comedy, crime, movie, movie review, mystery

December 8th, 2017 Movie – Super Troopers

super troopers

Ahh, a fun movie to start the day with. In 2001, a movie came out that would soon become an instant classic in the comedy world. Now I honestly didn’t get a chance to see it when it came out in theaters but after hearing several friends talking about it, I decided I had to rent it. When I first watched it, I will admit that I didn’t get all of the appeal and thought it was just another in a line of stupid comedies. However, after watching it a couple of more times, as well as some of the other Broken Lizard movies, It started to grow on me so I ended up buying a copy. So let’s have a few laughs with today’s movie, Super Troopers.

The plot: Near the Canadian border of Vermont, 3 kids are smoking pot while driving down the highway when they notice a State Patrol car next to them. They quickly have one of the guys eat the pot, as well as some shrooms one guy had on him, then throw a second bag of pot out the window as they start to pull over. When the patrol car speeds by with it’s sirens flashing, the guys start laughing at their good fortune only to be shocked when the patrol car appears behind them. Trooper Arcot “Thorny” Ramathorn and rookie Trooper Robert “Rabbit” Roto exit their car and question the kids then quickly leave in their car, only to go in reverse and go back behind them. As they start to bust the three kids for possession, a car speeds by yelling at them so the two troopers throw the kids in the back of their car and take off after the man. The speeder passes by another patrol car, taking out the head of the dummy that Trooper Jeff Foster had in his car, then gets off the highway and heads into a bar. The three troopers follow after him only to realize that it was Trooper MacIntyre “Mac” Womac pulling a prank on them. Mac teases the guys for falling for his prank, then puts his disguise back on and leaves the bar, shooting his gun in the air before getting in the patrol car the three guys are in and taking off. Later that day, the troopers are informed by their C.O., Captain John O’Hagen, that their station is being under consideration to be shut down so they need to cut back on the pranks and try to get along with the local police department. Meanwhile, Trooper Rodney “Rod” Farva, is constantly trying to prank Rabbit, as he is upset that he is under suspension for getting in a fight with some school kids during a traffic stop. When a murder occurs in a winnebago on a deserted highway, the Highway Patrol and local PD get in a fist fight over who is taking the case, which causes the Highway Patrol to look even worse. As the two law enforcement agencies continue to mess with each other at a kids little league game, Foster attempts to hit on Officer Ursula Hanson, the local PD radio operator who wants to get out in the field. The next day, Mac and Foster pull over a semi when it fails to pull into the weigh station but as they head into the trailer to inspect the cargo, the driver locks them inside. They are eventually let out by Thorny and Rabbit, who discover that the truck was carrying 150 kilos of marijuana. At the station, O’Hagen asks about the driver and they tell him that he was using a fake name and that the company is also fake. Rabbit comments on how the John Chimpo sticker on the bales of marijuana is the same as a tattoo the dead woman in the winnebago had and suggest they might be related so O’Hagen says he will talk to Chief Grady about taking over the investigation but Grady mocks his theory and refuses to turn it over. The mayor shows up as the newspaper is taking photos and tells them that the governor will be stopping by the town on her way to Burlington later in the week. Thorny and Rabbit pull over a German couple driving a Porsche only to learn that it is stolen so the arrest the couple. Later that night, Rabbit decides to go for a joyride in the stolen car only to get pulled over and arrested by Mac and an off duty Farva. As a result, Farva’s suspension is lifted and he is partnered with Thorny while Rabbit is stuck on radio dispatch. Meanwhile, Foster continues hitting on Ursula and they eventually decide to have sex in the winnebago but while they do, the bed breaks and they discover some more bricks of marijuana with the John Chimpo sticker on them. Foster takes the bricks to his station and while O’Hagen doesn’t believe his story on how he found them, agrees to talk to Grady again about taking over the investigation. O’Hagen tells Mac and Foster to go check the truck stops for information but they are unable to get any info on the mystery driver. Meanwhile, Farva gets into an altercation with some fast food workers and is arrested. As the local PD haze him, Grady speaks with Farva about coming to work with him after the Highway Patrol is shut down, asking him about how their drug bust is going but Farva refuses. Later, O’Hagen gets upset at the position Farva’s incident placed them in and says they are most likely going to be shut down unless some miracle occurs. Meanwhile, Foster and Ursula are continuing to see each other in secret and Ursula comes up with a way to help Foster save the station by getting the marijuana hidden in the winnebago and bringing it to the function that the Governor will be at. Foster and Thorny go get the winnebago while Rabbit distracts the cops but when they get there, they find that Grady has shown up with the drugs while they have bags full of cardboard. Foster confronts Ursula about what happened and she denies having anything to do with the trick, then tazes him when he suggests she was sleeping with Grady. That night, O’Hagen and the other troopers all get drunk and discover that Farva was the one who ratted them out and taken a job as a local cop. The 5 troopers gang up on Farva and strip him of his uniform, then steal his patrol car and proceed to have some fun. Foster contacts Ursula over the radio to apologize and she tells him a way to get back at the guys. When they go to where Ursula said to meet them, they see the truck driver pass by them and they start to follow only to be stopped by Farva. Farva plans to arrest them all but they convince him to go with them and see what is going on. When they get there, they find the truck driver meeting with the pilot of a small plane that flew in from Canada. When they see Grady and the other officers arrive at the scene, Farva gets upset at them and heads off to meet with Grady, but after he leaves, Thorny and the others see that Grady and the officers are in on the drug smuggling. Ursula arrives and tells them she knew about the drug smuggling but couldn’t do anything about it. Using some flares and a blow-up doll from Farva’s car, the troopers cause a distraction that saves Farva life, then take down the drug dealers and crooked cops. After the dust settles, the Highway Patrol is commended for bringing down the smuggling ring but their station is still shut down. A few months later, Thorny and Rabbit deliver a keg to a house party being thrown by the three kids they harassed. As the kids mess with them, thinking they are no longer cops, they take off their delivery uniforms to reveal that they, and the others are now serving as the local Spurbury police department.

Super Troopers didn’t fare well with the critics, only scoring a 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A more-miss -than-hit affair, Super Troopers will most likely appeal to those looking for something silly.” The “bullet-proof cup” scene was filmed outside an actual prison, with the prisoners pressed against the fence yelling at Steve Lemme as he was standing there in just a cup. The movie was a big hit at the box office, earning $23.1 million off of a $1.2 million budget, and after a crowdfunding effort, a sequel has been produced to be released in 2018.

