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Raw Justice

Awful in the extreme, but manages to be unbelievably entertaining due to it's immense stupidity and terrible performances.
Before going any further, I may as well make this short and sweet. Raw Justice is awful. In every angle it's cheap and trashy. It is however, hilariously awful and I'd like to recommend it for that very reason.

In the opening scene Mace (David Keith) is out to bust some guy who's just jumped bail. He could have easily have kicked the door open and shown him the gun and the cuffs. But no, this guy doesn't like conventional methods so he decides to "borrow" some clothes from a hooker so he can enter the room as a hooker for reasons unknown. Somehow this genius plan doesn't go smoothly and the bail jumper manages to make a run for it, and what follows is a foot chase with David Keith dressed in drag. Ho ho ho! Funny, right?

Meanwhile, Mitch McCullum (Robert Hays) has just had a one-night stand with the Mayor's daughter. After dropping her off at her home, Deputy Mayor Bob Jenkins (Stacy Keach) orders some hit-man to kill her, not before showing us her rubbing herself repeatedly as she showers nude. After performing the hit and stealing some computer floppy disks, Jenkins decides not to pay him, but rather to kill him instead. Turns out Jenkins is fed up being Deputy, and wants promotion. So in order to live his dream, he decides that killing Mayor David Stiles' (Charles Napier) daughter who was currently writing a book, adding a chapter about incest to her book then threatening Stiles that if he doesn't resign his position as Mayor in his next speech, he'll release the book to the public. Wow! Why did nobody else ever think of a great plan like that before?! The way this movie handles it is even worse. It just doesn't know where to go.

Mayor Stiles hires Mace to investigate, as apparently a loose cannon is exactly what he needs. He meets up with Mitch, the guy who had the one night stand and was initially accused of the murder and the two reluctantly team up and get involved in a couple of shootouts, a crappy car chase, a barfight and a swamp boat chase with hit men and corrupt cops all appearing out of nowhere. As for Pamela Anderson, her character is completely detached from the main plot and the reason for shoehorning her into it is the lamest thing. She plays the hooker whose clothes Mace takes at the start. During the middle of the movie, Mace bumps into her by coincidence and she's angry because he left her outside in her underwear and never returned her clothes. During her whining, bad guys pop up and shoot at our heroes. Now she's been seen with them, she's now part of it and can't be let go.

Yeah, I know...

Just prior to the Mayor's speech, our heroes have just won a barfight. Mace presses corrupt cop Atkins (Leo Rossi) for information as to who he's working for, he gives in and says he's working for Deputy Mayor Bob Jenkins. Mace doesn't even interrogate him for any more information, all he gets is a name before Atkins goes for his gun and is killed, so the only evidence they have against Jenkins is the word of a now deceased cop who our heroes have killed.

So the Mayor's speech has now begun, and if he doesn't resign his position, Jenkins will release the edited book to the public. Instead, he announces that Jenkins is responsible for the murder of his daughter. Jenkins responds by claiming that Stiles had her killed when suddenly our heroes enter the room in and Mace says "I don't think so. Atkins talked". Jenkins then goes insane and takes Stiles hostage. Now, the only evidence they have against Jenkins is one name from a deceased cop who the heroes have killed. What evidence is there that they're even the good guys? Despite his original plan being idiotic, the evidence against Jenkins was minimal so I see no reason at all for him to have taken hostages. He's so unbelievably stupid it's a wonder how he obtained his position as deputy mayor in the first place.

But it gets worse. Jenkins escapes to the roof with his hostage and demands a helicopter. A helicopter appears and after taking off the pilot turns round and it's revealed to be Mace. Yeah, like they're going to give a chopper to some burnt out ex cop. He jumps out into the river and leaves the helicopter with Jenkins to crash into a skyscraper which would not only cause a huge amount of property damage but would seriously endanger innocent civilians both on the ground and in the building. In reality this guy would have been arrested and thrown in jail to rot, here not only does he get off without so much as a slap on the wrist, the mayor has "straightened things out" with him because of this wonderful act of courage!

