adventure, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi, The Asylum

Flashback Review: April 26th, 2014 Movie – Bigfoot (2012)

bigfoot 2012

Ahh, an Asylum movie that involves Bigfoot. This sounds like it should be a lot of fun, so let’s see what exactly we have here. Two rival musicians as the main characters, who are at odds with each other in the film. A giant monster that terrorizes the region. A third musician that gets killed by the title monster. You know something, this honestly sounds pretty familiar to me. Wait a minute….I got it. This is just a reboot of Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid. Ok, I know it really isn’t but you have to admit that on some levels, Bigfoot (2012) does kind of seem that way. Well, let’s see how similar, or different, they are.

The plot: Outside of Deadwood, SD, a hunter lines up his shot and shoots a bear but before he can approach his trophy, he is attacked and killed by a large Bigfoot. Meanwhile, radio DJ Harley Anderson is using his show to complain about the freak snow storm the area is getting in April, as well as promote his 80’s flashback festival next week. When his show is finished, Harley heads out to the site of the festival and tells the foreman setting up the stages to clear out some trees. Harley’s former band mate, Simon Quint, has become an environmentalist and, along with some teenage followers, attempt to stop them by chaining themselves to the bulldozers but one of the drivers proceeds to start moving anyways, dragging the kids behind him. Sheriffs Becky Alvarez and Walt Henderson show up and stop the bulldozer and after listening to Harley and Simon arguing over who should be arrested, they end up taking Simon into custody. Harley’s crews get back to work but as one man heads into the woods to start cutting down some trees, he is attacked by Bigfoot. Bigfoot then heads after the rest of Harley’s crew, killing several of them and destroying the vehicles, causing a fire to break out. The fire is eventually put out and the fire chief shows him the footprints left in the snow but Harley says the festival is still on. As the festival draws closer, a couple in an RV are driving towards town when they accidentally hit Bigfoot, who throws the RV off the road. With the festival one day away, Mayor Tommy Gillis wants to pull the plug on the festival, but Harley tells him he can work out a deal with Simon to get him to stop trying to ruin the festival. Harley meets with Simon and offers to let him perform at the festival as a way to get his message out and Simon agrees to the deal. On the day of the festival, the snow has finally stopped but many of the acts, as well as the fans, have not shown up. Simon heads out to perform to a lackluster crowd while back stage, Alice Cooper, Harley’s special guest, complains about the event and threatens to quit. Harley sabotages Simon’s performance, causing feedback that wakes up Bigfoot from his cave and sends him heading towards the festival. When Alice Cooper starts performing, Bigfoot attacks the festival, killing several of the attendees and kicking Alice Cooper off the stage, killing him. As the news reports on the catastrophe, the National Guard is brought in to try and locate and kill Bigfoot but Simon tries to organize a movement to save him. Harley calls Al Hunter, a hunter friend of his, and hires him to come down and kill Bigfoot for him. As Bigfoot continues to terrorize the town, killing anyone that ventures into the forest, Simon tries to come up with a way to tranquilize it instead of killing it so it can be taken to a preserve. Harley joins Al and his team and they head out to try and kill Bigfoot but are unable to do so and Al loses two of his team members. Harley then talks with Mayor Gillis and convinces him to let him try and capture or kill Bigfoot and turn it into a tourist attraction. He then sends someone in to steal Simon’s tranquilizers so that he can use them for his plan. Simon and some of his group head out to try and track Bigfoot and run into Becky, who is searching for it as well. They find some tracks and Becky notices a cave nearby and goes to investigate it, with Simon and one of his group following her. The two team members left outside are attacked and killed by Bigfoot and when Becky, Simon, and the others go try to help, Simon realizes that his tranquilizer darts are missing. Harley and Al show up in a helicopter and try luring Bigfoot out to the open so Harley can get a clear shot at it. As Simon and Beth try to get away from Bigfoot, it continues to chase them as a National Guard tank fires at Bigfoot, burning it with it’s explosive shells and finally chasing it away. As new plans are made to deal with Bigfoot, Becky and Walt realize it is using the cave systems to travel around and try to figure out where it will show up next. Bigfoot ends up in Rapid City and begins a rampage there. Harley and Al hire some local hunters to help them try to stop Bigfoot but several of the men end up heading off early and get killed. As the rest of the hunters try to trap and kill it, Harley notices Simon flying by on his glider and shoots him down, refusing to let him stop his plans but Bigfoot still gets away. Simon and Priya, the only member of his team still there, head out to the caves to try and tranquilize Bigfoot. Meanwhile, Becky and Walt try their own way to stop him but Walt ends up getting killed in the process. Harley and Al make their way past a National Guard blockade and enter the caves looking for Bigfoot, with Al accidentally shooting Priya and wounding her when Simon and Priya surprise them. Hearing Bigfoot approaching, Al panics and runs out of the cave, followed by Harley, Simon, and Priya and Al ends up being killed by the National Guard by accident while Priya is killed by Bigfoot. Bigfoot makes it’s way to Mount Rushmore and Becky leads the National Guard to try and kill it. When the helicopter she is in is brought down, she sees Bigfoot climbing to the top of Mount Rushmore and calls in an airstrike. Simon and Harley both head to Mount Rushmore, with Simon still intending to try and tranquilize Bigfoot while Harley wants to kill it. The two end up fighting on the top of Lincoln’s head and Harley falls off the edge, Simon reaches down to try and save Harley as Bigfoot approaches them, and Simon reaches out to him for help. Seeing them on the monument, Becky tries to call off the air strike but is too late and as the missiles hit the monument, Harley, Simon, and Bigfoot are knocked off the monument and fall to the ground, where they are buried underneath the rubble. One year later, Mayor Gillis is on hand to dedicate a statue to the memory of Harley and Clint, celebrating them as heroes, while Mount Rushmore is also being rebuilt.

Yeh, it’s hard not to think that they took the plot of Mega Python vs Gatoroid and tweaked it a little because there really are a lot of similarities to it. That being said, this was a pretty decent movie, although it was a little slow to start. The acting was ok, with Barry Williams and Danny Bonaduce doing decent jobs as Simon and Harley respectively. I honestly thought that Bruce Davison (Walt), Sherilyn Fenn (Becky), and Howard Hesseman (Mayor Gillis) gave better performances while Alice Cooper’s brief appearance was just hilarious. The story honestly felt a little disjointed, as the starting point of Simon trying to save the forest from Harley was then transferred to trying to save Bigfoot, but it just felt odd with everything else going on in the movie. I liked the design of Bigfoot and how they showed it’s face taking the damage from when it was burned throughout the movie. That being said, the CGI looked a little weak and there were times where the scale felt off with the Bigfoot, as it’s size kept seeming to change somewhat in scale with the people when it was attacking them. I mean, it would always be bigger/taller than them but sometimes the size difference was a lot bigger than others. Still, it is another enjoyable movie, at least for me, from The Asylum and if you like their movies, it is worth watching.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi, thriller

Flashback Review: April 25th, 2014 Movie – Bigfoot (1970)

bigfoot 1970

Back in the video store days, I remember seeing the case for this movie on the shelf all the time during the 80’s. it had always attracted my attention because it had Bigfoot picking up a motorcycle to throw at people, and it had a claim of being the greatest monster since King Kong. Despite my interest, I never got around to renting it back then and after a while, it would end up pushed to the side and eventually disappeared as newer movies made their way to the stores. Decade later, I saw a clip of this movie on YouTube and it renewed my desire to watch this movie. I eventually found a copy of it for sale on one of the sites I frequented and quickly bought it. When Bigfoot (1970) arrived, I finally got my chance to watch it and it was just as bad as I could have possibly hoped for it to be.