This isn’t the best comedy work but it is a really funny movie. The acting was good, with all of the Broken Lizard troupe turning in a great performance, while Brian Cox (O’Hagen) was surprisingly funny with his character. The basic premise of the movie was honestly a little unoriginal, as it was the basic goofball group clashing with the “authority” regime. Wow the basic premise was unoriginal, the story was pretty good as they added their own unique twist to it. The comedy was a mixture of slapstick, play-on-words, and some general adult humor but it all blended together pretty well. I did think it was funny that the couple that Farva said “chicken fucker” too was actually Kevin Hefferman’s parents. A funny movie that is well worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Advertisements
Standard
action, crime, martial arts, movie, movie review, video game

December 4th, 2017 Movie – Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li

street fighter the legend of chun li

You know what needs to happen, a prequel story to Street Fighter that has no relation with the original movie. Ok, I am completely lying about that and yet that is exactly what we got with today’s movie. Now, as soon as I saw the trailers for this movie, I knew it was going to be a “steaming pile” and had no desire to see it in theaters or rent it. Then I got bored while wandering through Movie Stop one day and ended up buying it. To be honest, I think the only reason I bought it was because I was buying some video game based movies and decided to go full on terrible in my purchases. Well, let me get some antacid ready as I watch today’s movie, Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li.

The plot: As a young girl, Chun-Li is forced to travel a lot due to her father’s job but while they are at their home in Hong Kong, her father Xiang begins teaching her wushu. One night, when Xiang returns home, he is attacked by Balrog and some men and he manages to hold them off but when Chun-Li comes downstairs to find out what is happening, Balrog grabs her and Xiang surrenders so he will let her go. Bison enters the room and tells Chun-Li to listen to her father and head upstairs and she watches from her window as Xiang is forced into a car and her mother is struck by Balrog when she tries to stop them. Years later, Chun-Li has become a young woman and is performing a piano concert in Hong Kong and when she returns back stage, her friend says a gift came for her, an ancient scroll. As Chun-Li takes the subway home, she sees some men beating on someone before leaving him lying on the ground and as Chun-Li approaches him and asks someone to help, she notices the web tattoo on his hand. Meanwhile, Bison meets with the heads of the local branches of Shadaloo and says that he will be taking over control of all of them and when the men laugh and leave the building, Bison has Vega kill them all. He then receives a flash drive from Balrog and takes it to Xiang, whom he has been holding captive all this time, and tells him it is photos and a recording of Chun-Li’s concert, which he gives to him in exchange for his continued work for him. After Chun-Li’s mother dies, she decides to find out more about the scroll she received and as she is walking along the streets of Hong Kong, a street sweeper, bearing the same web tattoo, forces her into a shop. Inside, the owner examines the scroll and tells Chun-Li that she should go to Hong Kong and seek out a man named Gen, and Chun-Li realizes that Gen was the one she had helped and forced her into the shop. Meanwhile, Thailand police detective Maya Sunee is joined by Interpol Agent Charlie Nash and they discover the heads of the crime families and Nash tells her that Bison is the one behind it in order to consolidate power. Chun-Li travels to Bangkok, where she lives on the streets, and constantly searches for Gen but has no luck. One night, she sees some thugs beating someone and yells at them to stop, then proceeds to get in a fight with the men. Chun-Li beats them but passes out due to exhaustion and Gen shows up and carries her away. When she regains consciousness, Gen tells Chun-Li that they have been watching her and know where Xiang is being kept. Chun-Li is shocked to learn that Xiang is still alive and asks where he is but Gen tells her she is not ready to know. He then starts to explain about Bison and Shadaloo, saying he used to be part of the organization but now chooses to help those that Shadaloo hurts. He then offers to train Chun-Li in his style of martial arts, warning her that her anger will keep her from realizing her potential and Bison would easily capitalize on it. Meanwhile, Bison has kidnapped the families of various property owners of the slums around the waterfront in order to buy up the property for his own ends. Nash and Maya are keeping tabs on Bison’s operations and follow Bison’s secretary Cantana after she leaves the meeting. Unknown to them, Chun-Li was also watching Shadaloo and follows Balrog, where she overhears him discussing a shipment called the White Rose and asking for it to get into the city without going through customs. Chun-Li continues her training with Gen, who comments on her improvement. That night, Chun-Li heads to the night club where Cantana is and, given her fondness for women, manages to attract her attention and lead her into the bathroom. Once there, Chun-Li attacks her and manages to get the location of where the White Rose will be arriving and gives Cantana a message before she is forced to quickly leave when Cantana’s bodyguards start to break into the restroom. Chun-Li heads to another part of the club, where she ends up being attacked by the bodyguards and some other men, but she quickly defeats them and quickly runs when Nash and Maya, alerted to the commotion, head into the club and see what she did. The next day, Nash and Maya try to find Chun-Li but realize that the people in the area are protecting her. Meanwhile, Chun-Li asks Gen to tell her about Bison and he tells her how Bison had grown up an orphan and became a thief as the years passed. Seeking to get more power, he took his pregnant wife to a hidden temple and transferred all of the goodness in his soul into his unborn child, then kills his wife and cuts the child from her womb. Gen then sends Chun-Li out to get some groceries, wanting to get her out of the house as he knows Shadaloo men are coming. When the men get there, Gen is able to defeat them but Balrog fires an RPG at the house, blowing it up. Chun-Li had just returned and is knocked back by the blast and when she tries to find Gen, all she can find is his medallion and she weeps for the loss of her master. Meanwhile, Bison hires Vega to ensure the White Rose arrives untroubled and to kill Chun-Li. As Chun-Li is walking the streets, she senses someone following her and takes off running along the rooftops before quickly hiding. When Vega approaches where she is, Chun-Li fights with him and quickly beats him, leaving him tied up and hanging off the roof of a building. The next day, Chun-Li heads to the harbor and questions a dock worker as to when the White Rose is supposed to arrive. Meanwhile, Nash returns to his task force headquarters to find that it has been disbanded under orders from above and Maya tells him that he was right about Shadaloo’s influence. Chun-Li heads to the dock to intercept the shipment only to be captured by Bison and his men. Chun-Li is taken to a warehouse and tied to a chair, then Xiang is brought into the room and the two are left alone to talk for a few minutes before Bison enters and breaks Xiang’s neck before leaving. Balrog orders two men to kill Chun-Li but she is able to knock them out and escape. As she makes her way through the streets, Balrog and his men spot her and give chase and start firing at her but some of the crowd begin chasing after them. When Chun-Li is shot trying to prevent Balrog from shooting a kid, the crowd begins throwing things at Balrog and his men, forcing them to leave. Chun-Li ducks into an alley, where she is found by Gen and he takes her away to tend to her injuries. After she is healed, Chun-Li returns to the dock worker, who apologizes for leading her into a trap, and learns when the White Rose is really arriving. Chun-Li then heads to see Nash, telling him of the White Roses arrival and asking him to help her take down Bison. Nash arrives at the dock with his men and are soon joined by Maya and some of her men but as they see Bison arriving, Nash notices a bomb in the building and they quickly evacuate before it explodes. Bison’s men then begin firing on the cops, who are forced to defend themselves but Maya is injured during the fight. Elsewhere, Gen heads onto the boat and encounters Balrog, who reveals that the White Rose is a girl before Gen uses liquid nitrogen to kill him. Meanwhile, Chun-Li is on the boat looking for Gen when she spots a girl and tells her to stay where she is. When Chun-Li finds Gen, he tells her what Balrog said and Chun-Li realizes that the girl she saw is actually Bison’s daughter, Rose. The two go find Nash, who has a helicopter ready and they head off after Bison, who had managed to grab Rose and get away during the confusion. Chun-Li, Gen, Nash, and one of Maya’s SWAT team members head into Bison’s headquarters and attempt to find Bison and Rose, taking out the guards along the way. Gen encounters Bison, who easily defeats him, while Nash finds Rose and takes her out of the building. When Bison enters Rose’s room, he finds Gen waiting for him and the two fight again but when Bison throws Gen out the window, Gen’s leg is impaled on a piece of rebar. Before Bison can finish him off, Chun-Li attacks him and after a vicious battle, she summons a ki blast to knock him off the roof they are on, then jumps down onto him and breaks his neck. Nash approaches her and tells her to leave while he deals with the fallout with the authorities. Some time later, Chun-Li returns to her home in Hong Kong when Gen approaches her and shows her an article about an upcoming street fighter tournament. He says that they need to recruit some more fighters and mentions a prospect in the tournament named Ryu but Chun-Li says that she won’t join him as she is home now.