David Keith is just woeful. Not only does he look awful, but manages to make his character as repulsive and unlikeable as possible. He basically rapes Pamela Anderson's character just after a shootout. Robert Hays is not as bad as Keith but that's not saying much. Reliable B-movie veterans Charles Napier, Stacy Keach and Leo Rossi are wasted. Pamela Anderson has absolutely no reason for being there other than to have two long and boring sex scenes. Her acting is atrocious and her line delivery is at times hilarious, especially in the scene where she tries to comfort Mitch who's feeling sorry for himself by telling him "I think you're being a bit hard on yourself".

Overall, this is awful but I highly recommend anyone who loves bad movies to check it out. I could go on, but I have a minimum of 1000 words! User "bob the moo" took it way too seriously!


A good score, beautiful locations and a number of explosions and car crashes can't save this poor man's Rambo: First Blood knock off.
Having really enjoyed "Manhunt" from director Fabrizio De Angelis starring Ethan Wayne, I decided to give this one a go. Thunder Warrior covers similar ground in a number of ways; beautiful American Southwest desert locations, spaghetti western style score from Francesco De Masi and long car chases with a number of slow motion crashes. I love the American west, I love car chases and Francesco De Masi's scores usually fit these locations perfectly. I particularly liked his scores in De Angelis' "Manhunt" and Chuck Norris' "Lone Wolf McQuade". Upon seeing the spectacular shots of Utah's Monument Valley in the intro coupled with another excellent score, it all got off to a good start. But by the time the credits rolled I was feeling distinctly underwhelmed and am not going to recommend it for several reasons.

Mark Gregory plays "Thunder", a native American who returns to his hometown only to find construction workers inconspicuously blowing up gravestones in his cemetery with dynamite. After a slow-mo fight, he goes to the local sheriff who orders him to back off. After protesting at the bank who's funding the construction workers, he's escorted out of town by the nasty Deputy Barry Henson who threatens him not to return.

He coincidentally runs into a group of construction workers led by Thomas (Antonio Sabato, father of the great non-actor Antonio Sabato Jr.) who beat him to a pulp and leave him in the desert. He returns to the town only to be spotted by Deputy Barry and his gang, only to get beaten again. He escapes, jumps in a pickup truck and a car chase follows with a number of police cars crashing and some pretty cool stunts and slow motion shots.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned car chase is by far the best action scene the film has to offer. It's pretty much a yawner from here on. A cat and mouse game ensues, and it really doesn't know where it wants to go. The next half hour or so has Thunder fighting with several police officers and warning them to "Back off or you'll all end up like Custer", badly wounding Deputy Barry with a crossbow and a television reporter who sides with him and contacts a radio host who glorifies Thunder as a hero, which doesn't seem to have any real point.

Antonio Sabato and his thugs get hold of a bazooka and kidnap Thunder's girlfriend. Thunder of course runs into them and kills them, saves his girlfriend who tells him to "Show the white men how an Indian fights". Thunder takes the bazooka, which seems to have an infinite supply of rockets. He then steals a bulldozer and drives into town in it, smashing threw a roadblock and firing at a police car with the bazooka, which only blows the hood off and sets the front alight. He then destroys the police station by driving threw it with the digger, then drives into the bank and proceeds to attack it with his bazooka by standing only inches away from walls and firing at it, which creates a small explosion and a fire. Now, I can't claim that I've ever used a bazooka, nor am I a weapons expert or anything of the kind so correct me if I'm wrong, but I certainly would have thought they're about 10 times more powerful than that, and if it were to hit a car the whole vehicle would blow, not just the hood.

So the bank is now surrounded by police from all angles and it certainly looks like there's no way out. A cop whose life Thunder apparently once saved enters the building and somehow gets him out while surrounded by all these police and the credits role. Yes, that's it. Nothing even happens to Deputy Barry, who was an exceptionally nasty creature who vowed to kill Thunder for injuring his brother, also a deputy.

