crime, dark comedy, horror, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: June 12th, 2014 Movie – A Bucket Of Blood

a bucket of blood

Ending the weekend with a Roger Corman movie, now that sounds like some fun times to me. Now I saw this years ago during a Halloween binge watching of old horror movies on TV. Now I wasn’t as familiar with Corman’s work back then as I was now but I thought the movie was pretty interesting. When I bought the Chilling Classics box set, I noticed this movie was part of it and I made sure that A Bucket Of Blood was the first movie out of that set that I watched. Now let’s see if my memory of this movie holds up to a more recent watching.

The plot: Dimwitted Walter Paisley works as a busboy at the Yellow Door Cafe, a popular beatnik hangout. As a man is on stage reciting a poem, Walter is collecting the dishes and empty cups at the tables when he stops at a table where Carol, The hostess whom he has a crush on, is sitting and watches her as she draws. When the performance is over, the club’s owner Leonard chastises him and tells him to keep working and after Walter leaves, Carla admonishes Leonard for being too hard on him. Meanwhile, an undercover cop named Lou Raby is sitting at the club when he gets up to head outside, then calls his chief to report what he has been able to learn about any narcotics being passed around in the club since he worked his way in. Later that night, Walter returns to his apartment and works on sculpting something out of clay when he hears Frankie, his landlord’s cat, crying out from behind the wall where it got stuck. Walter gets a knife to cut Frankie out of the wall when it accidentally plunges through the sheet rock and stabs Frankie. Walter knocks down the wall and sees what he has done and gets depressed over it and as he wonders about what to do, he recalls the words of a poet that had performed and decides to use Frankie’s body as a sculpture. The next day, Walter takes the clay covered cat to work and shows it to Carla and Leonard, passing it off as something he created. Carla is impressed with the sculpture and convinces Leonard to display it at the club and Leonard agrees, telling Walter that if it sells they will split the proceeds. That night, several people comment about Walters sculpture and Leonard tells Walter to take the rest of the night off, as he is unable to do his job with everyone approaching him. As Walter goes to leave, a woman named Naolia approaches him and talks to him for a while, then gives him a vial to remember her by. Walter pockets the vial as he leaves but he unknown to him, Lou had seen what happened and follows Walter to his apartment, confronting him about the vial, which contains heroin. Lou goes to arrest Walter, who protests his innocence, and when Lou brandishes his gun to try and get Walter to come with him, Walter panics and hits him with the frying pan he was holding, killing him. Walter’s landlady starts knocking on the door to find out what the noise is and Walter quickly hides the body so she doesn’t see it, then works on cleaning up his mess. Meanwhile, Leonard is closing up the club when he accidentally knocks the cat statue over and as he looks closely at it, he realizes it is a real cat and gets rid of it. The next day, Leonard tells Walter that someone had bought the cat statue and has him sit down with Carla and some other patrons. When the men asks Walter if he is working on anything else, he tells them that he is working on a full size statue he calls “Murdered Man”. Leonard gets a sick look on his face and he goes to call the police about Walter but when an art critic offers to buy the cat statue for $500, he hangs up and tells the man he doesn’t have the cat statue but will have another statue there soon. As the man leaves, Carla approaches Leonard and tells him that she is going to Walter’s to look at his statue and invites him to come along. Leonard agrees and when Walter unveils the statue, they are both shocked  but Carla tells him it is incredible. Leonard feels sick again and when Walter asks if he can show it at the club again, Leonard tells him he shouldn’t show his pieces one at a time, but should build up a collection and do a proper show, that way they can sell them for more money. He then tries to subtly steer Walter into doing free form sculptures, so as to keep him from killing anyone else, and gives him $50 for his half of the cat statue and tells him if he needs more money to let him know. The next night at the club, several of the patrons treat Walter like a star and he is talking with them about his sculpture but a model named Alice doesn’t seem impressed by Walter and is rude to him. Walter follows Alice home and knocks on her door, apologizing to Alice and asking if she would like to be his model for his first female form sculpture. Alice agrees and they head back to Walter’s apartment, where he has her sit in a chair after taking her clothes off and proceeds to strangle her. The next day, Walter shows his new piece to some of the patrons at the home of Maxwell H. Brock, the poet that inspired Walter, and they are all impressed and Brock plans a party for Walter at the Yellow Door. After the party, Leonard warns Walter about drinking too much, saying he might say something he regrets but Walter ignores him and heads home. On his way, he sees a man working at a construction yard and Walter kills him, cutting off his head with a buzzsaw so he can use it to make a bust. When Walter shows up with the bust at the Yellow Door, Leonard tells him not to make anymore statues and tells him that he will organize his show to display what he has so far. The night of the show, Walter escorts Carla to the show and as they are walking, Walter proposes to her but Carla turns him down, saying she likes him but she doesn’t love him. Walter gets upset at the rejection and asks if she will let him make a statue of her after the show. During the show, Carla is looking at the statue of Alice when she notices a human finger underneath the clay. Shocked, she goes to leave but Walter stops her and when she tells him there is a body in his statue, he admits it is Alice and he made her immortal. Walter says that he can do the same to her and she runs out of the club, with Walter following her. After they leave, the statue of “Murdered Man” falls and everyone realizes Walter’s secret to his art. Leonard goes to call the police while Maxwell and Lou’s partner, who was also undercover at the club, chase after Walter. Walter chases Carla to a lumberyard but as he searches for her, he starts hearing the voices of Lou and Alice, taunting him about having nowhere to go. Walter runs back to his apartment and as he realizes that he will soon be caught, he decides to hide where they won’t find him. Walter, Carla, and the others break down Walter’s door and find that Walter had covered himself in clay and hung himself and one of the men says that Walter probably would have called it “Hanging Man, his greatest work”.

A Bucket Of Blood has met with mostly positive praise from modern critics, holding a 79% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics cite this as a great example of Corman’s early work, citing the blend of humor and horror as well as the rich atmosphere he created in the film. The line about how Walter Paisley “knows his anatomy” is apparently a nod to the similar-themed House Of Wax (1953), which used the same line about Prof. Henry Jarrod, played by Vincent Price, who would go on to become one of Corman’s favorite actors to use. The movie was a mild success at the box office, earning $180,000 off of a $50,000 budget.

I know people like to look down on Roger Corman movies but this one is actually a well made movie. The acting was pretty good, with Dick Miller doing a fantastic job as Walter, while Barboura Morris (Carla) and Antony Carbone (Leonard) did good jobs as well. The story was pretty good, though I will admit that there were some similarities to House Of Wax (1953) but while that seemed to go with the pure horror route, Corman added some comedy to his script that changed how you perceive the killer. Instead of being some sinister killer with purpose, you instead feel sympathy for Wallace, as he just unluckily kills the first man (and cat) and wants to hide the bodies but when everyone thinks he is a genius, his desire for everyone’s praise has him going on to kill more people until his guilt causes him to kill himself. A surprisingly good movie that is well worth giving a chance if you see it coming on.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 30th, 2014 Movie – The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

the boondock saints 2

Oh, the reaction that this movie caused when it was first announced. I mean, the first movie had become this cult phenomenon among many people, several of my friends included. When it was announced that a sequel would take place, a lot of my friends were really pissed about it, thinking Hollywood had already been making several remakes and sequels that were terrible and they did not need to touch this movie. Now I honestly have no idea how many of my friends saw this movie, or what their opinions of it were if they did see it, but I decided to go ahead and pick up a copy of The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day when it was on the cheap and give it a chance my self.

