irish madman are making a plan for escaping. Of course, that plan is foiled by Dr. Ramzi and Jane ends up captured in the dead pit. Mad surgeon raises his army of the zombies from the pit and they all together start stealing brains from mental patients. Mad Irishman saves Jane from imprisonment and they return to fight Ramzi and his ever-growing army of zombies. Meanwhile, Dr. Gerald got drunk and slept through entire chaos in his office.

They discover that holy water kills zombies (I am no shitting you here) so with help of demented nun who happens to be in asylum as mental patient (how convenient) Jane and Irish dude devise a plan to bless entire nearby water tower and blow it up with handmade bomb. Sounds bulletproof to me enough. Meanwhile, Dr. Ramzi has haptured Dr. Gerald and performs brain extraction operation on him, despite Gerald’s plea “Don’t cut my brain please”. He shows that juicy brain to Jane during their next encounter spiced with silly one-liner “Dr. Swan wants to give you piece of his mind”. Classic! And yeah, we also find out he is Jane’s father. What a twist, would you say? Anyway, mad Irishman (*cough* pleonasm) took the opportunity of this family reunion to sacrifice himself (due to his stupidity of making the fuse too long) and blow up water tower which leads us to scene of mass melting zombies, including Dr. Ramzi, which is second to none even compared to famous scene from The incredible melting man.

Conclusion: Zombies, mad scientist, body possession, holy water, exorcism, tits, wide open heads, this movie has it all, you just name it. I haven’t seen such  concentration of madness since Beyond Re-animator (and believe me, that movie is so fucked up). As for the acting, it isn’t heinously bad, for the most part, but you’ll still wince from time to time. The zombies actually look fairly decent. With Brett Leonard, when you look at his earliest picture, all you can really see are hints of the mediocrity that would spell out his career. The Dead Pit isn’t a bad movie, it’s just very forgettable. At least, it provides some nice gore so it is worth watching.

At least the cover is cool. I like that Mad Max/ Road Warrior pose.

Robotic Officer Tactical Operation Research. A prototype robot intended for crime combat escapes from the development lab and goes on a killing rampage.

Brilliant scientist of this movie Barrett Coldyron turns out to be a farmer. He also feeds his horse his morning coffee (not sure that’s good for him) and eats the carrot himself.  This seems to be the theme of this whole movie, by trying to subvert our expectations director Cullen Blaine manages only to spoil everything in this middle-to-low budget production and make it have no sense whatsoever.

Sometimes, it’s much better to just play the cards that you’ve been dealt (instead of trying to change the whole game).

Coldyron lead a fun presentation of Robotic Officer Tactical Operation Research aka R.O.T.O.R. including a horrible stop- motion dancing? Or was that Karate?

One thing is for sure, that thing is EVIL.

Now, according to him it will take anything from 4 to 25 years(!!!) for R.O.T.O.R. to be functional but his boss’s career depends on it and he want’s it now! Even worse than those video- game crunch times we have right now. It seems the programmers will never get a break, it will only gets worse in the future. So, Coldyron tells him to show it and goes back to being a private citizen, or a Cop? I’m not really sure- he seems to contain multitudes.

And did we mention the retarded robot side-kick they have in the police station.

 

On the other hand his mustached subordinate doesn’t have the guts to quit and ends up being a project leader. Predictably he manages to fuck things up with the R.O.T.O.R.‘s program. Then a bizarre gay- looking Native American scientist starts boasting like mad and manages to activate the damn robot!

 

Now that the R.O.T.O.R is on, he starts cruising in his police- motorcycle. First car he stops is one with the young couple arguing like idiots. We’ll things escalate with yelling at a (robo)cop and you would think that machine wouldn’t get his feelings hurt/ get too emotional but R.O.T.O.R is activated. And as we all know, it takes time to iron out the kinks in the program. First car he stops is one with the young couple arguing like idiots.