It may be hard to imagine, but Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li did even worse than it’s predecessor, only earning a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The combination of a shallow plot and miscast performers renders Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li a perfectly forgettable video game adaptation.” The movie marks the third fighting video game franchise that Robin Shou has been a part of, as he had played Liu Kang in the Mortal Kombat movies and the pirate leader in D.O.A.: Dead Or Alive. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $12.8 million off of an $18 million budget.

Oh yeh, this is definitely one of those movies that is famous for being terrible. The acting was ok at best, with Robin Shou (Gen) and Michael Clarke Duncan (Balrog) doing good jobs in their roles but the actual stars, Kristin Kreuk (Chun-Li) and Neal McDonough (Bison), actually being pretty boring with their roles. The story was a horrendous mess, only loosely following the story in the game, that being the fact that Chun-Li was after Bison for revenge for her father, but several of the major characters in the game, outside of Bison’s men Balrog and Vega, are not seen or mentioned, except for Ryu at the end. Some of the fight scenes were ok but a lot of the special effects looked cheap, which hurt the scenes they were used in. If you really want to watch this movie, do yourself a favor and smack your head against a brick wall a few times first, so you can be rendered unconscious before the movie starts.

Rating: 1 out of 5

 

Standard
action, crime, drama, martial arts, movie, movie review

December 2nd, 2017 Movie – Return Of The Street Fighter

return of the street fighter

Ahhh, a Saturday morning and I find myself watching a martial arts movie. That is really a flashback to my childhood, though the movies would usually come on in the afternoons, as I obviously needed to watch my Saturday morning cartoons first. Anyways, today’s movie is the first of two sequels to The Street Fighter and luckily for me, it happened to be a part of the Martial Arts box set. So let’s see what happens to Terry Tsurugi with today’s movie, Return Of The Street Fighter.

The plot: Terry Tsurugi is hired by Isamu Otaguro to kill two of his former business associates, one of whom is being held and questioned by the police. Terry speeds through town and fights the officers attempting to arrest him in order to get arrrested and taken to police headquarters. As he is being taken to his cell, Terry hears the man being questioned in the interrogation room and breaks free from his captors and smashes his way into the room. Once there, he takes out the guards and kills the witness, then fights off some more cops before making his escape out the window, where he gets into a car and drives off. As he drives, his assistant, Kitty, unlocks the handcuffs for him and then asks about when he will take out the next target. The next day, Shichiro Yamagami, the police inspector in charge of the case,  asks to be allowed to go after Terry but when he is turned down, he resigns. As he is leaving, the police get word that the man’s partner, who is also the second man Terry is to kill, has been spotted and they go to pick him up. The man is hiding in a movie theater while waiting for a flight to take him to Australia. When he sees the police looking for him, he tries to run but ends up running into Terry. Terry tries to stop him from leaving and the man ends up throwing the bag he is carrying at Terry so he can pull out a gun but ends up getting into a shootout with the police, while Terry escapes with the bag. Sometime later, Kitty takes the bag to Otaguro, where it is revealed to contain a priceless statue. At Masaoka’s dojo, Yamagami goes to speak with Kendo Masaoka and tells him what he knows of Otaguro’s martial arts academy and it’s ties to the Yakuza. He also asks Masaoka about Terry and Masaoka tells him that Terry is a skilled fighter and that they had fought once a few years ago. Masaoka goes to speak with Otaguro, saying he knows what is being said and if the rumors are true, that he should stop what he is planning and return the money but Otaguro gets angry and tells him to leave, summoning some of his stronger fighters to try and intimidate him. Meanwhile, Yamagami heads over the the building architect to ask him some questions about Otagura’s proposed building but the architect refuses to answer at first until Yamagami beats all of the security that had come to escort him out of the building. Elsewhere, Terry is working out in his gym with Kitty when they receive a secret message on an 8-track, telling them to head to a nearby subway station. Once there, a man gives them a key to a locker and when Terry opens it, he finds a suitcase of money from Otaguro and a note saying to kill Masaoka. Terry rips up the note and takes the money back to Otaguro, telling him he refuses to kill Masaoka, and after he leaves, Otaguro orders his men to kill Terry. Terry heads up to a snow covered mountain with Kitty and when she asks why he refused the job, he tells her he couldn’t kill Masaoka as he is the only person he can really trust. After riding a ski lift to the top of the mountain, Terry comes under attack from two of Otaguro’s assassins and manages to kill them. As he relaxes at a spa, Terry comes under attack again from a group of men but manages to beat them all, then places their unconscious bodies in a sauna and turns it on high while locking them inside. Back at his dojo, Masaoko is speaking with one of the men that runs another of his dojo and learns that Otaguro is forging his name to solicit donations for his organization. Terry returns to his hotel, where he ends up picking up a woman in the elevator. As they lay in bed together, the woman reaches into her purse to pull out a collapsible baton and tries to attack Terry only for him to easily disarm and beat her. Suddenly, the woman’s escort, an Arabian martial arts champion, breaks through the door and attacks Terry but Terry beats him and questions him, learning that the Mafia had sent him, before finally killing him. Kitty pleads with him not to go but Terry heads out to deal with Otaguro when he is confronted by Junjo, whom he had believed to have killed. Junjo, speaking through use of a voice box, tells Terry that he survived and the Mafia performed an operation to save his life in exchange for killing him and he eagerly agreed to it. Terry and Junjo fight and as Terry tries to fend off one of the sai that Junjo throws at him, he ends up falling off a building, crashing to the ground below, and Kitty cries over the body, pleading for him not to be dead before dragging the body away. The next day, Masaoka, Yamagami, and the heads of several other martial arts organizations, confront Otaguri about his crimes and his connections to the Mafia. A defeated Otaguri goes to see Don Costello and apologizes for what happened only for Costello to kill him, saying he will take over the operations. Costello sends some of his men to ambush Masaoka and the others as they have a celebratory dinner and shoot and kill most of them but Masaoka survives and manages to take out the men that had come to finish the job. Elsewhere, Kitty is tending to Terry’s injuries and is happy to see that he isn’t dead and pleads with him to keep fighting. Terry blacks out, where he dreams about when his father was executed for being a traitor and hears his father’s voice telling him to keep fighting and let nobody beat him. As he is eating and resting, Terry indicates that he knows Kitty was working for the Mafia the whole time and she admits that she betrayed them because she fell in love with him. She then tells him that Yamagami was killed and Masaoka injured and Terry makes plans to deal with the Mafia. As he heads out, Kitty is grabbed by the Mafia while she is walking and is tortured. When Terry arrives at Otaguri’s building, he finds Kitty lying on the stairs, and she warns him to run but he finds himself surrounded by Costello and his men. Costello tells Terry his plans for controlling the area, then kills Kitty but before he can kill Terry, Junjo stops him, saying he and Terry have to settle things. Terry lays Kitty’s body on a nearby table, using the time to slip two hidden blades into his hands, and as he faces off against Junjo, Terry throws the blades, killing one of the Mafia men while the other goes in Costello’s eye. Terry then begins attacking the men, making his way towards Costello, who is trying to escape. Terry eventually takes out all of the attackers, though he is wounded in the process, until the only people left are Junjo and Costello. As they continue to fight near an electrical transformer, Terry knocks Junjo into the leads, electrocuting him, then continues chasing after Costello. The two end up on the roof of a passing tanker truck and Costello pleads for his life but Terry strikes him, knocking him onto the hood of the truck, causing the driver to crash into the support for an overpass while Terry jumps to safety and watches as it explodes into flames.