Being an Italian film, much of the cast and crew are Italian and the version I watched was dubbed in English. It makes it's first mistake though by casting Italian Mark Gregory as a Native American, which makes it all the more cringeworthy in the scenes where he makes racial comments like "Back off or you'll all end up like Custer" and when the girlfriend says "Show the white men how an Indian fights", the latter of which was especially embarrassing since there is no Indian in this film, and those cast as such are of exactly the same race as many of the Italian actors playing "white men". Not only is Mark Gregory not a convincing native American, he's not a convincing tough guy either. He's very un-emotive and walks oddly to say the least.

The production values are by far the best asset of the film. Despite a fuzzy looking picture on the VHS I watched (I can only assume that was because of the age of material rather than the film itself), the photography and locations are beautiful and it's amazing how many cars (many of which looked new) and buildings they managed to destroy in a low budget production.

Overall, it makes for a fairly tedious 90 minutes. Despite one entertaining chase scene and beautiful locations, it trips up on way too much to possibly recommend it. And yes, it is indeed a huge rip off of Rambo: First Blood, and a bad rip off at that. Unless you're a huge fan of Italian cinema, then I'd recommend giving it a wide berth. The rest of you should just watch First Blood for the 100th time. Despite it's obscurity and ineptitude in most angles, it must have been fairly successful on the rental market in that it managed to spawn not one, but two sequels. Part III manages to be worse at every angle which is quite an achievement, but it falls into so bad it's good territory.

Soft Target

Clichéd, generic and dull. I can't think of a single reason you should go out of your way to see this.
My expectations for this weren't high as it was directed by veteran hack Art Camacho and the trailer looked awful. And it was more or less as bad as I expected but I felt compelled to check it out anyway because of the number of well known B-movie stars in the cast. The script is horribly clichéd, "One who lives by the rules, one who lives to break them", Don "The Dragon" Wilson's performance for the most part was terrible and he's starting to move a lot slower with age, his fights are poorly choreographed also. Olivier Gruner has improved quite a bit with time in both his acting and his English and did a passable job in the tired role as the clichéd "play by his own rules" cop. Diana Kauffman is sexy as the protected witness, but that's about all I can say in her favour and it's not remotely convincing when she finds herself attracted to an ageing Don "The Dragon" Wilson.

The action is all extremely poor. Much of it consists of small scale shootouts where the bad guys fire, good guys fire back, bad guys fall etc. where in some cases it's difficult to see who's shooting who. The fight scenes aren't good, Olivier Gruner fights much more naturally than Don "The Dragon" Wilson, who's fight scenes are so badly cut that it's very hard to see what's going on. The opening fight scene with him is particularly awful, I could have done better with the right choreographer and he was "arguably the best kickboxer in the world".

While a supporting cast of Fred Williamson, Martin Kove and Gary Busey may look appealing on paper it's best to go with the old "Never judge a book by it's cover" in this case. Fred Williamson spends his time in one motel room in the opening scene and is shot after a few minutes. Gary Busey is one of the central characters but spends all of his screen time sitting in an office until towards the end when he walks into a parking lot, gets in a car, turns the key in the ignition and it cuts to a stock footage shot of a BMW exploding in a cobbled street which is very obviously somewhere in Eastern Europe. The shot is taken from Mission Impossible and was shot in Prague, yet this movie is set and filmed in Los Angeles. There are even Ladas and other Eastern European cars visible, not to mention the fact that there aren't even any cobbled streets or historic architecture in LA. You can also clearly see that the car Busey gets into is directly facing a wall. The BMW that explodes is sitting in the middle of a wide cobbled street. The fact that easily spotted errors were left in the film proves how little even the crew cared as you would think that they could have found stock footage which at least matched the location. Martin Kove appears in one scene in the first quarter, then appears at the end only to get shot dead. I've still not worked out a good reason for the existence of this character in the film other than to add a little more B-grade "star power" to the front cover.

Two CGI explosions. One mismatched stock footage explosion. Minimal property damage. Several poorly choreographed fight scenes. Lots of boring gunfights.

On DVD in the USA now as "Crooked" with a price tag of around $20. Fans of Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Olivier Gruner, Gary Busey, Fred Williamson or Martin Kove may think they're somehow obliged to check it out anyway. I have only got two things to say: "you're not" and "don't". I suggest you avoid it like a bubonic rat.

