action, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

August 25th, 2019 Movie – The Meg

the meg

Many years ago, while perusing the aisle of Barnes & Noble, I came across a book called “The Trench” which piqued my interest. See, this book was being advertised as one of the greatest shark stories since “Jaws”, and the fact that it focused on the megalodon, made me immediately pick this book up and start reading it, then picked up “Meg: A Novel Of Deep Terror”, as I learned that “The Trench” was a sequel. A few years later, I heard rumors that Hollywood was looking to make a movie based on “Meg”, but it ended up getting stuck in developmental hell so my hopes of seeing a movie version were soon dashed. I didn’t pay much attention to what was going on with this movie until a few years ago, when I heard that Jason Statham had been cast in the lead role and that filming had begun. This was like a giant Christmas present to me so I eagerly awaited for the movie to land in theaters so I could finally watch The Meg. Recently, I decided to check out all of The Meg books from my local library and figured that I should continue in that vein with my movie choice today so let’s have some fun with The Meg.

The -plot: Deep in the Philippine Trench, Jonas Taylor and his crew are attempting a deep sea rescue of a damaged nuclear sub. As Jonas finds a wounded man and begins bringing him back to the sub, something begins slamming into the hull of the damaged sub, causing it to begin to collapse. Jonas tells his crew to get back to their sub but as he brings the wounded sailor on board, his crew, Marks and D’Angelo, tell Jonas that they are trapped. Realizing that if the sub implodes, it will kill him and the rescued sailors as well, Jonas makes the difficult decision to leave his crew so he can save everyone else, though medical officer Heller says Jonas was a coward and left the men to die. 5 years later, billionaire Jack Morris heads out to the underwater research facility Mana One, which he financed, where he is greeted by Dr. Minway Zhang, Zhang’s daughter Suyin, and Suyin’s daughter Meiying. After descending to the command deck of the lab, Zhang explains his theory that what scientist initially believed to be the bottom of the Mariana Trench was actually a dense thermocline of hydrogen sulfide, concealing an environment completely cut off from the rest of the world, where new species of aquatic life can be found thriving. Morris, Zhang, Suyin, and the rest of the command crew (James “Mac” Mackriedes, Jaxx, DJ, and Heller) watch on the monitors as the sub crewed by Lori Taylor, Toshi, and The Wall, descends through the thermocline and begins exploring the area. Suddenly, the sub picks up a large object on it’s sonar, which attacks the Rover the released for exploration and as the object begins attacking them, Lori shouts into the radio that Jonas was right before the Mana One loses radio contact with the sub. As the command crew discuss their options to rescue the sub, Mac says their best bet is to get Jonas, as he is the only man to successfully complete a rescue at that depth. Heller and Suyin argue against Mac involving Jonas, as Heller says that Jonas had imagined something attacking the sub during the rescue, but Zhang overrules them, saying he owes it to the sub’s crew to give them the best chance possible. Mac and Zhang head to Thailand, where Jonas is now living, and after playing him the tape of the sub’s last communication and telling Jonas that his ex-wife Lori was the one piloting the sub. Back in the sub, The Wall manages to restore power back to the sub so they don’t freeze to death but Lori realizes the lights will attract whatever attacked them and goes to turn them off but is too late as the sub is struck again, with Lori being impaled by a screwdriver before they can get the lights turned off. Back on Mana One, Heller is showing Suyin the footage of his session with Jonas, telling her that Jonas had imagined the creature as a result of a bout of psychosis of the deep when DJ tells them about the sub being attacked and leaking air, prompting Suyin to get into one of the deep sea gliders to try and rescue them. Jonas, Max, and Zhang arrive shortly after Suyin’s launch and after a brief medical exam by Heller, much to Jonas’ annoyance, Jonas heads to the sub and follows Suyin down to the bottom of the trench. Suyin breaks through the thermocline and as she locates the sub and prepares to rig it for towing, she is attacked by a giant squid. As the squid begins to crush the glider, it’s grip suddenly goes slack and Suyin sees that it has been killed by a massive megalodon. Jonas breaks through the thermocline and as the megalodon begins heading towards the glider, he is able to lure it away by firing some flares from his sub. Jonas tells Suyin to head back to the surface, then he heads to the damaged sub and manages to rescue Lori and The Wall but when the megalodon begins heading back for them, Toshi closes the hatch and turns on the damaged sub’s lights, sacrificing himself so the others can escape. When they reach the surface, Heller works on saving Lori’s life and Suyin blames Jonas for Toshi’s death but later apologizes for her commnets. Later, a meeting is held to discuss the megalodon and while Zhang wishes to take things slow in studying it, Morris want to rush things, as he feels it is a potential gold mine in the making. As arguments break out on how to proceed, Meiying is playing in another portion of the base when she spots the megalodon staring at her, right before it attempts to bite the window. Mac and Jonas both feel the collision and they head out to see what happened, accompanied by Suyin. They find Meiying, who tells them there is a monster outside, just as they see the megalodon kill a baby humpback whale that the research station was studying. Everyone heads back to the command center, where Jaxx tells them her theory about how the megalodon managed to reach the surface. Suddenly, the Mana One receives a distress signal from 3 boats and when they head out to investigate, they find the megalodon has destroyed the three boats and eaten the crews. They see the megalodon swimming nearby and Jonas heads out and manages to shoot a tracking dart into the megalodon, then is pulled back onto the boat before the megalodon can eat him. The crew then prepares a shark cage so that Suyin can shoot some poison-filled darts into the megalodon’s mouth. Suyin manages to shoot the megalodon but it attacks the cage, causing the ship’s crane to fall onto the deck. Jonas dives into the water to rescue Suyin, while The Wall rigs the ship’s second crane to form a trap for the megalodon and the manage to capture it as it goes after Jonas and Suyin, with it’s struggles against the cable causing it to drown. After reviving the nearly dead Suyin, the crew are congratulating themselves on killing the megalodon when a second, even larger megalodon, leaps out of the water, swallowing The Wall as it attacks the dead megalodon. The ship is flipped over and as everyone tries to make it back onto the sinking ship, Jonas helps the severely wonded Zhang while Heller sacrifices himself to ensure that Jaxx makes it back onto the ship. Mac manages to grab the life boats and they head back to Mana One, only for the megalodon to follow them but Morris’ security team manages to tag it before driving it away. Zhang dies before they reach the station and Morris tells the assembled crew that he has alerted the authorities and is closing down the station until the megalodon is killed. However, Morris did not contact the authorities and instead, made plans to kill it himself. Morris and his men head out and his helicopter drops some depth charges but instead of killing the shark, they kill a whale. As Morris tells his men they need to leave, he is accidentally knocked overboard and ends up being killed by the megalodon as it feeds on the whale. The next day, Mac learns what Morris had done and Jonas makes plans to commandeer the evac ship so they can go after and kill the megalodon. The megalodon heads to Sanya Bay, where panic erupts when people notice the giant shark swimming around. As the shark begins attacking the people, Jaxx and DJ lower a buoy playing recorded whale songs, luring the megalodon away from the bay and towards where they plan on attacking it. When the megalodon arrives, it destroys the buoy and chases after Jonas, who damages his own glider and lures it towards Suyin so she can fire a torpedo at it but the torpedo explodes too soon. Suyin then lures the megalodon towards Jonas but his torpedo doesn’t fire and he is forced to avoid the megalodon , causing it to strike the evac ship in the process. On the surface, some news choppers are hovering over the ship to report on the megalodon when two of them collide in mid air, with the wreckage falling onto the ship. Mac, Lori, Jaxx, DJ, and Meiying are forced to jump into the water to avoid the debris and Suyin heads back to the surface to help them. Jonas then pilots his sub and uses the damaged side of his glider to slash into the megalodon’s stomach but it hits him with it’s tail, causing his glider to lose power and allowing the megalodon to grab it in it’s mouth. As the megalodon crushes down on the glider, Jonas is able to escape and plunges a spear gun into the megalodon’s eye, finally killing it. As Jonas watches the megalodon begin to sink, a massive swarm of sharks appear and begin to feed on the carcass. A hammerhead approaches Jonas but Suyin arrives and rescues him, then takes him to the ferry that rescued the others. As the crew recover from the ordeal and toast their lost friends, Jonas sits with Suyin and Meiying and discusses taking a vacation.