We’ll things escalate with yelling at a (Robo)Cop and you would think that machine wouldn’t get his feelings hurt but R.O.T.O.R. is special. Driver tries to come him down and even pulls out a 20 dollars bill (39 dollars in today’s money). R.O.T.O.R. just shoots him point blank.  Also trajectory of the bullet seems a bit strange, bullet seemingly ricochets of a dollar bill and hits the dude straight in the forehead! His girlfriends goes into a panic- mode and tries to get away.

R.O.T.O.R. keeps pursuing her like she’s freakin’ Sarah Connor and not just a girlfriend of the random lousy driver. He follows her all the way to some Trucker Bar but where R.O.T.O.R. ends up in honest-to-God bar brawl with rednecks who know Martial Arts with one of them seemingly being a Bodybuilder too! You couldn’t make this shit up.

Coldyron then finally catches up to them a saves a girl and it’s all far from over. Coldyron prepares for a final showdown by picking up Dr. Steel, an engeneer who designed  the robot’s chassis and she’s for some reason a super- muscular woman with a skank haircut? Yeah, you heard that right. Hell, she’s the biggest Alpha “Male” of the whole movie! And she does Martial Arts too.

When they lay the trap for R.O.T.O.R. shes the one kickboxing and wrestling with the machine. I guess she made him so she knows all of his weak spots.  And she did have some sucess before being pummeled to the ground. They finally trap him by forcing him to step on lasso (does Cowboy skills of Coldyron finaly came in handy) and then tearing him apart with cars! He then of course explodes, ’cause everything explodes.

Police interogates Coldyron with him being the only survivor and he’s just about to drive into the sunset when his old boss shows up and shoots him in a head with a riffle!!! That’s lesson for you all, don’t disrespect your boss at work or else!

We’re still waiting for this one!

 

Verdict: Combining different franchise elements ala Philip J. Roth ( A.P.E.X, Total Reality (1997)) with R.O.T.O.R.  we end up with a redneck version of RoboCop gone bad crossed with a healthy dose of The Terminator and a dash of Judge Dredd.  That doesn’t automatically make it bad,  but on the other hand- bad voicover, idiotic humor and nonsensical plot really don’t help it’ cause.

Director Cullen Blaine of the movie worked almost exclusively in animation and I can’t help but think that with over the top quality of this movie, it would work much better in the animated form. Even the name reminds me of the Saturday Mourning Cartoons (like the M.A.S.K etc). Maybe if we start a petition it’s still not too late to get that done, why do you think?

Trivia: Richard Gesswein plays Coldyron buth he’s dubbed with the voice of Loren Bivens that makes everything a bit surreal. And super- muscular Dr. Steel is played by Jayne Smith who’s only other credit is sequel of the erotic- parody of Flash Gordon, Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders (1990). How ’bout that?

I remember one reviewer noticing that in the 90’s Roger Corman would seemingly blindly hand out  a contract to any Pro- Kickboxer who came knocking at his door. Now, honestly Corman was far from being the only one guilty of this. 80’s and 90’s had a surging VHS market and Action/ Martial Arts film were way more mainstream then these days so lots of Pro- fighters did have their 15 minutes of fame (or a 5- movie deal) and here’s some interesting examples for you:

05.  Curtis Bush (42- 10- 02 KB)

We purposely decided to lead with  the most obscure name off the list and that’s Curtis Bush. Bush was a lanky southpaw fighter with a background in Tang Soo Do (also Chuck Norris‘s first art). He amassed the pro record of 42 wins, 10 loses and 2 draws and also competed in Pro Boxing in parallel.

Beside being a four division champion he also had a burning desire to be in the movies. But, it seems that tall, mustachioed dudes just weren’t the flavor of the day.
He had a small part of a deranged poacher (killed by the star Michael McNamara) in Canadian action movie Dragon Hunt (1990). He also played parts of Foot Soldiers in the first two TMNT movies: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1991) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secret of the Ooze (1991). He then tried his hand on the small screen with a TV adaptation of Patrick Swayze’s Roadhouse– that was canceled after only four episodes!

