Posts Tagged ‘Frank Zagarino’

 

Frank Zagarino and director John Eyres strike again! After Shadowchaser 1 (which was decent), almost the identical crew had brought us this sequel. Was it
the same quality like the original? Judge by yourself.

The movie starts with several suits driving in limo. They are discussing about direct president’s order to dismantle secret, ultimate weapon named “Cobra”  (how original). Apparently, president doesn’t consider SSSR as a threat anymore and wants to end a cold war (doing that by bypassing Congress and Pentagon).  Suits ought to disagree with that. Their opinion is that North Korea and China are rising to be a new, even bigger threat (you can’t get wrong when you are  afraid of communists). But, order is order, and they got 28 days to move Cobra technology (oh come on, be more creative next time) to Raikon facility. Also,  this information is top secret, and superweapon shouldn’t fall into wrong hands. Yeah, in dreams. Old story.
Next scene takes us 3 weeks later. While washing his hands in toilet of facility building, Raikon employee gets executed by another Raikon employee. Hm, what could that mean? I guess we are going to find out sooner or later. And then title of movie pops-up.

Not a blair witch Not a Blair witch?

Somewhere on the dusty road, 10 years old kid with mullet named Ricky (played by Danny Hill) is hitchhiking. He didn’t need to wait for long since  convertible  took him soon after. Both driver and Ricky have same destination – Raikon industries. Meanwhile, in that facility, everybody is in haste to finish  dismantling on time. Remember, they got only one week left. And it is Christmas. Lead scientist Laurie Webber (played by Beth Toussaint) is having an argue  with their employer about their 12-16 hours of work time per day. But deadline must not be crossed. A moment later Ricky and mysterious driver, who is  alcoholic btw, are arriving to facility. It turns out that Ricky came to see his mother Laurie and that driver is Frank Meade (played by Bryan Genesse) who  is mechanic at Raikon Industries. But he is soon-to-be an ex-mechanic, since his constant drinking and slacking at work had led to firing his ass (which again was tolerated until the moment he made a remark about Laurie’s ass). And I forgot to mention that toilet-killer had also enter the building. Shits are about to hit the fan. Which had happened in the evening when special delivery arrived. Special scientist Joe Hutton (played by Todd Jensen), who is obviously a spy (you could tell that by first look at him), was about to take care of it when another nosy scientist stormed in and demanded that he should  be the one to open a special crates. It turned out that curiosity really can kill you, since gun with silencer had poked out of crate and made second  bellybutton on unlucky scientist.

This is what happens when you open your Christmas gift earlierThis is what happens when you open your Christmas gift earlier.

Later that night, the entire band of terrorist had stormed in, massacring everyone around, and showing no mercy even for women. After clearing the first  floor, they decided to get back up. So, more terrorists are about to arrive. But no, this back up is consisted of one albino-android (played by Frank  Zagarino) who looks like Billy Idol on anabolic steroids. Android, with the escort of 2 terrorists, goes on the second floor where Christmas party is being  held. With the complete lack of Christmas spirit, Zagarino went to killing spree, showing no mercy even for Santa Claus, thus putting an end to this party  much before everyone got drunk. Soon, they reveal to us their true goal. Besides of stealing the Cobra technology, they want from government to release from  prison 2 of their brothers “freedom fighters” (of course, those prisoners are Muslims), giving them only 6 hours of time, or else they are going to launch  nuclear missile on Washington. Oh come on, this is too much cliché even for 1994.

He ruined ChristmasHe ruined Christmas!!!

And what our heroes are doing during that massacre? All three of them are hiding in the basement. And they are not even together. Being separated in such  moments must be very smart thing to do, especially for 10 years old Ricky. He was hiding and minding his own business when fat, bearded pedophile-looking  terrorist captured him and started touching him. For keeping out things of going much worse for poor Ricky (and us, for that matter), we should thank to  Frank (not Zagarino) and his heroically assault on armed pedophile. After some fight and showing us his martial arts skill, Frank managed to scorch the  terrorist in one of more ridiculous scenes of this movie.