The Meg met with mixed reviews from the critics, currently holding a 46% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Meg sets audiences up for a good old-fashioned B-movie creature feature, but lacks the genre thrills — or the cheesy bite — to make it worth diving in.” In the books, the megalodons were albinos, with a luminescent glow due to adapting to the absence of light in the deep water trench, but that proved to be too difficult to render in CGI so they chose to make the sharks look more like the typical great white shark. Disney had bought the film rights for the book in 1997 but got cold feet about competing against Deep Blue Sea so they went into turnaround (offered it to another studio so they could recoup their costs). Despite the mixed reviews, the movie was a commercial success, earning $530.3 million off of a $178 million budget, and a sequel is in developement, with a script currently being in the works.

Let me go ahead and say, it has taken me a long time to stop comparing a movie to the book it is based on. Ok, that is a lie because I still do it, but I am at least usually able to enjoy a movie even if it doesn’t match up perfectly to the book. That is why, even though there were several differences between the original book and the movie, I was able to enjoy The Meg. The acting was pretty good in this movie, with Jason Statham (Jonas) doing a great job in the lead role, as was Bingbing Li (Suyin) and Shuya Sophia Cal (Meiying), with the interaction between them being really good. I also liked Rain Willson (Morris), Cliff Curtis (Mac), and Ruby Rose (Jaxx), as they turned in some pretty good performances as well. While the story did differ from the book, the plot was still pretty decent and they did rework some scenes from the book to fit with the plot of the movie. I do think they could of done a little more in explaining how the megalodons survived in the trench, instead of the brief, glossed over theory that was shown during that one briefing scene. One thing I did like was all the various allusions to “Jaws” that occurred throughout the film, since Benchley’s novel was something of an inspiration for Steve Alten’s novel. The special effects in the movie were pretty good, and I do have to give props to the CGI team on the megalodons, as they really did look more terrifying than your average shark. I also liked the visual effects during the underwater scenes, especially the scenes in the trench, as they showcased some real underwater beauty in those brief scenes before the megalodon attacked. It’s no Jaws, but this was an entertaining movie and worth giving a shot.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

Advertisements
Standard
action, comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

August 18th, 2019 Movie – Rajin’ Cajun Redneck Gators (a.k.a. Alligator Alley)

rajin' cajun redneck gators

Today brings us the last entry in the Shark Bait box set and the other movie I was most excited to be getting in this set. Now I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I had completely missed this movie when it first debuted on Syfy. In fact, it would be 2-3 years later when I happened to see this movie on the schedule and immediately set my DVR to record it, as the name alone had my curiosity piqued. I mean, come on. How can you not be interested in seeing a movie with a title like that. Well my first thought when watching it was, “Hey, that’s Zoe from Eureka.”, which made me pretty happy to know that Syfy was trying to get actors from their original series to play roles in their original movies. Then I started laughing my ass off as I continued watching the movie. So it’s time to sit back and laugh again as I watch today’s movie, Rajin’ Cajun Redneck Gators.