Cold Heat

Almost so bad it's good.
Sometimes I should maybe listen to other people's opinions. IMDb reviewer "croc (DRM) from United Kingdom" gave this an extremely negative review stating that he was excruciatingly bored by it but in his description he said it was dominated by "lengthy car (and the odd motorcycle and plane) chases in which a whole load of cars crash, burn, fly up in the air and roll over a few times.". Wow, I thought "This sounds like my kind of movie". I love car chase films and if it is dominated by car chases and filmed in picturesque Arizona and Nevada I thought "How bad could it really be?" so when I saw it cheap I decided to give it a try.

So after viewing the film how bad was it? Insanely, incredibly, unbelievably bad. As bad as your mind will be able to comprehend. Fortunately though, it's so incompetent in all areas that after a while I couldn't look away and I actually laughed pretty hard on several occasions. It's not the best example of a film that's "so bad it's good" but it's worth a shot if you like torturing yourself with some of the worst crap ever produced.

The plot involves a mob couple who have split, played by John Philip Law and Britt Ekland. When the wife (Britt Ekland) is granted custody of their young son, the bitter husband (John Philip Law) sends a team to "kidnap" him and take him back. The wife then hires some alcoholic down and out friend to track down and bring the kid back. He accomplishes this with great success, taking some female employee of John Philip Law hostage with him. The rest of the film involves them getting chased by the mobster's goons (by plane, usually) and a dozen police cars.

The first car chase is composed entirely of about 40% stock footage from some other film, another 40% is cops talking about the chase over their radios in cars and helicopters with only static white voids visible out their windows and the other 20% is taken up by an astonishingly bad actor making pained expressions while turning the steering wheel of a static vehicle. There is zero continuity in the chase footage. They don't even have a car which matches the one used in the stock footage because you never even see the characters enter or exit the vehicle. In fact, there is not a single attempt to make it look like they were really there. In many shots you can see there is one driver and no passenger in the car, but we are meant to believe there are 2 passengers. I don't know what film the chase footage is from, but judging by the cars I would guess it's mid 1970's, not 1989 when this film was made. It's filmed in rolling farmland which could be virtually anywhere in the United States EXCEPT the desert in the South West, where this is supposed to take place. We are supposed to believe it's just outside Las Vegas.

Along the line there are, double crosses, the husband and wife manage to shoot each other dead, the boy decides that neither of his parents really love him and that the guy hired to return him to his mother and his female hostage would make better parents, who conveniently happen to fall in love with each other. More chase scenes composed of stock footage which completely ignore any form of continuity ensue. The pre-teen son steals a motorcycle at one point and there's a lengthy bike chase where it's clearly visible that an adult is riding it. John Philip Law's character gives narration, even after his death. The bad guys manage to find the good guys no matter where they go because "nobody can hide for too long in the desert". Given the sheer size of the desert in the American Southwest and all the mountain ranges, I somehow think it would be just a little harder than that.

As for the acting, it's all appalling. I find it hard to pick a central character because there really isn't any. Britt Ekland and John Philip Law do nothing but sit around and never leave the one location. The three who get the most screen time are Roy Summerset, Joanne Watkins and Chance Michael Corbitt (the kid). They are all dire, but the scary thing is that the kid is probably the least irritating of the three which is an amazement. Roy Summerset and Joanne Watkins have very little other acting credits to their resume which hardly came as a surprise, they have the acting talent of your average joe randomly picked up off the street. Summerset's pained expressions while turning the steering wheel of a static car are priceless While it's not the best example of a "so bad it's good" film, it's so incompetent in every area that if you watch it with some friends and some beers you'll have a hell of a good time poking fun at it. If you see it cheap, hell why not just buy it? It's poorly written, poorly directed, poorly acted and amateurish in every way.