The plot: 8 years after killing Don “Papa Joe” Yakavetta in a Boston courtroom, Connor and Murphy MacManus are living in Ireland with their father Noah MacManus, the former assassin known as Il Duce. Il Duce is worried that his sons are feeling urges drawing them back to Boston when the village priest arrives at their house and tells them that something has happened. The priest tells them that a priest in Boston was killed in his church, with the killing made to look like the Saints had done it. Connor and Murphy angrily get up from the table and head to the barn, where they dig up the chest containing their weapons and prepare for their journey back to America. The priest asks Noah if he will try to talk them out of it but Noah says that someone had gone to the effort to try and draw them out and it is obvious that it worked. In Boston, Detectives Greenly, Duffy, and Dolly, allies of the Saints, are at the scene of the killing discussing what they should do when FBI Agent Eunice Bloom, who is the protege of Agent Smecker, arrives on the scene and tells them she will be in charge. Meanwhile, Connor and Murphy are on a container ship heading to Boston when they see most of the crew gathered to watch an underground fight. Noticing the men handcuffing a Mexican named Romeo’s hands behind his back, the brothers inquire about what is going on before placing a wager on Romeo, then go talk with him after he wins the fight. Back in Boston, Bloom is able to determine that the Saints were not responsible for the priest’s murder but as the news reporters are not told any details, they poll the public who are split on whether they believe the Saints were responsible or not. Meanwhile, Concezio Yakavetta, the son of Papa Joe, is holding a meeting with his lieutenants, who were upset about not being consulted over his having the priest murdered. Concezio tells them that ever since his father was killed, they have all been living in fear that the Saints would return and finish them off so now he is drawing them out so that he can get rid of them and they can take back control of the streets. At the police station, Bloom tells the chief that all of the evidence points towards Concezio being behind the priest’s killing and when the chief asks why he shouldn’t go public with this information, Bloom tells him to walk with her as she explains her reasoning. Meanwhile, Greenly, Dolly, and Duffy are worried about how bad this will be for them and Greenly says that maybe they won’t even show up in town, prompting Dolly to tell him that they are either in town or on their way. Connor, Murphy, and Romeo have made it to Boston and Romeo drives them to a warehouse, where it is rumored that Concezio has a deal going with some Chinese drug runners. Romeo comes up with a plan to deal with the men in the warehouse but though things don’t go as planned, they still manage to take out all of the men. The next day, Bloom examines the scene of the crime and though there are some inconsistencies in their old pattern, she feels it is the work of the Saints, much to the three detectives chagrin. As Concezio is hiding in a panic room in his home until the Saints are located, Connor, Murphy, and Romeo go to see Romeo’s uncle for information on where Concezio might be and he tells them that Gorgeous George, Concezio’s underboss from Brooklyn, is in town and he would know where he is hiding. At the same time, Bloom pays a visit to George, trying to learn where Concezio is and informing George that he is the low man on the totem pole in Boston and he should be careful. Connor, Murphy, and Romeo learn where George is and head over there, threatening to shoot him if he doesn’t tell him who killed the priest. George tells him that Concezio hired an independent contractor and didn’t tell anybody his plan as they would never have gone with it. Believing his story, the team decides to use George to help them take out the rest of his men by having him schedule a meeting at a Mexican restaurant, where Romeo will be undercover as a bartender. Meanwhile, Bloom, Greenly, Dolly, and Duffy are at a dead end with the prints at the priest’s murder but when Bloom realizes there was a rosary bead but no rosary at the scene, she figures out a new idea to search and has them rush off to see if it pans out. Later that night, Greenly calls Bloom and tells her they got a hit off of George’s bugged phone and after he tells her where the meeting is, she decides to head there alone to scope it out. As George’s men show up, they don’t notice the assassin sitting in his car, who calls his unknown boss and tells him that only Connor and Murphy are there and his boss tells him that if he kills the sons, Il Duce will show up. Connor, Murphy, and Romeo kill all of George’s men, then decide to let George go but as they start to celebrate a well executed plan, the assassin come in the back door and tries to shoot them, only to be wounded by Bloom. As the brothers tell Bloom to drop her weapon, Romeo goes after the assassin but he has already escaped. Bloom tells them that she made a promise to Smecker to help them in their mission and never see the inside of a prison cell, a secret she is keeping from the detectives for her own amusement. She then has Connor, Murphy, and Romeo help her restage the crime scene so that when it is called in, she can explain it as the men fighting over turf as Concezio is losing power. Later, Greenly tells her that her hunch was right and Interpol gave them the identity of the assassin but the circumstances of his visa and everything has now caused him to be flagged. Bloom takes the detectives the Doc’s bar, where Connor and Murphy play a joke on their old friends before they all discuss the situation. Greenly, Dolly, and Duffy tell them they want to help and Connor says that they plan on making their move in 48 hours but Bloom is worried that there is someone else pulling the strings, someone with enough power to push the assassins visa through right after 9/11 had occurred. Back in his penthouse, Concezio has his lieutenants call their men and start regaining their power on the streets. Meanwhile, the assassin is getting his wounds tended too by his boss but when he sees the police report with the assassin listed as the prime suspect in the priest’s murder, he proceeds to whip him with the stolen rosary. Connor, Murphy, and Romeo head to Concezio’s penthouse and, after a few snags in their plan, proceed to kill him and all of his men except for Concezio’s Consigliere, who had ducked into the panic room and locked Concezio out. As Bloom and the detectives examine the scene later, FBI Special Agent Kuntsler shows up and tells Bloom she is suspended and he will be taking over the investigation. As she goes to leave, Bloom tells Kuntsler her theory as to how everything went down and when she finishes next to the panic room, the Consigliere opens the door and drags her inside before closing it again. Inside, he tells Bloom that the events happened exactly how she described which is why he figured she would be the person to talk to. He explains that Concezio was working with a man known only as “The Old Man”, though he had heard that he was sometimes referred to as “The Roman”. At Doc’s bar, Connor and Murphy are making plans to go after the Panza, the assassin, when Greenly shows up to tell them about Bloom being off of the case when he is killed by Panza. Panza then holds Doc hostage and forces them to throw their guns away but before he can shoot them, Noah, who was worried about his sons and decided to come help them, shoots Panza in the arm. As Connor and Murphy try to keep Greenly alive, Noah asks Panza where The Old Man is and when Panza refuses to answer, Noah plays a game of Russian roulette with him and ends up killing him. Noah tells his sons about how he had witnessed his father being killed by mobsters and he hunted them down and killed them, with his friend Louie helping him, albeit reluctantly, but after a while, he would eventually turn Noah over to the police,then assume the identity of The Roman. Bloom uses the FBI’s database to find out Louie’s location and gives it to Noah and the others but, knowing that it won’t be long before Kuntsler finds out what she did, she decides to get out of the country while she can. Noah heads to Louie’s home and confronts him about why he turned him in, unaware that Louie had hired some hit-men to be on the grounds and kill Noah at his signal. When Noah asks Louie why he turned him in, Louie explains that he had been helping the mafia and used Noah to take out some of his competition but when he was no longer useful, he turned him in. Unfortunately, he was also discarded by the mafia as his usefulness had come to an end. When the Saints killed Papa Joe, Louie helped Concezio rebuild the Yakavetta family, then had the priest killed and the Saints framed for it so they would show up and kill Concezio, allowing him to take control. Louie signals the hit-men to attack but Connor, Murphy, and Romeo help Noah kill them. Connor, Murphy, and Romeo are wounded and Noah is fatally shot but with Connor and Murphy helping him up, he is able to kill Louie before he dies. Noah then dies and as Connor and Murphy go to leave, they find themselves surrounded by the FBI and end up surrendering. Some time later, Father Sibeal is escorting a disguised Bloom to a dock, telling her she will be escorted to a sanctuary in a monastery but when she tries to get details, she is shocked to discover that the person taking her to the monastery is Smecker. Smecker explains he faked his death and is working with members or the Catholic Church to provide a network to help and support the Saints and their next mission is to help break them out of prison. Meanwhile, Connor, Murphy, and Romeo are at the Hoag Maximum Security Prison’s medical wing, with Romeo comatose due to his injuries. As protesters outside the prison chant for the release of the Saints, Connor and Murphy get out of bed and look at the prisoners out in the yard, signaling to them not to mess with them or else they will regret it.