The plot: Joi Landis is flying a single engine plane over the California mountains near Burbank. At the same time, traveling salesman Jasper B Hawks and his sidekick Elmer Briggs are driving through the mountains when there engine overheats. Jasper sends Elmer to get some water to cool it down and as Elmer heads out into the woods, a group of bikers come driving by Jasper and the car. As Elmer approaches a nearby stream, he sees overly large footprints in the mud and hears some strange growling, which spooks him and causes him to head back to Jasper with the bucket only half full. Meanwhile, the engine goes out on Joi’s plane and she is forced to radio in her problem and then parachute to safety but when she lands, she finds herself captured by a Bigfoot. At a small general store in the mountains, the bikers that had passed Jasper earlier have bought some food and beer and take off up the mountain just as Jasper and Elmer arrive. As the group continue driving, Rick and his girlfriend Chris decide to split off from the group and go spend some time alone. While they are relaxing, Chris decides to go explore and finds some sort of burial ground. She calls out for Rick and when he gets there, he notices a fresh grave and decides to move the dirt from it and uncovers a Bigfoot body. Suddenly, another Bigfoot appears and attacks Rick, knocking him unconscious, then carries off Susan into the woods. When Rick regains consciousness and finds Chris is missing, he heads off to meet back up with his friends but finds that they have already moved on. Rick heads back to the general store and calls the sheriff to report what happened but the sheriff, having received several crank calls about the creature over the years, doesn’t believe Rick’s story and tells him they will search for Chris in the morning if she doesn’t turn up. Rick calls the cabin his friends were heading too and tells them to come back as he needs help, then wants to buy a flashlight and gun from the store but the owner tells him that he is out of flashlights and doesn’t have any guns there. Jasper and Elmer, who had been listening to Rick’s story, say they believe him and offer to help him and Rick takes them up to the burial ground where Chris had disappeared. He shows them the body and Jasper wants to try and capture a live creature to sell to a freak show but Rick says his only interest is to find Chris. They then head towards the stream where Elmer had seen the tracks but are forced to get some rest during the night. Meanwhile, Chris and Joi are tied to some poles in the Bigfoots’ lair, with 4 Bigfoot keeping watch over them. When Chris asks Joi what she thinks they will do with them, Joi theorizes that they are a dying race and had brought them there to try and breed with them, but notes that the Bigfoot seem nervous about something at the top of the mountain. In the morning, the three older Bigfoot head off into the woods, leaving a baby behind to keep and eye on the captive women. Meanwhile, Rick, Jasper, and Elmer renew their search and start following the footprints by the stream. They eventually spot a Bigfoot running through a clearing ahead of them and Jasper wants to try and capture it but Rick reminds him that they are there to find Chris first. The three men keep looking but they are eventually attacked and captured by the three Bigfoot. Back at the store, the sheriff and his deputy show up at the store and the owner’s daughter tells him that Rick had left with Jasper and Elmer and says she will call them if he returns. Meanwhile, Rick’s friends have returned to try and locate Rick, finding the burial ground that Rick had mentioned. As they search the mountains, they find a cabin in the woods with some people, Hardrock and his family,  in it and when they tell them what is going on, Hardrock decides to help them find their friends. Back at the Bigfoot’s lair, two of the Bigfoot grab Joi and take her up the mountain and tie her to two trees, and an even larger Bigfoot approaches her. The Bigfoot starts to untie her when a bear appears and it is forced to fight off the bear, eventually killing it, but when it turns back to Joi, it finds that she has managed to escape and begins tracking her down. Meanwhile, Hardrock, his son, and the bikers arrive at the camp and free Rick and the others, while capturing the baby Bigfoot and Rick tells their rescuers about Joi and says they have to rescue her. Jasper and Elmer try to get away with the baby but it gets away and reunites with the other three Bigfoot. The others go after Joi and the large Bigfoot, who had managed to recapture Joi, and when they find it, Jasper tries to convince them to help him capture it alive. Hardrock shoots at the Bigfoot and manages to wound it, causing it to drop Joi and head off into a nearby mine to escape the men. One of the bikers uses the dynamite he grabbed from Hardrock’s place to blow up the entrance the mine, sealing the entrance and seemingly killing the Bigfoot, while the other 4 Bigfoot are seen making their way down the mountain to find a new home. As the bikers and Hardrock leave, Jasper laments about the lost opportunity but when Joi tries to console him, he invites her to join him and they can tour the country talking about her experience and make a fortune doing it.

This is such a terrible movie that it is just laughable to imagine how it ended up getting made. The acting was ok at best, but did tend to be pretty bad at times. John Carradine (Jasper) was probably the best actor in the bunch but there was one point where it seemed like Joi Lansing (Joi) did nothing but scream whenever she was on camera; at least during the last 30 minutes or so of the movie. The story was interesting, as it basically played up the angle of Bigfoot being some sort of missing link of early man, thus their kidnapping women in order to breed. The special effects were just terrible as far as the costumes went. Those were some of the worst Bigfoot costumes I think I ever saw. At one point, when the Bigfoot was fighting with Rick, it looked like the top half of the costume had moved up the actor’s body, showing the skin underneath. That plus the rather shoddy camera work, and the disjointed scenes where events seemed to be out of sync just made this a chore to watch at the end. The claim about this being the greatest monster since King Kong definitely fell short in regards to this film.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: April 24th, 2014 Movie – Big Trouble In Little China

big trouble in little china

Ok. I have been a fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for a long time, both as a wrestler and as an actor. That being said, I will never forgive him if his plans of remaking this movie ever come to fruition. I wish Hollywood would stop with the whole remaking everything possible instead of trying to come up with more original ideas. When it comes to this movie, this is one of those movies that I have always loved watching because it is so ridiculous. Ever since I first saw the trailer, where Kurt Russell’s character knocked himself out, I decided that this was a movie I had to see. I managed to watch it on HBO years ago and every time it came on TV, I would watch it. So of course I had to pick up a copy on DVD so I could watch Big Trouble In Little China whenever I wanted.