But now Laurie needs a help. She has been attacked by straight terrorist with night vision goggles. So, Frank Meade to the rescue again! Interesting thing is  that alcohol gives a strength to Frank, since he got hidden bottles in every single corner of facility. Power of drunk – activated. More martial arts. Brain  damaged terrorist who uses a nunchakus to choke his enemy instead of beating him. Frank steals his nunchakus, beats a crap out of terrorist and, for coup de  grace, finishes him with small axe throw. Outstanding!!!

Now, the chasing begins. Laurie apparently got chip needed for entering the vault and activating Cobra Technology. It is hanging by her neck. Joe Hutton  starts to lose it but Zagarino calms him down very quickly, with his strong arm. Meanwhile, while Joe and android are settling their argue, Laurie finds out  that Cobra System is actually multi-headed neutron bomb so powerful that it’s blast can’t be controlled for single-targeting so it has to be dismantled (big  bombs, always about big bombs). In order to prove to government that he is not joking, albino-android takes down a plane full of passengers. Actual scene of missile hitting the plane and  explosion of aircraft is such a nonsense, that it makes me wonder if director of this movie have ever seen explosion in his life, apart of cartoons.

Make a wish, star if fallingMake a wish, star is falling!

We are now at point of movie where you can precisely see how bad it actually is. Zagarino takes things into his own hands, and goes alone in search for chip.  Seems like a mistake, don’t you think? Well, wrong. Not even that he managed to singlehandedly retrieve a chip, but he also managed to capture Ricky. I just  fail to see a point of that, especially when keeping in mind that he wanted only girl alive. Well, no point in thinking about that now. Anyway, bad guys have  found the bomb and it seems that USA can start shitting into her own pants. But, gang still wants to settle the score with our heroes. So they send cheap  imitation of Rambo, who ends up electrocuted. Only in this movie.

Funny thing how can you get electrocuted when holding isolation in your handsFunny thing how can you get electrocuted when holding isolation in your hands.

The real garbage is left for end. I don’t want to spoil your potential watching of this movie, so I will be short. Let’s just say that that garbage is  consisted of android showing his emotions and cracking oneliners all the time, archive footage of F-15 planes (tremendous), girl overpowering android and  impailing his steel body, minutes that last for 100 seconds (probably the only original idea of this movie, but pointless), and awful , awful,  awful blue  screen explosion….  For the very end, Laurie makes a remark about Frank’s ass. But that’s not everything…. List of credits is followed by twisted, sick  remix of “Jingle bells” song. Complete brain smasher.

Metric timeMetric time?

Conclusion: I really don’t know what to say about movie so full of clichés, where androids have sense of humor and show more emotions than actual living  people, minute lasts for 100 seconds, planes exploding 5 minutes after being hit by missile… It even would be fun to watch if there wasn’t so much Americanism and anti-communists propaganda, which are plain boring. Creativity of directing and producing team is on the level of mentally challenged reality show participates. Only thing worth of mentioning (on the plus side), is martial art performance by Bryan Genesse. He is the only one who knows how to fight, including the star of this movie, Frank Zagarino.

Frank Zagarino is The Saxman! This is what you get when you combine jazz and martial arts. Now, who would come to such idea? No one else than Cedric Sundstrom, the director of equally terrible American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt and American Ninja 4: The Annihilation. And who would accept the challenge of producing such thing? Well, none else than AIP , of course, which is production house owned by Prior brothers.

The first thing we see in this movie is half-naked Zagarino, doing some exercise.  He is Michael Keller, the saxman who serves a jail time. Michael is sitting on bed in his cell, trying to remember when was the last time he played sax. Someone may think that man in Mike’s position should have a bit more important things on his mind, but not and Cedric. Anyway, flashback sends us back for  3 years, into one nightclub, where Mike is playing smooth jazz on his sax. His old buddy Mackie (played by Arnold Vosloo) approaches him after the gig. He asks for a favor from sax player. Mackie needs Mike to drive him on a date. But it turns out that it was just a cover up. Mackie forces Mike at gunpoint to drive him to mob boss Jack Fisher (played by Oliver Reed), in order to deliver him  500000$ and snuff-porn films. But they enter police chasing, which ended up in Mackie been gunned down and Mike arrested for running over a cop. He gets sentenced to 5 years in state prison, with the possibility of  letting him under parole after 3 years. And all of that had happened 3 exactly years ago so Mike gets free.

