Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Chairman (1969)

There seems a bit of the old "yellow peril" in this film where Gregory Peck travels to China to try and find an experimental enzyme that could revolutionise agriculture and thus make Chairman Mao's China unstoppable of course...

What Peck doesn't know is that US, Soviet and UK intelligence have a rather nefarious double plan, they've implanted a bomb in his head and hope to kill Mao too. Although the film is named "The Chairman" Mao only has a single scene in the film.

It is a ridiculous film full of stereotypes though Communist China was a rather closed and mysterious society at the time so i guess we can cut them a little bit of slack of that score. As a spy though Peck sometimes makes Bond look realistic and the plot does rely on the "bad guys" being a bit stupid too much.

The worst thing to fault the movie about is that it is a little dull if we are to be honest though certainly worth watching for the cheese value. The late 60s computer technology was cool though.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Blood Money (1991)

Blood Money (also known as The Killers Edge) is an incredible movie... sometimes incredible low quality...

A counterfeiting gang is iced by a rival gang led by Robert Z'dar and cop Wings Hauser leads the investigation.

So that sounds OK huh? The idea of the movie is decent enough (if not terribly original) but problem is the execution is rather poor. The acting and sound shoddy and the less said about some of the camerawork the better.

People get killed by the score and at the drop of a hat, after this film Hauser and Z'dar must have reduced the population of LA by about 20%. The action though isn't that bad, the problem is the film is padded out a bit too much including by some cheap looking Vietnam War flashbacks.

The final showdown is quite bizarre but as the rest of the film makes little sense maybe it's the ending that was required.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Stoner (1974)

Dating back to the early 1970s when Bruce Lee was still fresh in people's minds and kung fu and martial arts was big business worldwide (or at least the current in-thing) comes Stoner, starring George Lazenby. Bruce Lee was apparently originally set to star in this fairly standard but slightly odd film but after his untimely death it was decided to make the film anyway. Angela Mao was bought in as George's co-star. Let the hard kung-fu action begin!

There is a kind of plot, something involving an evil gangster mastermind (who has an excellent rotating desk) creating explosives and drug smuggling in his (evil of course) underground lair but the plot is just a bare frame on which to hang a sequence of pretty excellent fighting set pieces.

The result is undeniably cheesy, fairly confusing but also pretty entertaining. It is a 70s period piece and perhaps nothing that original from the time but worth seeing all the same. After all how many HK kung-fu movies had an ex-James Bond in them?!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

My Hero II (1993)

Dicky Cheung plays a comic book writer who has two major problems: 1) his mum is insane 2) his comics are crap. His boss tells him to come back with a good story or else... He then runs into a bona fide triad hoodlum, how better to get inspiration than to watch the real thing? By a strange co-incidence the triad is his neighbour... and has the hots for his mum. 

Singer Vivian Lai is also in the film and has the hots for Dicky, but she remains unfulfilled. Never mind, she can maybe comfort herself that her part in the film probably contains some of the worst acting in history of movies. Perhaps that's why Vivian did not make that many movies...

Dicky gets drawn into the triad world... and ends up the hero of course. And his comic sells huge. Bizarre humour, sometimes hilarious, often just weird and a good lash of violence. Plus a good dollop of fantasy and weirdness... far too much weirdness.

Often the film slips into comic mode with several strange tangents. Its basically a car crash of a movie. You remain on edge watching it, torn between switching it off and destroying the VCD into a billion pieces and continuing to watch this... crime (for that's what it is) onscreen.

Is it worth seeing? I think there is just enough goodness to recommend a viewing, at least just to see how bad some things can be. If you like Vivian Lai as a singer this is worth seeing her on screen on one of her few outings.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Future War (1997)

Future War is my kind of movie: a cheese-fest of badly choreographed action which makes no sense whatsoever.

So Future War, what is it about? A war in the future at a guess. Or is it? There is a revolt aboard a space ship anyway, that counts as the "future" part of the war but a human slave escapes and ends up on present day Earth... though he is being pursued by tyrannosaurs and Robert Z'dar as a cyborg hunter.

The runaway slave is helped by a nun (of course!) The battle for the universe ends up being between future cyborgs and their dinosaur hunters and... a street gang.

Now it may sound totally ridiculous (and it is) but the film is genuinely brilliant. Its hilarious, but most probably not intentionally.

The acting is shoddy, the sets cheap (much of the film seems to take place in an empty cardboard box warehouse) and the effects cheaper (the dinosaurs seem to vary in size for some reason). Its a terrible terrible film. Therefore of course I loved every minute of it. This really is a film you need in your life.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Behemoth the Sea Monster (1959)

Nuclear testing has unleashed a long dormant monster to wreak havoc on mankind. Yes that does sound familiar...