The plot: Egg Shen is talking with his lawyer, who asks him if he knows the whereabouts of Jack Burton, but Egg tells him to leave Jack alone, as they were in his debt. The lawyer persists in finding out what happened, as Egg is being blamed for the destruction of a city block in a ball of green flame, and Egg says it was magic, revealing himself to be a sorcerer himself, and starts telling the lawyer what all happened. Some time earlier, Jack Burton is driving his truck, The Pork Chop Express, outside of San Francisco to make a delivery and as it is being unloaded, he gambles outside of the warehouses with his friend Wang Chi and several other people. Jack ends up winning $1148 over the course of the night and as morning breaks, everyone else leaves to start work but Wang convinces Jack to stay for one more bet, offering double or nothing. Wang proposes to cut a bottle in half with a large knife and Jack takes the bet but when Wang goes to cut the bottle, the bottle ends up flying towards Jack, who quickly catches it, citing his reflexes. Jack asks Wang to pay up but Wang says he doesn’t have the money on him and asks Jack to stop by his restaurant later, as he has to go to the airport first, but Jack says he will give Wang a lift, as he wants to ensure he gets paid. At the airport, Wang is there to pick up his childhood sweetheart Miao Yin, who he intends to marry, but as they are waiting for her, Jack notices a woman, Gracie Law, and heads over to talk with her. As they are talking, members of a Chinese street gang called the Lords of Death push by them and Gracie gets nervous about why they are there. Gracie moves away from Jack and spots her friend, another Chinese girl, and calls out to her but the Lords of Death move to grab her. When Jack tries to intervene, one of them pulls out a knife and baton and moves to attack him, allowing a second member to sweep Jack’s legs out from under him. Miao Yin shows up but ends up being grabbed by the Lords of Death, who escape from the airport. A pissed off Jack decides to go after them and Wang tells him that they have a club in Chinatown. After following Wang’s directions through some alleys, they find their path blocked by a funeral procession of the Chang Sing. Jack starts to back up when he notices some other figures approaching and Wang says they are the Wing Kong, the rivals of the Chang Sing. A massive fight breaks out between the two gangs when suddenly, a burst of green fire erupts from the ground and the Three Storms (Thunder, Lightning, and Rain) appear and kill three members of the Chang Sing, before moving forward to continue fighting. Wang tells Jack to get out of there and as Jack drives forward, the Three Storms move out of the way but Jack ends up running over David Lo Pan. Stopping his truck to inspect the body, Jack discovers that Lo Pan is still alive and hsi eyes and mouth suddenly start glowing, temporarily blinding Jack. Wang helps him get away and splashes water on Jack’s eyes to restore his vision when they find themselves approached by the Lords of Death and are forced to run, only to discover that Jack’s truck has been stolen while the Three storms are slaughtering the Chang Sing. Making their way back to Wang’s restaurant, Jack is on the phone with his insurance company about his truck when Wang’s friend Eddie Lee shows up and tells him that the Lords of Death stole his truck. Gracie shows up, saying she feels bad as the reason Miao Yin was taken was because of her and tells them that She was taken to the White Tiger, an illegal brothel the the Lords of Death run. Jack, Wang, Gracie, and Eddie head over to the White Tiger and Jack heads inside on his own, leaving the others waiting outside. As they are waiting, Gracie sees another car pull up and heads over to it, as it is her reporter friend Margo, and she tells her what is going on. Inside, Jack tries to find out if Miao Yin is there when suddenly, the building starts shaking while outside, Wang and Eddie see a giant green cloud over the building. Suddenly, the Three Storms appear, blowing a hole through the roof and they grab Miao Yin, who was being held in a secret room, and fly off with her. Realizing that Miao Yin must have been taken to Lo Pan’s place, Jack and Wang head in there disguised as telephone repair men and attempt to locate her only to be captured by the Rain. Rain tortures them briefly before tying them up and taking them to see Lo Pan, who appears as a decrepit old man. Lo Pan asks Wang about Miao Yin, and Wang realizes that Lo Pan intends to marry Miao Yin in order to appease the God of the East, then sacrifice her in order to remove the curse that he was inflicted with. Suddenly, Lo Pan sees Gracie, Eddie, and Margo on the monitors and he has Jack and Wang taken away, while Thunder ends up capturing the others. Jack and Wang are taken to a cell but Jack manages to free himself and Wang, then quickly pretend to be tied up again when Thunder enters with Eddie. Jack jumps onto Thunder, holding his knife to his throat, while Wang helps Eddie down and they go to leave when Thunder suddenly starts expanding, sending Jack flying off of him and into one of the wheelchairs he and Wang were tied to. Jack goes rolling backwards down the hall, knocking out some Wing Kong fighters that were coming to deal with them, and Wang and Eddie quickly lock Thunder in the room and head out after Jack before Thunder gets free. The three go looking for Gracie and Margo and find them locked in cages along with several other girls and as Wang and Eddie deal with the guards, Jack frees all of the women. When Thunder arrives with more Wing Kong warriors, they all make a run for it, diving into a pool of water and making their way through the sewers. After climbing back up to the warehouse that Jack and Wang first entered, they go to leave only to find their way blocked by more Wing Kong warriors but Jack and Wang manage to deal with them. Jack and Wang create a distraction so they cna lead everyone past the front guards but Gracie ends up being captured by a strange, orange furred monster. Outside, Jack and the others find Egg and Wang’s uncle Chu waiting for them in Egg’s tour bus and the manage to get away but realize that Gracie is missing. Gracie is taken to the room where Miao Yen is being held and Lo Pan approaches her and uses his powers to mesmerize her, just as Miao Yin is, as Gracie has green colored eyes like Miao Yin. Back at Wang’s restaurant, Egg shows up with the surviving members of the Chang Sing and they head out with Jack and Wang to stop Lo Pan, making their way through the underground sections of the city and deep under the earth towards Lo Pan’s temple. Meanwhile, Lo Pan has the Three Storms initiate the test for Miao Yin and Gracie, both of him pass, and he has them prepared to be married to him to appease the God of the East, then will sacrifice Gracie and keep Miao Yin for himself. Jack and the others reach Lo Pan’s temple and encounter a beholder, which Lo Pan uses to watch for intruders. Seeing what the beholder sees, Lo Pan taunts Egg Shen until Jack shoots at the beholder, driving it away. Jack and the others reach Lo Pan’s office, wondering where everyone is, and after finding the secret elevator, Egg gives everyone a magic potion to help them in the upcoming battle. They take the elevator down and see Lo Pan in the midst of the wedding ceremony and Egg tells them all to wait until the wedding is completed, as Lo Pan would be mortal and able to be killed. When they spot the wounded beholder nearby, Wang stabs it with his sword but Lo Pan sees them and has the Wing Kong attack them. Wang and the others rush to meet them while Jack ends up knocking himself out briefly before joining the fight. As Wang fights with Rain, Egg uses his magic to save Jack from Thunder, then begins battling Lo Pan. Their battle ends in a stalemate and Egg leaves with Miao Yin and Thunder, while Lightning attempts to seal the door behind them, then leaves himself. Wang manages to kill Rain then chases after Miao Yin, while Gracie, having snapped out of the trance, gets Jack and the go after him, dealing with the orange furred creature in the process. Taking the elevator back to Lo Pan’s office, Jack and Gracie end up kissing before the doors open, and they go looking for Miao Yin. They find Lo Pan talking with her and Thunder and Jack approaches them, joined by Wang. Jack and Wang attack Thunder and Thunder ends up chasing after Wang, leaving Jack to deal with Lo pan. Jack throws his boot knife at Lo Pan but misses and Lo Pan lets go of Miao Yin and picks up the knife. Complimenting Jack on the knife, Lo Pan throws it at him but Jack manages to catch it and throw it straight back, embedding the blade in Lo Pan’s head and killing him. Jack then goes to help Wang, who returns to the room with Thunder in tow and when Thunder sees Lo Pan’s body, he begins swelling up and ends up exploding. Thunder appears and Jack and the others run away, getting help from Egg to escape while Egg ends up killing Lightning by dropping a statue on him. Making their way through Lo Pan’s building, they find Jack’s truck and get in, driving through the warehouse doors and getting away, as Miao Yin and Wang kiss. Back at Wang’s restaurant, Jack, Wang, Gracie, Miao Yin, Egg, Eddie, Margo, and Chu are celebrating their success and Egg leaves, telling Jack he had promised himself a vacation when he finally defeated Lo Pan. Wang hands Jack a check for triple the money he owed him, saying he earned it and Jack approaches Gracie and talks to her about selling his truck and settling down. She offers an alternative of his getting a bigger truck with a sleeper compartment big enough for two and he says he will think about it, then leaves. As Jack heads down the road, he is talking on his CB about his experiences, unaware that the orange furred creature had stowed away underneath his truck.