Not as extreme with the violence but this was still a pretty good movie. Sonny Chiba did a good job in his role and I feel like he actually had a lot more character development with this movie than he did in the first one. I also liked Masafumi Suzuki returning as Masaoka but felt like Masashi (Milton) Ishibashi’s return as Junjo was a little anti-climatic. The story was pretty good, with Terry still working as a mercenary but showing a little more honor in how he handles his contracts. There were a lot more fights in this movie than in the previous and they were pretty well choreographed (such as the fight in the spa)  but the violence was toned down some, such as leaving out the x-ray scenes of various broken bones and some of the more violent death scenes. However, they did decide to leave in one of the funniest scenes I have seen in a serious martial arts movie. When Terry was facing the assassins on the mountain top, he punched one of them in the back of the head and….welll…eye poping out

Needless to say, this had me cracking up for how ridiculous it was. That aside, this is a fun movie to watch and a great way to indulge in some mindless action cinema.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

Standard
action, crime, martial arts, movie, movie review, thriller

December 1st, 2017 Movie – The Street Fighter

the street fighter

You know, as hit or miss as the Martial Arts box set has been, I will say that today’s movie is one of the reasons I am glad I got it. Now as odd as it may sound, this movie came to my attention by way of another movie. See, in the movie True Romance (which I will be reviewing sometime next year), Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette’s characters were watching a triple feature of the Street Fighter movies and my interest was piqued by it and decided to rent today’s movie one day. So let’s see what all the hype was about with today’s movie, The Street Fighter.

The plot: Tateki Shikenbaru (Junjo) is awaiting execution in his cell when the police bring a priest, Takuma Tsurugi (Terry), in to offer him last rites. Junjo refuses at first but after staring into the Terry’s eyes, Junjo asks to be left alone with the priest. The police agree and after they close the door, Junjo comments about Terry knowing karate and says he wishes he had the time to challenge him and Terry says he has the time so they begin fighting. Terry wins by using his oxygen coma punch, a technique which Junjo recognizes, and Terry tells him to hold on for 10 minutes before he falls victim to the punch. The police come to lead Junjo to his execution but before he reaches the noose, he collapses and the police send for an ambulance. As the ambulance makes it’s way to the hospital, they stop when a man (Ratnose) is standing in the street and as some of the officers go to move him, Ratnose attacks them. After he deals with the police and doctor, Ratnose is joined by Terry and they drive off in the ambulance. As Terry and Ratnose are watching the news about the ambulance theft, Gijun and Nachi, Junjo’s brother and sister, arrive and ask to see Junjo. When Terry refuses to tell them where Junjo is until they pay him the rest of the money they owe him, Gijun attacks Terry but Terry easily beats him. Nachi pleads with Terry to give him more time and Terry agrees, but says he will need some collateral, grabbing Nachi and kissing her. Gijun becomes enraged and attacks Terry again, joined by Nachi, and during the course of the fight, Gijun does a jump kick at Terry but Terry dodges and Terry ends up jumping through the window and falling to his death. Elsewhere, Kendo Masaoka, the owner of a karate dojo, informs his niece Sarai that her father, a wealthy oil tycoon, has just died while in Cairo and some people arrive to take her home but Kendo says that it is better if she stay there where he and his students can protect her. Meanwhile, Terry sells Nachi to Renzo Metaguchi, who proceeds to sell her to a sex trafficker. Renzo then introduces Terry to two of his associates, who want to hire him to kidnap Sarai but Terry refuses after learning that they are part of the Yakuza. Worried that Terry will be a threat to them since he knows their plans, the Yakuza send some men to kill him but Terry easily beats them and sends them back with a message for the Yakuza’s boss. Terry then heads to the dojo and after making his way to Sarai’s room, challenges Kendo and the rest of the dojo to a fight. Terry easily defeats Kendo’s students but Kendo is able to get the upper hand against Terry. After knocking Terry down, Kendo says he recognizes his name as belonging to a karate master from long ago who wanted to combine karate with Chinese boxing and asks Terry if he is his son. Terry, recalling the events of his childhood, is able to continue the fight and ends up battling Terry to a standstill. As the two men recover, Terry tells him what is going on and Kendo agrees to let Terry take over guarding Sarai, despite Sarai’s objections. Elsewhere, the Yakuza is coming up with plans to kill Terry and kidnap Sarai, planning on sending several of their strongest assassins to handle the job. Junjo happens to be in the same bar as the Yakuza boss and when he discovers that Nachi is one of his prostitutes, he quickly heads to her. Nachi is happy to see that Junjo is still alive and says that he has to avenge their brother’s death. The Yakuza boss, thinking it a coincidence that Junjo happened to be there and discover his sister, decides to take advantage of the situation and agrees to give Junjo a job so that he can get his revenge on Terry. Some time later, Sarai is preparing to head back home to deal with her father’s company, with two students from the dojo accompanying her. Terry and Ratnose follow in another car but the Yakuza box them in and use a crane to capture them, then drive to a ditch and drop the car into it. Two Yakuza members head down to ensure he is dead but Terry quickly manages to kill them. Heading after Sarai, Terry kills one of the Yakuza assassins that is waiting for him, then tells Ratnose to head back to the car and keep the motor running. Continuing to look for Sarai, Terry encounters Junjo and Nachi, who are there to kill Terry, and Junjo tells him he is too late, as Sarai is being taken to Renzo’s place as they speak. Junjo attempts to fight with and kill Terry but Terry jumps out the window, landing in the back of the truck and tells Ratnose to get them out of there. Meanwhile, Sarai and her escorts arrive at Renzo’s place, where Sarai’s father’s worker reveals he double crossed them. Sarai and her guards try to leave but they find their way blocked by a blind swordsman, who manages to kill both of the students, but the students kill his knife throwing companion before they die. The next day, Terry and Ratnose take a motorboat to Renzo’s place, where Sarai sees them and waves out the window to tell them where she is. Sarai is about to be raped but Terry climbs up to her room and kills her attempted rapist by castrating him by hand. Terry then has Sarai climb down the rope and he joins her but when Renzo’s men chase after them, he tells Ratnose to get Sarai to safety while he holds them off. Terry takes out several of the guards before Renzo faces him and the two battle to a stalemate when the other Yakuza bosses say they need to question Terry to learn where Sarai is. Terry is tied up and tortured but refuse to talk when Ratnose, disobeying Terry’s orders, shows up and attempts to free him but is captured. Ratnose gives up Sarai’s location to try and spare Terry’s life but the Yakuza end up knocking Terry off the cliff and into the water below. Ratnose heads down and manages to save Terry but Terry pushes him away, saying he betrayed their duty and are no longer friends. Terry heads out to rescue Sarai, who is being taken to a freighter out at sea but he encounters the blind swordsman on the docks. Terry and the swordsman fight, during the course of which a man on a motorbike interferes and is attacked by the swordsman. Terry manages to take advantage of the distraction and kills the swordsman, then discovers that the motorbiker was Ratnose, who was trying to make amends to Terry. On the freighter, Sarai learns that her father’s business partner was behind her kidnapping, as he wants her to sign over control of her father’s company to him, so the Yakuza will have a monopoly in the oil business. Meanwhile, Renzo speaks with Junjo and says that if he can defeat Terry, he will turn over control of his organization to him. Terry makes his way out to the freighter and begins taking out the guards as he tries to locate Sarai. Terry eventually finds Sarai but is unable to rescue her and Renzo says to let Junjo deal with him. Junjo and Terry head out to the deck and start fighting as a storm buffets the ship. During the course of the fight, the bodyguard of Sarai’s father’s business partner tries to shoot Terry and Renzo kills him and the business father for interrupting the fight. Nachi attempts to stab Terry but when she misses, she grabs onto Terry and tells Junjo to stab Terry through her. Junjo reluctantly agrees, killing his sister and severely injuring Terry, then continues to press the attack. When Terry is knocked down, Sarai rushes over and tells him to get up but Junjo pushes her aside and goes to finish off Terry. As Junjo attempts to strangle Terry, Terry manages to grab Junjo’s throat and rip it out, then get to his feet, where Sarai and Renzo both help him keep his balance.

