Posts Tagged ‘No tits’

 

You remember those songs from ’80s? Most of the are alike. Well, you might also remember that if you play any two songs from the same album (or most of the hits from that era) at the same time, you’ll see they have the exact same structure, with the chorus kicking in at precisely the same time and clock in at just about the exact same length. I thought about that while watching Final Exam, because I am pretty sure one could superimpose the film over Halloween and come away with a similar result.

We get one of slashers clichés at the very beginning. Young couple is making out on the backseat of the car somewhere in the dark campus parking lot. Or at least guy tries to make out while girl is claiming she is too classy to do it in the car. After a bit more convincing she accepts to do it there (of course she would). But no luck for the guy. Some jerk cuts through the roof on his car with knife, pulls him out and slashes him. Then the moment spoiling dude comes back to finish his job on screaming girl. You had your chance, slut!

Death to libido

The next scene takes us to Lanier College. We see young Courtney (played by Cecile Bagdadi) talking to her classmate Mark (played by John Fallon) about chemistry tests. Now, during the “character development” phase of the film, we are treated to at least 12 slams on chemistry’s purpose in real life, to the point where it’s almost mean-spirited. My guess? Screenwriter/director Jimmy Huston failed chemistry in college or high school, and wrote a slasher film around it. Anyway, that’s when they are approached by unfortunately named nerdy guy Radish (played by Joel S. Rice), who very much resembles Screech character from “Saved by the bell” series. Radish informs them about murdered couple on other college. Then suddenly there is a terrorist’s attack on campus. They are shooting students randomly and take corpses into the van, before they drove away. It turns out to be a prank by Gama fraternity. Everyone noticed that but Radish and some dumb girl. Radish, still under the influence of recent murders, calls out the sheriff. Of course, he made a complete ass out of himself in front of sheriff (played by Sam Kilman) and entire school. On the other side, fraternity is celebrating successful prank. We get here real overdose of peasant faces. First among them is a school jock Wildman (played by Ralph Brown). Wildman talked frat pledge Gary (played by Terry W. Farren) into stealing chemistry tests. He says he doesn’t want to study (well surprise, surprise). Poor Gary actually managed to sneak that night and steal tests. On his way out he gets intercepted by the rest of the fraternity. They take him out (notice here it is a broad daylight; it was past 9pm and pretty much dark when they intercepted him), strip him almost naked and tie to the tree in front of the college. As it wasn’t enough already they sprayed confused and terrified Gary with cream, poured bourbon into his underpants and left him tied to the tree. And all of that as a part of initiation to the fraternity. I wish them death.

Another backdoor initiation

I’ll have you notice that we are at almost one hour of the movie length and yet no murders are to be seen. I really don’t see the point of such vast character development when it is clear they are going to die anyway. Also, nerdy and slutty girls conversations are pointless as well. Anyway, all of that is going to change soon. The killer has decided to show himself. And who would be better practice target than sitting duck Gary? Naive Gary stayed tied to the tree until the night (or is it the same night). There killer finds him, cuts him loose and butchers him. I guess he didn’t want to damage tree bark. Meanwhile, Wildman went to the school gym to get some pills for the fraternity. He meets the same fate as Gary (and that also include Gary’s girlfriend Janet (played by Sherry Willis – Burch) who went after him). Hm I can’t decide if this is poetical justice or just the old rule which states that everyone are treated equally in the brotherhood.

 

Mark decides to check out what took Wildman so long. He finds only death in the utility room. The next one Radish. It seems that everyone who comes at school gym dies instantly. Radish finds bodies and manages to escape. Then he calls a police again but this time they wouldn’t believe him (remember a boy who cried “wolf”?). So the only thing left to him was to get killed by through the doors. Courtney finds him but she is too dumb to realize Radish is dead (yeah, all that blood, broken doors and cracked skull are sending mixed signals).

You failed exam!