Big Trouble In Little China met with mixed reviews from the critics on it’s release but has since received more positive results, holding an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Brimming with energy and packed with humor, Big Trouble in Little China distills kung fu B-movies as affectionately as it subverts them.” 20th Century Fox hired James Carpenter to direct the movie and rushed it into production, as they wanted to release it before a similarly themed movie, The Golden Child, came out. This fulfilled Carpenter’s wish to direct a martial arts movie but the mixed reviews from the critics left Carpenter disillusioned with Hollywood and influenced his decision to return to independent film making. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $11.1 million off of a reported $25 million but has since become a cult classic.

This movie is so fantastically ridiculous to watch and so much fun as a result. Kurt Russell was great as Jack Burton, while Kim Cattrall (Gracie), Dennis Dun (Wang), and Victor Wong (Egg) were also good. The story was interesting, trying to mix a martial arts movie with a fantasy/sorcery movie and it made for an interesting blend of styles. I also loved how Jack was trying to make sense of everything that was going on before finally just accepting it, while Wang was struggling with the fact that all of the stories and fairy tales he was told as a kid were coming true. The special effects were pretty cheesy at times but a lot of the fight scenes were decent and helped make them enjoyable. This really is a fun movie and one that is worth watching if you are in the mood for some not so serious entertainment.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Flashback Review: April 23rd, 2014 Movie – Big Trouble

big trouble

This right here is how sometimes, real life can actually kill a movie. See, I remember seeing the previews and trailers for this movie back in 2001 and thinking that it looked pretty funny. I had actually been given the book for a birthday present earlier that year so I was eager to see what the differences might be between the two. Then, September 11th happened, and there was absolutely nothing funny about that event whatsoever. Now Big Trouble was supposed to come out on September 21st, but due to what had happened, the studio wisely felt that a movie featuring a scene with a nuclear bomb on a plane would not exactly sit well with most audiences. I admit that the selfish part of me wasn’t happy about having to wait for this movie to come out but I understood the reasoning for the delay and thought it was the right move to make. However, when they finally did decide to release it, they gave it almost know marketing or push whatsoever. I honestly didn’t know it had even been in theaters. I saw it in Blockbuster one day and thought that they had just decided to release it to video instead. Oh well. I still rented it, watched it, and ended up buying it so it didn’t make too much difference to me, just makes me feel bad for the people that worked on it.