The plot: Deep in the south Louisiana bayou, Dathan Robichaud has pulled up to the swamp and is dumping out a batch of bad moonshine, briefly talking to two Doucette’s that are fishing nearby. As Dathan drives off, he is unaware that the two fishermen are being attacked by an unseen creature. Meanwhile, Avery Doucette is returning home after spending the last 4 years in college and after greeting her dad, Lucien, she heads out with him and her cousin Bud, who is constantly hitting on her, as they go hunting some gators. The three end up anchoring off of the Robichaud property, they are confronted by Wade, Dathan, and Dale Robichaud. As Lucien and Wade begin arguing, Dathan and Avery subtly wave at each other when Wade suddenly shoots at the Doucette’s boat, hitting a large alligator that was underwater. As Lucien and Bud work to bring the gator on board, it comes back to life, biting Lucien’s hand before he is finally able to kill it. As the Doucettes head back to the dock to unload the gator, Avery comments about the gator’s unusual coloring and spikes on it’s tail but Lucien dismisses her concerns and heads inside the local watering hole so Avery can say hello to the rest of the Doucettes. Suddenly, the surviving fisherman bursts into the bar screaming about the gator attack and when the sheriff arrives, he tells his deputy, who is a Doucette, to go check out the area where the attack happened. As the Doucette’s family cookout commences, Avery manages to get rid of Bud and heads down to the water for a swim, where she is secretly joined by Dathan. As the two kiss, the fisherman yells at them from the bank, just as another alligator skewers him with it’s tail spikes before eating him. Avery heads back to the cookout and tells her dad what happened but her family mocks her and don’t believe what she is saying so she calls Dathan and asks him to meet her. As Dathan gets his gear together, he stops by to talk to his dad, who says his latest batch of moonshine is bad as well, and they discuss his pouring out the bad shine into the swamp, as well as why the Doucettes and Robichauds hate each other. Meanwhile, Deputy Doucette comes across a swamper who has caught a gator but the man is soon killed and as Doucette starts to radio in on what is happening, she is decapitated by another gator. The next day, Sheriff Landry is trying to get the Doucettes to calm down but Lucien and Bud are adamant that Wade, Dale, and Dathan are the ones that killed their family and go out to find them. Meanwhile, Avery and Dathan had been out all night trying to find the gators and their nest. They manage to find a likely area but when their boat stalls out, a gator starts swimming towards them and begins attacking the boat. On the shore, Lucien, Bud, and some other Doucettes are confronting Wade and Dale on the water’s edge when they hear Avery call out for help, so they quickly yell out to the gator to try and distract it. The group manage to kill the gator but when some more gators begin showing up, they quickly head for Avery and Dathan’s boat, with Landry showing up to help them escape. That night, as Avery and Lucien argue aver her being with Dathan, Lucien’s wife Candy goes out looking for her dog when a gator appears nearby. Her screams alert Avery, Lucien, and Bud, who throws the dog at the gator as a distraction so they can run back to the house. As Avery tries to console Candy, Lucien heads to the bathroom, where he notices his hand where the gator bit him is beginning to gain a scaly appearance. The next day, Landry has brought in Tristan St. Claire, a TV personality with his own show about hunting Gators, to help kill the gators. As they prepare to head out, the Doucettes are surprised to see Dathan has become Landry’s new deputy and Lucien is skeptical about the situation but chooses to stay quiet. The group heads out to the nest but as Tristan tries examining some baby gators, Bud gets impatient and starts shooting some eggs, causing the rest of the group to start shooting. When some adult gators show up, Tristan’s film crew are killed as the assembled Doucettes and Robichauds continue killing the redneck gators. Later that afternoon, the Doucettes and Robichauds are celebrating together at the bar but when Landry gives Wade and Lucien the reward money, their tempers start flaring, especially when Dathan says that Avery is going to marry him. Avery goes storming out of the bar, with Dathan chasing after her, and Lucien gets a gun from Candy and orders all of the Robichauds out of the bar but as they all leave, he suddenly doubles over in pain as he begins turning into a redneck gator. Outside, Dathan catches up to Avery and as they talk, Bud, who is also beginning to turn, pulls a gun on them and moves to shoot Dathan but Dale attacks him. As the two struggle, Bud kills Dale, then bites Dathan when he tries to stop him and as Bud runs off into the woods, Dathan manages to shoot him. The next day, Landry goes looking for Lucien to see if he knows where Bud might be but finds all of the Doucettes have vanished, while a redneck gator is inside Lucien’s home. Landry heads to Wade’s home and tells Wade, Dathan, and Avery about the missing Doucettes and they agree to help him find them. Avery, Dathan, and Wade head out in a boat when Wade and Dathan get knocked overboard by a redneck gator. As it approaches the boat to attack Avery, Avery notices the pink nail polish on the gator’s claws and realizes that it is Candy, but she is still forced to kill it. Later, Avery is continuing to look for her family when she falls into some quicksand and as she calls out for help, a redneck gator begins approaching her. Before it reaches her, a second gator attacks it and drives it off, then approaches Avery but instead of attacking her, it rescues her from the quicksand and she realizes that it is her dad when she sees the gold tooth in it’s mouth. Avery tells Dathan and Wade her theory but when they don’t believe her, she drives off on her own, killing several gators when they approach her. Meanwhile, Dathan and Wade, realizing their tainted moonshine caused the gators to mutate, are trying to get rid of the rest of the shine when Dathan suddenly starts turning into a redneck gator. Avery kills another gator that is about to kill Wade, then approaches the now transformed Dathan when another gator (Bud) appears from underneath the house. The two gators begin attacking each other and appear to kill each other but after Wade and Avery take Dathan’s body and place it in the swamp, it recovers and swims off. Avery and Wade tell Landry what is going on and  they come up with a plan to kill the redneck gators. Wade gathers the rest of the Robichauds and they call out for the Doucettes, attracting the gators to the bar, where they have some explosives planted inside. As the Robichauds lock the gators inside, Avery finds Lucien and tries to get him to leave with her but Wade stops her and as he faces off with Lucien, they end up killing each other. Landry is killed before he can set off the explosives so Avery quickly fashions a Moltov Cocktail and tosses it into the bar, setting the explosive off but the concussion knocks her out and as the bar burns to the ground, Dathan appears and drags Avery to safety. One year later, Avery is shown to have stayed in the swamp, selling alligator skins for a living while raising her daughter, with Dathan, who is still a redneck gator and living with her.

This is one of those movies that, by all accounts, should not be entertaining but turns out to be highly entertaining. Yes, this does rely on a lot of stereotypes, and yes some of them are on the negative side, so the humor can be off at times but there are still some pretty funny aspects to this movie. The acting was pretty good, with Ritchie Montgomery and Thomas Francis Murphy stealing the show as Lucien and Wade respectively. Jordan Hinson, who was supposed to be the star, did a good job as Avery, but there were several times where she would gain and lose her bayou accent that ended up being a little annoying. Christopher Berry (Bud) was also pretty good but John Chriss (Dathan) was honestly a pretty bland character. The story was pretty interesting because of the two aspects of the movie. On the one hand, you had the typical sci-fi B-movie style theme of some sort of mutating agent, in this case the chemically tainted moonshine, causing animals to mutate and turn into killers. The fact that the gators could mutate people and turn them into gators honestly made it feel a little like Black Sheep (2006) in that regard. The other aspect of the movie was the human aspect, which was a pretty decent mixture of “Romeo and Juliet” with a touch of Hatfields and McCoys thrown in. The fact that Avery and Dathan were secret high school sweethearts honestly didn’t seem too original to be honest, though the whole Bud flirting/hitting on her was a bit too creepy. The special effects were a lot better than I was expecting, with the addition of the gators able to shoot out their tail spikes being a nice touch to their design. I especially liked that they didn’t overuse that ability too much, only utilizing it a few times, but the best part was the final duel between Lucien and Wade. So a fun movie to watch and one of Syfy’s better entries over the last few years.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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

August 11th, 2019 Movie – Zombie Shark

zombie shark

A sad way to start the day as I watch the last shark movie in the Shark Bait set. Well, let me rephrase that. This is the last shark movie that I did not already review. See, this set also included Swamp Shark, but since that movie got it’s own DVD release several years ago, it has already been reviewed on my site. Anyways, let’s get on with today’s movie. Now this movie had debuted 4 years ago during Sharknado Week, but I missed it. In fact, I somehow managed to miss it every time Syfy aired it for the next two years. Last year I finally got a chance to watch Zombie Shark and…..the wait was not exactly worth it. Let’s see if a little bit of time, and keeping my expectations a little more even, will make it more enjoyable this time.