With death of slutty Lisa (played by Deanna Robbins), who slept with teachers for a good grade, the only one remained alive is Courtney. Killer (played by Timothy Raynor) chases her through the entire school, in more or less slasher cliché chase fashion, until the top floor. There some random hunter shows up at the bottom of the stairs and shoots an arrow in killer’s direction. Killer, whose face can be clearly seen now but we still don’t have any idea who is he actually, catches flying arrow with his hand and then use it to kill hunter. Courtney takes the opportunity to stab the killer, push him down from the stairs and finish him with more stabbing. Then she goes out to cry. The End

 

Conclusion: The most hilarious thing about the movie is that the killer makes Michael Myers look like the most complex killer in slasher history. While his motives were unclear, he at least had a name and a mask. This guy doesn’t even have that. He’s just some guy with an Anton Chigurh haircut. No mask, no name, and certainly no motive. In a way it’s kind of admirable that at the time the film came out , when everyone was trying to make its own memorable slasher, the Final Exam team couldn’t even be bothered to give the guy a paper bag. Remember what I wrote earlier about chemistry bashing? Well it seems that the director was so focused on chemistry bashing that he forgot to provide his killer with any sort of… well, anything. Besides that, i don’t have anything more to say about this slasher attempt. It is so dull with brief moments of lucidity. And it doesn’t even have nudity!

Well, well, well, if it isn’t our old friend Tobe Hooper. After watching Invaders From Mars I thought his directing couldn’t go any lower. Boy I was wrong. Sure there are many people who claim Tobe is capable director but we can’t take their opinion for serious because they most probably had suffered brain damage or are having any other mental disability. So trust my words: He ain’t good.

As you already can see Tobe Hooper’s latest fiasco is a work of nonsense called Spontaneous Combustion. As the film opens, a typical 50s couple is being used in government experiments involving a serum that may or may not immunize the human body against the effects of radiation. The couple is exposed to an hydrogen bomb explosion (which is displayed with archive footage), then monitored to observe the effects of the drug. It seems to have worked, and – except for one complication (the woman has become pregnant) – the experiment is called a success. The child is born bearing a odd birthmark on his hand. Something like stigmata. Nevertheless, parents are as happy as a clam. That will change soon when they burn to death after nurse took their baby (named David). The deaths – in which a mysterious man named Orlander (played by William Prince) seems to be involved – are declared the result of spontaneous human combustion.Furthermore Orlander seems to be happy about poor people’s fate and doesn’t hesitates to show everyone how much he is thrilled with it.

Could it ever been the more evil scientist than this man?

Now we are shifted to the present day (whichever that might be). We see young drama teacher Sam (played by Brad Dourif) who bears the same birthmark as a baby. Sam has been divorced for 2 years and now he found new love Lisa (played by Cynthia Bain). All is going relatively normal until he receives an
anonymous package in which he finds an old watch. After that, things are starting getting strange. Sam’s finger lights like a match, things around start to burn with no apparent reason and he even shoots poorly drawn lighting from his palm. Also, while looking at fire, he gets flashbacks to his childhood and parents. By now, even the dumbest among you could realize that Sam is actually baby David.

Firm handshake

Sam realizes that something is very wrong when two of the people he recently had contact with burned to death while they were alone at home. He decides to call parapsychologist who is holding his regular radio show. Parapsychologist sensed something and hung up the phone in fear. Sam really went mad about this so he engaged in debate with one of the radio station workers (played by John Landis). As you can guess, debate ended up with young John Landis burned to death while eating a sandwich. Keep in mind that they are talking over the phone. No physical contact whatsoever. Also, we found out that mark on Sam’s hand is used to produce fire. Pretty handy when you want to light a cigarette.

 

It turns out that Lisa was sent by Orlander to get closer to Sam on purpose. Her parents burned to death as well and Orlander was one who raised her. To get to the bottom of this Sam visits nurse Nina (played by Melinda Dillon) from atomic shelter who was holding him when he burned his parents to death. There she explains to him that the point of the experiment never was testing atomic shelter but anti-radiation drugs instead. Sam finally is starting to see connection between mysterious Lew Orlander with everything that is happening. Orlander also presented himself as a grandfather of Sam’s ex-wife Rachel (played by. It seems that experiment never was over so Orlander wanted to keep his eyes on events. Anyway, the moment after Sam had departed, Orlander’s errand boy Dr. Marsh (played by John Cypher) came in and killed Nina. I understand that tracks need to be covered, but why now after so many years?