While there isn’t a critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, the average movie goes loved this movie, giving it an 81% score on the site. The Street Fighter is famous for being the first movie to receive an X-rating in the U.S. due solely because of the violence in the movie (primarily because of the scene where Terry castrated a man with his bare hands). The movie, and it’s sequels, gained a lot of mainstream exposure after it was featured in the movie True Romance. 16 minutes were cut from the movie to give it an R rating, which is the version that was first released on home video. The movie has since been released in it’s entirety but is now in the public domain, where it can be downloaded for free.

This is precisely the type of film that you expected to see during the martial arts craze of the 70’s. Violence, violence, and more violence makes this a great movie to watch if you are in the mood for some almost nonstop fighting and action. Sonny Chiba was really good in his role but I will admit that some of his facial features during the fights were absolutely hysterical. The story was a little confusing after Terry’s first fight with Junjo, but it seemed to correct itself as the movie continued. The fight scenes were as brutal as you would expect from the title and while I think some modern movies look a little smoother, the choreography between Sonny Chiba and his opponents was pretty good. If you are a fan of martial arts movies, this is definitely one of those movies that you should watch, if for no other reason than the cultural impact it had.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Standard
action, crime, movie, movie review, sci-fi

November 26th, 2017 Movie – Steel (1997)

steel 1997

Sometimes, you have to ask yourself exactly how a movie gets made. Of course, that also begs the question on how I find myself owning those same movies. Now I would actually say that this is the how I wound up owning today’s movie but that would be a lie, as I had actually sought this out and bought it on purpose. The reason for that is simple, my friends and I were discussing bad movies and this one came up and I, being in a bit of a superhero mood, I decided to buy it. So lets have some fun with today’s movie, Steel (1997).