The plot: A woman is sitting on her kayak in the ocean, while her two friends are packing up their gear and heading back to their car, when she hears the sound of gunfire coming from a nearby abandoned base out on the water. Suddenly, a shark fin breaks the surface heading right for her but before it reaches her, a second shark attacks and kills it, then kills her. Elsewhere, Amber Steele is working at a bar with her friend Bridgette when Amber’s younger sister Sophie, who is also working there, is harassed by a drunk and when Amber goes to intercede, a fight breaks out until Bridgette quickly stops it by offering the bar free shots. Later that night, Amber’s boyfriend Jenner shows up and tells her he got a deal on an island getaway for 4 and Amber invites Sophie and Bridgette to come with them. Back on the island, Dr. Palmer is speaking with Roger and Maxwell Cage about trying to recapture the test subject that escaped from the base the day before, and both men say they will do their best on their respective tasks. The next morning, Jenner is loading up some gear in his boat, not hearing a weather report about an approaching storm, when he receives a call from Amber and Sophie’s parents, warning him to take care of their girls. The group head off for the island and are eventually greeted by Lester, the property manager, who tells them what there is to do on the island, as well as some history about the island and the abandoned base on the island’s edge. Bridgette decides to head to the beach and sees a crowd gathering by a dead shark that washed up on the beach so she quickly heads to get the others. As they stare at the shark, Jenner decides to take a picture of his head next to the shark’s mouth when the sheriff, who was working on crowd control, yells at him to get away from the shark. Suddenly, the shark comes back to life and lunges at Jenner and manages to eat him before it swims back into the sea, then killing the sheriff when the sheriff tries to shoot it. Amber, Sophie, and Bridgette head to the boat to try and leave only to realize that Jenner had the keys. AS more sharks begin feeding on the sheriff’s body, one of them attacks the boat, sending the girls drifting from the marina. Amber tries to call for help on the boat’s radio, accidentally getting on the military frequency being used at the abandoned base, and when Cage hears about the shark attack, he tells Amber that they will be there soon. Amber, Sophie, and Bridgette manage to get back onto the dock and head to the bar and, after telling Lester what happened, he finds a radio for them to use to try and call for help. Amber manages to make contact with Dr. Palmer, who asks them about the shark before telling them she is sending professionals to deal with it. When they hear people screaming for help, Amber and Sophie, armed with some shotguns that Lester had on hand, head out to try and save them. They fire at a shark that is approaching some people on inner tubes but it has no effect on the shark. Suddenly, they see a large shark with harpoon sticking in it’s back swimming past the dock, just as another shark slams into the dock. Amber and Sophie try to get back onto dry land when the dock is struck again, knocking Amber into the water. As she tries to climb back on, a shark starts swimming towards her but it is blown up by Cage, who had fired a bazooka at it. After pulling her up to safety, As Amber and Sophie try to get some answers from Cage about what is happening, he hears the sounds of combat coming on the radio from the rest of his team and he quickly heads off to help them, with Amber and Sophie coming with him. They arrive at a camp site, where they find the remains of some campers and Cage’s team, as well as a severed shark’s head that is still alive. Noticing a large swarm of sharks out in the water, as well as the one with the harpoon in it’s back (which Cage calls Bruce), Cage radios Dr. Palmer and explains the situation. Palmer says that the infection could spread to humans and tells Cage to try and contain the situation while she works on a way to reverse the process. Back at the bar, Bridgette and Lester see a news team out on the dock and they head out to warn them when the reporter gets knocked into the water by a shark. As they try to pull the reporter back onto the dock, Cage, Amber , and Sophie arrive just as a shark approaches the reporter. Cage manages to throw a grenade in the shark’s mouth, causing it to explode but it’s head is blown right onto Bridgette, killing her. Amber, Sophie, Cage, and Lester head back to the bar, where Sophie is able to phone her parents and tell them what is happening. While she is on the phone, Amber explains how she had a falling out with her parents. Lester is unable to get through to the Coast Guard and demands that Cage tells him what happened to the sharks. Cage refuses at first but he eventually tells them that Palmer had been experimenting on sharks to find a way to regenerate dead tissues and organs when Bruce had escaped from it’s containment. When a homeless drunk, who has been infected by the sharks, shows up and attacks Amber, Lester kills him by shooting him in the head. Cage says that they need to get to Palmer and help her make the cure, while Lester says he will get some friend to help deal with the zombies. Back at the base, Roger tells Palmer that he has fixed the beacon and when she tells him that she is considering leaving the project after they clean up the mess they made, Roger tries to convince her to continue her research when he is killed by a shark. Cage contacts Palmer and tells her about the problem and she tells them that Roger had fixed the beacon so they can lure Bruce, and the other sharks, back to the base, where Cage says that he has enough explosives to kill them all. Palmer tells them that she might have developed a cure but she needs an infected brain to test it on. Amber suggests they get the shark’s head they found and they quickly head back to the camp site only to find the head is missing. They spread out to find it and Sophie eventually finds it, but they annoyingly attract the attention of a zombie. After collecting the head, the three head to the base but they are attacked by some sharks, with Cage being wounded in the process before they can make it inside. Once inside, they give Palmer the head, she injects her trial cure into the shark’s brain but when it doesn’t work, she says that they have to stop the infection from spreading. Palmer activates the beacon to draw the sharks towards the base. Out on the beach, Lester and his friends have been fending off the sharks and zombies when they see the sharks all swimming away and heading towards the base. As the sharks enter the enclosure, Amber and the others leave so they can blow up the base but Palmer heads back to get her vaccine, with Sophie accompanying her. Inside the lab, Palmer finds the vaccine but the shark’s head, which had fallen off the table, bites Palmer in the leg so Palmer hands the vaccine to Sophie and tells her to leave her, as she is now infected. Cage blows up the base as Sophie exits and when she tries to jump to safety, she is swallowed whole by Bruce, who had not gone into the enclosure. A hysterical Amber heads out to the water to lure Bruce to her, where she is able to pull the harpoon from his back and begins stabbing him in the head. As Bruce swims back out to sea and turns around to make another attack, Lester arrives and throws a spear gun to Amber, who uses it to finally kill Bruce. As Amber mourns for her sister, she hears something coming from Bruce’s stomach and Cage hands her his knife so she can cut the stomach open. Amber pulls Sophie from Bruce’s stomach but Sophie has become infected and attacks Amber, forcing Amber to kill her. The vaccine falls from Sophie’s hands and Cage quickly picks it up so he can get more of it manufactured, then he and Lester go to comfort Amber, who is cradling Sophie’s head in her lap.

So I gave it another shot and I have to say, I am honestly on the fence regarding this movie. There were some aspects of it that I liked and some that I didn’t. The acting was decent, with Jason London (Cage) and Roger J. Timber (Lester) doing good jobs in their roles. I also thought that Sloane Coe (Sophie) did a good job but I was a little disappointed with Cassie Steele (Amber). It might be more due to the writing than her actual performance because her character just seemed to be overly whiny at times. The story itself was pretty decent, playing a little bit off of the plot from Deep Blue Sea, and adding a nice zombie twist to it. I do wish they actually showed more of the whole zombie aspect, because this was mainly just a normal shark movie for the most part, with only a few times where the shark’s didn’t die showcasing the zombie aspect. I will say that Lester made for some great comedic scenes, especially in the battle on the beach where he stabbed a shark through the mouth with a machete, causing the machete to stick out of it’s head, only for the shark to swim off and use it’s new machete to sever one guys arm, and later stab Cage in the leg. The special effects were about what you would expect for this type of movie, but they did add to the humor in a lot of the scenes. One thing I didn’t care for was the camera work during several of the underwater scenes. I don’t know if it was intentional but they made the water look soo murky that the sharks didn’t look very clear. So there are a couple of faults but it can still be an enjoyable movie on the whole.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

Standard
action, comedy, horror, movie, movie review

July 28th, 2019 Movie – Ozark Sharks

ozark sharks

So today is a day filled with all sorts of aquatic themed B-movies, at least for me. First off, I have today’s movie to watch and review. Then, at 4 p.m. (Pacific time), ShoutFactoryTV is kicking off a week of “killer fish” themed double features on their site so I will be watching that this afternoon. Of course, I will have to find something to do to occupy my time in between those events but for now, let’s focus on the first task for today. Today’s movie was one of the slew of new movies to come out during the 2016 Sharknado week. I will admit that I wasn’t too impressed with it my first time watching it but lets see if Ozark Sharks is better with a second viewing.