It's bad by Don "The Dragon" Wilson's standards. That's saying something isn't it?
I've always had a soft spot for Don "The Dragon" Wilson's films. None of them are great films, but the likes of the Cybertracker films, Ring Of Fire series and Out For Blood with PM Entertainment were very entertaining B-flicks. However, signing a contract with Roger Corman probably wasn't the wisest idea as many of these films are low quality and not very interesting. I wasn't expecting a lot from this when I rented it, but wasn't ready for incredibly bad cinematic cheesefest thrown at me. This is a bad film. This is BAD. Although it may have some comedy value, there are far more more entertaining examples of "so bad it's good" films so I can't think of one good reason to watch this.

If anything, the career of Art Camacho serves as proof that sometimes the production company has more influence on a film than the director. The only film he directed that was actually worth anything was "Recoil" for PM Entertainment but everything in it screams "Joseph Merhi" who was the main man behind PM Entertainment and bears nothing in common with the movies Art Camacho directed for other production companies, so I highly doubt he was responsible for making the movie turn out the way it did. Since the demise of PM he's been responsible for ultra forgettable efforts like 13 Dead Men and Redemption as well as the hilariously bad Albert Pyun tribute film Gangland. But with Sci-Fighter it seems he's hit a new low!

First, it's quite remarkable that a movie like this could be made in 2004. The whole "Virtual Reality" thing is so 1992. There's a good reason why nobody makes movies like "The Lawnmower Man" and "Arcade" anymore, and that's because computers have become an integral part of our everyday life and nobody finds it scary anymore. Likewise, "Virtual Reality" has all but died. Nobody is really interested in plugging some bulky object into their head anymore and awkwardly trying to control it through a sub-standard design as the good old computer monitor or TV screen is a lot more convenient and comfortable. The antiquated plot is about a "genius" who creates a virtual reality fighting sim for his grandson. Apparently while you're playing it takes control of your mind so in case you hadn't already figured something similar, a virus gets into it and locks his mind inside the game so his Dad jumps to the rescue and the only way to free him is to complete every level according to Grandpa. Woohoo! Sounds great doesn't it? Now let's just think about that for a second shall we? A virus gets into it? Firstly, viruses can't just generate out of nowhere. Programmers write viruses. And a virus that runs on one platform won't work as another in the same vein that a PS2 game won't work in an XBOX. Somebody would have had to have coded a virus for this game while it was in production. And dang, how does old Grandpa know that the only way out is to complete all the levels if he's never seen the virus before? But we're getting carried away now, as we all know this completely stupid and nonsensical plot is just a thin excuse for fight scene after fight scene. So how does it fair on this scale? Not very well, is the answer. All of the fights take place in areas clearly inspired from beat em up video games but unfortunately none of them are particularly well choreographed and have no real interesting touches so it just comes off as tiresome.

As for the performances, all I really thought about Don was "poor guy". He's just left with a bad part, and when his character isn't fighting, all he does is moan about his sons behaviour. Even when Grandpa shows him this virtual reality game, he just hits out with "There's no way he's going to be playing this". Would you respond like that if you were introduced to a device which brought your mind into another world? And then there's Cynthia Rothrock, who goes around dressed in clothes that look 25 years too young for her. At one point she's referred to as "a lovely young lady" which gave me a good laugh. As for Lorenzo Lamas, he's there. There I said, he's there. No more, no less. He only appears in a few scenes and interacts with about 2 other characters. I'm still trying to come up with a good reason for this character to exist, and I'm not finding one. It's painfully obvious that he was just cast for name value alone so they can plaster the names of three B-grade stars on the cover.

Overall, the premise made this doomed from the start but I wasn't expecting the huge levels of stupidity it threw at me. It's cheap, it's boring and although there are a few unintentional laughs along the line, they aren't worthy of the price of a rental. Best left to collect dust at the bottom of the video shelf for years to come.

Sworn to Justice

Unattractive leading lady, poorly plotted, poorly acted, poorly paced - stay away!
This is the third movie with Cynthia Rothrock movie I've seen after "Guardian Angel" and "Redemption". By popular opinion this is one of her best so if that is anything to go by, I will certainly not be actively seeking out anymore of her movies. While she demonstrates her martial arts skills to good effect in this, the plot is stupid, the production values are poor and above all, it's boring.