The plot: John Henry Irons, along with his partner Susan “Sparky” Sparks, designs and tests weapons for the U.S. Military. After conducting a test on a new laser rifle, which easily disables a tank, Irons and Sparky are checking over the results on the rifle’s performance. Meanwhile, Lt. Nathaniel Burke is secretly talking with Senator Nolan, who is observing the tests, and tells her he has been making some of his own modifications to the weapons to make them even more powerful. The team heads to the next testing site, consisting of an abandoned village, where the plan on using a sonic cannon to take down a wall. Burke asks to fire the cannon and pushes the power setting to it’s maximum. Irons notices this and tries to stop him but Burke fires the weapon, taking out the building he was aiming for but the sonic blast bounces back and strikes the building they are in, causing part of the roof to collapse. At a military tribunal, Irons testifies that Burke caused the accident which killed Nolan and paralyzed Sparky. Burke is dismissed from the military and blames Irons for ruining his career. Afterwards, Colonel David wants to get back to work designing weapons but Irons resigns his commission, upset that his weapons injured Sparky. After going to the hospital to check on Sparky and giving her his address, Irons heads back home to Los Angeles to live with his younger brother Martin and his Grandma Odessa, unaware that Burke heads there as well. Burke goes to an arcade manager named Big Willy Daniels, who is known to sell weapons to gangs on the side, and offers a proposition for Daniels to loan him the seed money to start producing weapons and he will get half the profits from the sales. Burke builds his first prototype and has a worker demonstrate it for Daniels and the gun shorts out, causing a horrible burn to the kid’s face but Daniels is impressed by the damage the weapon had caused and tells Burke to keep working on them. Burke kills off Daniels’ assistant Duvray, who was critical of Burke, but spares Daniels’ bodyguard Singer and convinces him to work with him. Singer organizes a test of his weapons by helping a gang rob a bank, using the new weapons to easily break into the building and the vault. Irons and Martin are riding to a town meeting with Irons’ friend Norma, who is a police officer, when she is alerted to the bank robbery and heads off to go handle the call. When they arrive there, Irons is shocked to find his weapons are being used to commit the crime and he is forced to rescue Norma when her car is flipped over and catches fire while she tries to stop the robbers. When Irons sees a straggler, Cutter, trying to escape, he chases after him and eventually catches up to the kid and asks him where he got the weapons but he is shot by Slats, the leader of the gang, and the two crooks escape. The next day, Irons contacts David to find out how his weapons got into the hands of a street gang but David tells him that all of his weapons are accounted for. Irons then asks Martin about the gang and heads to their hangout to question them about where they got the weapons but Slats refuses to answer his questions. After Irons leaves, Slats calls Burke to tell him about Irons visit and Burke tells him to keep Cutter out of site but after he hangs up, Burke tells Singer to kill Cutter as an example to the others. Irons tries contacting Sparky and finds out that she has transferred to another V.A. hospital. After going to visit her, and finding her wallowing in self pity over being paralyzed, Irons takes her out of the V.A. to help him. Heading back to L.A., Irons takes Sparky to his Uncle Joe’s junk yard, where he has a workstation set up, and he convinces her to help him build weapons to take out the weapons being used by the gangs. Meanwhile, Martin gets a job at the arcade, where Burke takes over his training. With Sparky and Joe’s help, Irons fashions himself a suit of armor, while Sparks and Jo make him a weapon, shaped like a sledgehammer. Irons goes for a test run on his new weapon and armor, stopping a mugging and a gang shootout without any problems. The gang members all run away but when the cops show up, due to the gunfire, they attempt to arrest Irons. Irons manages to get away, though part of his armor falls off and his grappling cable breaks in the process, and safely makes it back to their hideout in the junkyard. The next day, Martin is talking about Steel, what the media is dubbing the costumed Irons, when Burke talks to him about it, then meets up with Slats and tells him to keep an eye out for the man of steel. As Steel and Joe head out on patrol, Singer, Slats, and some more of Slats’ gang head out and attempt to rob the Federal Reserve, while Burke films what they do so he can use it to sell the weapons on the internet. Steel shows up to try and stop the robbery and Burke, watching the film, notices him talking to someone and wonders who it is. Steel’s weapons have no effect on the crooks armored vehicle, as the armor is the same as his, and he is knocked back by a blast from the sonic cannon. When the police arrive and attempt to arrest Steel, Slats takes out the police helicopter and Steel is forced to save the police officer before the debris falls on him while Singer and the gang make their escape. Steel is forced to run as well as the cops chase him but he is able to get away and drive his motorcycle into Joe’s modified truck. Later, Sparky is tending to Irons’ injuries and chastising Joe for pushing him too hard. Meanwhile, Burke has the footage of the robbery sent out to the TV stations, prompting various criminal organizations to find out how to get the weapons, and then calls the police with an anonymous tip on where to find Steel. Irons returns home and is questioned by his Odessa on whether or not he is Steel when the SWAT team burst into the home and arrest Irons, finding one of Burke’s prototype weapons in his basement. Irons is placed in a line up and the detective in charge asks the people that Steel had helped after the mugging if they recognize him but, feeling like Steel was doing good work, say they don’t recognize him, nor does the police officer that he rescued. Irons is kept in holding for questioning but Sparky and Joe get the D.A’s signature and voice pattern so that Sparky can call and get Irons released. That night, Steel and Joe go looking for the site of where the auction is taking place and Sparky is standing by to call David to arrest them all but Burke’s men show up and capture her. Losing contact with Sparky, Steel and Joe continue to head out and locate the site of the auction and Steel makes his way inside, telling Joe to try getting a hold of Sparky but if that fails, contact David and tell him where to go. Steel heads inside but is soon captured by Burke’s men, who threaten to kill Sparky if he doesn’t surrender. Burke then makes his sales pitch, killing Daniels and turning on Slat in the process but Steel taunts him about having more firepower in his hammer than Burke has in his weapons. Burke falls for the taunts and activates the hammers electro-magnet, sending the hammer back to Steel, while Sparky reveals that she added some weapons to her wheelchair and begins attacking Burke’s men. Steel tells Sparky to get out of there and he goes after Burke, who shows that he has Martin as another hostage and as Steel saves Martin, they find themselves locked in a tool shed, with Singer throwing a grenade inside. With no way out, Martin points to a hole in the roof and tells steel to throw it, to which Steel says he never makes those shots, but manages to get the grenade through the hole, then protects Martin from debris while Singer is killed in the explosion. Burke unveils his latest weapon and attempts to use it on Steel but the blast ricochets off of Steels armor and strikes Burke, launching him back into the warehouse where falling debris falls on him and kills him while steel drives the armored vehicle out of the warehouse so they can get away. David and his soldiers arrest all of the criminal organizations and the next day attempts to contact Irons and convince him to come back to work for him but Irons refuses. Later, Irons, Joe, Sparky, and Martin go to Odessa’s home, which she has converted to a restaurant, and Sparky reveals one last modification to her wheelchair; one that allows her to stand upright, as Irons hugs her.

Steel (1997) was heavily panned by the critics, holding a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Steel is a badly-acted movie that indulges not only in superhero cliches, but also the sappy TV-movie-of-the-week ones.” Shaquille O’Neal had to do his own stunts for the movie, as the director was unable to find a stunt double tall enough to fill in for O’Neal. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $1.7 million off of a $16 million budget.

This is an absolutely horrible movie for a lot of reasons. Shaquille O’Neal was ok playing Irons, while Judd Nelson made a great bad guy in Burke. I also thought it was funny to have Richard Roundtree as Uncle Joe, with that comment about him liking the hammer’s shaft being really funny. The story was interesting in the fact that the character Steel was a member of the Superman family but they decided to make no reference or mention of Superman at all for this movie (although Shaq’s Superman tattoo was visible in several scenes). Aside from that, the character’s origin was very close to the origin of the character in the comics, with some slight differences obviously. I also liked that they worked in the whole Shaq being bad at free throws bit into the movie, but their making it a pivotal moment was a little much. The special effects were average to be honest and could have been a lot better but I have seen worse. This is not a good movie but can be funny in the “so bad, it’s good” style, or just torture if you want to show it to someone you hate.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

Standard
action, crime, martial arts, movie, movie review, thriller

November 2nd, 2017 Movie – SPL: Kill Zone

spl

From a martial arts movie, to an anime movie, and back to another martial arts movie. I sense a pattern here. Now I remember first hearing about today’s movie years ago when I was going through a pretty rough patch in my life and, deciding on a change of pace from my usual sci-fi B-movies that I was drowning my sorrows in, decided to check it out. Needless to say, I obviously liked the movie as I own it so let’s see if SPL: Kill Zone is still as good of a movie as I felt it was back then.