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day met with poor reviews from the critics, holding a 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “This sequel to the cult favorite The Boondock Saints is more of the same — unoriginal, absurd, violent, over-the-top, and occasionally mean-spirited.” The movie had a limited release but in theaters but still managed to pull in $10.6 million off of an $8 million budget. In 2011, there were talks with director Troy Duffy about making a third installment, but fashioning it into a TV series. Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery both expressed interest in working on this but while things have bounced around between whether it will be a TV series or a third movie, nothing has been finalized yet, though Duffy has been working on a script.

This was a decent movie but honestly felt like a pale comparison of the original. The acting was ok, with the returning characters of Sean Patrick Flanery (Connor) and Norman Reedus (Murphy) doing good jobs in their roles, as well as Billy Connolly (Noah). I did like the returning detectives as some comedic relief, as well as Clifton Collins Jr.’s Romeo, and thought Judd Nelson was great as Concezio but thought that Peter Fonda’s brief appearance as The Roman was almost a waste while Julie Benz’s character was kind of annoying, particularly her overplayed southern accent. The story honestly felt too convoluted with all of the side plots going on. The basic premise of the Saints going to clear their names and get revenge for the priest’s death was fine, but when you add Bloom’s secretly wanting to help them, and the whole situation with Panza and The Roman, it got a little confusing at times. The action scenes were pretty decent, with the same somewhat slow motion retelling that was prominent in the original film. A decent action movie but I would suggest just watching the original movie over this one every time.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 29th, 2014 Movie – The Boondock Saints

the boondock saints

You ever come across a movie that you have never heard of but all of your friends talk about it and reference it, making you feel completely stupid for not being able to follow along? Surprisingly, that happens to me every now and then. I know that might seem odd, given how much I enjoy movies and how many I watch but the truth is, since my preference tends to focus on a somewhat limited genre at times, there are plenty of movies that will slip by me. That is the case for The Boondock Saints, as I obviously didn’t see it when it was in theaters due to it’s limited release, but I also didn’t rent it right away when it came out on DVD. It was several years after it’s release, when several of my friends were talking about it, that I decided to rent it and a few years later when I picked up my copy. Now let’s see just how well this movie has aged.

