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

March 17th, 2019 Movie – 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

horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: May 16th, 2014 Movie – Alligator II: The Mutation

alligator 2

So, you might be wondering why I had been reviewing movies that start with the letter B, then suddenly go to the letter A. Well, the original purpose for my watching all of my movies was a) to see how long it would take, and b) to check and see if any needed to be replaced. Well when I watched Alligator back at the beginning of my endeavor, my disk was scratched up and would skip throughout the movie. Now replacing this was going to be a bit of a problem because the DVD had become out of print and any copy I tried to find online was for way more than I was willing to pay. Then, I suddenly found a pot of gold in my search for a replacement. I located an all-region Blu-Ray disk that featured not just the movie I wanted, but the direct to video sequel that came out a decade later, and the best part was it was cheap. So I bought it and happily enjoyed twice as many killer alligator movies. That is how I came to own Alligator II: The Mutation.

The plot: In the outskirts of Reagan Park, business owner Vincent “Vinnie” Brown hires some men to take the toxic waste one of his companies, Future Chemical Companies, produces and dispose of it in the sewers. Meanwhile, two local men are fishing in the nearby lake when they are suddenly attacked and killed by an unseen animal. The next day, Detective David Hodges heads to the police station and learns about the men’s disappearance and starts looking into the matter, ignoring rookie officer Rich Harmon when he offers to help. Learning that a severed foot was found in the lake, he questions the medical examiner about what he knows. Learning that some biological samples were sent to his wife Christine, Hodges calls her to find out what she learned, and is reminded about their dinner plans for his birthday that night. After hanging up on her, the medical examiner tells him that some derelicts had gone missing in the last several days and suggests something might be travelling through the sewers between where the derelicts were killed and the lake where the recent attacks occurred. As Hodges looks around the lake area, he notices one of Vinnie’s salesmen attempting to convince some of the local to sell their homes, as Vinnie is trying to buy them out so he can develop high end apartments in their place. Hodges arrives home late, much to his wife’s displeasure, and as he attempts to make it up to her by eating his ruined meal, he shows her some pictures that the medical examiner had taken of the wounds and she says that they look like the result of an alligator or crocodile attack. Hodges calls Chief Clarence Speed, while asking Christine to see how big of an animal they are dealing with, and discusses his theory with him. Speed tells that there isn’t enough proof to support his theory or to shut down Vinnie’s proposed lake party the next day, so Hodges decides to go see Vinnie himself. Heading to the arena where Vinnie is watching a wrestling match with Mayor Anderson and motions for Anderson to step aside with him. Heading backstage, Hodges tells Anderson about the alligator and that they should cancel the lake party but Vinnie joins them and says that they will not be cancelling the party and convinces Anderson to get rid of Hodges. Anderson reluctantly tells Harmon, who is his police detail protection for the evening, to place Hodges under house arrest and as they leave, Anderson warns Vinnie that he won’t be able to push Hodges or Speed around but Vinnie tells him to use his position to influence Speed. Hodges manages to trick Harmon and ends up locking him to a toilet stall, allowing him to get away. AS he leaves the arena, the mayor’s daughter, Sheri Anderson, arrives to try and convince her father not to get involved with Vinnie but when he refuses, she decides to try and speak with Vinnie herself and ends up punching him. As she is leaving with the police VIP escort, they hear Harmon asking for help and as the officers tease Harmon, Sheri decides to help him only to be filmed by the press doing so. Meanwhile, the alligator attacks some more derelicts, killing one and injuring the other one. At the lake, Hodges is approched by Reuben and his gang and Rueben tells him about Vinnie forcing people out of their homes and rumors of killing people and Hodges tries to explain that it is an alligator but Reuben won’t believe him. At the station, Anderson has Internal Affairs suspend both Hodges and Harmon and Speed tries to talk him out of it. When Hodges calls Speed and tells him about the latest attack and asks for help, Speed volunteers Harmon to help him, though Harmon is not happy about the situation. When Harmon leaves the station, Sheri, who had gone to talk to Speed on Harmon’s behalf, catches up to him and as they talk, Harmon starts flirting with her and they end up going out for drinks. They return to Harmon’s apartment only to find Hodges waiting inside for Harmon and after confronting Harmon over his drinking, Hodges has him take a quick shower so they can head out and Sheri decides to go with them to help. The three meet up with Christine, who had been analyzing the saliva from the alligator attacks says she found growth hormones and adrenaline mixed in with it and says it probably came from Future Chemicals. Meanwhile, Vinnie has hired Hawk Hawkins and his