UntitledGood times!

Now he is back at his fiance Lisa (played by Nancy Mulford). They have much to talk about, eventually ending up in argue. To get things smooth Lisa invites him to sex. But instead of accepting sex invitation, Mike goes to toilet in order to play a sax while sitting on toilet seat. I guess those are the consequences of prison life. Tho, he did accept second invitation and there we have sex scene.  But, scene of a man making gentle love with his beloved fiancee has been interrupted by scene of filming porn movie!!! What a twist!!! From softcore to hardcore! And not just the any hardcore. No, in this hardcore a Rambo look alike takes the knife in a middle of sex scene, wanting to kill his partner. So, this is sick hardcore! Thankfully, police raid had busted in, thus interrupting this sick act of having sex-murder.

UntitledRambo quits fighting  and starts his porn career!

 The producent of this snuff film is Tyron Richardson (played by Sean Taylor), one of the Jack Fisher’s men. Instead of reading him his rights, which is tradition at any normal arrest, Detective Marsh (played by Norman Anstey) said to Tyron: “I’ve been wanting your ass for a long time.” Could this mean their future cooperation in making some sort of homosexual snuff film? Only time will tell.

UntitledTyron, Tyron, I’ve been wanting your ass for a long time!

Fisher and his men believe that Mike still has their missing money so he  kidnaps Lisa. Mike decides to call upon his old Vietnam friend Harry Crawford (played by Jeff Celentano), to help him rescue his beloved fiancee. As it always happens Mike Keller turns out to be an ex-Marine.  This movie is boring and full of cliches so I’ll make this short.  In rest of the movie we are treated with numerous cliches like : Saving Lisa (which they did pretty fast), Fisher raping Zags’ fiancee for entire 3 seconds (after several previous unsuccessful attempts to get erection – keep in mind that he is old) almost getting heart attack while doing that, Zagarino falling through tent into toys, crippled man miraculously walking again, finding porn makers hideout in 5 seconds, wooden leg of one of Fisher’s man, shooting porn actress, corrupted cop, Fisher’s nervous breakdown after his bitch got killed, house set on fire….

UntitledOld wood heats best!

Conclusion: This film is a boring, dumb, cheap, below average action movie. Also, very predictable, you always know what will happen next.  Oliver Reed gives decent performance here, even in his career descend period, thus stealing the movie from Zagarino (which again isn’t that hard).  If you are bored, and have a lot of free time and bag of popcorns, this movie is a good choice for passing time. And nothing else.

In the era of “Conan the Barbarian” rip-offs, someone came up with idea that new Conan doesn’t need to be a man by default. Women can also be savage  barbarian warriors. And who would take such an idea into realization? Roger Corman production of course. Though, he wasn’t the first. I believe that “Barbarian  Queen” is an attempt of making cash-in of “Red Sonja”, despite the fact that both of these movies had been released in 1985.

’80s assumption of men being complete pigs, who wouldn’t accept “No” for an answer is also represented here, on the very start of the movie. We see cute girl  sitting by a river, innocently picking flowers (yeah, right). Suddenly, while she was going back to her home through forest, a lasso came out from nowhere  and gets tied up around her ankle. On the other end of rope, couple of evil men were pulling young (and pretty sexy) girl to them, in order to fulfill their  unholy intentions of raping her. Mission was a complete success (just to mention), after which “Barbarian Queen” title card comes up.

Silovanje

Now we are at nearby peaceful village. Everyone is in the rush. And for reason. There is a wedding to be prepared. And the groom is no one else than Argan  (played by Frank Zagarino). Honoring the tradition that it is bad luck if groom sees the bride before the wedding, his future wife Amethea (played by Lana Clarkson) is preparing herself hidden in hut. Amethea is asking her bride-mates if they happen to know where is her sister. One of the bride mates replies to  her that her sister went to pick some flowers by the river (sounds familiar?) and hasn’t returned back yet. Still, the show must go on. But, moments before  ceremony begun, an arrow comes out of nowhere and hits the priest right in his forehead, at which point bandit raid started. The long bloody battle takes the  place, with a lot of raping, casualties on both sides and village burning. However, Amethea and her bride-mates had survived, but not without personal loses.  Her bride-mate and future husband had been taken away. There, she decides to get them back.

priest

I used to attend wedding ceremonies but then I took an arrow in the head!!!