The plot: Eliot Arnold was a columnist for the Miami Herald but was fired after putting his foot through the editor’s computer monitor after a disagreement about a story. Earlier that day, he had found out his wife had been having an affair and after the divorce was final, he bought a Geo, which makes his son Matt ashamed of him, and started an ad agency. One year later, Eliot is meeting with a client, Bruce, who is upset about the ad Eliot had designed to promote Bruce’s beer. As Bruce is leaving, he gets a call from his son Matt, who asks if he can borrow the Geo as he and his Andrew have to kill someone after school Figuring it is a joke, Eliot agrees to loan him his car. Meanwhile, a suitcase nuclear bomb arrives at the Miami airport and is smuggled onto a van. At the same time, two hitmen, Henry and Leonard, arrive in Miami and head out for their assignment while a homeless man named Puggy arrived in Miami, as he had read that Miami had great Cuban food and, having a love for Fritos and thinking they are close to Cuban food, had gone there to see for himself. Puggy heads to a dive bar run by two Russians and orders a beer and a bag of Fritos. As he is eating his Fritos, two former convicts, Snake and Eddie, enter the bar and the bartender threatens to kick them out, as they have caused problems before, but Eddie says they have some money and want to buy a drink. The two sit down necxt to Puggy and, while he is distracted watching TV, Snake steals his change. When Puggy notices his money is missing and asks them to give it back, Snake punches him and starts beating him while he is down. The bartender hits Snake with a bat and when he goes after Eddie, Snake moves to hit him with a bottle but Puggy trips him up. The bartender kicks Snake and Eddie out, with Snake vowing revenge on Puggy, but the owner tells Puggy he can stay and offers him free beer. When the van from the airport arrives, the bar owner pays Puggy to unload the suitcase and, seeing how strong he is, tells him to come back tomorrow for more work. That night, Puggy finds a nice tree to sleep in that happens to be on the property of Arthur Herk.As Puggy is in his tree, he sees Matt and Andrew arrive, as they are there for Matt to kill Arthur’s daughter Jenny, their classmate, as part of a game at school called “Killer”. Jenny is with her mom Anna watching TV while Arthur is busy trying to seduce their maid Nina, who hits him with a crucifix and hides in the bathroom. As Matt and Andrew get into position, Henry and Leonard show up, as they are there to kill Arthur for embezzling money from his company. When Anna opens the back door to let their dog in, Matt rushes into the house to squirt Jenny with a squirt gun, only for Anna to jump on his back, causing him to fall onto Jenny. During the confusion, Henry shoots at Arthur but misses and hits the TV, and Arthur runs towards Nina’s room, who gets scared when she sees him and rushes outside. Running through the backyard, she trips under the tree Puggy is in and Leonard trips over her as he tries to leave. When Henry shows up, Puggy jumps down on him and grabs his gun to keep him from hurting Nina, but then gives it back when they hear police sirens approaching and Henry and Leonard quickly leave. Officers Monica Romero and Walter Kramitz arrive and question Matt, Anna, Jenny, and Arthur about what happened when Eliot arrives, as Andrew had called and told him what happened. While everyone is talking, Walter finds the bullet in the TV and they ask who fired the gun, but they all had no idea. Romero and Walter leave, ignoring Arthur’s desire to press charges against Matt, and Anna and Jenny escort Eliot and Matt out of the house, with Anna and Eliot both becoming attracted to each other. The next day, Anna pays a visit to Eliot and they talk briefly before they start making out. Later, they are talking about their relationship with their kids, as Eliot wishes that he had a better one with Matt like Anna had with Jenny. Meanwhile, Henry and Leonard are meeting with the man that set up their hit on Arthur, asking him about who the other people were at the house. After a brief encounter with Bruce, where Henry breaks Bruce’s fingers for refusing to put out his cigar, Henry tells the client that it will cost another $10 grand a piece to do the job. Elsewhere, Arthur confronts his boss about the hit, as he knows that they had arranged it, and threatens to spill the beans on their operation to the Feds if they don’t back off. Meanwhile, Matt and Andrew are approached by Jenny, who asks if he was given credit for the kill, and when he says no, she arranges to meet him that night so he can squirt her. They meet up that night at a strip mall and Matt goes to shoot her but a drunken security guard, mistaking Matt’s squirt gun for a real one, fires at them. Matt and Jenny run off and Andrew manages to grab the gun when the security guard trips and drops it, then he runs off. Romero and Walter are on patrol when they see Andrew with the gun and stop him, then arrest the drunken security guard. As they question Andrew, he tells them what happened and they decide to head to the Herk’s house to speak with Matt and Jenny. Meanwhile, Arthur heads to the bar, intending to buy a missile to deal with his bosses, but is shown the bomb and agrees to buy it instead.  As he is leaving, Snake and Eddie show up to rob the place only to find that the bar has no money, as it is really a front for arms smuggling. They then decide to rob Arthur and head back to his place to see what else he has to steal. At the Herk’s home, Eliot arrives after Anna calls him and after chastising Matt for the game, he calls the police to report what happened. Snake and Eddie show up with Arthur and Puggy, who is carrying the suitcase, and they proceed to tie up Anna, Matt, and Jenny with the phone cord. Eliot attempts to bluff Snake with the squirt gun and get them to leave but Snake notices the water dripping from the barrel and calls Eliot’s bluff, then ties him up as well as Walter and Romero when they arrive. After everyone is restrained, Snake and Eddie leave, taking Jenny as a hostage and Puggy, who is still carrying the suitcase. Back at the bar, FBI special agents Greer and Seitz show up looking for the suitcase and after shooting the owner in the foot, he tells them that Arthur has it. Back at the Herk house, Nina cuts Eliot, Anna, Matt, and Walter free and they head off to rescue Jenny, leaving Romero behind as she is handcuffed to a brass shelve with Arthur. Romero and Arthur drag the shelf to the back door and break through the glass to call for help, just as Henry, who had been watching the whole situation unfold with Leonard, fires at Arthur. Arthur lands in his dog’s food bowl, where a hallucinogenic toad had been living for the past month, and he ends up getting squirted by the toad. Greer and Seitz arrive and question Arthur, who is unable to answer as he is hallucinating that his dog is Martha Stewart and is after his soul. Romero tells them about Snake and the suitcase but refuses to tell them anything else until they free her. Snake and Eddie arrive at the airport and buy some tickets for the Bahamas but as they try to bluff their way through security, they accidentally activate the bomb, with the timer set for 45 minutes. Eliot, Anna, Matt, Nina, and Walter arrive at the airport and split up to try and find Jenny, with Walter going to alert airport security but when he insults the head of security, who is the twin brother of the drunken security guard, he ends up being given a strip search. At the Fly by Air gate, the go to board the plane but Puggy manages to slip away, where he manages to run into Matt and Nina. Matt finds his dad and Anna and he tells them about Jenny being on the plane and they tell him to find the cops while they go to try and get Jenny. When they arrive at the gate, Snake, who is trying to get the plane to take off, fires at them and Eliot tells Anna to go get help, then he runs off and manages to get on the plane. Romero, Greer, and Sietz arrive at the airport, just as Henry and Leonard arrive, and Romero pulls the bolt from Henry’s rifle, which Leonard had dropped, and follows the agents inside. When they see the plane taking off, the question Anna and the others about the bomb and Puggy tells them that it had been turned on, forcing Greer to make the call to have the plane shot down over the ocean. On the plane, Snake tells Eddie to close the rear door of the plane but Eliot knocks him out, then attacks Snake with the fire extinguisher. With Snake distracted, the pilots radio the tower and Greer is patched in and tells them to get the suitcase off the plane. The pilot tells Eliot and he shoves it out the door but Snake grabs it and then grabs onto the stairs to keep from falling. When he refuses to let go, Eliot pulls the lever to disengage the stairs, sending Snake and the bomb falling into the ocean, where the bomb explodes harmlessly, while the Air Force breaks away from attacking the plane. When the plane lands, Jenny hugs her mom and tells her about what Eliot did and Matt hugs his dad, having finally grown to respect him after almost losing him. Greer and Sietz tell Eliot that the President offers him his thanks, though nobody can ever know what happened. Romero sees Walter running naked through the airport and it is learned later that Walter would quit the force and become an exotic dancer. Henry and Leonard consider the Herk job the lowest point of their career and are stuck on a plane with a bunch of Florida Gator fans, as the runway is obstructed by a bunch of goats. Anna and Eliot get married a week after Anna’s divorce goes through, while Matt and Jenny, and Nina and Puggy start their own romances. Meanwhile, Arthur, still suffering from the hallucinogen, has been dragging the shelf down the street begging someone to help him save his soul from Martha Stewart.

Big Trouble met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “With its large cast and frantic comic pacing, Big Trouble labors for slapstick-style hilarity, but it never really gains steam.” The interior shots at the Miami Herald office building were actually shot at the Miami Herald. The crew ran over a few hours but were allowed to stay and finish due to Dave Berry, who had written the book the movie was based on and was a columnist for the Herald at the time. The movie was a box office bomb, earning $8.5 million off of a $40 million budget.

This movie is one of those nonsensical comedies where a lot of things are happening all at once, but connect to form a pretty funny movie. The acting was good, but I personally liked a lot of the secondary characters over the main ones, with Jason Lee (Puggy), Dennis Farina (Henry), and Patrick Warburton (Walter) being my favorites. The story was a bit convoluted, which admittedly can make it hard for people to follow, but actually stayed fairly close to the book. Honestly, I thought that all of the different story arcs that were going on but managed to intersect and stay connected helped keep the movie more light hearted, so you aren’t just focusing on one thing. The comedy generally relied on some situational comedy, with a bit of slapstick antics at times but it actually worked out well for the most part. I know it’s not going to be for everyone but I think this is a pretty funny movie that is worth giving a chance.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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comedy, crime, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 22nd, 2014 Movie – The Big Lebowski

the big lebowski

Some times, an actor will take a role and for the rest of his life, he will always be referred to as that character, no matter at what point in the actor’s career he played that character. Jaleel White is always going to be Urkel, Daniel Radcliffe is always going to be Harry Potter, and for Jeff Bridges, he will always be The Dude. Now I admit that I did not go see this movie in theater when it came out and when I finally decided to rent it, I was kicking myself for not having watched it sooner. I have probably made up for it some by the amount of times I have watched it since. Of course, this movie kind of plays a role into a night among friends that has since been dubbed “Bad Idea Saturday”. I had gone bowling with my friends Emily and Charles and we decided to name ourselves characters from the movie in our game. I wound up being The Dude and in honor of that, decided I should be drinking White Russians, which wound up being some of the nastiest White Russians I had ever had as the bartender was using little packets of creamer to mix in the drink. Anyways, drinking those drinks was one of many bad ideas that occurred that night, but I am definitely getting away from the point here. Right now I should be focusing on enjoying The Big Lebowski for the untold time.