group of alligator hunters to track down and kill the alligator discretely so that it won’t ruin his planned party. Hodges and Harmon head into the sewers and when they encounter the alligator, they realize how large it is and quickly run for it. Making their way into a side tunnel, they use some dynamite to try and kill it but it has no effect on the giant alligator. Hearing Christine and Sheri calling out to them, Hodges and Harmon quickly escape the sewers and when they find out about the hunters, they head over to try and warn them while Christine attempts to find some drugs that might kill the monster. In another part of the sewer, Hawk and his crew find the alligator’s nest, as well as barrels of waste from Future Chemicals. When Hodges radios down there to warn them, Hawk thinks he is nervous that he might upstage him and taunts Hodges but says they are coming up to talk about the waste they discovered. When they are attacked by the alligator. One of Hawk’s crew manages to escape and Hodges manages to rescue Hawk but the alligator kills the rest of Hawk’s crew, including his brother. Hawk apologizes to Hodges and convinces him to let him help kill the alligator and when Hodges accuses Vinnie of creating the monster with his polluting, Hawk says he can confirm that. Hodges talks with Speed about closing down the lake carnival and asks if he was able to get through to the National Guard but Speed tells him he wasn’t able to, then tells Hodges to make sure the alligator doesn’t get out of the sewers until he can clear the place. Speed takes off but Vinnie, with Mayor Anderson accompanying him, follows him and has his driver cause Speed to crash, much to the mayor’s horror. Meanwhile, Hawk tells Hodges that the alligator will be searching for a new lair since it’s home was invaded and Hodges says they need to find a way to kill it before it reaches the lake. They make another bomb and hang it in a tunnel that the alligator is most likely to go through to the lake but the alligator simply swallows the bomb. Christine and Sheri show up with a syringe gun filled with a poison that might kill the alligator but she says she doesn’t know if it will set off the bomb. Hodges tells her and Sheri to go clear out the lake if it hasn’t been cleared already while he, Harmon, and Hawk chase after the alligator. At the carnival, Vinnie is upset to see that the place is practically empty and that Reuben and his gang have kept people from selling their homes. Mayor Anderson speaks with Vinnie on the ferris wheel, saying he regrets their partnership and is going to end it but Vinnie kills him. When the alligator shows up and attacks the carnival, Vinnie grabs the signed contracts and goes to escape but is confronted by Reuben and his gang. When Hodges steps in to keep anymore bloodshed from happening, Vinnie goes to shoot Hodges but Hodges avoids the shot while Reuben and his gang shove Vinnie into the lake, where the alligator kills him. Hodges, Harmon, and Hawk head out in a boat after the alligator but as a helicopter arrives to help with the search, the alligator attacks their boat and knocks them into the water. Harmon is rescued by the helicopter while Hawk ends up getting killed. Hodges goes back to the boat to get the syringe gun and manages to stab it into the alligator when it swims over him but the alligator doesn’t die. Harmon has the helicopter head back to pick up Hodges before the alligator eats him and as it makes it’s way back into the sewers, Hodges and Harmon head back to finish it off, taking a bazooka that the helicopter had picked up from the armory with them. As they enter the sewers and head to it’s lair, they see the alligator heading towards them and Hodges manages to kill it with the bazooka. As Hodges and Harmon leave the sewers, they hear the crowd chanting Hodges nickname, “Solo Lobo”, as they embrace Christine and Sheri respectively. Harmon tells Hodges he will see him around and Hodges acknowledges Harmon as his new partner. As Hodges and Christine leave, Reuben yells out that Vinnie is dead and the crowd works to remove all of his banners from around the park.

When it comes to horror movies, I realize that sometimes, a sequel can seem pretty similar to the original but this was almost exactly like the original. Even with that going for it, this was still about as average of a movie as you could get. The acting was ok, with Joseph Bologna doing a pretty good job as Hodges. I also liked Ruchard Lynch (Hawk), Dee Wallace (Christine), and Brock Peters (Speed) but I thought that Steve Railsback’s portrayal of Vinnie was honestly too stereotypical in his actions to generate any real emotions towards him. The basic plot was almost exactly the same as the first movie: alligator ends up in the sewers, has a lifetime of chemical hormones dumped on it, causing it to grow to enormous sizes. A police detective is one of the first people to realize what’s going on and a hunter is brought in to kill the alligator but ends up being killed himself. Even the man that inadvertently created the alligator being killed by the alligator in a sort of karmic death was the same. The only real differences was the location to be honest, and the fact that the young police officer that partners with the older detective lives this time. The special effects were honestly not the greatest, as there were a lot of times that the alligator looked like a plastic model. An ok movie to watch but a real let down as a sequel.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5