The plot: Four teenagers are playing with fireworks in a river when they are attacked by some sharks, leaving one girl, Dawn, as the only survivor. Meanwhile, Molly and Harrison are reluctantly going on vacation to the Ozarks with their parents, Rick and Diane, and their grandma. When they arrive there, Rick and Diane go to get the cabin key from the camp manager Jones and they head up to the cabin, where Molly is surprised to see her boyfriend Curtis had taken a bus there to surprise her. Rick and Diane make plans to take a canoe out on the lake while Harrison, Molly, Curtis, and Grandma head out to get some lunch. As Harrison and Curtis get the food and talk with Jones, Grandma heads down to the lake while Molly reads a book on shore. Suddenly, a shark lunges out of the water and kills Grandma and Molly goes to tell Harrison and Curtis, who don’t believe her at first until they find her bloody sunhat and severed arm. When a shark heads towards Harrison, Jones shows up and shoots it, driving it off, and tells them that there have always been some sharks in the lake. Curtis tries to call the local sheriff and tell him what happened but the sheriff thinks he is making a prank call and hangs up on him. Harrison heads back to the cabin to tell his parents but when he finds that they aren’t there, he calls Molly and tells her that he is going to drive around the lake to see if he can find them. Jones takes Molly and Curtis to his work shop to get some of his homemade weapons and then they head back out to the lake, where Jones manages to kill one shark but they discover that there are 6 more swimming in the lake. They head back to Jones’ shop and grab some more weapons, then load them up into his truck and head out to hunt the sharks. Meanwhile, Rick and Diane are attacked by a shark, which bites off two of Rick’s fingers. As he wraps a shirt around his injured hand, Diane grabs a flare gun and goes to signal for help but ends up shooting it at the shark, killing it. Diane then grabs another flare and fires it into the sky, which is spotted by Molly, Curtis, and Jones and they head over to where the flare came from. Elsewhere, Harrison finds Dawn, who was stuck on a tree in the river, and after rescuing her, they see a shark swim by heading towards the lake. Harrison grabs the canoe he used to rescue Dawn and plans to go after it, wanting to save his parents before they are attacked. Dawn refuses to go at first but when she mentions the firework festival and how many people will be at the lake, Harrison guilts her into going with him. Back on the lake, Diane is paddling the canoe back to the dock by their cabin when a shark leaps out of the water at them but they are saved when Jones harpoons the shark. When Rick and Diane learn that Harrison had gone looking for them, they want to go after him when Jones is attacked and killed by some sharks. As they recover from that, another shark leaps out of the water onto the porch of the cabin but Molly kills it with one of Jones’ weapons. They head out to try and find Harrison, eventually finding the jeep but no sign of him. When Curtis mentions the firework festival, they head back to warn people, with Curtis trying to call the sheriff again but the sheriff still thinks Curtis is making prank calls. Molly and the other head back to Jones’ shop so they can grab the rest of his weapons to use against the sharks. Harrison and Dawn arrive at the festival and try to warn people about the sharks but they don’t believe them at first, until the sharks start attacking people. Harrison and Dawn manage to save some girls that were on a floating pier but when a shark attacks them, they are saved by Molly, who had just arrived at the lake. Everyone has cleared out of the lake except for one girl trapped on the floating pier, but Curtis comes up with an idea to save her. Curtis manages to harpoon a shark’s tail and drags the rope over a wood chipper before he reals it in, causing the shark to get dragged into the chipper. Curtis celebrates saving the girl and killing the shark when the chipper sends the sharks teeth flying into his chest, killing him. A grief stricken Molly wants to kill the last shark and, after failing to talk her out of it, Harrison agrees to help. The grab Jones’ last weapon and some fireworks to use as ammo but Molly tricks Harrison into letting her go by herself. Molly heads out to the floating pier and uses Jones’ weapon, a massive modified air cannon, to fire fireworks at the shark, blowing it up in a colorful, and bloody, explosion. Molly rows back to join her family, and Dawn, on the dock and as the police finally show up, they watch the fireworks, with Rick joking that they should go skiing next year.

Ok. I gave it another shot. I kept an open mind about it. I still don’t particularly care for this movie. That’s not to say that it is a bad movie, because it was a fairly entertaining movie. This one just didn’t get that same level of excitement out of me like most shark movies do. The acting was ok, with Dave Davis (Harrison), Ross Britz (Curtis), and Thomas Francis Murphy (Jones) doing good jobs in their roles. I think I liked Curtis the most as his comedic moments, especially interacting with Jones, helped keep the movie from being too serious. However, I could not stand Allisyn Ashley Arm’s character of Molly. Even though there have been characters similar to her in other movies, for some reason her character just irritated the shit out of me. The story was ok, but not entirely original, as there was another movie about bull sharks in a lake/river that premiered earlier that week. The water in the movie looked muddy as hell, which made the camera shots featuring live sharks blend in pretty well. The special effects weren’t bad, though the times where some people would get splattered with blood looked a little too cheap at times. Not my favorite shark movie but it is a decent movie worth giving a shot.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

Standard
action, adventure, animation, kaiju movie, movie, movie review, sci-fi

May 26th, 2019 Movie – Godzilla: The Planet Eater

godzilla the planet eater

A holiday weekend, which is a good thing because I theoretically could catch up on some sleep. Unfortunately, that has never been the case for me as I am usually fairly busy during this particular 3-day weekend. Anyways, today we are finishing up our jaunt through the Netflix Godzilla trilogy. Now I was eagerly awaiting this movie to come out, as they had pretty much set up a fight between Godzilla and his biggest nemesis, Ghidorah. However, before it debuted on Netflix, I started hearing some reviews from people that had seen it in Japan and were disappointed in it. That had me a little nervous about what I was going to be getting, but then I decided to ignore what they said and simply enjoy a brand new Godzilla movie like I always do. So let’s relax this weekend with today’s movie, Godzilla: The Planet Eater.