There are sparkles between them

Sam now suspects everyone to be a part of project “Samson”. He raged at Lisa over the phone which had a flaming arm coming out of mirror for result. Also Lisa started to burn people around. Sam confronts Orlander (a government contractor for nuclear shelters) who explained to him that every moment of his life was planned by Orlander himself in order to create the cleanest killing system on the Earth (it doesn’t look like that to me keeping in mind in what state is Sam now). OF course, Sam wasn’t satisfied with explanation so he burned Orlander to death.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the hottest of them all

Rachel is after Lisa to finish the job. Lisa ignites herself after killing Dr. Marsh while Rachel tries to finish her off with fire extinguisher (?!). But Sam comes to the rescue and that’s when all the hell breaks loose. Awful special effects are coming one after another until Sam disintegrates in a manner of alien abduction. Since picture speaks 1000 words (and video even more) I’ll leave it up to you to make any sense out of ending scene.

 

Conclusion: Spontaneous Combustion is a very sad horror effort. The whole thing is just ludicrous, from the awful acting to the laughable FX to the stupid plot. Brad Dourif absolutely sucked as the lead and all the supporting cast were only marginally worse. Scenes of death are repetitive. It would seem that Hooper wanted to make his own version of films such as Scanners and Firestarter and so we end up with a film with a couple of good ideas and a whole load more that are borrowed from other films. Put it all together and you get a messy, boring film that most people would do well to miss!

Trivia: Recently the world was shaken by the news that Tobe Hooper had been beaten up by his 38 years younger girlfriend Rebecca. Now, I don’t know the exact reason for it, but if, by any chance, movies such as this one or The Mangler were the reason for Rebecca to punch his old face, then you girl have our full
support!

The next in line of established directors we are going to poop on is Wes Craven. Now I am well aware of the fact that every actor and director has a stain in their career, just like every other person in the world (with the exception of Worsemovies crew), and that’s fine with me. But when someone tries to rip off himself just a couple of years after having a huge success, it just can’t be forgiven that easily. Don’t let the title fools you – Shocker is shockingly bad!

Get ready to be shockedGet ready to be shocked

First scene reveals to us that there is already the mysterious killer who claimed another victims and then mysteriously disappeared. Actually, we can see the killer cleaning of blood his army knife while watching news report about him. Talk about egoism. On the other side of a town (or perhaps nearby, who knows) local jock Jonathan (played by Peter Berg) is watching news as well. Jonathan is stereotypical kind of jock – he plays football, he is good-looking, girls like him, he uses his penis instead of brain… But with one tiny difference – he is a complete brainless moron. Hm or does it qualifies as a difference? I am having second thoughts now. Anyway, after being pressured by his coach, Jonathan decides to focus on his game and show everyone what he is
capable of. So he runs with ball (and his head) into field goal giving himself a concussion. That might be a good explanation for his dream about some bald guy killing his entire family. Or was it just a dream? You see, Jonathan was sleeping at his girlfriend Alison (played by Cami Cooper) when her phone rang. It was his father Lt. Don Parker (played by Michael Murphy) who is working on the case of bizarre murders. Apparently, a killer slaughtered Don’s wife and two foster children, leaving alive only Jonathan, who is himself foster child as well. So overall we got 6-7 confirmed kills in first 10 minutes of the movie. The plot thickens.

MoronWhat’s that spell? A moron!

What trained inspectors have missed Jonathan had seen immediately…in his dream. Yup he dreamed of murderer’s van with name and address written on it. How convenient! He tells that to his father and off they go, breaking into some guy’s TV repair shop. It turns out it was a lucky guess since they found there traces of practicing black magic and animal sacrificing. They also found owner and slasher himself – Horace Pinker. Well not actually found. They didn’t see him despite the fact he managed to kill 4 of Lt Don’s men. Police made a description of slasher based on Jonathan’s dream, which must be some kind of exception in history of investigating. This caused Horace to become pissed off and takes on revenge by killing Alison. Now it is personal! Dead family members were just to set wheels in motion.

He looks like he has seen a ghostHe looks like he has seen a ghost

Jonathan has a plan. He will be using his dreams to find out where Horace will strike next and instructs his friend Rhino (played by Richard Brooks) to wake him up when things go too serious. Sounds familiar? Anyway, the plan worked. He got exact address, faced and evaded Horace (played by Mitch Pileggi) moments before being slashed to pieces. With the help of his father and police squad they manage to arrest Horace. While waiting for execution (I don’t recall any trial was going on before this) prison guards find Horace plugged to and speaking to TV in his cell (having a TV was the last Horace’s wish). Hm why is that? After TV burned out they decide it is time plug Horace onto electric chair. Even the execution couldn’t have gone flawless. Doctor got knocked away onto her ass, while executioner himself was fried to death. Horace’s body just vaporized itself, leaving behind only prisoner’s uniform. So that settles it, it seems. Or does it? Another strange thing occurs. While two cops were driving shocked (heh shocked) Doctor (played by Janne K. Peters) she suddenly woke up, started licking them and forcing them to drive into gasoline truck. Oh will we find at all any trace of sense in this movie?