Traveling among the river with two more women warriors, Tiniara (Susana Traverso) and Estrild (Katt Shea), Amethea stumbles upon a bandit outpost where  another of their girls is being held. Naked of course. Old man with a beard is preparing to rape her. He is famous for his brutal raping, making girls to  scream out loud (he probably possesses large tool). But Amethea kills him with her sword through his neck, thus ending his days of raping, while other 2  girls made a decoy for his pals. Soon, it all ended up after a brief sword fight, finding her sister Taramis (played by Dawn Dunlap) in state of shock, with  Amethea’s Conan style words “If I can’t kill them all, let the Gods know I have tried”. Whatever.

Cica

Love knows no age!

Somewhere along the way, Amethea picked up Dariac (Andrea Scriven), a rebel orphan kid who connects her to underground rebel organization. There we find out  that bandits are actually kingdom’s men. Rebels take her to The City, where Argan is being held and forced to fight in gladiator battles. Amethea and other  girls who follow her went under disguise into the city, but Tiniara gets captured and raped. Funny thing is that seems that in this town women don’t have a  right even to speak, and men are allowed to rape any woman they want. Eventually, all of them got captured when Amethea tried to stop another raping, previously causing a small riot in the city. She had been taken to the leader of raping army himself, evil man Arrakur (Arman  Chapman) who wanted to discover location of rebel’s hideout. His interrogation consists of very funny character delivering, demanding that Amethea takes her  clothes of and attempts of raping her (well, dough). On the other side of the castle, in much less pleasant torture chamber, Tiniara got killed during her  escape attempt.

Interrogation methods

Interrogation methods.

Meanwhile, Estrild had managed to infiltrate the castle (boudoir section), where she finds Argan enjoying the orgies of women, wine and more women. She  informs him about Amethea’s intentions of rescuing him. At first, Argan didn’t sound like he approves that idea (I wonder why), but eventually he agrees to  lead the gladiators into rebellion when the time comes (If he manages to take other men away from women and booze, that is). Main gladiator Strymon (Victor  Bo) also agrees to help them. While her beloved fiancé enjoys the orgies, Amethea is being tied up to a rape machine. Yeah, that’s right! Fucking rape machine! As if there weren’t enough  men to rape around, someone came to idea to hire mad scientist for making such machine. And all of that in the name of science!!! However, after brief period  of forced sex, Amethea manages to get free and push the mad scientist into boiling acid! There, she reunites with Estrild and starts planning the final blow,  which will happen during gladiators tournament.

Rape machine - only for persons with heavy brain damage

Rape machine – only for persons with heavy sexual dysfunction!

Now we all know what happens. When all of them got finally reunited, the big, bloody rebellion took a place. Funny thing is that Argan needed to say only two  words in order to convince gladiators into battle (I guess freedom is still more important than wine and women). After 15 minutes of complete chaos,  Strymon’s betrayal after which Dariac killed him (no, really), Pope of Perversions (priest who owns boudoir), using a rubber dick as a weapon, it all comes to  grand finale when Amethea fights Arrakur. He easily overpowered her, and it looked like that death was certain. But, no. While preparing to strike the final  blow, Arragor took 5 minutes to swing a sword, which was enough time for Taramis to come behind and kill him with a dagger. Evil Arragor is dead, wedding  from the beginning finally took a place, Amethea becomes the barbarian queen (so, I guess that makes Argan the barbarian king; I wonder if Conan would have  something to say about this), everyone is happy and cheering. The end!

Conclusion: I don’t know if this cash-in attempt was successful, but I do know that this is far more feminist than Red Sonja. I really doubt that even in  Dark Age men had such power over women. Also, casting for this movie (at least for female roles) couldn’t be worse. During the entire movie Amethea and rest  of the chicks, are talking like hotline girls, often with inability to show any emotions. At the best, sometimes they show wrong emotions in a wrong time,  for that matter. Choreography is a decent, but leaves the mark of Roger Corman production everywhere (filming at 2-3 remapped locations, over and over). I am just glad that he was sticking  to male “Conan the Barbarian” rip-offs afterwards.