This has to be one of greatest covers to ever grace a VHS tape

But what really makes him worthy of this list is his passion project: The Dark Angel: Psycho Kickboxer! Made for just 10 000 dollars over the course of 5 years Psycho Kickboxer is a real treat for B-movie lovers like us. I mean who can say no to a seemingly deranged man in a Ninja costume running all over town and preventing random acts of violence (with even more violence). It’s painfully low budget and nonsensical but man- it’s a it’s so fun to watch.

Look at him go!

Now, you could say that his acting career went nowhere but he did have background roles as military personnel in couple of big movies in recent times (Battleship, Godzilla) and IMDB does show him as an Admiral in Godzilla vs. Kong (2020), so it seems Psycho finally got the last laugh.

04. Kathy Long (18-1 KB, 2-0 MMA)

Kung Fu San Soo and Aikido practitioner and a pioneer of female Kickboxing in America with an 18-1 record holding WKA, WMAC, ISKA and KICK titles.
She was even a commentator in the first ever UFC event (1993) – even thou she smartly decided not to comment too much– leaving the other absolute Martial Arts legend Bill “Superfoot” Wallace to keep embarrassing himself (famously mispronouncing UFC as Ultimate Fighting Challenge).

Her most significant contribution to the world of film was actually being a stunt/ fight double for Michelle Pfeiffer‘s Catwoman in ‘92‘s Batman Returns by Tim Burton.

Also in ’92 she also appeared as a villain in Rage and Honor featuring Cynthia Rothrock and (our personal favorite) Richard Norton and continued with couple of leads in movies such as post- apocalyptic Knights (1993) and The Stranger (1995). In ’97 she again showed up with Richard Norton in a fun Australian action movie called Under The Gun aka Iron Fist.

She even dabbled back into the competition pool (having come full circle) by having two MMA fights in 2009 and again in 2015. Second one was particularly impressive, wining a fight at 50 years old against an opponent roughly half her age! Definitely an accomplishment.

Even thou her dramatic acting chops where never even remotely sharp as her fighting chops I’m definitely not changing the channel when I see her on a TV.

03. Gary Daniels (31-04 AKB04- 01 KB)

Gary Daniels started as a British Taekwondo practitioner who was famously too brutal for the sport so he eventually transitioned to Amateur and then Pro Kickboxing (even capturing PKA and WKBA titles).  His most famous lead role is in Hokuto No Ken aka Fist of the Northstar that despite it’s budget constraints turned out to be a surprisingly faithful manga adaptation. Unfortunately it wasn’t widely distributed in the US and is today relegated to a Cult Classic status.

He would go on to be the star in countless Kickboxing movies on VHS either as a Hero or as a Villain but beside a Hong Kong stint or two (see Jackie Chan’s City Hunter) his big break wouldn’t happen for years and years…. Not until Stallone chose him to be an Eric Roberts‘s henchman in the first The Expendables (2010). Even in a star- crowded movie like that he did get to shine especially in an excellent two against one fight scene with Jet Li and Jason Statham.

He went on to share the screen with Eric Roberts and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin again in Hunt To Kill and was perfectly cast as a video game character Bryan Fury in not so perfect Tekken (2010). All of that positioned him to the upper levels of action B-movie market in the ’10s and he even returned to his native England for a pair of movies ike Skin Traffik (2015)– again with Roberts (Rourke and Hannah too) and I Am Vengeance (2018) where he went against the WWE superstar Stu Bennet aka Wade Barrett.

But still, being a legit badass (he traveled all the way to Thailand to have a pro Muay Thai match when he was almost 50) with a cool British accent you’d think the sky is the limit, and because of that I feel that he never really fulfilled his true potential.

02. Jerry Trimble (29-2-2 KB)

Trimble started his film career in the 80’s armed with an annoying high- pitched voice, long blond hair and all the sidekicks, hook kicks and spin-kicks you can possibly imagine.