Apparently not! Now Alison comes to Jonathan’s dream to warn him about the return of Horace, imminent slaughter and to give him her necklace which is apparently the only thing that can be used as a weapon against Horace. Don’t ask me why. Anyway, her prophecy came true sooner than Jonathan expected since he becomes a target of everyone who meets him (I myself had a desire to punch him in his retarded face). First, policeman chased Jonathan to shoot him, but instead he shot a random jogger while lying wounded on the ground. Little girl comes to help a jogger, becomes evil, spits him, and starts chasing Jonathan with a bulldozer. Not a toy, a real bulldozer. WTF are we watching now? Invasion of body snatchers on the Elm Street?

 

Of course, Jonathan was strong enough to overpower the little girl and knock her on the ground. And now it is time for a secret weapon. Jonathan throws the necklace Alison gave him. Girl starts screaming, bad effects occur and voila – Horace’s ghost is out and kicking. He takes over a body of girl’s mother just by plain jumping into her. Feeling uncomfortable in woman’s body Horace decides to takeover a body of nearby worker who came running to help. There is a lesson here: Never give a help to complete stranger or else your body and soul could end up taken over by strange entity. Worker disposes of necklace by throwing it in a lake on pick-axe, thus leaving Jonathan unarmed and helpless. But Jonathan manages to immobilize Horace by kicking him in the face.  Just once. And then he runs away. Pussy!

 

Escaped convictEscaped convict

Like some gossip woman Jonathan runs to coach Cooper (played by Sam Scarber) and his teammates, and tells them everything, not knowing that Horace is eavesdropping on them from behind. Stupid thing to do because he made targets of his friends just by mere speaking to them. He goes home where he finds his coach already possessed and waiting for him (meanwhile Horace killed some nerdy guy to pass the time). After a fight (which rips off many scenes from Shining), With the help of Alison’s ghost, Jonathan manages to convince coach to resist Horace’s presence. Even that didn’t go as planned since coach had enough mental strength just to kill himself. Poor Jonathan, his brain will get short circuit. Shocker? Electricity? Circuit? Do you get it? Muahahaha

 

But that is not enough to stop Shocker. In another scene with ridiculous effects, Horace manages to escape by going through electric plug into the wall. Now he could be anywhere! As usual, cops came up too late to see the real culprit but not too late to arrest Jonathan. Hey they found him standing over the coach’s dead body, with no witnesses to prove his innocence (testimony of ghost of dead girlfriend would not hold on any court in the world. Hm except maybe in Serbia). Anyway, Horace takes over the body of Lt Dan who tries to shoot Jonathan while he was on backseat of police car. Dumb thing to do since it just gave Jonathan an opportunity to escape.

Stay plugged inStay plugged in

That scene marks the beginning of the grand finale. Alison appears in Jonathan’s dream and gives him AGAIN her necklace. I guess he couldn’t swim in real life. Also, our hero has another brilliant plan. He sends Rhino and his friends to destroy town’s power supply at midnight while he tries to lure Horace to face him inside TV. Then we get 30 minutes of most WTF scenes in movie industry consisted of chasing each other through different TV shows, electrical appliances, chairs and such, Jonathan’s control over Horace through TV remote in a manner of Super Mario player (?), big confrontation between them where we learn that Horace is Jonathan’s biological father (no further explanation was given)… As expected, plan didn’t go well as both of them ended up captured into TV in the moment Rhino had power supply destroyed. But Jonathan has had an ace up to his sleeve – Alison’s necklace. While Horace was literally paused with TV remote Jonathan took an opportunity to hang necklace onto camera which was filming them and return to real world through camera’s lens, thus leaving poor Horace to disintegrate himself. Ending scene shows up that Jonathan has lost his mind since he started looking and laughing at the stars, not minding his dead friends. A truly happy end.

