Posts Tagged ‘Menahem Golan’

Over the years it wasn’t that unusual for Superman mythos to bring back the certain elements from different media back into the comics that inspired them. His Smallville youth, Kryptonite and even the phrase “Faster than a speeding bullet…” for example originated in the popular Superman radio serials of the 40’s , and his ability to fly was first introduced in the famous Fleicher cartoons in the 50’s (it was easier to animate flying than constant jumping he used to do).

Similarly early Christopher Reeve movies proved very influential too, General Zod‘s inclusion into a comicbook canon being the prime example.

From Superman: The Last Son of Krypton, art by Adam Kubert

On the other hand the final Christoper Reeve movie produced by non- other than Cannon FilmsSuperman IV: Quest for the Peace didn’t prove that influential at all.  Quite the opposite the movie was often ridiculed for it’s weak plot, cheap production, nonsensical super- powers and it’s over the top villain Nuclear Man. Well, no more! At least on that last one. Cannon is now officially canon!

We’re exited too!

After a challenge from fans and co leagues alike- starting with a sketch from Nick Derington (Doom Patrol, Mister Miracle) former Marvel (Spider-Man, Iron Man, Jessica Jones) writer
Brian Michael Bendis, now working on DC’s Superman (Man of Steel mini- series, then Action Comics/ Superman) took it upon himself to make Nuclear Man an official part of  Superman mythos.

 

 

 

The tweet that started it all

 

This is the official Ivan Reis (Aquaman, Green Lantern, Justice League) penciled page from the Superman #02 that marks the first in-continuity comicbook appearance of the character. And it only took 3 decades for it to happen! For all you Cannon lovers who also dig comicbooks the release date is August 8. Mark it on your calendar.

 

Verdict: Even though  Mark Pillow‘s  acting was more WWE than DC  I always thought the costume design had something interesting going on, and as far as I can see it seems to work very well on the page. So, this should be an interesting one to read.

Update: Final version of the Superman #02- Nuclear Man appearance:

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The last part of the famous Cannon Film’s Ninja trilogy (of completely unrelated films) is without the doubt the craziest and the must fun of them all.  Fact that we have an absolute miscast, a dancing star Lucinda Dickey (Breakin’, Breakin’ 2: The Electric Boogaloo) in the main role only makes it that much sweeter.

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This movie starts with too seemingly unrelated scenes, a Ninja prepping his ancient and deadly weapons in the cave and some ritch guys playing golf without a care in the world. Turns out Ninja was payed to kill one of the rich golf playing pricks. Which one, who knows- he killed them all!

He’s maybe good at killing but strategy is certainly not his greatest strength.

Now, beside some fun moments in the fight I have to wonder why did someone trained in the art of deception decide to kill people in the broad daylight on the location where it’s almost impossible to for him to hide. I mean he even runs by foot being chased by cop cars and motorcycles. Stopping numerous cops, including two riding a helicopter he menages to escape barely alive by burying himself deep in the sand. Cops eventually give up on the pursue and he menages to get to a random girl fixing a phone line while listening to modern dance music on a boombox ( I guess she doesn’t have a cool Walkman like everyone else). He grabs her and after some scuffle she excepts an gift, Ninja To (sword) after which he finally drops the bucket.

Then we are treated to flashbacks of the Ninja’s battle that happened literally 3 minutes ago!!! Did they really want to beef up the  running time of this movie or what? She ends up interrogated in the police station and one of the younger officers Billy Secord , irritatingly insist on taking her out on a coffee. She continues to have flashbacks and runs away.But after playing some games on her… she decides that it’s noting some aerobics won’t fix.

It seems gyms  bring out the worse in men, because more than a couple jacked up idiots are making advances to one of the aerobic chicks Lucy to the point of being ready to take her by force. And that’s not in a dark ally but in the broad daylight in front of dozen witnesses! I don’t know what they’re on but it’s not doing them any good. Thankfully, the evil ninja ghost kicks in and Christie transforms into a deadly ass- kicker. And after an impressive acrobatic routine Christie kicks the crap out of muscle-heads while people cheer (why not one of them even thought about helping a girl out- who knows?)

Irritating cop Billy finally menages to pick her up in his car. Now, remember boys if you are stalking a girl long enough she’s going to eventually give up! Or call the cops, thankfully Secord is a cop himself so he doesn’t have that problem. They get into a bit of a fight but shockingly she takes the dude home, and gets to undressing part really, really quick. I don’t think we can blame the evil ninja spirit for this behavior.After the sex scene we are treated to some light show and a flying sword which all indicates Ninja possession is becoming even stronger.FlyingSword

And it is- as she dresses up in the costume and goes after one of the cops who killed “him”. The old man is playing pool in his home (who has a pool table in his living room?) and doesn’t see it coming. I guess he never had an avenging Ninja problem before. Soon enough another police officer ends up dead (the one in a Jacuzzi with couple of girls) but she still can’t put the peaces to together and thinks it’s all a nightmare.

Dead Ninja is sorry he didn’t kill absolutely everybody and goes after the cops that eventually stopped him.

Also, my favorite Sho Kosugi arrives to the US via airplane. He’s interesting because he doesn’t have an eye but he did what any other badass would do, he made and eye-patch out of sword shielding and wears it proudly for all the world to see. You know you don’t want to mess with a person like that.

Ninja III The Domination (1984).mp4_001862318Man, he’s awesome!

Her boyfriend I guess (that was fast) Billy kinda figures out what is going on and brings her to a Japanese mystic a Japanese mystic (played by James Hung, a Chinese man). She gets tied up and he performs and Asian Exorcism (like the regular Exorcism only in Japanese). In spite it being very amusing for the audience Ninja is is not impressed and he refuses to leave her body.