The plot: In 1991, Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski has just returned to his apartment after buying some half & half when he finds two thugs waiting for him inside. One of the thugs grabs The Dude and forces his head in the toilet, demanding the money he owes their boss while the other thug pees on The Dude’s carpet. When the thugs tell The Dude that his wife Bunny owes their boss, porn magnate Jackie Treehorn, but when The Dude tells them he isn’t married, the two thugs realize that they have the wrong guy and leave. Later, The Dude is bowling with his friends Walter and Donny and tells them about what happened. Walter says that The Dude should track down the other Lebowski, the millionaire that the thugs were looking for, and have him compensate The Dude for the rug and The Dude agrees with him. The Dude goes to see Jeffrey Lebowski, who tells him that what happened is not his fault and whatever trouble that Bunny got into is between her and Treehorn, and doesn’t involve him. After leaving Lebowski’s office, The Dude tells Lebowski’s assistant Brandt that Lebowski said he could have any rug in the place as compensation and Brandt has some men take the rug The Dude picks out and place it in his car. That night, while bowling, Walter pulls out a gun on their opponent when he barely steps over the line during their league play, causing them to be disqualified for that match. The next day, Brandt calls The Dude and tells him that Lebowski wants to meet with him. When The Dude arrives at Lebowski’s place, Lebowski tells him that Bunny has been kidnapped and shows him a ransom note he received. Brandt then tells The Dude that Lebowski wants him to deal with the ransom exchange, offering him $20,000 and letting him keep the rug as payment. Later, The Dude tells Walter and Donny what’s happening as the watch Jesus Quintana, a rival bowler, and The Dude says thinks that Bunny just kidnapped herself as a way to get the money from her husband so she can pay back Treehorn. Later that night, The Dude is laying down on his new rug when he notices a woman and two men standing over him. One of the men punches him, and when he recovers, he hears the pager that Brandt gave him going off. The Dude meets with Brandt, who gives him a cell phone and a suitcase with money and The Dude goes to make the exchange. He picks up Walter, who asked to come along, and Walter has a satchel filled with dirty underwear and a wrapped package with him. Walter explains the satchel is a ringer, as he says they should keep the $1 million themselves. When The Dude asks what they should do if Bunny really is kidnapped, Walter says that he can simply grab one of the guys during the hand off and beat him for information. The Dude receives a call on the phone telling him where to go and as they approach a bridge, he is told to throw the money off the bridge. Despite The Dude’s protests, Walter grabs the satchel and throws it, then jumps out of the car in order to grab one of the people that goes to get the money but Walter’s package, which was a wrapped sub-machine gun, begins firing erratically when it hits the ground, shooting out one of The Dude’s tires and causing him to crash. The Dude gets out of the car with the suitcase of money as three motorcycles ride up from beneath the bridge and he tries to flag them down but they ride off in the other direction. Walter convinces The Dude to go bowling and forget about it, as they have the money now, but The Dude is worried about what he is going to tell Lebowski. When Donny tells Walter that their next league match is on Saturday, Walter gets upset, saying he doesn’t roll on Saturday as he observes Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. As Walter rants at Donny, The Dude gets fed up and leaves only to find that his car has been stolen, with the briefcase of money still inside. The Dude heads home and contacts the police about his stolen car, being vague about what is in the briefcase. As he is talking to the police, he receives a call form someone named Maude who says she is the one that took the rug and wants to meet with him. The Dude shows up at Maude’s place and she reveals that she is Lebowski’s daughter and that Lebowski had embezzled money from their family’s foundation and asks The Dude to recover the money, as she also feels Bunny kidnapped herself, and offers to pay him $100,000 if he succeeds. Maude has The Dude taken back to his apartment but as soon as he gets there, he is grabbed and forced into another car, where Brandt and Lebowski are waiting for him. Lebowski asks The Dude where the money is and The Dude says he dropped off the money like he was supposed to but asks if they considered that the kidnapping was faked and that the “kidnappers” were saying that they didn’t get the money in order to get more money from him. Brandt hands The Dude an envelope containing a severed toe, with the toenail painted the same color as Bunny’s when The Dude met her at Lebowski’s place, and Lebowski tells The Dude that he told the kidnappers to get the money from him. As The Dude is relaxing in his bath, the police call and inform him they found his car, just as three Germans enter his apartment, saying that they are the kidnappers and demand the money from him or else they will cut off his johnson. The Dude goes to get his car from the impound lot but there is no sign of the briefcase and the police have no intention of looking for it. At the bowling alley, The Dude tells Walter and Donny about the Germans and gets upset at Walter’s attitude about the situation. As The Dude sits at the bar, a stranger sits next to him and they start talking when The Dude receives a call from Maude, wanting to meet. The Dude meets with Maude, who tells him that the Germans, who were actually a band, were friends of Bunny’s and not likely to be the kidnappers, then asks The Dude to go see the doctor she recommended. After going to the doctor, The Dude is driving around and notices a blue Volkswagen Bug following him. As he tries to avoid it, he ends up wrecking his car when he accidentally drops the joint he was smoking into his lap. As he is recovering, he finds some homework from a kid named Larry in the seat of his car. Walter tracks down where Larry lives and they go to see him, with Walter trying to intimidate Larry into telling him where the money is. When Larry doesn’t answer, Walter goes outside and begins smashing the new sports car parked outside the house, thinking Larry used the stolen money to buy it but it turns out it was the neighbor’s car, who begins smashing The Dude’s car in retaliation. The Dude returns home only to have Treehorn’s thugs grab him and take him to see Treehorn. Treehorn asks The Dude where Bunny and the money is and The Dude tells him he doesn’t know where Bunny is but that Larry has the money before passing out from the drugs Treehorn slipped into his drink. After suffering from a hallucination from the drugs, The Dude is picked up by the police as he is running down the road and taken to the station, where the sheriff tells him not to bother Treehorn again. The Dude is placed in a cab and sent home but when he tells the driver that he hates The Eagles, the cabbie kicks him out of the cab and as The Dude yells at him, he doesn’t notice Bunny driving by in a sports car, having taken an unannounced trip to Palm Springs and not missing any of her toes. Meanwhile, the three Germans are seen at a diner eating with a woman, who is missing one of her toes. When The Dude gets home, he finds Maude there waiting for him and she tells him to sleep with her. Afterwards, they are talking and Maude tells The Dude that her father doesn’t have any money, as her mother was the rich one and left all the money to the family’s foundation. When Maude pulls her knees up to her chest, The Dude asks what she is doing and she tells him she is trying to ensure she gets pregnant, as she wants a child but tells The Dude that she does not want anything to do with the father, easing The Dude’s concerns about fathering a child. The Dude realizes he was played and calls Walter and has him pick him up. When he goes outside to wait for him, he sees the Volkswagen parked up the street and confronts the driver, who is a P.I. that had been hired by Bunny’s family to find her and bring her back home to their farm in Minnesota, as she had run away from their. When Walter gets there, The Dude tells him about Lebowski not having any money so he stole the money from the foundation and kept it, giving The Dude an empty briefcase so he can blame the money’s theft on the kidnappers. Arriving at Lebowski’s house, they see Bunny has returned and confront Lebowski about his using Bunny being missing to steal the money and pin it’s disappearance on the kidnappers or him. Lebowski says that it is The Dude’s word against his and Walter insults Lebowski, not believing that he is really paralyzed, and picks him up out of his chair and drops him on the floor, then they quickly leave when they realize he is paralyzed. The Dude and Walter head to the bowling alley to practice and when they leave with Donny, they find the Germans have set The Dude’s car on fire and demand the money. The Dude tells them they know that they didn’t kidnap Bunny so there is no ransom so the Germans decide to just rob them. Walter fights the German’s biting the ear off of one of them and knocking all three out but Donny ends up suffering a fatal heart attack due to the excitement. The Dude and Walter take Donny’s ashes to the Pacific Ocean to scatter them and accidentally ends up throwing them in The Dude’s face when the wind shifts. Walter apologizes and tries to wipe the ashes off of The Dude, who gets upset at Walter for ruining everything, and Walter hugs The Dude and tells him they should go bowling. At the bowling alley, The Dude encounters the stranger again and the talk briefly before The Dude heads over to go bowling, telling the stranger that “The Dude abides.” The stranger, breaking the 4th wall, addresses the audience and says he takes comfort in that. He then says he hopes they liked the story as he did, and comments that even though he was sad that Donny died, he knows that a little Lebowski is on the way and figures that is just the circle of life.