Starting with the positives, I'll give Cynthia Rothrock credit in that she certainly knows what she's doing when it comes to the fight scenes. The choreography is pretty good and one such scene where she fights off robbers with a roll of tape is fun to watch and just about the only nice touch here. The rest of the action scenes are passable, although there's little that really stands out and they are far too few and far between. Much of the movie is mind numbingly boring and for much of the time I ended up turning towards my computer and doing other things, only glancing at it when something interesting happened rather than paying full attention to the movie. Half of the problem lies in Cynthia Rothrock herself. I'll give her credit that it does seem she's trying a bit harder than she did in "Guardian Angel", as her character is a little more upbeat and displays more than one facial expression throughout the movie. She is still not good though, but part of the problem lies in the character she is given. It's obvious they wanted the character to come off as sexy but it doesn't work. Dressing a short, muscular and dumpy looking 40 year old woman in short skirts and heels isn't fooling me. It also makes the character laughably unbelievable as a psychologist and even harder to like. Not only that, but this film has some of the least erotic sex scenes I've ever seen which I found myself skipping through.

The rest of the movie is so dull and forgettable that I can barely remember it despite only having watched it a couple of days ago. However, one part that had me roaring with laughter was towards the end when the lead villain shows Cynthia Rothrock's character the burnt corpse of his dead brother. Instead of using a dummy, they have applied makeup to the actor himself and you can even see him blink! How hard is it to cut that? Such bloopers shows that nobody really cares, and neither should you.

Overall I could never recommend this to anyone. Fans of Cynthia Rothrock (there appears to be such a thing) will watch it regardless but anyone expecting a good martial arts flick will be sorely disappointed. A poorly plotted, poorly acted, poorly paced flick with little action and no likable characters. Avoid.

City of Fear

Plodding pace, ugly locations, dull action = a waste of time.
This was on a box set with 12 films which I bought for £8.99. This however was probably the worst of them all. Gary Daniels has done well on movies like Deadly Target, Recoil, Rage and Riot but since the demise of PM Entertainment who produced these movies, his choices have not been good. This is a NuImage production and while they have done several excellent straight to video movies, their main goal seems to be to make as many movies as possible per year and have employed the likes of Yossi Wein and Danny Lerner to direct ultra low budget and often hilariously bad flicks. This doesn't feel quite as low budget as some of the others in that it all consists of original footage and if there's anything positive to say about it, the lighting and picture are clean and the shots are focused and unlike most of those NuImage Bulgaria productions, it is actually set in the city it is shot in, Sofia!

However, City Of Fear is an "action" movie that completely fails to deliver in all counts. The plot is boring, the pace is absolutely plodding, the action scenes are few and far between and the few that are there are dull and way too short to give any lasting impression. The fight scenes are disappointing given Gary Daniels talents. The pace is very slow and a lot of the film consists of characters standing around being idle, often doing nothing that was sufficient to the story itself. The locations are dreary and overcast. Gary Daniels does his best to struggle through the material but his lack of interest clearly shows. The female lead while not only hugely unattractive and shows no interest either. Nobody is having any fun here, and I neither did I.

Basically, unless you are a huge, huge Gary Daniels fan, I could never recommend this to anyone. Not wretched enough to qualify as "so bad it's good" yet so lacking in any redeeming values to be classed as entertainment. If you want to see Gary Daniels in action try Deadly Target, Rage, Recoil, Riot, White Tiger or even Cold Harvest. Just stay away from City Of Fear.

Direct Action

It's okay. I expected more.
Given that I had read several positive reviews on this movie and that it comes from the hands of Sidney J Furie, a veteran for over 40 years responsible for 1960's spy thrillers like The Ipcress File and The Naked Runner and has also delivered some very slick direct to video action movies such as Top Of The World, The Rage and Hollow Point as well as the largely underrated 1991 theatrical release The Taking Of Beverly Hills. Furthermore, he also did Detention with Dolph Lundgren which was by no means great but I enjoyed it a lot more than many others did. Given that the general opinion of this was "a step up from Detention", I couldn't wait. Well, having seen the finished product it doesn't really surprise me it's been shelved for so long. It isn't bad, but it could be so much better.