The plot: As the remainder of Haruo’s team recovers from Godzilla’s assault on Mechagodzilla City, Metphies muses to himself on the Exif’s having observed and influenced humanity for centuries, and how he had been waiting for someone like Haruo in order to fulfill his own plans. Meanwhile, Haruo and Martin are observing Godzilla, who has gone to sleep in order to rest and recharge his own powers. On board the Aratrum, Dolu-Do, the Bilusaludo member of the committee, argues that Haruo should be put to death for his actions in destroying Mechagodzilla but the humans argue about Haruo revealing the Bilusaludo’s real endgame towards humanity and feels that Haruo should be commended for his actions. Back on Earth, Martin tells Haruo that Yuko is completely brain-dead, with only the nanometals in her body keeping her alive. When Metphies arrives and tells him about the discussion going on in the Aratrum, some of the crew believe Haruo was spared from the nanometals by an act of God, saying it is proof that his decisions were right. As other crew members start telling their own stories of how they survived against the nanometal, more of them begin joining Metphies religion. Martin tells Haruo that all of the people that survived the nanometal had been treated for injuries by the Houtua, including Haruo, and that some antibody in the treatment is what saved them, not a miracle. Haruo confronts Metphies about his misleading people, but Metphies says that he needed to as he planned to get Haruo and the others to help him summon his god, Ghidorah, to destroy Godzilla, but he needs Haruo to help him with that. Back on the Aratrum, the Bilusaludo mutiny and take over the engine room, shutting off power to the station unless Haruo is held accountable for the destruction of Mechagodzilla City. Back on Earth, Adam leads some of the other newly converted members of the Exif religion to build a temple where they can worship. Meanwhile, Martin tells Haruo what is going on on board the Aratrum and suggest the best thing for Haruo to do is to disappear for a while until everyone has a chance to calm down. Martin had convinced Miana to hide Haruo and she takes him back to the hut that he had woken up in. The two talk, with Miana telling him that to the Houtua, winning is to survive and losing is to die and Haruo, with their help, will win. Miana then removes her clothes and attempts to sleep with Haruo but he asks that he just be allowed to rest in peace. As he is resting, he realizes that since Miana didn’t know how to remove his suit, she couldn’t have been the one to treat his injuries. He realizes that Maina was the one to save him, just as Maina shows up in the room and the two end up sleeping together. Meanwhile, Metphies communicates with his father, Endurph, on the Aratrum and they say that their plan is almost ready to commence. When he finishes, he telepathically speaks with Miana, who had eavesdropped on his plans, and the two argue over his actions before he grabs her and prepares to use her as part of his ritual. Haruo wakens from a nightmare, just as Maina shudders as she heard her sister call out to her. Metphies and Endurph preach to the humans in their respective locations and convince them to pray out to their god in order to destroy Godzilla. On Earth, a shadowy image of Ghidorah emerges and begins killing all of the worshipers except for Metphies. In space, a singularity opens up near the Aratrum, and one of Ghidorah’s heads emerges on an impossibly long neck, which it wraps around the Aratrum, crushing it out of existence. On Earth, Godzilla begins to awaken just as 3 singularities begin to emerge from the clouds. Haruo and Maina meet up with Martin, who is trying to make sense of what is happening, and when Maina hears a voice from a hilltop on the other side of the valley, Haruo heads there to stop Metphies. Ghidorah’s heads emerge from the singularities and Godzilla fires his heat ray at them but the beams curve, while Martin’s instruments are unable to get a reading on Ghidorah. Ghidorah’s heads bite onto Godzilla, and Martin is amazed to see that Godzilla is losing energy, even though his machines can get no reading on Ghidorah. Haruo confronts Metphies, and learns that Exif’s had willingly sacrificed themselves to Ghidorah, allowing only a few priests to survive to spread the word of Ghidorah and offer him more planets to destroy. Metphies begins telepathically manipulating Haruo into accepting his way of thinking, using the images of those that had died to help influence him. Meanwhile, Martin continues watching what is happening with Godzilla’s fight and realizes that Ghidorah must be coming from a different universe and since his attacks are from a different dimension, Godzilla won’t be able to affect it. Since Ghidorah is able to attack Godzilla, someone from their universe must be guiding it and he realizes it must be Metphies, just as Maina grabs him and tells him they have to help Haruo. Maina takes Martin to the egg chamber, where they use the power of Mothra’s egg to reach out to Haruo and try to tell him what is going on. Metphies blocks them and continues trying to influence Haruo but Haruo is able to see into Metphies memories and realizes he is the one that sabotaged the shuttle his grandfather was on. Remembering a memory of his parents, where he is told that his name means hope, Haruo is able to break Metphies’ hold on him and attacks him, causing the medallion in Metphies eye to break and Ghidorah to suddenly gain form in their universe. Godzilla is now able to attack Ghidorah and quickly defeats him, blowing up the singularities to ensure that he can not return. When the dust settles, Haruo recovers and sees a dying Metphies, who tells him that due to his rage and anger, Ghidorah will be watching him. The surviving humans begin to integrate themselves into the Houtua tribe, with Maina becoming pregnant with Haruo’s child. Later, Martin shows Haruo that he has managed to get the last Vulture working again, using a sample of nanometal from Yuko’s body. As Martin talks about being able to control the nanometal to rebuild past civilizations, Haruo’s eye hurts and he hears Metphies voice in his head, saying that Ghidorah can wait. Haruo takes Yuko’s body with him and enters the Vulture, piloting it towards Godzilla so that Godzilla can destroy all traces of the nanometal, as well as the hatred that Haruo carries with him. In a post credits scene, years have passed and one of the twins watches over a ceremony where Houtua children make effigies, symbolizing the things they are scared of, so that they can burn them in front of a giant effigy of the Vulture, symbolizing Haruo.

I have to admit that I see why some people complained about this movie but I honestly thought it was really good and a great way to end the trilogy. The voice acting was good, with all of the people doing good jobs voicing their respective roles. The story was pretty interesting, as I liked the concept of the Exif’s using people’s belief to bring Ghidorah to Earth. The concept of it being in a different dimension actually added some credibility to why the Exif’s believed it to be a god, and why faith was the only way to bring it about.  The ending of the movie seemed to be cause for a lot of criticism but I actually thought it was rather fitting. Haruo’s anger and hatred for Godzilla was what drove him for so much of his life that it had become a part of him. The Houtua didn’t have any concept of hatred and, aside from not wanting to give Ghidorah a pathway to return to Earth, he didn’t want to allow his hatred to begin to influence the Houtua so he decided to sacrifice himself for their sake. Miana, who only understood part of what Haruo was talking about when he was talking with her before he left, interpreted it as facing his fear so his fear wouldn’t win, even if he himself lost. She then incorporated it into a new ritual with the Houtua by havig their children burn what scares them so they won’t be afraid of it anymore, as a way to honor his sacrifice. The animation was really good in this movie, as it was in the others. I did like how Ghidorah arrived through singularities, but I will admit that I was a bit disappointed in Ghidorah itself, as he didn’t have the usual lightening-like gravity beams that he usually wielded, merely biting down on Godzilla and seemingly electrocuting him (sort of) in doing so. So it was a good way to end the series and a good movie in it’s own way, but all it did was really get me geared up for Godzilla: King Of The Monsters.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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

March 31st, 2019 Movie – Battletruck (a.k.a Warlords Of The 21st Century)

battletruck

It’s the end of the month and that brings us to the last movie from Shout Factory TV, at least for a little while. Now a few weeks ago, I reviewed a movie called Deathsport on here. If you were to try and buy it on DVD, it usually comes as part of a double feature with another movie called Battletruck, which I had never seen before. Luckily for me, it is available to watch on Shout Factory TV so I decided this was the perfect time to rectify that mistake. Now let’s sit back and enjoy today’s movie, Battletruck.