 

Conclusion: The biggest problem with the movie is that Craven tries to make Horace Pinker the next Freddy Krueger, which just doesn’t happen. He cracks one-liners like Freddy and has supernatural powers, but unlike Krueger he has no personality and just sucks out loud. He isn’t scary or intimidating, his jokes are extremely lame and cheesy, and Mitch Pileggi is totally and completely wrong for the role. I can’t put all the blame on Pileggi though as I don’t think it would make any difference who played the part. The character is just horrible in general and I don’t think that there are many (if any) fans out there who think that Horace Pinker is the coolest horror movie villain in the history of film. Another huge flaw is the fact that the movie is just hokey and parts of it don’t make a great deal of sense.  Why does Jonathan’s girlfriend come back as a ghost? How the hell did Horace make a deal with Satan that allowed him to gain electrical powers (it isn’t like the Devil is in the phone-book and I think that he would have a lot more better things to do than to  help some schmoe TV repairman like Horace get super powers)?  How does being able to manipulate electricity allow Horace to posses others? What is the secret of Alison’s necklace? These are just a few of the many things that don’t really make a great deal of sense. About the only good thing that I can say about Shocker is that it has an awesome soundtrack. I don’t know what Craven was thinking when he wrote the script, but I have a feeling that in his mind he thought that it was going to be as big as Nightmare on Elm Street (God knows it rips it off enough as we have a wisecracking killer who must be brought into the “real world” to be beaten, a past connection with the killer and the protagonist’s parents, etc). Skip this one folks and just watch Nightmare on Elm Street instead, as that is what this movie desperately wants to be. Or at least watch House 3, which is rip off of Shocker and far better movie than the “original”.

Transmutations was written by Clive Barker, and that’s fairly surprising considering how terrible the plot is, along with the very poor characterizations of almost every single player in the film. But this is not the only time someone butchers Barker’s stories. Remember “Rawhead Rex“? Yeesh!

Mutant NinjasMutant ninjas

As introduction to what we might expect from this movie we see some sort of ninja-resembling characters running around  in hurry at night without any particular goal. Later, on a closer look, it turns out that they are just an ordinary people with duct tape tied around their heads. Urgh…bear it with me. Duct tape people then, accompanied with couple of freaks, crash in some high class orgies and from there they kidnap high class hooker Nicole (played by Nicola Cowper) who was laying in her bed dressed in curtain. Oh yeah, and they had butler beaten up. Nice start!

Sid ViciousSid Vicious as albino man-ape

When you are short of one hooker what do you do? You hire a detective. So Roy Bain (played by Larry Lamb) is called in to investigate a case of a missing hooker by rich businessman Motherskille (played by Steven Berkoff). Why him? Well we can just assume that Bain has had connections with Motherskille and Nicole in the past; the film does a particularly poor job of giving the viewer any sort of back-story towards the beginning, and after the plot has begun to meander, it really makes no difference anymore. All we know about him is that he is the usual arrogant self-employed detective cum painter, and he performs his duties with a reticence that might not really be acting at all, but instead Lamb’s hesitance to star in this movie at all. Anyway, after a bit of convincing by Motherskille, he decides to accept the case. He went to the crime scene where he talked to Madam Pepperdine (played by Ingrid Pitt) and another hooker Bianca (played by Irina Brook). Apart of Pepperdine’s teasing her butler Ricardo (played by an established actor Trevor Thomas) by saying that the only thing that got hurt was his pride (despite the fact that the poor fellow’s neck was almost broken), Bain didn’t get much information out of her. But he did find a lead – a bottle of some drug under Nicole’s pillow. When he pressed Bianca about it she told him that he should check it with Dr Savary, whom Nicole used to visit often. On his way back he meets Darling (played by Brian Croucher), a GUY who was sent by…someone…to look after him (I certainly wouldn’t want someone named Darling to watch my back) .Darling tells Bain that Motherskille and Savary are together into business with strange drug. But what kind of drug? We’ll find out soon.

