action, drama, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 17th, 2019 Movie – Deathsport

 

 

deathsport

Continuing on with our trip through Shout Factory TV, I decided to take a stop on today’s movie. Now even though David Carradine had done some stuff before hand, pretty much everyone knows him from the TV show Kung-Fu. When the show ended, he had done Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000 to get back into the movie business. Following the cult success of that movie, a somewhat sequel was made and David Carradine would return to star in it. Now I will admit that I had never seen this movie until a few years ago, when I was watching movies Shout Factory TV during a bout of insomnia. Needless to say, I immediately recognized Corman’s style and absolutely enjoyed the ridiculous of it. So let’s strap in for today’s  movie, Deathsport.

The plot: A thousand years in the future, the Neutron Wars have decimated the Earth, leaving the planet with scattered city/states surrounded by vast desert wastelands. The few remaining machines are controlled by the people within the city/states, while the wastelands are home to cannibalistic mutants and Range Guides, nomadic warriors that hold no allegiance to any city/state. One day, a Range Guide, Kaz Oshay, is attacked by some soldiers led by Ankar Moor and after his capture, he is taken to Helix City. As Kaz is placed in a cell, Ankar Moor reports to Lord Ziporla, who chastises Ankar Moor for losing two of their valuable Death Machines, motorcycles armed with lasers, then tells him that he needs one more Range Guide, a female, to put into the Death Sport. Some time later, a caravan is being led through the wastelands by two female Range Guides, Denner and Adriann. When they hear the approaching Death Machines, Denner orders the caravan to dismount, telling her daughter Tara to stay with them. Denner and Adriann ride off to face the Death Machines but Adriann is killed and Denner is captured, while Tara, who had gone to help them, is captured by a group of mutants. Back in Helix City, Kay awakens in his cell and rages out at his unseen captors, receiving a shock from the door as punishment. Calming down, Kay sees Denner in her cell across the hall and after telepathically seeing Tara being captured, Kay says that he will help her find her once they escape. Denner thanks him and after saying that they have met before, she tells Kay that she was with his mother when she died. Meanwhile, Zirpola begins suffering from headaches and is told by Dr. Karl that he is suffering from a brain disease caused by radiation poisoning but Zirpola refuses to believe him and has Karl imprisoned in order to silence him. Karl is placed in the cell with Kay and Karl tells Kay why he is there and how Zirpola plans on going to war with Tritan, another city/state, for their fuel. At the same time, Karl’s son Marcus, who was part of the caravan Denner was leading, had been sent back to Helix by Ankar Moor’s men and when he learns of his father’s imprisonment, goes off to try and free him. Ankar Moor makes his way to the cells and questions Denner and Kay, who reveal that they know Ankar Moor as a disgraced Range Guide who lost his way and he taunts Kaz over the fact that he killed his mother. Sometime later, Marcus, disguised as a guard, attempts to free his father and is knocked out by Kaz, who kills the other guards and tries to escape with the other prisoners, only to be gassed by Ankar Moor. Kaz is taken away by Ankar Moor and tortured before being told he will die in the Deathsport in the morning, then thrown back into a cell with Denner, Karl, and Marcus. The next day, Kaz and Denner are sent out to face other prisoners, who are riding Death Machines, but they are able to kill most of their attackers, then grab to of the Death Machines to use in their escape. Zirpola orders more guards after them while he activates the mines on the battle field but an explosion ends up knocking out the force field around the arena, allowing Kaz and Denner to escape, with Karl and Marcus following them. Zirpola berates Ankar Moor for allowing them to escape and after Ankar Moor threatens him before agreeing to go after Kaz and the others for his own pleasure. After Ankar Moor leaves, Zirpola goes to torture one of his concubines but ends up being killed when she drags him into the stun rods he was using on her. When Ankar Moor learns of Zirpola’s death, he tells his men that he will assume control of Helix but they must first recapture Kaz and the others to show the rest of the citizens that there is no escaping from Deathsport. Kaz and the others manage to shake their pursuers and after discussing with Denner where Tara was taken, they tell Karl and Marcus that they will guide them to Tritan after they find the girl, then find a spot to take refuge for the night. The next day, they make their way to the cliffs where T was taken only to be ambushed by Ankar Moor and his men, who manage to kill Karl but Kaz and the others escape. Reaching the sand cliffs, Denner is able to sense what happened to Tara and leads the others to the mutants’ cave, unaware that Ankar Moor and his men have spotted them and are waiting for them to return. Inside the cave, Kaz and Denner are able to locate Tara and rescue her, fighting their way past the mutants as they make their escape. Outside, Kaz tells Denner to take Tara and Marcus, who was wounded by the mutants helping them escape, to Tritan while he deals with Ankar Moor and Denner tells him she will be waiting for him in Tritan. Kaz heads to a nearby fuel station, with Ankar Moor and his men following him, and once inside, Kaz uses the natural labyrinth to deal with Ankar Moor’s men, killing most of them. AS Denner and the others reach Tritan, Ankar Moor sends his remaining soldier back to Helix while he chooses to face Kaz on his own. The two men duel and Kaz wins by decapitating Ankar Moor, after which Denner and Tara ride up on horses, bringing one for Kaz, and say that they want to stay with him. Kaz agrees and after mounting his horse, the Range Guides ride off together.

This lacked a lot of the charm that Death Race 2000 had, which might be why this is not an official sequel, but it still had some entertaining moments to it. The acting was ok, with David Carradine doing a decent job as Kaz, while Claudia Jennings, who tragically died shortly after the movie was released, was just as good as Denner. I also like Richard Lynch (Ankar Moor), but honestly felt like he was nothing more than a poor man’s Rutger Hauer during the entire movie. The story was interesting but honestly felt somewhat incomplete, with a lot of plot lines thrown in to try and explain people’s motivations but half the time they didn’t seem necessary. Case in point, the whole aspect of Zirpola’s brain disease didn’t really seem necessary, as he could have simply had Karl thrown in prison just for disagreeing with him about the war with Tritan. The special effects were kind of laughable, which is what adds to the enjoyment of this type of movie. It’s not a great movie but is a fun watch for anyone that is a fan of B-movies.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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action, blaxploitation, crime, movie, movie review

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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