The Big Lebowski received mixed reviews on it’s release but in recent years, the critics have changed their opinion of the film, as shown by the certified fresh rating of 82% it holds on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers, brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.” Before filming a scene, Jeff Bridges would ask the Coen Brothers if The Dude “burned one on the way over” and if they said he did, then he would rub his knuckles in his eyes before doing a take to make them appear bloodshot. Though the movie was a success at the box office, earning $46.2 million off of a $15 million budget, the studio considered it a disappointment. However, it would become end up becoming a cult classic over time and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2014.

I think this really was a movie that was a bit ahead of it’s time because it is fantastic. Jeff Bridges and John Goodman were fantastic as The Dude and Walter respectively and their interaction was hysterical throughout the movie; with The Dude constantly being incredulous at Walter’s suggestions and actions. I also liked Steve Buscemi (Donny) and you kind of feel bad for his character, as he constantly came in halfway through The Dude’s and Walter’s conversation and when he tried to figure out what they were talking about, Walter always yelled at him. The story was great, as it was a nice little red herring of a crime drama with the stoned Dude getting dragged into a mess and trying to figure a way out, and somehow stumbling into what is really going on. The comedy wasn’t really in your face, mostly involved with the banter between people and some of the resulting actions from it. Definitely one of the Coen Brothers best movies and well worth watching.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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action, martial arts, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 21st, 2014 Movie – The Big Fight (1972)

the big fight

Ahh, starting off the day with some martial arts action. This is a good way to get the blood pumping. Now the only question is, what kind of movie am I getting with this movie. Am I getting a movie that is mostly drama with a little bit of action, or a movie that is all action and no story. Personally, when it came to these 70’s martial arts movie that were all over the place, I generally preferred the ones that were a lot of action with no coherent story, though there were some obvious exceptions such as any Bruce Lee movie. Well, with a title called The Big Fight, one can only hope that there is a lot of action.

The plot: In WWII China, part’s of China was occupied by the Japanese, who set up tyrannical and oppressive rules to keep the citizens in line.At a dojo, a visiting Master, Master Woo, is watching the students and comments about one of them being a great fighter, then proceeds to fight and seriously injure the kid, much to the shock of the dojo’s master and students. Elsewhere, a farmer, Chou Hai-Chuan is stopped by a patrol of Japanese soldiers but when they try to force him to move his cart out of the way, he fights and kills all of them, then leaves with his cart. Hai-Chuan stops at a restaurant to eat, listening to a woman, Miss Liao, sing on stage as he does. When a man, Chin Tai, tries to accost the Miss Liao, she runs from him and ends up hiding behind Hai-Chuan. Not liking Hai-Chuan’s sticking up for the girl, Chin Tai orders his men to force him to leave but Hai-Chuan fights them and quickly runs Chin Tai and his men out of there. The owner cautions Hai-Chuan, saying that Chin Tai is friendly with the Japanese, which is why he acts like such a big shot around town. Miss Liao and her band tell Hai-Chuan to follow them and lead him out of town. As they are walking, Miss Liao stops and messes with a scarecrow and Hai-Chuan asks about it but she doesn’t answer, instead saying she knows who Hai-Chuan is and is happy to have run into him, as they had been looking for him. They continue walking and Miss Liao explains she is part of the rebellion against the Japanese and Hai-Chuan says that if she calls on him, he will gladly help. The group make their way through a Japanese checkpoint when they encounter Chin Tai and some more men, who begin fighting with them. The Japanese soldiers get involved but Hai-Chuan, as well as Miss Liao and her band, are easily able to kill them all. Meanwhile, Master Woo shows up at a woman’s house and talks with her briefly before he ends up raping and killing her. He later goes to his father, who asks why he killed the woman, and Woo tells him that she was a guerrilla who tried to kill him. Hai-Chuan leads Miss Liao and her band to his family’s dojo where they can stay, then goes for a walk with his fiance Shu-Shen. While they are out, Miss Liao goes looking for Hai-Chuan and encounters Woo, who tries to seduce her but she spurns his advances and when he tries to grab her, is able to fend him off until Hai-Chuan and Shu-Shen arrive and calm things down. Upset over the slight he received from Miss Liao, Woo eagerly goes out to handle the surprise census that the Japanese have ordered performed and when he goes to the inn, he finds the salt that Hai-Chuan had brought and has him arrested as a traitor. In the prison, Woo interrogates Hai-Chuan, claiming he brought the salt to make gunpowder in order to overthrow the Japanese occupation. Miss Liao and her band want to break Hai-Chuan out of prison but Hai-Chuan’s family choose to be more diplomatic and have Hai-Chuan and Woo’s teacher appeal to Woo’s father to get Hai-Chuan released. After he is released, Hai-Chuan heads to the dojo and is helping teach the class when Miss Liao appears and watches them. Suddenly, Woo shows up with some Japanese soldiers, saying he is there to capture unexpected intruders in the village. Searching the dojo’s grounds, Woo and the Japanese commander accuse one man of being a rebel and end up killing him, then the commander goes to rape the man’s wife but she kills him then shoots herself. Some time later, the Japanese general in charge of the area shows up at Woo and his father’s house and the Woo’s tell them their plan to help the Japanese take out the rebel fighters in the area by holding a tournament and having their best fighters take on the local fighters. During the first day of the tournament, the Japanese fighters (a judo master, sumo master, and karate master) kill two men and severely injure two more. As they discuss the situation later that night, Hai-Chuan says that they should try to avoid fighting in the tournament, as it is simply a means to draw them out. The next day, Miss Liao and Hai-Chuan’s teacher decide to go against Hai-Chuan’s wishes and end up competing and end up besting the three Japanese fighters, though Hai-Chuan’s teacher is severely injured in his fights. With their fighter’s defeated, the Japanese then summon the brother of the karate master, who is an even greater fighter, while Woo has the dojo attacked, killing most of the students, as well as Shu-Shen and Hai-Chuan’s brother. The young boy is angered at seeing his friends killed and goes after Woo, knowing he was responsible, but ends up being killed by the karate master. Hai-Chuan finds out about the attack and goes to stop the boy only to get there as he is killed. Hai-Chuan ends up fighting the karate master and is eventually able to kill him. Seeing their champion fall, the Japanese general orders his men to fire at Hai-Chuan, causing a riot in the crowd as they begin fighting with the Japanese. Miss Liao and her band join up with Hai-Chuan and help with the fight, eventually killing most of the Japanese leaders. Woo and his father are captured and killed by the angry villagers and Hai-Chuan and Miss Liao head out to continue fighting the Japanese.