Now, differently then some of the other folks in this list over the years he eventually developed actual acting chops (but he can still pull out those spin kicks from his arsenal if need be) confirmed- by the fact that he is still successfully working today in both film and TV.

Recommended viewing: any of his collaborations with the Filipino Action Maestro Cirio H. Santiago like One Man Army (1994) or Stranglehold (1994). And if you’re really into our kind of craziness he can be seen in Corman produced StarQuest II.

It’s also worth noting that he is adversary in early Jet Li film The Master (1992) where he is at his mighty mulleted ass- kicking best, then his career altering appearance in famed thriller Heat (1995) and of course going toe for toe with Austin 3:16 himself in “Stone Cold” Steve Austin VS Dolph Lundgren feature The Package.

For an American Kickboxer with golden pants- he sure went far.

Trivia: The Package (2013) was actually directed by Jesse V. Johnson who’s slowly but surely becoming a real force to be reckoned with in the action movie industry with films such as British comicbook– adaptation Accident Man (2018) and the Asian Expendables awesomeness that is Triple Threat (2019).

 

01.  Don “The Dragon” Wilson  (72-5-2 KB)

To circle back to the start with Mr. Roger Corman, there’s one kickboxer in particular who made more movies with Corman than anyone else. His name is of course Don “The Dragon” Wilson. Coming from a Kung Fu Pai Lum Kung Fu and Goju-ryu Karate background he competed in Kickboxing on and off until 2002 (with his final exhibition match in 2011).  He amassed an incredible list of titles: IKF, WKA, KICK, ISKA, STAR and the PKO and with wins over such opponents like Dennis Alexio, Oaktree Edwards and Dick Kimbe he is considered one of the greatest American Kickboxers of all time.

His acting career on the other hand was let’s say- slightly less impressive. He started transitioning to movies with a villain role in 1982 Hong Kong movie New York Chinatown aka Xue xi Tang Ren Jie (1988) and made his debut as a lead with Bloodfist– of course a Roger Corman production directed by Terence H. Winkless. And Bloodfist would continue to be his bread and butter as he filmed 8 parts to date!!! Another stand outs are Ring of Fire movies, featuring other famous Martial Artist like Billy Blanks, Michael Jai White and already mentioned Gary Daniels.

Now for us, we prefer the more obscure and odd moments of his filmography like his forays into SF with Virtual Combat (1995) and let us not forget his horror movie Night Walker(1996) (utilizing shaky cam to the max way before it was a fashionable thing to do) with Wilson breaking freaking vampire spines!

After all this time he’s still working and seems to be doing alright for himself but in retrospect he just never had the charisma and elegance of someone like Van Damme that could have pushed him to the real super- stardom. But he did challenge Van Damme to a Kickboxing match, so you got to give him that.

 

 

 

 

I’m pretty sure the pitch for Warlock went basically like this: “Did you like “The Terminator”? Well, how about we whip up a dark fantasy-horror version of that, and add in dash of humor?” Fundamentally, this is The Terminator, it’s also really funny, has a cool 80s horror vibe and has some great actors (well, one at least). After all, doesn’t this tagline sound familiar to you: “He comes from the past to destroy the future.” You get the picture.

warlock

Opening in the year of our lord 1691 in the tiny new world hamlet of Boston an evil Warlock (the excellent and underappreciated Julian Sands from Gothic, Arachnophobia and The Great Elephant Escape) has been captured by witch hunter extraordinaire Giles Redferne (the equally amazing Richard E. Grant from Withnail and I, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Spice World). Sentenced to death the Warlock summons up all his powers and transports himself away 300 years into the future arriving in 1980’s L.A in the home of quirky, spirited waitress Kassandra (played by Lori Singer from Footloose). There, he sets about on a quest  to find the Grand Grimoire also known as the Devil’s bible, a book that has the power to destroy all of mankind. Kassandra and her gay roommate Chas (played by Kevin O’Brien) find him and leave him to spend the night and rest there. The next morning Kassandra departures for work and warlock took that opportunity to kill Chas by cutting off his finger (he liked Chas’ ring apparently) and bitting out his tongue.