The plot: In 1994, Inspector Chan Kwok-chung is escorting a witness and his family to court in order to testify against Wong Po, a notorious gangster. However, there car is t-boned by another car driven by an assassin named Jack, who ensures that the witness is dead. With the witness dead, the police do not have enough evidence to hold Wongin custody and he is released. Chan survived the crash, as did the witness’ young daughter Hoi-yee, and Chan decides to adopt her due to his guilt over her parents’ death. While visiting the hospital for a check-up, Chan is told that he has a brain tumor and while there is a chance to remove it with surgery, the odds of success are slim. Meanwhile, Hoi-yee had wandered off and encounters Wong, who was sitting in the hallway after being told of his wife’s second miscarriage. Hoi-yee offers Wong a piece of candy but as he speaks with her, Chan comes and pulls her away from Wong, then tells him that as long as he lives, he will come after him. Chan tells the members of his team (Inspectors Kwok Tze-sum, Lo-Kwun-wah, and Lee Wai-lok) about the cancer and they dedicate themselves to trying to bring Wong down, sending one officer undercover to infiltrate Wong’s gang. Three years later, Chan is set to retire in two days and turn over his unit to Inspector Ma Kwun and the police chief asks Chan not to cause problems before he retires. Chan and his team head out and one of Wong’s drug rings and afterwards, they head out to the beach with Hoi-yee. Ma meets up with them there and talks with Chan about his team while on the shore, Chan’s team are dismissive of their new boss and make plans to take care of Hoi-yee when Chan dies. That night, Chan is showing Ma the portion of the city that they are in charge and as they discipline a punk for throwing a bottle at a police officer, they encounter Wong, who taunts Chan by throwing his own bottle on the ground, causing several other thugs to do the same. The next day, Chan and the team arrive at the scene of a murder and discover that it is his undercover officer. At the station, a young man comes forward with a video tape showing the murder and Wah takes the tape to show Chan. Chan calls Lok and Sum into his office, excluding Ma, and they watch the tape to see Wong beating the officer with a golf club before he is shot by one of Wong’s henchmen. Knowing they can’t arrest Wong for murder, Wah suggests erasing the part of the tape showing who really killed the officer. Chan orders Wah to check on the witness, Lok to find the henchman who actually killed the officer, and Sum to come with him to arrest Wong. Ma enters the office to find out what is going on and they show him the altered tape and Ma goes with Chan to arrest Wong. They find Wong at the hospital heading up to see his one month old son and when they try to arrest him he starts fighting with them but they eventually overpower him and arrest him. Meanwhile, Wah is intimidating the witness to say that Wong was the one to kill the officer and ensuring that there isn’t another copy of the tape but after he leaves, the witness reveals he has another tape. Later, Chan and the others go to where the real killer is hiding and after chasing and beating him down, they kick him off a roof. Ma arrives in time to see them kill the man and after a brief fight, confront’s Chan about his framing Wong for the murder. Chan explains his reasoning for doing this, saying that they tried doing it by the books but were going nowhere, and leaves Ma. Ma is conflicted about what to do, as he had once beaten a drug dealer so bad that he is now a mentally handicapped homeless man and Ma’s guilt causes him to check up on him every week. Ma returns to the station to find several of Wong’s henchmen trying to confess to the murder and Ma tells the officers to take their statements but doesn’t turn in Chan or his team. Knowing they need a gun to frame Wong with, Lok contacts a dealer that is not associated with Wong and goes to get a gun from him and Ma accompanies him. Chan heads down to evidence to get the bullet from the crime scene while Sum goes to see his daughter and Wah comes with him. As Chan is in evidence, Wong’s men show up with the witness and the unaltered tape and the chief is forced to release Wong. The chief then goes to arrest Chan but Chan, sensing something went wrong, manages to avoid them with the help of Uncle Ba, an officer who is friends with Chan. Lok and Ma go to meet with Lok’s contact and when he demands more money, Ma goes to get it. While he is gone, another man shows up to talk with the dealer and after he leaves, the dealer and his friends suddenly race out of the area a few minutes later, locking Lok inside. Lok is approached by Jack, who proceeds to fight and stab Lok, but when Ma shows up and starts shooting at him to drive him off, Jack uses Lok as a shield, then slashes his throat before making his escape. Ma calls Chan to tell him what happened and Chan tells him to go check on Wah and Sum but he is too late as Jack shows up at the square where they are at and attacks them both. When Ma arrives there, Wah is still alive but barely and Wah tells Ma that they took the drug money from the raid and hid it in Lok’s car in order to help raise Chan’s daughter. Chan is finally able to sneak out of the station and meets up with Ma, who tells him what his friends did. Chan says if they give back the money, Wong will call off his men so Ma goes to get the money but Chan heads to Wong’s place with a bag full of newspaper clippings, claiming it is the money, and proceeds to attack Wong’s men but he is attacked and injured by Jack. Meanwhile, Ma gets the money from Lok’s car but as he goes to leave, he is confronted by the chief over Chan’s actions and Ma’s knowledge of them so Ma hands over his badge and gun, quitting the force. Ma then calls Wong and tells him he has the money and will turn it over so long as Chan is still alive and Wong tells him to hurry. When Ma gets to the building, he is met by Jack outside and the two start fighting, with Ma using a metal baton to counter Jack’s knife. After a brutal fight, Ma is able to beat Jack, killing him with his own knife. Ma heads inside and, seeing Chan’s body strung up, begins fighting with Wong. During the course of their fight, Wong’s wife calls and Ma, who has Wong in a choke hold, loosens his grip so that Wong can speak with her and Wong tells her to wait downstairs in the car. After she hangs up, the two continue fighting and Ma eventually wins, throwing Wong into the tower of liquor bottles and seemingly killing him. Wong then grabs a bottle of vodka and pours himself a drink then stares at Chan, who asks if he plans on cutting him down. Suddenly, Wong recovers and attacks Ma, pushing him out the window and Ma ends up landing on Wong’s car, killing his wife and and child when the roof collapses on them. Wong stares down the window and recognizes the car, just as his phone starts ringing with his wife’s ringtone, and Wong collapses into a chair. Some time later, Chan is seen at the beach with Hoi-yee and as she plays in the surf, Chan succumbs to his tumor and he ends up dying on the beach.

When I first heard about it, this movie was advertised as one of the best martial arts films of the century and I have to say, the claim isn’t far off. The acting was pretty good, with Donnie Yen (Ma), Simon Yan (Chan), and Sammo Hung (Wong) doing great jobs in their roles. The plot was really good, using a great deal of drama that only accented the brief times where the action scenes took place. The dilemma that Ma faced in deciding if he wanted to help Chan in his vendetta to bring down Wong under any circumstances was made even more poignant in the scene where he hung out with the drug dealer he crippled, as he deals with the results of his actions face to face. As for the fight scenes, they were great, with some of the fastest paced choreography I have seen in a long time. The fight between Ma and Jack (Jing Wu) was incredible and the weapon movement between the two was amazing. Whether you are a martial arts fan, a crime movie fan, or a combination of both, this movie is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

Standard
action, crime, fantasy, movie, movie review

October 30th, 2017 Movie – The Spirit

the spirit

Ok, back to the comic book movies. Now this is one of those movies that looked interesting on a couple of different levels. I mean, it is a Frank Miller movie and since Sin City and 300 are both some of my favorite movies, you would think that I would be all about seeing this movie in the theaters. However, I honestly had no interest in seeing it, and this was before I heard the critic’s reviews or my friend’s comments about it. So if I had no interest in seeing this movie and my friends who did see it said it was bad, why would I even buy this movie, you ask? Well, I have to blame a random Blockbuster trip for the fact that I own today’s movie, The Spirit.