The plot: As the Earth’s fuel supplies began dwindling, the “Oil Wars” occurred, with the end result being the Earth becoming a wasteland. Now, bandits roam the land in search of fuel, with the most dangerous of them being Straker, who drives around in a giant armored truck. One day, Straker and his crew come across two men carrying some drums of diesel in a horse-drawn wagon. When Straker asks where they found the drums, one of the men tries to lie so Straker kills him, which convinces the second man to show them where they found the drums. The man leads them to a facility that has radioactive signs on it but the man says that it is safe and the signs are just to keep people away. After the man shows them the hidden tank, which holds 50,000 liters, Straker tells his men to set up camp, then summons his daughter Corlie. Straker tells Corlie to shoot the man, saying he is now a liability, and when she refuses, he forces her to do it. That night, as Straker and Bone, the truck’s driver, discuss security for their new base of operations, Corlie sneaks out of the truck and runs away, but Straker sees her leave. The next day, Corlie is making her way through the desert, with Straker’s men chasing after her, when she is rescued by Hunter, a former soldier who drives a high-tech motorcycle. After escaping the pursuers, Hunter takes Corlie to his farm, where he takes a look at her wounded leg. Despite Corlie’s begging to let her stay with him, Hunter takes her to Clearwater Farm so she can get proper treatment for her leg, and because he prefers to be alone. Hunter drops Corlie off at the gate, telling her to ask for Rusty, the local blacksmith. and he takes off, just as Rusty comes outside and tries to call out to him. Rusty introduces himself and brings her inside the farm, explaining the rules of the place and she is voted in to stay at the farm. The next day, Corlie is out working in the field when she hears the Straker’s truck approaching and tries to run away again but is dragged back inside the village. The men attempt to defend the village but are easily overpowered and as Straker orders them to surrender, Corlie manages to escape on a horse. As Straker rounds up the prisoners, he notices a young girl wearing a necklace that Corlie had given her and takes the necklace back. Straker questions Judd, a villager that doesn’t trust Hunter, and he tells him that Corlie was there and probably ran back to Hunter, saying that Rusty is the only one that knows where his farm is. Meanwhile, Corlie manages to make it back to Hunter’s farm and tells him what happened, admitting that she was part of Straker’s group. That night, Straker’s men show up at Hunter’s farm and attempt to recapture Corlie but Hunter and Corlie manage to get away so Straker destroys Hunter’s house in retaliation. Making their way back towards Clearwater Farm, Hunter and Corlie are confronted by Judd and Charlene, with Judd wanting to turn Corlie over to Straker to appease him and Charlene saying that Corlie can’t stay there, as it’s not worth risking the entire community over one girl. Hunter tells them that they are going to have to make a choice on if they want to fight  or not, then rides off with Corlie to see Rusty. Inside Rusty’s shop, Rusty is glad to see his friend alive and apologizes for telling Straker where Hunter lives, showing Hunter his hand where he had been tortured, and Hunter forgives him and says they need to build an armored car to take on Straker’s truck. With another villager offering to help, the 4 begin working on building the car, with Judd coming over to help after a while. That night, Rusty and Hunter head back to Hunter’s home and grab an old bazooka that he had hidden there. Meanwhile, Judd grabs Corlie and leaves the village, setting fire to the shop in the process. When Hunter and Rusty return, Hunter asks what happened and takes off after them but Judd, knowing Hunter would chase after them, sets up an ambush and shoots Hunter with a crossbow bolt. Judd continues on to Straker’s base, and uses his bringing Corlie as an attempt to join Straker’s gang but Straker is upset about Judd attacking Corlie and warns him about touching her again. Meanwhile, Hunter, who had been rendered unconscious from his wound, recovers and makes his way back to Clearwater Farm, where Charlene works on tending to his wound. The next day, Hunter takes the armored car out to face Straker, telling Rusty and the others to be where they are supposed to be when he needs them. Hunter heads to Straker’s camp and starts running through the tents, killing Judd in the process, then blows up the fuel tank before racing back out of the valley. Straker and his men follow after him in the truck, With Straker ordering Bones to push the truck faster than it should, causing some tension between Bones and Straker over pushing it too hard and causing the turbines to start overheating. Hunter reaches the rendezvous with Rusty and the others and uses the bazooka to attack the truck, blowing a hole in the roof at the back of the truck. Hunter then jumps onto his motorcycle and races off after Straker, who tells Bones to head towards Clearwater Farm so they can destroy it. Hunter manages to catch up to the truck and jump inside the hole in the roof, then begins dealing with Straker’s men. As Straker turns to go deal with Hunter, Bones gets fed up with him and attempts to kill him but Straker kills Bones instead, causing the truck to begin weaving out of control. As Corlie tries to take control of the wheel, Hunter and Straker begin fighting and when Corlie goes to help Hunter, the truck goes off the road. Hunter and Corlie manage to jump to safety before the truck goes over a cliff and crashes to the ground below, killing Straker as it explodes. Some time later, Hunter is leaving Clearwater Farm on a horse and Corlie is sad to see him leave but he tells her that he will be back sometime, then kisses her goodbye before riding off.

This wasn’t a bad movie but there honestly wasn’t much worth remembering about it. The acting was ok, with Michael Beck (Hunter) and James Wainwright (Straker) doing good jobs in their roles. Annie McEnroe (Corlie) was ok, but it seemed like it took a while to figure out how to play her character. The story felt kind of like a Mad Max rip off, but a lot of the post-apocalyptic B-movies that came out in the early 80’s had that feel to it. Still, this movie felt really boring and bland, with no real excitement showing up during the entire movie. The special effects were about average though I will say that the design for Straker’s truck was pretty decent. So another one of the multitude of 80’s B-movies that appeared and wound up being quickly forgotten.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Standard
action, adventure, fantasy, martial arts, movie, movie review

March 24th, 2019 Movie – Circle Of Iron

circle of iron

Another Sunday morning, another movie to watch from Shout Factory TV. Lucky for me, they have plenty of movies to choose from. Now I chose today’s movie because of the history behind it. See, today’s movie was originally co-written by Bruce Lee, who had intended to star in it but was unfortunately killed before he could start working on it. A couple of years after his death, Stirling Silliphant, one of the other co-writers, completed the screenplay and David Carradine was cast to play the role intended for Bruce Lee. So let’s see what kind of movie we have on out hands as I watch Circle Of Iron.