The plot: In Boston, MA, Connor and Murphy MacManus, twin Irish-American brothers, are attending mass and as the priest goes to give his sermon, they walk up to the front of the church, kneel in front of the cross and kiss the feet of Jesus, then leave, while the priest talks about the death of Kitty Genovese, using it to discuss being a good man. After a rough day at work at the meat packing plant, they head to a local bar to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with some of their friends, including David Della Rocco, a low ranking member of the mafia. As the night winds down, Doc, the bar owner, says that he is being forced to shut the place down just as three members of the Russian syndicate enter the bar to enforce the point. Connor and Murphy try to placate the three men, telling them that it is St. Patrick’s Day and they should all be friends and share a pint but the leader of the Russians shoves Connor back towards the bar. The next day, the police are investigating the deaths of two of the Russians when they are approached by FBI Agent Paul Smecker, who quickly dismisses the lead detective’s theories on what happened and sends him off for coffee instead. Putting in some earbuds so he can listen to classical music, Smecker then proceeds to examine the crime scene and once he is finished, he has some of the officers look for bullets and items that he believes will be found in the area. Learning that a woman is complaining of her ceiling leaking on the 4th floor, Smecker says that they need to look on the 5th floor for the initial crime scene. After checking the apartment of Connor and Murphy, they head back downstairs where an officer says he knows the area and feels that they should check out the nearby bar so Smecker heads over there. Some time later, Connor and Murphy are having their injuries tended too at a Catholic hospital when Doc shows up to ask them what happened and tell them about Smecker coming and asking about them. Connor and Murphy hand him a bag containing the guns from the two Russians and tells him to hide it, then they head to the police station to turn themselves in. At the station, Smecker is chastising the officers for leaking what they know to the press and as Detective Greenly says that the two brothers are miles away, they walk in the door. Smecker takes them into an office and starts asking them what happened and, in another language, Connor and Murphy discuss if they should tell him about the money and guns they lifted but decide against it. The tell him that after the bar fight, where they had lit Chekov’s ass on fire, they had gone home but Chekov and his partner had burst in the door and had Connor handcuff himself to the toilet while they took Murphy out to the alley to kill him. Connor managed to rip the Toilet up off the floor and carried it to the roof, where he dropped it onto Chekov, killing him, while jumping down onto the other man. Murphy checked on Connor, then took the toilet lid and used it to kill the other Russian, then grabbed both of their weapons and money before grabbing Connor and heading to the hospital. After finishing their story, Smecker asks them if they know any other languages, to which the brothers answer in Russian, French, Italian, German, and Spanish. When an officer says the press is wanting a statement, Smecker says that they aren’t being charged and allows them to stay the night in a holding cell so they can try and avoid the press when they leave. Smecker joins the police chief in giving the statement to the press that the MacManus brothers are not being charged and ruling the matter a case of self defense, while Rocco heads inside to give them a change of clothes and their necklaces. That night, Connor and Murphy have a vision from God telling them to help rid the world of evil men so good men may flourish. As they go to leave, Connor notices a page coming in to the pager he lifted from Chekov and he calls the number, where he is told that the “fat man” will be arriving and where to meet. Later, Rocco attends a meeting with Giuseppe “Papa Joe” Yakavetta, his boss in the Mafia and is given an assignment to carry out in order to advance in the ranks. Meanwhile, Connor and Murphy take the money and jewelry they lifted from Chekov and his partner and use it to purchase some more weapons from an Irish arms smuggler. Later that night, Smecker gets a call about a massacre at a hotel suite and he heads over there, finding Detectives Greenly, Duffy, and Dolly waiting for him. After accessing the scene, Smecker says that there were two men responsible for the crime and does his best to figure out how it went down. Earlier that night, Connor and Murphy show up at the hotel and after donning some ski masks to hide their identities, they climb up into the air vents to make their way towards the suite but as they get lost in the vents, they end up fighting until the vent gives way and they collapse into the suite. The pair are tangled up in the rope Connor insisted on bringing and as the dangle upside down, they are able to use the surprise from their entrance to take out all of the men inside, then assassinate the “Fat Man”. As they are going around taking the money from the victims, they hear a knock on the door and when they look through the peep hole, they see Rocco there wearing a busboy uniform. Deciding to have some fun with him, they put the masks back on and open the door, dragging Rocco inside and scaring him. When they asks him where his gun is, he tells them and they see it is a 6-shooter and they realize that Rocco was set up to die since there were 9 men there total. After revealing who they are to Rocco, who is shocked that they were able to do what they did, they all head to Rocco’s place to hide out and as they are cleaning their weapons, Rocco gets drunks and starts ranting about everything, accidentally killing his girlfriend’s cat when he slams his hands on the table and a gun accidentally discharges. The next day, Connor and Murphy try to get Rocco to realize that he was set up to die but he refuses to believe them and heads off to learn the truth himself. Some time later, Rocco’s girlfriend Donna and her friend Rayvie show up and head over to the couch, and a short while later, Rocco bursts into the room, screaming out that they have to go. Connor and Murphy try to get Rocco to explain what happened and he tells them he had gone to a diner to see if his friends had known he was being set up and when they confirmed it, he killed them as well as the diner owner. After yelling at Donna about her cat, Rocco and the MacManus brothers leave and drive around until Rocco tells them to stop at a club where Papa Joe’s lieutenant, Vincenzo Lipazzi, is known to frequent and they make plans to go in that night. When Lipazzi arrives, the three sneak into the central room of the peep show booths, with Rocco holding the girl hostage and forcing her to tell them which booth Lipazzi is in. Connor and Murphy kill Lipazzi but when they realize that there are two more men in booths on the side, the let Rocco kill them. Later, Smecker, Greenly, Dolly, and Duffy are at the crime scene trying to figure out what happened and Smecker realizes that there are two different killers, the professional ones that killed Lipazzi and the reckless one that killed the other two men. When he learns about the diner hit, Smecker gets even more upset as he can’t seem to figure out what is going on but knows that it isn’t over yet. Elsewhere, Papa Joe meets with the former head of the Yakavetta family and tells him that he needs Il Duce to help deal with the situation he is in and the former head warns him that in 20 years, they only used him 3 times because he is so psychotic. Meanwhile, Rocco is telling the MacManus brothers about a cleaner that Papa Joe uses and how he had to drive for him one night as he took out an entire family. Connor and Murphy agree to take him out and they head to the man’s house on a Saturday, when he has a poker game with several Yakavetta men, and proceed to take them all out. As they are leaving, they find Il Duce waiting for them outside and a gunfight ensues, with Murphy being shot in the arm while Rocco has his finger shot off. Il Duce is forced to leave when he runs out of bullets and Connor and Murphy quickly spray down the blood splatter with ammonia, then leave with Rocco. When Smecker arrives at the scene, he is increasingly frustrated that the killers seem to have thought of everything but as he rants and raves, he finds Rocco’s finger and quietly wraps it in a handkerchief and puts it in his pocket. Elsewhere, Connor, Murphy, and Rocco go back to Donna’s place, where they use an iron to staunch the blood from Rocco and Murphy’s wounds, while arguing about who Il Duce was and how he knew where to find them. Meanwhile, Smecker runs the fingerprints on the finger and when he gets the ID, he realizes where he has seen Rocco before and realizes who the two other killers are and decides to get drunk while trying to figure out what he should do. Elsewhere, Connor, Murphy, and Rocco are watching an interview Smecker is giving on TV and Connor and Murphy warn Rocco that he could be trouble as he is a smart man and could figure things out. Connor and Murphy then head to church and while Rocco waits for them, he sees Smecker stumbling drunk out of the bar and follows him into the church, where he sees Smecker go into a confessional booth. Rocco grabs the priest and forces him into the other booth but Connor sees him doing this and heads into the third booth, pulling Rocco’s head through the window and asks him what he is doing. Rocco tells him that Smecker is in there but as they quietly argue over what Rocco had planned to do, they hear Smecker talking to the priest, saying he is torn on what to do and actually sympathizes with the boys and is somewhat on their side, then when he listens to the father, says that he will try to find a way to help them, surprising Connor and Rocco. After Smecker leaves, Connor, Murphy, and Rocco call Smecker and explain what happened at the cleaners house and ask him to find out who the man while they plan on taking out Papa Joe. Smecker goes to see the former head of the Yakavetta family learns about Il Duce and also that Connor and the others are heading into a trap. At Papa Joe’s house, Connor, Murphy, and Rocco have been captured and Papa Joe ends up shooting Rocco, then tells his men to finish off Connor and Murphy but Connor and Murphy manage to escape their cuffs and take out the man that went in to kill them. Meanwhile, Smecker dresses up in drag and manages to fool one of Papa Joe’s men into letting him in, where he kills two guards but when he finds a third guard has his throat slit, he is knocked unconscious by Il Duce. In the basement, Connor and Murphy are saying their family prayer over Rocco’s body but when they hear a noise, they turn and find Il Duce standing behind them, who finishes the family prayer, revealing that he is their father. Three months later, Papa Joe is on trial, where an acquittal is expected to occur. Smecker opens the back door to the court while Greenly knocks on a police van, signaling Il Duce, Connor, and Murphy to enter the court house, bypassing the metal detectors with their weapons. The three men enter the courtroom, telling the guards to disarm and forcing everyone to the front of the court as they give a speech to the masses, warning that they are only there for those who are evil and then proceed to recite the family prayer before executing Papa Joe. That night, Connor asks how far they will go and their father says as far as needed. The next day, a reporter is talking to people on the street to get their opinion of “The Saints”, with public opinion being divided between those who approve of what they are doing and those who think they are no better than the criminals they kill.

The Boondock Saints didn’t meet with high results from the critics, holding a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A juvenile, ugly movie that represents the worst tendencies of directors channeling Tarantino.” While it was considered one of the hottest scripts around, the movie was a box office bomb, only earning  $30,471 off of a $6 million budget. Billy Connolly was so excited to be playing against type in the role of Il Duce, and was having so much fun playing a psychopath, that they had to add the cigar the character constantly smokes in order to hide his constant smile. The poor performance was due to it only getting a severely limited release due to studio politics and fears of it being associated with the Columbine massacre but it would garner a cult following once it hit the video shelves, resulting in $50 million in sells and prompt a sequel to be made 10 years later with a third movie reported to be in the works.