The plot: Denny Colt is having a dream about Lorelei, the Angel of Death, who says that he escaped her grasp but she will always be nearby, when he is woken by a call from Detective Sussman, who says something is happening in the swampland that could involve the Octopus, Colt’s nemesis. Donning his garb as The Spirit, he heads out to meet with Sussman, but stops to rescue a woman who is being mugged. The Spirit checks on the woman to see if she is ok, removing the knife one of the muggers stabbed him with as she watches, then continues on his journey, stopping a patrolman named Liebowitz to catch a ride. At the swampland, Sussman is looking around when a woman rises up out of the water and points a gun at him and shots are fired. When the Spirit and Liebowitz arrive, the find Sussman dying from his gunshot wounds and a flashback shows that as he was facing the woman, the Octopus shot him in the back. The Octopus then continues firing at the woman, who dives back into the water to meet up with her partner Mahmoud, who had found two chests in the water. The Octopus continues firing into the water, hitting Mahmoud and severing the rope tying the two chests together as the woman tries to swim away with them. The Octopus then dives into the water and retrieves the other chest and as he surfaces, he sees the Spirit and Liebowitz tending to Sussman. As Liebowitz leaves to radio for help, The Octopus attacks the Spirit, telling his cloned henchmen to take the chest to the truck, driven by his assistant Silken Floss, while he deals with the Spirit. The two men beat each other to the point of exhaustion until one of the clones shoots the Spirit as he starts to get up again. Octopus calls an end to the fight and as he leaves, tells the Spirit that they are alike, asking him if he knows why he can take so much punishment.As the Octopus leaves, the Spirit passes out and he regains consciousness to find Dr. Ellen Dolan, his lover, tending to his wounds. As the two start to argue about his recklessness, Ellen is called away to tend to Sussman and as she works on him, Sussman motions with his eyes at the Spirit, who grabs the locket that Sussman had grabbed off of the woman. As the Spirit goes to leave, Commissioner Dolan talks to him, arguing with the Spirit about his obsession with the Octopus. After leaving the scene, the Spirit looks at the locket and realizes it came from Sand Saref, his childhood sweetheart, and he decides to go look for her and find out what she knows. Meanwhile, the Octopus opens the chest he grabbed only to discover that it contains the fabled Golden Fleece, and not the Blood of Heracles that he expected. Killing several of his henchmen, the Octopus realizes that Sand must have the Blood and decides to arrange an exchange. Meanwhile, Sand and Mahmoud approach the dealer that sold them the Fleece and after taking back all of their money, plus all of his, he explains that he had no choice but to let the Octopus know about the shipment, then kills himself after they leave. The next day, Ellen is checking over the Spirit, who has healed from all his wounds, and they start kissing before Dolan and rookie cop Morgenstern show up and pull the Spirit away. As Dolan and Morgenstern take him to the dead fence’s office, they tell him about Sand Saref, who is suspected of killing the fence but the Spirit doesn’t believe she killed him as she had never killed anyone before during any of her heists. The Spirit goes to look for Sand and finds out where she is staying approaching her in her penthouse as she steps out of the shower. She tells him to mind her husband, who died while sampling the blood in the vase, and the two end up arguing over her actions. As the Spirit brings up her past and childhood dreams, she tells him that only one person knows about her dreams and she pushes him out the window. The Spirit plummets towards the street but is saved when his jacket snags onto a statue on the side of the building. He receives a call from Morgenstern, giving him a clue to the Octopus’ whereabouts and he heads to a nearby salt factory. As he makes his way to the Octopus’ lair, he is confronted by Floss, who kisses him before injecting him with a sedative. When the Spirit comes too, he finds himself tied to a chair and is confronted by Plaster of Paris, an assassin that the Octopus hired to kill the Spirit. The Octopus and Floss then arrive and explain how they created a serum that brought him back to life, then the Octopus injected himself with it. However, the serum is unstable so the effects could fade at anytime, which is why the Octopus wants the Blood of Heracles in order to become immortal. The Octopus orders Plaster to kill the Spirit but the Spirit is able to seduce Plaster into freeing him and he attacks the Octopus and drops a statue on him. The Spirit and Plaster escape but then Plaster stabs the Spirit out of jealousy in hearing Sand’s name. The Spirit stumbles to the water’s edge and falls in, where he is approached by Lorelei and he starts to embrace her but as he thinks about the women is leaving behind, he pushes Lorelei away and swims back to the surface, where he blacks out and is taken to Ellen’s hospital. The Spirit recovers and heads off with Dolan, Morgenstern, and the other police. Sand attends the meeting with the Octopus and tells Floss that she should leave before the Octopus kills her too. As the Octopus approaches the vase, the Spirit shows up and the Octopus starts firing at him, while Floss decides to leave the scene. The Octopus continuously fires at the Spirit, pulling at increasingly larger guns, until he finally knocks him down. At that point, the police head out and begin attacking the Octopus and his henchmen, eventually bringing him down. As he starts to regenerate and reaches for the vase, Sand shoots it before he can drink from it. The Spirit then gets up, revealing he was wearing a bullet proof vest and jams a grenade into the Octopus’ stomach. The Spirit pulls the pin, intending for both of them to die in the blast but Sand uses the Fleece to shield them both from the blast. As they recover, the Spirit hands Sand back her locket and she puts it on, then recognizing the Spirit as Denny, she kisses him before leaving. The Spirit approaches Dolan, who wants to arrest Sand but the Spirit convinces him to let her go for her part in saving them. The Spirit then approaches Ellen, who is upset at seeing him kissing Sand but he explains that Sand was an old flame but she is the one he wants and she forgives him, though she is still jealous about the effect he has on women while elsewhere, Floss finds one of Octopus’ toes crawling towards her and she picks it up and leaves with the last two clones, Adios and Amigos.

The Spirit was pretty much panned by the critics, holding a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though its visuals are unique, The Spirit‘s plot is almost incomprehensible, the dialogue is ludicrously mannered, and the characters are unmemorable.” Based on the 1940’s comic strip, Frank Miller decided to omit the character of Ebony White, the Spirit’s sidekick, partially because Miller felt the Spirit didn’t need a sidekick but largely due to his being typically portrayed as a 1930’s racial stereotype.

Yeh, this was a pretty disappointing movie. The acting was ok, with Samuel L. Jackson giving a pretty funny performance as the Octopus, but I was kind of unimpressed with everyone else. Actually scratch that. I also really enjoyed Louis Lambardi as the Octopus’ cloned henchmen and thought they did a great job of showcasing the whole “copying something too many times makes for copies of a lesser quality”. I also thought it was funny that all of their names ends in os, but the last scene with Adios and Amigos was a bit much. Having never read any of the comic strips, I have no idea how closely the plot followed the source material. I do think the story was kind of a mess, mainly with the pacing, while the narration was a little too over the top. I will say that this movie did have a good sense of visual appeal, similar to how Sin City was shot but with more flesh tones to the characters which just added to the noir feel that the movie was going for. As for the special effects, they were pretty good, being over the top in a comic book fashion several times, but I felt they could have done more with them. Honestly, I was disappointed with it but others might find it entertaining.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Standard