None of this can be blamed on Lundgren or any of the cast really for that matter, as much of them deliver acceptable to good performances. Lundgren especially deserves credit as he is in excellent shape and does very well in the action scenes. The film has a good sense of pacing, never letting up enough for the action to stop and plot itself is fine for the type of movie.

What really lets this down is the very poor production values - it looks extremely cheap. No better than a Roger Corman produced Bloodfist film for example. Automatic weapons are fired at cars in the line of fire and they don't receive one bullet hole and no glass breaks. We just get a couple of very simple CGI sparks. This happens way too often, and becomes very hard to ignore. There is also some incredibly bad editing. Weather will change from clear Sunny skies to rain and back in seconds. And there's no interesting locations. All you'll get is residential areas and some abandoned factories. The budget of apparently 5-8 million certainly hasn't been well spent. Of course none of this really makes the movie any less watchable, but it's all those little touches that make a movie all that more enjoyable to watch.

Overall, this is a decent, entertaining action picture with all the visual flair of a TV drama but it's worth a watch once and for Dolph Lundgren fans it will be a must. I would probably have enjoyed it more with lower expectations, but the overall low quality of the movie is something I just couldn't ignore. Sorry.

Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor

Unbelievably funny, hard to believe it wasn't intentional.
Firstly, I'll start with what the film actually does right. Some of the fight choreography isn't bad and the editing is better than usual for Albert Pyun, the New Mexico locations look nice and the overall production values are much better than usual for Albert Pyun as the picture is clear and colourful, there are a couple of basic stunts (not well used however) and Sasha Mitchell does the best he could possibly do given the material surrounding him.

Now for the rest, it was full of so many things which simply made say "Huh?" or had me in hysterics that I don't know where to start. The villain who goes by the name of "Tong Po" in the previous Kickboxer movies wouldn't return in this. For a hack director in a schlocky B-movie, that is no problem. Attempt to use stock footage and then get a double like Ed Wood did with Bela Lugosi for Plan 9? Nope, although Pyun did do that with Snoop Dogg in Urban Menace and The Wrecking Crew, he has gone one step further. This time, he has hired a new actor to take his place and applied ridiculous makeup to make him look like the original actor. The result looks like like somewhere between The Joker from Batman and a Thunderbirds puppet and looks even more funny when he's standing outdoors and his skin is red with sweat, but his face remains a light yellow tone. If you are familiar with Pyun, he often uses close-ups of the actors faces in his movies, often so two characters who are not on set at the time can be edited together to look like they're in conversation. He continues that trend in this, and the "Tong Po" character is seen in close-ups several times, revealing how truly bad the makeup is and making me laugh harder than I have at a movie in a long time. Not since I saw Anna Nicole Smith in Skyscraper have I laughed through every single scene one character has been seen in. And when he tries to act scary and threatening, don't get me started. Let's just say he's as scary as a fluffy little bunny rabbit. I really felt sorry for the entire cast who had to act around this character and pretend to be taking him seriously. And what makes it even funnier is that exactly the same weak plot could have been executed with a new villain. There was absolutely no reason why Tong Po had to be part of this plot. Much of what little budget there was seems to have been spent on a pointless and completely ridiculous barroom brawl. Michele "The Mouse" Krasnoo is sitting there minding her own business drinking a can of Coke when a bunch of rednecks come and pick on her. By amazing coincidence, at just the right time Sasha Mitchell comes and saves her. Now my first impressions were "Huh?" when I saw this. Krasnoo was 19 when this was filmed but looks about 15. Now just why was she sitting in a redneck bar to drink a can of coke to begin with? This scene is where Pyun has used what budget he had for stunts it seems but he has no idea how to use them. For example, the biggest stunt is when one of the rednecks gets thrown through a window (which shatters like plastic) and when he stands up about 3 metres away from the bar, a van comes driving up about 20 MPH and launches him through another window back into the building. Now why would a van be moving at that speed while only a few feet away from the building unless the driver was unbelievably careless while parking? It reminded me of the exploding car in U.S Seals which drives into an area where a tank is causing having at about 50 MPH. Truly stupid. And after being saved, Krasnoo's character is extremely obnoxious and unthankful to Mitchell for saving her. And just when you thought it couldn't get any more stupid, it turns out she is also a fighter and is entering Tong Po's tournament. Which now leads me to her performance. Not content with one hilariously bad character in the movie, we now have another one. You will get better line delivery from your average computer voice generating software program. Not only that, but in fight scenes with grown men who are mostly over a foot taller than her, it looks silly and unconvincing. I have no doubt she has skills and definitely has great flexibility, but this film does a very poor job in demonstrating that. Not all the fights are bad however and there are some decent ones, but Pyun ruins any excitement they may have had with bad camera angles and turning the camera towards the spectators or "Tong Po" at awkward moments.