It is violent but this is still a good movie to watch. The acting was really good, with Willem Dafoe (Smecker), Sean Patrick Flanery (Connor) and Norman Reedus (Murphy) doing good jobs in their roles. David Della Rocco was also good as Rocco, though kind of annoying at times, while Billy Connolly really seemed to have fun as Il Duce. The story was interesting, not quite being your typical mobster/revenge movie but putting a rather unique spin on things. I will say that the constant back and forth between the past events of the killings and Smecker’s theories and reenactments got to be a little annoying after a while. The gun fight scenes were not overly graphic for the most part but the constant slow motion with them was a bit overly theatrical and would have been better suited if they had run at normal time more often. Still, this is a lot of fun and one of those movies that is worth watching any time it comes on.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 28th, 2014 Movie – Boiler Room

boiler room

One thing I hate when it comes to movies is when a movie comes out and people consider it to be, and sometimes call it, the unofficial sequel to another movie that has no real bearing on the movie. I will admit that I have been guilty of that a time or two, one such instance being with this particular movie. Now I did not see Boiler Room when it was in theaters but I heard several people talking about it, with some of them referring to this as an unofficial sequel to Wall Street. That actually got my attention and made me interested in seeing this movie so when it came out on DVD, I went ahead and rented it one weekend. Now it’s time to see if it is as good of a movie as I thought it was back then.

The plot: College drop-out Seth Davis runs an unlicensed casino out of his home near Queens College, catering to the kids on campus. One night, his cousin Adam shows up with a rich associate named Greg, who flaunts the amount of money he has. The next day, Seth heads over to dinner with his family, where his father, Judge Marty Davis, begins questioning him on what he is doing. When Seth admits that he dropped out of college but has a job, his father then chastises him for running an illegal casino and what it would do to his reputation is anyone found out. After talking with Adam and Greg that night, Seth decides to take Greg up on his offer to join his brokerage firm, J.T. Martin. Seth heads to the office the next day, and wanders into the main trading room, where one of the brokers, Chris Varick, yells at him to get out. He then speaks with the secretary, who tells him that they will be doing a group interview so to just wait. Seth is brought into a conference room with all the other applicants, where Jim Young dismisses a few people before giving his speech, telling them what is expected of them and how much money they will bring in once they pass their Series 7 test and become junior brokers. Seth meets his father for lunch to try and patch things up with him but Marty tells him that he needs to get his life together and get a real job. The next day, Seth shows up for his first day at work and starts off talking with Abbie Halpert, the secretary, before heading into the training room. Once at his table, Greg begins telling him what he needs to do, calling people to try and sell them stocks, with the two rules being never to sell to women and never give them a dead lead on a client. If he gets a client that wants to buy some stock, he is to put them on hold and yell “Reco” to signal a senior broker to come over and complete the sell. Seth talks to his family about his new job and Marty is actually happy for him, though he is a little skeptical that he hasn’t heard of the firm before and still wants Seth to close down his casino. Seth heads over to Greg’s house, where he sees several of the young brokers watching Wall Street, quoting lines from it and looking at Gordon Gekko as a role model. The next day, Seth manages to land a customer and after yelling out Reco, watches as the senior brokers all rush to grab the phone. Chris manages to grab the phone and convinces the client to buy 2000 shares of the stock. After closing the deal, Seth asks about why he capped the sale and Chris explains the practice and how they manage to make money off their sales. Later that night, Seth meets Abbie for a drink at a bar while elsewhere, some of the guys go out for drinks and end up getting kicked out after getting in an argument/fight with some guys from J.P. Morgan. As Seth continues with the training and starts prepping for his Series 7 test, he ends up having to shut down his casino while noticing some odd things going on at the office. Meanwhile, the FBI has been keeping watch on J.T. Martin and one of their agents, Agent David Drew, has singled out Seth as the man they want to make contact with concerning the firm, but they haven’t figured out how just yet. When Chris helps Seth close his first sell, Greg chastises Seth for breaking protocol and closing before he has passed his Series 7 test. AS he continues trying to figure out what is going on at the firm, Seth ends up hooking up with Abbie and tells her some of his concerns but she brushes them aside. The next day, Seth sells some stock to a man named Harry at $8 a share but as he continues trying to figure out what Michael Brantley, the owner of J.T. Martin, is up to, Abbie is picked up by the FBI and questioned about her relationship with Seth. When Seth closes his 40th account, he gets into an argument with Greg about who actually gets to keep the account. Some time later, Michael tells everyone at the firm about a new product/stock that they will be selling, then takes them all out for a night on the town. The next day, Seth investigates the company they will be selling and as he meets up with Abbie afterwards, she asks him what’s bothering him, trying to get some information out of him. Seth then tells her that he figured out how Michael is making his money, by selling stock in companies that don’t exist or have already failed. Harry has checked the price on the stock and when he notices the stock price is dropping, he calls Seth and tries to sell what he bought at a loss but Seth manages to convince him to buy more stock at the lower price, and Harry invests his family’s savings on buying more shares, which causes tensions between him and his wife. The next day, Marty meets with Seth, telling him how disappointed he is in the fact that Seth works for a chop shop brokerage and is basically stealing money from people, then tells Seth that he is done with him and he is not to call him or come by the house ever again. When Harry calls him, asking for his money back, Seth tells him he can’t give him his money back and hangs up, refusing to take any further calls. Seth goes to see Marty and tells he is quitting the firm but wants his help in pulling off an IPO scheme to get some money out of the company before he leaves. Marty refuses to help him and Seth breaks down, telling him that he had closed down the casino and taken the job because he thought it was what he wanted and Marty is shocked by that revelation. Seth goes to see Abbie and she tries to talk him out of doing the scheme but he tells her he has no choice and leaves before she can say anything else. The next day, Marty calls Seth and tells him that he can’t help him with the scheme but can try to help him not get caught and invites him to dinner to discuss it. Later, Seth is talking with Abbie in her car when the FBI show up and arrest Seth and reveal that Abbie was working with them, causing Abbie to leave before she can explain anything to Seth. When he arrives at the FBI office, Seth is shocked to see his father there and Marty goes to leave when Agent Drew plays a recording of the phone call Marty made to Seth. Drew offers Seth immunity in exchange for testifying against J.T. Martin but Seth refuses unless the deal includes no mention of his father in any way or hurts his career and the FBI agree. The next day, Seth is told to go to work like normal and download his client lists onto a floppy disk to give to them. When he gets there, Seth decides to try and come up with a way to get Harry his money back, trying to make some good out of the situation. He goes to Michael to tell him that Harry is unhappy with his account and is considering leaving and Michael agrees to give him 10,000 shares of the new IPO they plan on pushing but tells Seth that Harry can’t sell it until they do. When Seth gets a call from Drew telling him it is time, he quickly copies his files and then goes to lunch, passing a note to Chris on his way out. Chris meets him on the stairwell and Seth explains that he needs him to sign a sell ticket for Harry to get his money back, telling him the FBI is raiding the place in 20 minutes. Chris is upset at first but he decides to sign the ticket, then heads back to his desk and packs his stuff, making his way out of the office before the FBI shows up for the raid. Seth walks past Abbie, ignoring her when she calls his name, and asks himself a lot of “what if’s” in his life before realizing he will need to get another job, then gets in his car and leaves as the FBI shows up and enters the building.