 

While police questions Kassandra about numbers of Chas’ lovers, suspecting it could be homosexual crime of passion, warlock visits local spiritualist and hands her over something that looks like crystal dildo. Already horny as she is spiritualist accepts to channel energy and invoke spirit of Satan in herself. Satan explains to warlock that he needs him to collect 3 parts of his Grimoire, which can end the creation of world. In return, warlock will become one of Satan’s legit sons. Satisfied, warlock takes out channeler’s eyes leaving her to sit with exploded crystal dildo in front of her.

Crystal dildo

Crystal dildo for your personal seanse

It seems that Kassandra’s adventures were not over yet because now Giles teleports into her house. He explained to her that he’ll try to find warlock using a witch compass he brought with himself. Kassandra called the police this and they picked him up. She shouldn’t have done that because warlock came back there too. Apparently one part of the Satan’s Bible was hidden inside her wooden table. Also, warlock took her bracelet and placed a curse on her. Every day she’ll age for 20 years unless she reclaims her bracelet.

 

Kassandra and Giles are now hunting warlock together using the witch compass. It won’t be easy since now warlock brew himself a flying potion. All he needed for that was fat of unbaptised male child, which he got somewhere along the road. Anyway, compas led them to house of menonnites. There would be second set of Grimoire’s pages. menonnites knew what evil is lurking around them so they captured warlock at attic with the help of Giles. Warlock flies away with pages but Giles managed to hit him with a weather vane. I don’t want to spoil this for you so enjoy entire fight scene below. Warlock got wounded just enough for Kassandra to recover her bracelet and save herself from ravages of old.

 

They are now heading to the old church in Boston hoping to find a clue where final set of pages might be. They discover that it is at local graveyard. And they found it in Giles’ grave. Now how about that gloomy look at past. Of course, warlock was there too. And it all comes down to old-fashioned fistfight between warlock and Giles. As expected, warlock beats a living crap out of Giles and starts a ceremony of undoing God’s creation. But then Kassandra shows up from nowhere and injects insulin into warlock’s neck. As you know insulin is nothing but salt water and demons hate salt. Warlock starts vomiting fire before he implodes. Kassandra gets one last kiss from Giles before he returns to peace of his grave. Final scene shows us Kassandra burying pages in some salt flats.

 

Conclusion: “Warlock” is unexpectedly entertaining, having been concocted with comic imagination by D. T. Twohy, who wrote the screenplay, and Steve Miner, the director. The true joy and success of the film lies in the Grant and Sands performances, as both actors entirely commit to their ridiculous roles giving over to the plot and the dialogue and relishing the absurdity of it all. What this movie didn’t have is decent budget. Any time the Warlock used his magic the effects were bargain basement bad. From the warlock’s silly flying down the highway past a speed trap to his blasting poorly animated magic at our heroes in a graveyard that couldn’t be more obviously a set if it tried.  It’s never even remotely convincing. But thats what makes this movie so laughable.

Now that Dark Horse Comics is again gearing up to co- produce and produce a fair amount of movie adaptation ( Jonas Akerland directed Polar is on Netflix as we speak with Hellboy reboot now in post- production) it’s as good time as any to look back at some of their early and lesser known adaptations.

     Hope they do an animated Usagi Yojimbo next!

That means we’ll skip the usual suspects like Time Cop featuring Jean Claude Van Damme (a personal favorite of mine) and even the Barbwire with Pamela Anderson. No, I’m talking about one that seemingly erased from everyone’s collective memory but at the time hailed as start of a potential franchise, Virus (1999) featuring Jamie Lee Curtis!

Now, what’s a Virus, you may ask? Well, you’re in for a treat.