The plot: In a distant land, a martial arts tournament is held; with the final match coming down to Cord and Morthond. Cord ends up defeating Morthond but due to his dirty fighting tactics, he is disqualified and Morthond is declared the victor. After Morthond is awarded the medallion and the right to seek the Book of Knowledge from Zetan, Cord argues with the judge about why Morthond was chosen. The judge tells Cord that he had broken almost every rule in the tournament and is not worthy of going on the quest. Cord says that everyone they have sent to face Zetan has failed to return but he will defeat him and look into the Book of Enlightenment himself, then follows after Morthond when he leaves the city. Morthond is upset about Cord’s following him, breaking his vow of silence to challenge Cord to another fight, but Cord refuses, saying he wants to help him, not kill him. After travelling for most of the day, the two warriors stop to rest and notice a blind man, whom Cord had seen earlier in the city, making his way into some ruins. When loud voices are heard from the ruins, Cord decides to go and investigate while Morthond uses the opportunity to continue on his quest without Cord. Inside the ruins, Cord sees the blind man fighting with some bandits and easily defeats them, though Cord does kill one that was about to throw a knife at the blind man. Cord approaches the blind man and asks him to be his teacher and when the blind man refuses, Cord says he will follow him and learn by watching him. When the two men encounter a monkeyman, Cord doesn’t see the wisdom in how the blind man handles the encounter, arguing he will never need to fight a monkey, but when he turns to gether his gear, he finds the blind man has vanished. Suddenly, he sees a wounded Morthond stumble against some rocks and when Cord approaches him, Morthond tells him he had failed the first trial and asks Cord to help give him a warrior’s death, then take the medallion and finish the quest. Cord does as Morthond asks and after Morthond’s death, he takes the medallion and heads into the nearby caves. Inside, he finds a tribe of monkeymen and watches as their leader defeats another warrior. Recalling the words of the blind man, Cord heads down and confronts the monkeymen’s leader, eventually defeating him and learning the way to Zetan. After traveling for a while, Cord comes across a man in a giant cauldron of oil. Cord asks the man if he needs help but the man says no, as he had done this himself so that he can dissolve the lower half of his body as a way of ridding himself of his sexual urges and offers to let Cord join him but Cord refuses, saying his vow of celibacy is enough. Cord continues across the desert and eventually comes to an oasis, where he sees a group of travelers have set up camp and are holding a festival. As Cord makes his way into the camp and watches the festivities, he is invited to sit next to the travelers leader Chang-Sha inside his tent. The two men talk for a bit before Chang-Sha steps outside and battles another traveler who had sought to test his strength against him. After Chang-Sha defeats the warrior, Cord asks when they will fight but Chang-Sha tells him that they will fight in the morning. That night, one of Chang-Sha’s wives, Tara enters his tent and says that Chang-Sha sent her there to give him a rose, symbolizing his second trial, and after talking for a bit, the two end up having sex, after which Cord asks Tara to go with him. The next morning, Cord wakes up to find the camp has gone and Tara had been left crucified on the outskirts of the oasis. Cord goes looking for Chang-Sha and as he stops for the night, he has a vision of Death approaching him but Cord is able to dispel the vision by showing that he doesn’t fear Death. The next day, Cord comes to another oasis and encounters the blind man again, and after Cord asks again for him to teach him, the blind man agrees. As they continue on their way, the blind man asks a fisherman if they can use his boat to cross the river, but after they do so, the blind man kicks out the sides of the boat, damaging it. They then encounter some bandits and attempt to run from them, fighting them when they have to, and after dealing with the bandits, the blind man stops to repair a stone wall. As they continue on their way, the blind man strikes a young boy, breaking his nose. Cord tells the blind man that he is leaving him but demands answers for the things he did. When the blind man answers, Cord questions how he knew the things he did and realizes that the blind man had been through there before, which gave him the knowledge about things that Cord didn’t. Cord eventually comes across Chang-Sha and after admitting that he doesn’t hold Chang-Sha responsible for Tara’s death, he challenges him to a fight. Chang-Sha agrees and after the two men fight to a draw, Chang-Sha tells Cord where to find Zetan. Cord makes his way on a ferry to an island, where he finds the religious sect that protects the Book of Enlightenment. Cord is taken to see Zetan and Cord goes to fight him but Zetan says there is no need for violence. He tells Cord that he has passed the trials and is entitled to look at the Book of Enlightenment but as Cord turns the pages, he finds that they are nothing more than mirrors. Zetan explains that many have come to seek the book only to find that enlightenment comes from themselves. As Cord laughs at the result of his quest, Zetan says that otwhile most of those who looked in the book have stayed there, some have left to become part of the challenges or teachers in their own ways, and Cord realizes the blind man was one of those people. Zetan offers Cord his job as protector of the book but Cord continues laughing as he leaves the island. Cord eventually finds the blind man and after talking for a bit, they embrace and the blind man hands Cord his flute, passing on his role of teacher to Cord.

When Circle Of Iron first came out, it received mainly negative reviews but has since garnered a cult following, causing some critics to reassess the movie, hence it’s current ranking of 43% on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, several critics felt that the lack of Bruce Lee’s charisma and guidance caused the movie to not reach it’s true potential. Bruce Lee envisioned Circle Of Iron to be an introduction for Western audiences to Eastern philosophy and the movie was originally supposed to be shot in 1969, with Steve McQueen offered the role of Cord but he turned it down. The flute that David Carradine plays throughout the movie is the same flute he plays in Kill Bill: Vol. 2. The movie made $1 million, but most of that was through video rentals and not the box office.

Well, the movie is definitely slow enough to fit being a philosophical movie, but didn’t exactly keep the interest peaked enough to make it good. I will be honest, even if Bruce Lee was in it, I don’t know if this movie would have been any better. The acting was good, with David Carradine doing a great job playing the multiple roles of the blind man, Monkeyman, Death, and Chang-Sha. I honestly think he had some fun playing the different roles. Jeff Cooper was also good as Cord and but I thought that Christopher Lee was a little wasted as Zetan, as his presence honestly felt a little anti-climactic to me. The plot was pretty slow paced and even the few fight scenes were pretty slow, making this movie a little boring and hard to pay attention too. The fight scenes were pretty well choreographed but the slow pacing just didn’t make them exciting at all. I know that the focus was supposed to be on the philosophical aspects but they still could have made the few fights that were included to be a little more exciting. It’s a decent intellectual movie but the slow pace is not going to attract to many people to watch it.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

Standard