“You fool! You cannot stop me. I am a NINJA!”

It turns out that an ancient law applies here (the one I actually never heard before) “only a ninja can destroy a ninja” So that’s where Sho Kosugi comes in. His fellow ninja cost him his Master and his eye and he will get his revenge. She gets back home and angry at herself decides to battle the possible loss of her body and should to an unclean and evil presence bydirty dancing! ’cause that’s how you solved problems in the 80’s Did any problems actually got solved in the 80’s? I seriously doubt it.

Now Ninja continues his devious plan by attending the funeral of the cop- just to use the gathering as an opportunity to kill the remaining cops. Man he is insatiable!  Thankfully things get sorted out-  an exorcism finally separates the demon Ninja and the girl and Ninja ends up in a duel with Kosugi in an old temple in the most awesome Kung Fu moment of the whole movie. 

Slightly less epic battle ensues on the hill and seemingly indestructible Ninja  finally meets his demise by the only way possible, a freakin’ knife to the brain! You can’t go back from that… well except if you’re some kind of zombie ninja, but being that we experienced a demon ninja here I guess everything is possible. Cannon never picked up from here (making another unrelated Ninja sequel) but truthfully there is still no way to top this movie, is it?

Ninja III The Domination (1984).mp4_005302005This is the end, my Ninja friend, the end…

Verdict: It can be said that this movie is Cannon Films in a nutshell.

I mean it has dancing, aerobics, synth score, Asian Martial Arts, over the top acting and the ridiculous plot all rolled up in one! If you meet a person who knows nothing of Cannon Studios opus this would be more than a fine example (even more so than their more popular franchises like American Ninja, Missing in Action or endless string of Death Wish sequels).

Trivia: And ’cause it’s always fun to hear it from the people who were there in Cannon’s golden days (including Lucinda Dickey) here’s a clip from the documentary Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films.

 

Lee Marvin (Cannon nicked him from the open casket funeral) stars as a grizzled veteran leader of the Delta force.Delta Force is an elite units of commandos, elite mostly because Chuck Norris is in it. Also, Steve James(American Ninja) is in it too. Norris almost doesn’t make it alive because he is saving his army buddy but all is good. Some time later bunch of people (mostly Jewish) innocently board the plane from Athens to Rome to New York blind to the fact that there are terrorist lurking really, really close.

The_Delta_Force_movie.mp4_000530196Shocking! This man is a terrorist!

Finally they threaten with a hand grenade and the panic spreads like a wildfire. In the meantime Chuck Norris is eating his breakfast. He doesn’t seem very pleased.

The_Delta_Force_movie.mp4_001191123They interrupted Norris’s breakfast, no one interrupts Norris’s breakfast.

Terrorists find some American Navy officers, and they lose their mind over it. They also manage to punch the random priest in the process of catching them. Next thing on the list- round out all the Jews (that also somehow includes the random Russian fellow, there terrorist are not really bright. We also have a blond, German stewardess who freaks over the capturing of the Jews in the typical “we are not Nazis anymore” style that seems popular ’till this day.

Chuck Norris finishes his meal and then gets a call from his (really) old mate Lee Marvin. His country (and Delta Force) needs him again. Emotionless as always Chuck Norris excepts. Terrorists menage to be evil but show their not that evil- by being kind to the kids. They also steal the jewelry from women like common tugs In the meantime the fabled Delta Force is waiting for them in Israel. The rescue operation doesn’t really go as planed (although a lot of the people did menage to get out) and the main terrorist dude blows the brains out of the American Navy officer (I believe played by Chuck’s oldest son NASCAR driver Eric Norris). Delta’s and Israelis are forced to retreat- but not for long.

Plane takes off for Beirut and that’s where the fun actually begins.With a help of an unassuming Orthodox Priest (or is he?) they locate the base of terrorists and open the can of whup ass.

Deltas also menage to show a bit of old school American brutality but this movie wasn’t made for Arabs anyway. Chuck gets the info on the final terrorist cell and proceeds to use his magical bike with missiles (they really need to make this sort of stuff in the real life). We also learn that the terrorist suck in Karate, Chuck tried to remedy that by learning them a move or a two but I don’t thing they lived long enough for that to take effect.

Verdict: Here we have several interesting (seemingly unrelated) elements. Chuck Norris, an old school actor Lee Marvin, evil Islamic terrorists, airplane hijack- all that combined with mindless jingoistic propaganda. Partially Based on a true event when TWA Flight 847 was hijacked by Lebanese Shia Extremists, later identified as members of Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. Now If real hijack really had happened the way as the movie shows it then I must say that personal in US airline companies are the most incompetent bunch that ever walked the God’s green Earth since terrorist from this movie wouldn’t be able even to hijack a tricycle from 4 years old girl.

Menahem Golan interestingly decides to make two very different movies at the same time. One is a serious political thriller inspired by live events but than he seemingly gets bored and the movie shifts into Ramboesque shoot em up. This movie also highlight Norris’s shift  from the Martial Art actor to the more new age Schwarzenegger/ Stallone type (probably a conscious effort by Cannon Inc.) while also utilizing Martial Arts in climactic final duel.

Anywa,y even thou the movie is beyond ridiculous Golan did somewhat decent job by not having Chuck do anything in the first half of the movie and then utilizing him almost exclusively for action scene and non of the drama. By being smart enough to play to his star’s strengths he got a lot more convincing and entertaining film. It can even be argued that this is one of the highlights of Norris’s career, certainly of his Cannon period.

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While we wait for the long gestating documentary  Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014)  there’s this little gem that’s certainly worth watching,  a BBC documentary that captured Goram and Globus’s Cannon craze at it’s very peak. Enjoy and remember- if it’s low budget, has explosions and ninjas running around- it must be Cannon!

 

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