Boiler Room met with positive results from the critics, holding a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Its ending is disappointingly tidy, but Boiler Room boasts just enough sharp writing and brisk pacing to make getting there worthwhile.” In the scene where Chris and Seth are waiting outside Greg’s house, the car is never shown to have moved or even started. This is because Ben Affleck had been sitting in the car listening to music earlier in the day and had accidentally taken the keys with him when he left and could not be located when it was time to shoot the scene. The movie was a modest success, earning $28 million off of a $7 million budget.

You know, this actually still kind of holds up over the years as a good movie. The acting was pretty good, with Giovanni Ribisi (Seth) and Vin Diesel (Chris) doing a good job in their roles. I also liked Nia Long (Abbie), Ron Rifkin (Marty) and Nicky Katt (Greg) but thought that Ben Affleck (Jim) was kind of unnecessary and was kind of put in there just to add some name value to the movie. The story was pretty interesting, basically playing up the massive “Dot Com” stocks that popped up in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and how millions of people tried to make it reach by investing in all of these start ups. The best part is that you actually do see quite a bit of character growth with Seth in the movie, especially towards the end where he does his best to protect his father from his own mistakes, even at the cost of his freedom. The drama in the movie had a very slow build up but got pretty intense at the end when Seth started trying to figure out what he should do. A good movie that is worth giving a shot.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 24th, 2014 Movie – The Bloody Brood

the bloody brood

So we have ourselves another movie from the Chilling Classics box set but for once, I am actually excited to rewatch a movie from that set. The reason for this is because the movie stars Peter Falk, best known as Columbo. I honestly remember some of this movie and remember it being a pretty decent movie. However, the thing about memory is that sometimes your memory might have a rose-tinted hue to it. Well, the only thing to do about that is to see if my memory of The Bloody Brood holds up to a more recent viewing.

The plot: At a beatnik hang-out, a man named Nico is telling his friends about everything going wrong with the world. When a man at the bar has a heart attack, Nico has everyone simply watch as he dies, saying it’s the greatest show on Earth as there is only one performance. The next night, Nico and his friends party at their friend Curtis’ house while he is away, telling their other friends about the old man’s death, and Nico comments about how cool it would be if the got to see one person a day die. As the party continues, Nico pulls his friend Francis aside and comments about how they should try to kill a person a day, as that would be real power, and Francis asks him about the police but Nico says he isn’t worried about the police. When a delivery boy, Roy, shows up with a telegram for Curtis, Nico realizes that he would be the perfect first victim and invites him in to have some fun with them. Some time later, Roy calls his brother Cliff, complaining about his stomach hurting but before Cliff can get any information out of him, he ends up dying in the phone booth. Later, Cliff is talking with the Detective McLeod about his brother’s death and when McLeod says that Roy was apparently given a hamburger laced with ground up glass, Cliff says it is murder and asks what they are going to do about it but McLeod doesn’t seem to quick, to investigate. The next day, Francis is working on directing a commercial but doesn’t like any of the girls that were sent for the shoot. As he is taking a break, he reads the paper and learns about the Roy’s death and goes to talk to Nico about it but Nico is unapologetic about the matter. Meanwhile, McLeod goes to Cliff’s apartment to talk to him about Roy,asking if he had any enemies or if someone would have wanted to hurt him. McLeod then comments about Roy’s life insurance policy that pays out to him but Cliff says he has a similar one that pays out to Roy. Cliff vows to find out who killed Roy if it takes him the rest of his life but McLeod tells him to let the professionals handle it. When Cliff tells him he doesn’t care, McLeod tries to talk him out of it but realizing that he can’t be swayed, gives him some tips on how to do a proper investigation, then tells him if he does find any information to call him, not to be a hero. Deciding that the best place to start is with Roy’s deliveries the night he died, Cliff heads to Curtis’ apartment but when he gets no answer there, he tries the apartment next door but the woman there tells him Curtis isn’t there and she doesn’t know when he will be back. As Cliff sits down to wait for Curtis, one of Nico’s beatnik friends, Dave, shows up and talks with Cliff, telling him about the party they had there and that Nico has the key. When nobody answers, Dave says Nico might be at the hang-out still and Cliff says they should go check. When they get there, Cliff asks around about Nico and is told to talk to a girl nicknamed Brook. Cliff heads over to talk to Brook, who kisses him but doesn’t answer his questions about Nico. Francis shows up and asks what is going on and Cliff says he met Nico at a party a while back and wanted to hang out with him but Brook says he is a square and they both walk away. As Cliff goes to leave, he talks to Dave and another man, who invites him to a party at his place tomorrow for a better chance to find Nico. After Cliff leaves, Nico shows up and Brook and Francis tell him about Cliff looking for him, which piques Nico’s interest. The next night, Cliff arrives at the party just as Dave is harassing Brook and he quickly separates the two of them. Following Brook out into the hallway, Brook tells him that he didn’t have to make a scene and Cliff apologizes. The two talk some more, with Brook telling him her name is Ellie. She tells him about the party she was at last week and a delivery boy that showed up and Cliff starts to press her for more information when suddenly everyone leaves the party, saying they are going to the hangout where Nico is and Dave drags Ellie with him, leaving Cliff standing there. Meanwhile, Nico is meeting with a drug dealer named Studs at the back of the hang out, collecting his share of the money they make when they say they want a new deal. Nico decides to give them a new deal, splitting the proceeds 50/50 when Francis knocks on the door, telling him that Cliff is there, and Nico asks Studs and his friend Weasel to stick around in case he needs them. Nico heads out and Ellie introduces him to Cliff, and Cliff bluffs his way by saying they met at a party Curtis had before he left. Nico decides to head to the bar to get some drinks and as he returns, Studs and Weasel walk over and go to pick a fight with Cliff over an imagined slight but Nico breaks it up. After escorting them out of there, Nico tells Cliff that they had picked someone’s wallet and asks if it is his. When Cliff says it is, Nico looks through it and notices that Cliff’s last name on his license is different from what they told him. Ellie gets upset and storms off and Nico asks him why he is there and when Cliff says he wants to know when Curtis is coming home, Nico says he will be back tomorrow and they are throwing a house warming party for him and invites him there. After Cliff leaves, Francis tells Nico that Cliff is the delivery boy’s brother and is scared that Cliff knows something and might go to the cops but Nico says that he worries too much and that he already has things in hand. Outside, Cliff is jumped by Studs and Weasel, who beat him up and are about to kill him when the police show up, chasing them off. The next day, Cliff is talking to McLeod about his suspicions that Nico was the one to kill his brother but McLeod says his theory sounds possible but without any proof, there is nothing he can do. When someone knocks on the door, McLeod answers it to find Ellie there and Cliff introduces them before McLeod leaves. Ellie says that she brought him some fruit and Cliff is rather curt with her, thinking that Nico might have sent her there to pump him for information. Ellie tells him that she came on her lunch break and as they continue talking, Cliff tells her that he was attacked by the same two men that picked a fight at The Digs and he believes Nico put them up to it. He then tells Ellie that Nico killed her brother and she doesn’t want to believe it but when he shows her Roy’s photo, she recognizes him. Cliff presses her for what she knows and she isn’t sure of everything that she saw but she did remember him being there for a while and eating the hamburger. Cliff asks when Nico arrives at The Digs and asks her to meet him there and if he can get Nico to admit he killed Roy, she talks to McLeod and tells him what she saw. Ellie agrees and the two kiss before she heads back to work and Cliff calls McLeod. Elsewhere, Nico is meeting with his boss, Stephanex, and he tells him that he is having a problem with Studs and Weasel, and Stephanex tells him that he will take care of them. That night at The Digs, Ellie is surprised to see Nico there early, who tells her something came up and he has to go plan a party somewhere. Ellie relays the information to Cliff, who was talking to a beatnik named Paul the Poet, and he tells her to stick with Nico while he calls McLeod. As Ellie sits with Nico and Francis, Paul gets up and recites the poem that Cliff helped him right, mentioning the glass filled burger and a telegram. Nico and Francis both react to the poem and when it is finished, Ellie goes to leave, having seen their reactions and realizing that Cliff was right, but Nico grabs her and takes her into the back room. Once there, Nico slaps Ellie, then prepares to giver her an overdose in order to kill her but Cliff, noticing that they had left, starts pounding on the door. Nico tells Francis to open it and Cliff punches Francis but stops when he sees Nico holding a broken bottle to Ellie’s throat. Suddenly, the back door to the club opens and a severely wounded Studs and Weasel stand there, blaming Nico for what happened to them. Studs grabs Nico but then throws him to Cliff, allowing Cliff to beat him up while Weasel slashes at Francis with his knife to keep him from leaving. Ellie tries to stop Cliff from killing Nico and when Studs grabs her, Cliff tells him to leave her alone. As Cliff tends to Ellie, Nico makes a run for it but Studs and Weasel chase after him and kill him just as the police arrive. McLeod tells Cliff and Ellie to leave while they arrest Studs, Weasel, and Francis, who tells them that it was all Nico’s idea and he forced him to do it.