This was a decent movie but, like most of these movies around this time, it was a little confusing. The acting was ok but the dubbing for the movie added to the confusion of what was going on in the movie more than telling the story at times.. The story was interesting, using the historical occupation as the setting making for a great plot device to explain the high tensions among people. Even with the setting helping things out, the story felt somewhat disjointed and didn’t seem to click as a whole, but I tend to attribute that disconnect with the dubbing a lot of times, as they try to make the dialogue fit their own story instead of it being what the original directors intended. The fight scenes were pretty well done and this did have a fair amount of good action in it. The one thing I didn’t care for was the ending, as it just stopped suddenly and didn’t seem to give any real resolution to the movie but left it too open ended. It’s a good time killer movie and definitely a fun movie to watch for fans of the genre.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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drama, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 20th, 2014 Movie – Best Friends

best friends

Everyone has friends, more than likely with some being closer than others. However, at times you can also have that one friend who is somewhat toxic, where you know your life would be better if that person was no longer in it and you have to cut them loose. Now when it comes to my friends, I am a pretty loyal friend and tend to stay on good terms with just about all of them, regardless on how frequent or infrequent we talk. However, I have had a couple of those toxic friends in my life and though I hate doing it, I have had to bite the bullet and end the friendship so that they don’t drag me down with them. So let’s see how 70’s Hollywood handles such a friendship as I watch Best Friends.

The plot: Jesse, his fiance Kathy, and their friend Jo Ella head off to pick up Pat,  Jesse’s best friend, and Jo Ella’s sometime boyfriend, who is flying back from serving in Vietnam. After picking him up, they rent an RV to head back home to California in but Pat seems upset and comments about how Jesse and Kathy’s marriage will change things between them. When they stop to eat during the trip, Pat asks Jesse to step outside with him and points out a bike shop across the street. He suggests they ditch the RV and buy a couple of bikes and just cruise across the country but Jesse tells him that he has a job lined up in Stockton and he can’t just blow it off, as he wants to save up his money to buy a house. Jesse heads back inside the diner but Pat goes across the street and buys a motorcycle, driving back to the diner to show it off to the others. As they continue on their trip, they stop at a bar at an Indian reservation and as the watch a topless girl dance on the stage, Pat convinces Jo Ella to dance as well. Jo Ella starts dancing on a table and as she takes her shirt off, the patrons start cheering for her more than the girl on stage. The manager asks Pat to have Jo Ella get off the table but when he refuses, the manager has the band stop playing, causing an uncomfortable Jo Ella to get off the table. When a man asks her to come sit with her, Pat and Jesse both end up punching the man and his friend, then apologize and start backing away with the girls when things start to look bad but Jesse gets sucker punched as they leave. The group stay at a motel for the night and Jesse wants to go after the guy that hit him but Kathy convinces him to just let it go, as they will be leaving in the morning. However, Pat heads out that night after everyone is asleep and catches the man walking down the street and beats him up. The group continue on their trip and as they make another stop, Pat ends up buying Jo Ella an engagement ring but later tells her he doesn’t plan on settling down and when she asks why he bought her the ring, he says because he likes her. Pat then decides to work on breaking up Jesse and Kathy’s engagement, first by convincing Jo Ella to try and hook up with Jesse. He then asks Kathy if she wants to go for a ride on his bike and she agrees, as they need to get some groceries. While they are gone, Jo Ella flirts with Jesse some and admits that Pat isn’t going to marry her and they end up having sex. Meanwhile, Kathy finishes buying some groceries and when she comes out, Pat tells her that she can’t marry Jesse, trying to convince her that he will cheat on her but she tells him to shut up. When they get back, they find Jo Ella trying to keep from crying outside the camper and Jesse looking guilty inside the camper and Kathy realizes something must have happened between them. Some time later, they stop at a beach and as Jesse heads out to get some more supplies, Kathy, Jo Ella, and Pat stay out on the beach. When Kathy goes back to the RV after swimming in the ocean, Pat follows her in and attempts to rape her, then notices Jesse coming back and quickly turns to face the door so that Jesse can see them together when he comes in. Jesse tells Pat to let her go and then forces Pat out of the RV. Pat says that Kathy has been coming on to him the whole trip, which Kathy denies, and the two men start fighting each other and Jo Ella stops Jesse from smothering Pat in the sand and eventually Pat gets on his bike and rides off. Jesse comforts Kathy, who wants to go home, but Jesse says that he can’t just leave Pat there. That night, as Jesse, Kathy, and Jo Ella are sleeping in the RV, they see a light constantly shining on them and believe it is Pat but when Jesse heads outside and calls out to him, he gets no response. The next day, Jesse goes looking for Pat and finds him in the bar and the two attempt to repair their friendship. They end up meeting two girls, and Pat sets up a date for them later that night but after the girls leave, Jesse says he can’t go through with that. He asks Pat what he wants and Pat says he wants Kathy but Jesse says he would kill Pat before letting him have her and leaves. That night, as Jesse, Kathy, and Jo Ella are sleeping, Pat returns to the RV. Jo Ella wakes Jesse and Kathy and tells them Pat is there but when they don’t see anything, they go to drive off only to find one of the tires is flat. As Jesse heads outside to change the tire, Pat starts up his motorcycle and just sits there gunning the engine, shining the light on them, and Kathy starts getting freaked out. They head back inside and try to get some sleep but Pat breaks one of the RV windows and starts laughing at them. Jesse gets fed up with Pat and grabs Pat’s gun and heads outside, threatening to kill Pat with it. Pat continues riding his motorcycle around as Jesse fires wildly at him and he accidentally ends up shooting Kathy. In the morning, Pat approaches Jesse, who is sitting next to Kathy’s body, and after Pat chases off Jo Ella, he talks to Jesse and tells him that it is better off with just the two of them.

Soo, my thoughts on this movie are as follows; boring, disturbing, and confusing. The acting was honestly kind of bland but I will say that Doug Chapin did a good job with Pat’s decent into a somewhat sociopathic behavior. The story was a little confusing as they didn’t really do a good job explaining what brought on Pat’s sudden desire to break up Jesse’s relationship with Kathy but I will say they did a decent job with the drama of the whole situation. The drama was honestly the big thing going for this movie but there wasn’t a whole lot else to keep the audience interested in it. One of the hundreds of movies that filled the drive-in’s back in the day but not really worth watching unless you are simply curious.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Standard