In the case of Behemoth the Sea Monster (the film is also known as The Giant Behemoth) the monster wreaks havoc on London not Tokyo. Before that the monster kills some Cornish fishermen and lots of fish.

The earlier part of the film works better to be honest as you don't actually see the monster, after the unveil of the beast later on it does descend into a bit of a model building destroying romp. The monster scenes are pretty well done though. The budget wasn't huge. Lots of people unconvincingly run around in a British version of panic.

The main problem with the film is the British-ness of it all. I'm not sure stiff-upper-lip characters work that well when the enemy is a giant sea monster and not the Luftwaffe.

Overall its not a bad film but its not very original...

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Final Programme (1973)

A very strange early 1970s British science-fiction film, oh based on a Michael Moorcock novel you say? Enough said!

The Final Programme stars Jon Finch as Jerry Cornelius - a playboy genius scientist in a velvet suit who drives an old Rolls Royce around with various pills littering the passenger seat and a special holder for his bottle of scotch. He is therefore the hero the world has been looking for.

In a world that seems to be falling apart (though little explanation is given as to why) Cornelius is looking for microfilm of the final programme - written by his father - which is the design for the next stage of humanity. The new Messiah to take the world forward?

Well its very much of the Age of Aquarius for sure. Most of the film makes little sense (unless you are high perhaps) but is so strange and so cool you don't really mind. What a long strange trip it is. The scene where nuns are playing slot machines for example and the room full of brains in tanks. Mind bending.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Wings (1927)

Wings contains some of the best aerial combat footage in any film ever. Even if you don't watch silent movies as a rule (though you should of course) its worth checking this film out just for that alone...

Wings is a WW1 aerial adventure starring Charles Buddy Rogers and Richard Arlen. To include superstar actress Clara Bow the original story was adapted to bring in a bit of romance though if we are to be honest that part of the film is overshadowed by the aerial combat sequences.

Making the film was a colossal undertaking, involving hundreds of pilots and extras. The film was very costly and took much longer to make than was usual at the time but it was worth it. It won best picture at the first Oscars, and is still the only fully silent movie to do so.

Another notable fact about the film is that if you stop the DVD at the exact right moment you can see Clara Bow's breasts during the medical examination scene. So i have been told anyway.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Ebola Syndrome (1996)

Now i like all sorts of horrifically violent rubbish, and at times i liked this but at other times this film was so repulsive it even tested me...

Anthony Wong plays a triad on the run for murdering his boss. Hiding out in South Africa he catches the Ebola virus by raping a woman in the bush (in a somewhat non-Politically Correct scene in the film shall we say?) He finds that he is one of the few people whom the virus does not kill but instead he is now a carrier. He then begins a bloody rampage, killing and infecting people - often by rape - across South Africa and back to HK.

If you want to see a film where 3 people are killed and then turned into hamburgers then this is your bag. If you want to see a film where someone uses a pork chop for masturbation purposes and then puts it back in the fridge for cooking later then this is also your bag. For everyone else it may be your sick bag!

A film so dark and evil its wonderful and awful at the same time. A masterpiece. A gory glory.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Ninja Terminator (1985)

What's this film all about? It just doesn't make sense! It's like two separate films merged into one! Well funny you should say that...

Godfrey Ho was notorious for creating "new" movies by splicing together footage from obscure Asian martial arts films with new footage including Western actors, often those films are awful and completely incoherent but Ninja Terminator somehow works.

What makes it magic no doubt is the 1980s cheese, including tiny robots sent to give warnings, a Garfield telephone and ninjas teleporting their way through a fight scene.

The "other" film stars Jaguar Wong and has some really tasty kung fu action, with amazing fight after amazing fight. Really this film is all about fighting, take the fighting out of this film and you'd have about 5 minutes of footage. The splicing has been very well done so at times you do feel the film was all made in one go.

The ninja part of the film, with Richard Harrison as the main "ninja", leads up to an excellent conclusion. I have to say this is in my top 10 movies and my favourite ninja movie. I'm sure we all have one?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Dracula (1931)

This early talkie was the first official film adaptation of the Bram Stoker classic (1922's Nosferatu was "unofficial") and a very atmospheric horror film it is too...

Bela Lugosi plays Dracula, already having played the role on stage, and to be honest this early depiction of Dracula is hard to beat - only Christopher Lee can match him in the Dracula stakes (ahem). Lugosi set the blueprint for screen Dracula with this film and gothic horror in general.

Its not a perfect film, the sound is a bit harsh at times and the ending is rather abrupt but the feel of the film is spot on especially the creepy scenes around the castle.

Its a film with a lot of fog, and floppy bats. Well you have to love it.