He has a golden heartHe has a golden heart

After being scanned with futuristic metal detector you can see on the picture above, Bain meets with Dr Savary (played by Denholm Elliot) and confronts him about drug. Doctor didn’t let himself crack under the sarcasm and irritation Bain evokes at all times and he denied any knowledge of such substance. But Bain took an opportunity while Savary was briefly outside the office to take a look around. He finds a key and strangely shaped figurines. This is the point when viewers should start connecting some of a strings in the plot but I doubt that any of us could do such thing, given so little info about everything. Anyway, Savary is back and kicks out detective as politely as he could. Meanwhile, freaks somewhere conduct experiments on Nicole. They are giving her the same
substance Bain found at her room. Apparently, according to freak doctor Nygaard (played by Paul Brown), she is immune to dreams which drug should cause. Nicole wakes up disoriented and starts asking questions. To calm her and show they mean no harm (apart of poking and probing her), freaks, who happens to be very nice and polite, introduce themselves. Besides Nygaard there are also Oriel (played by Miranda Richardson) and Dudu (played by Paul Mari), who enjoyed sniffing her hair and is very proud of his nickname Shitface. Another freak storms in and explains that he had lost two men (men? hm) while breaking in to Savary’s office. It turns out that freaks need regular doses of drug in order to…I don’t know what. And by lost he meant it literally since one of them called Red Dog (played by Gary Olsen) was taken over by dreams and gone wild. Still no idea what kind of dreams those are. Anyway, Red Dog seems to have a crush on Bianca and gets infuriated after he finds her in Bain’s bed. Battle commences consisted of shooting, wrestling, balls grabbing and similar gay techniques followed with Bain chasing Red Dog throw the dark alley. Bain finds freak laying on the ground but to his surprise another freak shows up and drags Red Dog to sewers. Could it be some new race of C.H.U.D.? Everything is possible with script writer like this.

Clive Barker approves thisClive Barker approves this

We are now at night club watching a gay performance. Bain there finds Motherskille enjoying the show with his retarded thugs and presses him about the drug. Motherskille at first wouldn’t admit anything (he was even swearing on life of his children), but after some police brutality he had no other option than to admit he occasionally manufactures things for Savary (though, he still denies any knowledge about the drug). So back to Savary it seems. Bain sneaks into doctor’s office and finds a tape with the test subject. As it always happens to be our hero gets captured by Savary when he was about to unfold the mystery. But wait, more of clichés are incoming! While holding Bain at point of his gun, Savary decides to do what every criminal mastermind does in that situation –
reveal everything. Apparently, the drug in question is euphoric, an powerfully hallucinogenic and painkiller, which gives a feats of strength to it’s users. And like every other drug it is addictive. The only side effect is that it turns humans into mutants. Hm, didn’t see that one coming from the first moment Motherskille hired Bain… Anyway, you can’t expect that a main charracter gets killed when he is about to solve a mystery, so Bain somehow manages to trick Savary and escape his office.

 

Bain decides to get to the bottom of problem. He enters sewers and there he finds mutants’ secret headquarters. Just like that! And Nicole, who tells him that this is now her home and mutants are her friends (despite the fact that she is immune to the side effects). They leave him tied just to be found by one of Motherskille’s crooks, a guy who wears ridiculous sunglasses throughout the entire film. He takes a bit of his time from the mission to kill all of the freaks just to inject drug into Bain. Could this be the end of our hero detective?

A happy bunchA happy bunch

Killing a bunch of mutated freaks turned out not to be an easy task. Led by Nicole they manage to capture Savary and right when they were about to make doctor tastes his own medicine (oh how poetic), Motherskille shows up with his goons and another shooting takes a place. Obviously he wants the entire place wiped out, including mutants. Why? Well here is how I see the plot at this point: Motherskille hired Bain to find Nicole, for whom he already presumed has become a mutant. He sends someone to follow Bain. Why? Because when Bain finds Nicole that means he will also find so-called Underworld, a place where all failed experiments reside, which he seeks to destroy. And for what reason? I guess to wipe out any remaining traces that could lead to his connection with drug. Keep in mind that I am writing this using a logic since film itself doesn’t give any background story nor the explanation. Ok, now we are back to movie. While I was bringing out my thoughts, Motherskille lost his own in shooting duel with Bain. Still, the final confrontation is between Nicole and Savary , where she uses her newfound superpowers (?) to burn mannequin dressed as an evil doctor. At the very end, she announces that it is not over yet (we certainly hope it is) and walks away with the only surviving mutant Dudu, thus leaving Bain with dumb xpression on his face.