 

Story starts with a Russian science vessel in the middle of the ocean having performing some kind of a reading from a newly launched satellite. Unfortunately things get tough when some kind of a solar storm ( real Fantastic Four kind-of-shit) hits the satellite and it somehow transmits a weird purple lightning all the way to the ship. That can’t be good.

(slika munje ili nesto)

We jump forward in time and we’re with a motley crew of sailors chasing a lost ship that has a nice bounty on it’s sail. Unfortunately a typhoon has another plans for them. Losing a bounty, the almost lose their lives too but by a shear coincidents they end up on a abandoned Russian high-tech ship (that promises an even greater bounty).

That makes Captain (Donald Sutherland) very, very happy. Considering he was ready to blow his head off just minutes ago that’s an improvement. Now, there’s a catch- they can’t claim the vessel unless there’s no survivors so they go out to investigate (having no idea a small spider- robot is watching them). As we always know, that never ends well.

 

In fact a bizarre accident almost cripples a Maori crew member Hiko and brave Foster (Jamie Lee Curtis) runs like hell to save him. Baker (William Boldwin) suspect there’s someone else on board, who’s guilty of sinking the tug. He turns out to be right when a gas- mask wearing Russian attacks them. After they detain “him” it turns out to be a cute redhead scientist from the beginning. So say goodbye to all those millions, right Captain?

Russian tries to run away but Curtis goes after her and cornered she tells her everything. She killed all electricity on the ship because machines were accessing everything and using the knowledge from the computers to hunt and destroy humans. And that was all before the times of the readily available Wi-fi Internet? (I somehow think that if they accesed the internet they would realize that we are all doomed and they would just leave us to self- destruct on our own).

In the meantime a couple of crew members are exploring the ship and they have a first real run- in with the machines but are still in denial of what’s really happening. They barely escape with their lives.

Do need feed the mechanical- spiders!

Now, on the other hand they find the ship’s original Captain Alexie, who’s been transformed into some kind of cybernetic monstrosity. Sutherland still refuses to believe in Aliens and tries to ignore everything. And then to make things even worse another storm hits as hard as the first one that got them here. To top it off a robotic skull attackes them at the same time!

(slika skull attack ili snimak)

They go down to the lower deck and they run into their colleague Sqeak, already transformed into a cyborg, with an even bigger robot right on his heels. Those that manage to escape try to make a contact with the Alien entity via the computer and explain themselves, but in a shocking twist it turns out they consider us a VIRUS, and we must be eradicated (can’t argue with that).

Captain Everton completely looses it and Curtis relieves him of his duties (by punching him square in the face). He seems confused and bewildered by that and being left behind decides to betray all of his crew. He types in that he is superior life- form and offers his services to his new Robot overlords.

Crew decides that the only course of actions is to stop the ship before they hit a British Coast and spread the robot plague. Their plan was to flood the part of the ship with fuel and blow everything up but before they can get going a (newly) Cyborg Sutherland shows up!

Cyborg Sutherland- gone too soon!

Curtis gets into a Ripley from Alien mode but still barely survives. Russian girl gets caught and ends up sacrificing herself by shooting the gas bottles. Baker (Baldwin) and Curtis are only ones left alive but remaining robot is still after them. Trough all the fire they find an ejecting seat and finally escape while the rest of the ship explodes in a giant hail of fire.

Verdict: This movie  had the bad luck to come out in ’99, the same year as The Matrix , movie that dealt with the evil machines much more elegantly.

But still, the highlight is unexplainable acting of Donald Suterland who isn’t doing the usual stuff like phoning it in or even overacting. No, his decisions are so off the wall that it will have you going “WTF?!” again and again and make you questing what the hell are you watching. And Cyborg Sutherland really deserves some kind of an award- I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again!

Trivia: Different than most of the movies on our blog, Virus actually had a fair bit of merchandising and tie- in content like a line of action figures, the Virus Collector Series and (Europe exclusive) Video Game -the Virus: It’s Aware for PlayStation 1.