So the movie was just like I remembered, which is a good thing. The acting was pretty good, with Peter Falk doing a great job as Nico, while Jack Betts (Cliff) and Barbara Lord (Ellie) were also good. The story wasn’t exactly original, with Cliff’s determination to find out who killed his brother being pretty basic, but the beatnik background did help to make it a little more interesting. I will say that the whole sub plot with Nico and the drug dealers was kind of unnecessary but did make for an interesting way to end the movie, having Studs and Weasel actually kill Nico instead of Cliff. The movie did move at a pretty slow pace but that actually did kind of help set the stage with the tension and mood of the movie. This is a nice little thriller that is definitely worth giving a shot if you get the chance.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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blaxploitation, crime, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: May 2nd, 2014 Movie – The Black Godfather

the black godfather

Ok, I think this is the last of the Blaxploitation movies for a while, at least I hope so. I don’t mind watching one every now and then and I can understand their place in movie history but for the most part, they honestly don’t really do much for me, entertainment wise. Anyways, once again I don’t remember much about this movie but it seems like this one might be a little interesting based on the general premise. Well, no time to waste so might as well jump right into my re-watching of The Black Godfather.

The plot: Tommy and J.J. are walking down the street and when they get to a house, they head up to it and Tommy kicks open the door and attempts to kill the man inside, only to have his gun jam on him. The man shoots Tommy twice, then shoots J.J. when he tries to run, hitting him in the arm. J.J, helps Tommy into an alley, where he dies in his arms, and as J.J. tries to leave, he is found an helped by a man named Nate Williams, who takes the bullet out of J.J.’s arm and tends to his wound. The next day, J.J. is shocked to learn exactly who it was that saved him and as he talks with Nate, Nate tells him that he was impressed with the fact that J.J. attempted to rob the home of a known gangster. He then decides to help J.J. by offering him advice on how to survive on the streets, then gives him some money to get himself cleaned up and tells him to come back that night so they can continue their conversation. Some time later, J.J. has risen in power on the streets and is trying to take out a white drug trafficker named Tony Burton. He meets up with another man named Diablo about the matter but Diablo is not interested in forming an alliance, especially with J.J., as he feels J.J. is no better than Tony. J.J.convinces him that he doesn’t care about what happens on the streets, so long as Tony isn’t pushing his drugs in their community and Diablo lists off some demands before he agrees to an alliance, which J.J. approves. Later, Lieutenant Joe, a crooked cop that is on the take from Tony and several other people, shows up at J.J.’s club to have a meeting with J.J. J.J. tells Joe to deliver a message to Tony that he isn’t allowed in the black community any more or else there will be a war. Joe leaves the club and will heads over to Tony’s house and relays J.J.’s message. Tony asks if he can be pressured to back down and Joe says he might be able to but there is no way to be certain it will work out in Tony’s favor, as J.J. is determined to get rid of him. Meanwhile, J.J. has a meeting with Nate and talks about the situation with Tony and Nate ends up arguing with J.J. about his plans but tells him that while he doesn’t support it, he will not stand in his way either. The next day, Tony pays a visit to Nate and tries to pressure him into putting things back the way they were, as his men are being harassed and he is losing money but Nate refuses to get involved, saying maybe it is time for a change. Later, Tony is at the gym with Nate and another man, Sonny, and Nate worries J.J. is making a mistake but J.J. tells him to just worry about his own territory and he will deal with Tony. The next day, one of Tony’s drug dealers is captured by Diablo and his men and they take him back to their hideout and interrogate him, where he tells them about an upcoming shipment but he doesn’t know any details so they let him go. Later, Diablo and some men head out and kill another dealer of Tony’s. Joe goes to see Tony and tells him about what is happening and Tony wants Joe to get involved directly to help him regain his territory and when Joe refuses, he blackmails him into doing it. J.J. and his group have a meeting and J.J. says that they need to find out the details about when it is coming in. Meanwhile, Joe calls Tony that he will hear about what happened on the evening news and When Tony hears the story, he laughs and says that that will teach J.J., while J.J. works on bailing out Diablo and his men, and then they finalize their plans to steal Tony’s shipment. Some time later, J.J. and his men ambush the shipment, killing all of Tony’s men that were there, and attempt to steal the drugs but the car with the drugs ends up getting blown up. When he hears about it, Tony yells at Joe for allowing it to happen when J.J. calls, taunting him about his missing drugs. Tony, Joe, and some of Tony’s men pay a visit to Nate and Tony questions Nate about where J.J. is. When Nate tells him that he doesn’t know where J.J. is, Tony ends up killing Joe, Sonny, and Nate, then takes Nate’s daughter Yvonne with him when he leaves. The next day, J.J., Diablo, and the other men are out there hideout when they hear the news report about Nate, Joe, and Sonny’s death. J.J. and Diablo get into an argument about what all is happening, but J.J. eventually pacifies him saying that their fight is out their with Tony, not in her against each other. Tony calls J.J. and offers to make an exchange, Yvonne and some money in exchange for his drugs, and J.J. agrees to it but says that Tony should bring just one man. J.J. had recorded the call and as he is playing it back, one of his men says he recognizes the bells in the background as coming from a church he knows. Trying to figure out a way to find Yvonne in that area, J.J. decides to send out flyers to all of the domestic workers in the area in the hopes that one of them might have seen her. A hospital worker sees Yvonne’s picture and says he saw some men bring her into a private suite in the hospital and J.J.’s man calls J.J. with the  news. Tony has Yvonne call J.J., then sets the time and date for the exchange but J.J. knows where they are and heads there with Diablo and some men. Reaching the suite, they get in a shootout with Tony’s men and Diablo is wounded but Tony is able to get away down the staircase with Yvonne. J.J. and Diablo follow after him and when Tony holds up in the kitchen, he demands J.J. throw him his heroin but Yvonne grabs a cleaver and hits him in the back of the head when his back is turned, killing him, and J.J. quickly grabs her and they leave the hospital.