 

Conclusion: The script is quite bad, but it’s managed fairly well by the actors, who do the best with what they have. Fortunately, most of the actors are very good, and that means that Transmutations is at least watchable. It’s following the storyline that becomes the killer here, because it’s a horrible maze of characters switching back and forth between good and bad guys while Bain tries to tell the difference. The story is simply a mess of ideas that do very little of anything, and not even the dark wave, saxophone-riddle soundtrack can make this film any more interesting. Nicole’s role as the damsel in distress is both boring and generic. There are some other characters who are supposed to be more important, like Motherskille (how can that name not cause you to foreshadow his role as supreme villain?) and his  crooks. Transmutations even makes note of the terrible character writing by referring to one of the goons as a parrot; it’s a generous compliment. As for the mutants, at first, the viewer might question why the “monsters” of Transmutations aren’t really that scary. Sure, they growl a lot, and some have glowing eyes while others get bulbous growths on their faces, but there’s nothing about them that seems overtly threatening. See, it’s fine and good if Transmutations wants the monsters to be misunderstood. It often works for films of this nature. But not when the movie spends little time with them, and barely tries to develop them beyond their physical characteristics alone. This film wasn’t easy to find and maybe that’s a good thing, because a film this bad will die out without its lifeblood – the audience. The movie isn’t an evolution of the horror genre, but a mutant that is doomed to die off because of its fatal errors.

Now, I’m a big fan of the Kazahstani cinema, not ’cause I think directors are overly talented but for the sheer fact that they approach film-making like the kid collecting the stickers- they try really hard to collect them all.

anddy8

And then you have things like Olivier Gruner (Nemesis, Alien Interceptor), Mark Dacascos (Crying Freeman, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Agents of SHIELD), Martin Kove (Karate Kid, Rambo 2, Assault on Devil’s Island), Cary Tagawa (Mortal Kombat, The Man in the High Castle), Eric Roberts (Runaway Train, Best of the Best, Raptor), Billy Zane (Titanic, Phantom), Michael Jai White (Spawn, Black Dinamite), Bai Ling (Age of Hobbits,The Crow, Crank 2), Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), Kristina Loken (Terminator 3), Armand Assante (The Odyssey, Prophecy) and Danny Trejo (Machete) all working on the same freakin’ movie!

And it’s about manhunt + reality TV mix with a fare share MMA action to boot- who can say no to that?

 

Now that you’ve enjoyed the trailer, prepare for more Kazahstani goodness ’cause we are expecting another offering from them this year and that’s The Whole World at Our Feet with unlikely mix of Armand Assante, Peter O’Tool and Bolo Yeung!  Hope they never stop doing what they do.

 

 

 

We are all well aware of the existence of plenty Karate Kid rip-offs. Some are awful and some are just plain bad. As for Showdown you choose to which group this movie belongs, especially when you keep in mind that Billy Blanks headlines in this hilariously cheesy Karate Kid rip off, together with Brion James and ’80s synthesizer music.

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Ken Marks (played by Kenn Scott) is the new student at his new school in Phoenix. There he meets the girl of his dreams named Julie (played by Christine Taylor). Unfortunately, she has a boyfriend, Tom (played by Ken McLeod), who is not only possessive of her but is also a brutal karate expert. Sounds familiar? Not yet? How about now? Tom beats up Ken for talking to his bitch. Ken decides to drop his career of school boxing bag and, logically, takes self-defense course at school janitor Billy (played by Billy Blanks). Now here is the twist: Tom is learning karate at Lee (played by Patrick Kilpatrick), a sensei whose brother was killed by a rookie cop named Billy. Since then, as a punishment for himself, Billy has taken the most degrading job known to human – a school janitor. Ha! Now we get personal motive for rumble rather than fighting over some high school bimbo. Both Billy and Lee have their owns ways treating their students. While Blanks exploits Ken to do his own job (like scrubbing a toilet and taking out the trash) instead of himself, Lee is a complete maniac who yells at Tom and beats him up for the tiniest mistakes.