All things considered, this actually wasn’t that bad of a movie. The acting was pretty decent, with Rod Perry (J.J.), Don Chastain (Tony), and Jimmy Witherspoon (Nate) all doing pretty good jobs in their roles. The story was pretty good but I felt like they let some scenes play out a lot longer than was necessary and honestly kind of killed any sort of mood that was attempted to be built. There were also a couple of times where they kind of cut away at odd moments without any real explanation, which also didn’t help the plot much. The action scenes were pretty slow paced and didn’t really have any action to them, accept for when Tony was beating Nate for J.J.’s location. That honestly felt like the realest bit of action in the movie. It’s a decent movie but did leave some room for improvement.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 1st, 2014 Movie – Black Fist

black fist

As you can guess from the title, I have yet another example of blaxploitation to watch today. This is yet another movie that didn’t make much of an impact on me when I first watched it so I don’t really remember if I liked it or not. That is the problem with have a bunch of movies like I do, it can be hard to keep track of them all. I guess that is one good thing about this blog; I am able to write down my opinion so if I forget a certain movie, I can look back and see what I thought and if it is worth giving a second chance. Now, let’s get to watching Black Fist.

The plot: In Los Angeles, a street fighter named Leroy Fisk is brought before a man called Logan and told that he can fight for him. When Leroy starts to argue with Logan’s bodyguards, Logan arranges an exhibition match with one of his fighters called Moose. Leroy is able to knock Moose down and bloody him up some but Moose is able to grab him and start hammering on his ribs and kidneys until Leroy is unable to fight back. Later, Logan tells Leroy that he has some skill but needs to learn how to really street fight if he wants to work for him and sets him up with a trainer, Ira, to teach him how to properly street fight. Meanwhile, a crooked cop named Heineken approaches a man named Fleichman, who owes money to Heineken and his boss. Fleichman is short but says he can get the rest after his man’s next fight. Fleichman is speaking with Logan, who is interested in trimming his stable of fighters, and Fleichman offers a trade for Leroy against his fighter but Leroy ends up winning the match. Later, Fleichman tries to plead his case to Heineken’s boss but when he gets upset and refuses to pay the rest of the money he owes, Heineken’s boss orders Fleichman to be killed. Meanwhile, Leroy is using his newfound money to make life better for his wife Bea and their son but he is approached by Heineken, who tells him he can either start paying him off or he will arrest him for illegal street fights. After a couple of fights and having to pay Heineken part of his take, Leroy approaches Logan, upset about the situation, and Logan tells him he will take care of Heineken but it will take time. Later, Ira tells Leroy that Logan and Heineken are in on the scam together, which upsets Leroy. As Leroy mopes about the situation, his friend Fletch shows up, having heard about his troubles with Heineken, and gives Leory Heineken’s notebook, which he had stolen. Inside the notebook are all of the details about the money Heineken receives from Leroy and the other street fighters, as well as from prostitutes and what Logan receives as well. Leroy confronts Heineken with the book, who goes to Logan to discuss the situation and Logan says not to worry about Leroy. Some time later, Leroy calls Heineken and tells him to come to his place and when he gets there, Leroy shows him Fletch’s body, which was left there as a message for him. Leroy tells Heineken that he is done with the fights and has Heineken deal with the body, then goes to speak with Logan himself. Logan arranges a fight between Leroy and Moose but Leroy insists he increase his pay to $25,000, then he tells Bea that if he wins this fight he is done with Logan and his men and they can take the winnings and open the club that they want. Logan is betting heavily on Moose to win and, at his assurance of Moose’s victory, Logan’s boss bets $50,000 on Moose. Meanwhile, Leroy goes to see Big Henry and bets all the money he has saved up on himself to win but is warned that if he doesn’t win, he had better hope that Moose kills him during the fight. Leroy ends up winning his fight against Moose and buys the club and as he celebrates with Bea, her brother shows up. Leroy decides they should celebrate and they start to head out but Leroy is called back to deal with an issue with the club so he hands Bea’s brother his keys but when they get in the car, it explodes. Logan and his men are celebrating Leroy’s death but Heineken shows up and tells them that they didn’t kill Leroy, but his pregnant wife and her brother. Leroy secretly attends Bea’s funeral, then sends his son off with his aunt for safety. He then returns to town in disguise and begins beating up people to find out who killed Bea and when he finds out that Logan did it, he kills one of his bodyguards and then works on a plan to get to Logan. Heineken is told about the girl helping Leroy and he pays her a visit and when she refuses to tell him where Leroy is, he attempts to rape her but Leroy shows up and stops him. Leroy takes Heineken to a meat locker and ties him up on one of the hooks and leaves him there to freeze to death. Avon, Logan’s other bodyguard shows up at the home of Logan’s boss, Mr. Ingo, and tells him that he killed Logan and Ingo congratulates him and says he is promoted to Logan’s position, but then has him killed. Ingo then contacts Leroy and invites him to his place and when Leroy gets there, he shows Leroy Avon’s body. Ingo then says that he took care of Logan as well and that now they can be partners but Leroy realizes that he was the one that had Fletch killed. Ingo goes to shoot Leroy but Leroy struggles with him and ends up shooting Ingo be accident. As Leroy stares at the body, he is haunted by Bea’s voice warning him about associating with gangsters and as he stares at his reflection in the bathroom, he begins lashing out and punching the glass as he realizes he brought all this on himself.

This wasn’t too bad of a movie but it did get a little confusing at times. The acting was decent, with Richard Lawson (Leroy), Dabney Coleman (Heineken), and Robert Burr (Logan) doing good jobs in their roles. The story could have been told better, as they didn’t really get into Leroy’s motivation for fighting until almost halfway into the movie; you were basically left to think that it was a typical “grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and fighting was the only way he could make a living” plot. After his wife dies, the revenge aspect was ok but they kind of jumped around to different scenes so it was a little difficult to really keep track of what all was happening. The fight scenes were pretty good all around but there wasn’t really enough action to keep you interested and the pacing of the story honestly left you bored. It wasn’t bad but it’s not exactly something worth hunting after to watch.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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