But Billy didn’t quite quit his police career (once a cop-always a cop). Using his old partner who’s still on the force, the two work together to bring down a full-contact fighting circuit organized by Lee that pits teenagers against each other for money. In the meantime, Billy doesn’t know that Ken has accepted a challenge to face Tom in this same arena. Bah today’s teenagers don’t have any respect or trust.

treningInsert some inspiring words here

Since the biggest part of the movie displays training consisted of scrubbing, blocking and spinning back kick, occasionally interrupted with Billy’s fighting scenes, we’ll skip to the end. Big fight in a pit takes place where Ken with a lot of luck manages to beat Tom. Revolted by defeat of his student Lee bust into the ring and starts beating the crap out of both Ken and Tom. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, Billy appears and sensei vs sensei mega-fight can begin. The fight is rather hilarious with a racist touch when Lee starts whipping Billy’s back with his belt. At that moment even an opposite team started rooting for their janitor. With such wind to his back, Billy easily makes the sudden twist, wins the fight and arrest Lee. Delighted with such development of the situation students offer to Billy to become their new sensei. He gladly accepts it, gets crowned in the utility room and Ken finally gets someone to polish his spear.

usro seIt’s coming out!

Conclusion: Apart of this movie being an obvious ripoff of Karate Kid, it also looks to me like Karate Kid meets the Airbud (both got janitor as a guru). For a high-school martial arts flick this movie doesn’t have a lot of fighting. Instead there are several training montages, with third training montage that was just too much. Billy Blanks steals the movie together with always insane Patrick Kilpatrick. Christine Taylor’s character, despite her weak efforts, just remains to look like typical lightheaded high-school Bimbo.”Showdown” plays out more than just a repeat of “The Karate Kid.” Gibbs’s script combines elements from several completely separate genres and places them in one movie, the two most noticeable being the cop movie and the bullied-teen movie. It also aims to poke fun at the high school movie genre, but doesn’t quite succeed at this either. There are plenty of lame sight gags, the usual bullies, cliches, and even Brion James drops in as the stereotypical hard-nosed principal.

Billy Blanks is more famous as a successful Martial Artist, Thai Bo founder and Fitness Guru but he is also most importantly (for us) the BAD MOVIE MAKING MACHINE! His inability to act (probably tied to his inability to read- he actually learned to read at 40 and depended on his then wife for most of his life) coupled with his over the top facial expressions  and badly used athleticism, most often spent on ridiculous kickboxing production that could only get green lighted in the ’90.

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Here Blanks is a humble Karate teacher working with at risks kids in the ghetto. Unfortunately his dojo gets targeted by Yakuza- like organization and their champion Takamura and he barely menages to fend them off. That’s also not the last of his worries because one of his oldest student is starting to spend time in dangerous neighborhoods all in hope of scoring with some random stupid girl. He tries to set him straight but unfortunately the kid is just too much of a dork to ever listen to him. He goes out searching for the slutty girlfriend but Takamura and his men find him first and decide to use “drive by shooting” style rather than Traditional martial art moves.

Blanks arrives just in time to see it happening. And reacts as always- hilariously!

Blanks I’m not sure anyone hears you. YOU should be the one calling ambulance.

Completely out of his mind he gets beaten to a pulp but mysterious Martial Artist Matsumoto aka Mako finds him. As a former teacher for the dreaded clan he offers to train him to defeat James Lew (Takamura) and gets revenge for his student. Like any true Martial Art master in the 90’s Mako teaches him with a string of bizarre or downright stupid tasks like running with a mouth full of water or practicing his blocks while buried in sand.

The director managed to rip off both Rocky III and IV in one training montage!

Finally Blanks is all ready for some revenging. Unfortunately his incompetence again shines thru as Takamura’s men menage to steal Matsumoto’s granddaughter right before his eyes. Having no other choice he goes as planed and enters the corrupt fighting ring. And man does he look ridiculous doing so. He is so muscled up and oiled up that he looks like he will explode any minute now. Also his exaggerated “horse stance” doesn’t do him any favors either. And as much as I LOVE James Lew as a villain (he is only second to Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa in the film villainy) having a bad guy that’s much smaller then a hero is rarely a good strategy.

Now,after killing both Takamura and his boss  Hastishita and he finally returns to his ghetto dojo to find- his student alive and well after all. So- the kid actually survived and the whole ordeal was about nothing. Great work Billy, for real! He introduces Matsumoto to his students and I think we can expect him exploiting the kids for some other death tournament in no time.

Verdict: Now lets rewind- he didn’t even check if his freaking student had any pulse, he just ran to get some revenge and left him there to die,  and you know what- he managed to fail at that too. If the kid had really died blood would have been on his hands, not just Takamura’s- and all because he is a goddamn idiot!