Overall, this is awful but I think anybody with the right kind of humour must see it as it's yet another example of film-making at the bottom of the food chain. I will give it that I found it absolutely painless to sit through unlike some of Pyun's other "movies". If you are after an exciting martial arts flick, then stay away. The climatic fight scene is especially funny, where Mitchell and the so called "Tong Po" battle it out on top of tables and after losing the battle, our plastic faced friend runs away leaving it open for another sequel. Yay! It hasn't happened and after the final product of Kickboxer 4 and the fact there's already been a 5 with completely new characters, I can safely say it won't happen. But to think that Pyun thought this was good enough to make another sequel and that his "Tong Po" was convincing enough to return doesn't say a lot for the intelligence of his target audience.

Hologram Man

Has it's faults, but overall it's a fairly enjoyable movie that certainly passes the time.

It's the millennium and the city of Los Angeles is now controlled by "California Corporation", led by Edward Jamison who is a particularly ruthless leader. For example, he has made it illegal to turn off the corporations news broadcast and doesn't seem to care if there's human casualties in a hostage situation as long as the target is taken out. Norman "Slash" Gallagher is violently opposed to the corporation, and says "California Corporation took Los Angeles away from us. Now we are here to take it back.". From what we see, the corporation is corrupt and Slash more or less has the right idea but unfortunately he makes his point in the wrong way which involves killing a lot of innocent civilians. After a large scale shootout and a bus chase, rookie cop Decoda arrests Norman and he is sentenced to "holographic stasis" where their mind and soul is stored on a computer to be reprogrammed as a good citizen and released back into society. 5 years later, when Slash is set to be released, a former employee of the corp. hacks into the system and frees Slash as a hologram before he can be reprogrammed. Here, he will go on his rampage to prove his point once again but this time he can walk through walls, fire, anything and gunfire has no effect on him. Eventually Slash shoots Decoda and minutes before dying, his girlfriend Natalie brings him back as a hologram which finally gives him the power and the strength to take out Slash once and for all.

I'd read several negative reviews on this but wanted to see it anyway as by now I've nearly all of PM Entertainment's post 1993 movies. It's nowhere near PM's best movie but it's far from their worst and provides a decently entertaining 90 minutes. A fun enough premise, tons of explosions, car wrecks and gunfire aplenty and the effects are surprisingly good for direct to video material of the time. The action scenes are especially polished and are trademark PM. The large scale intro includes a large number of vehicles exploding and we have the typical car chase in which Slash hijacks a city bus and chases after a limo containing the governor and Decoda which ends in a bang and the governor being killed. The explosions are pretty and the addition of futuristic vehicles is a nice touch, as many DTV movies don't have the budget to cover that. Of course now that we're passed 2000 it looks a little silly but that's the sort of thing we have to accept. Look at the world Escape From New York portrays as 1997.

However, the movie is certainly not without it's faults and there were certain things which left me puzzled. What kind of a hero is Decoda when he's perfectly willing to go by the rules that the corporation has set? Can't he see that Jamison is a ruthless leader who is no better than Slash and all he wants is power? Even after Jamison makes it clear that he doesn't care about casualties as long as Slash is taken down, he still accepts it and only turns on Jamison after he returns as a hologram. Also, this is after Decoda knows that gunfire has no effect on Slash, so why keep holding him up with large groups of armed Police? That's just asking for casualties. I don't really know why it didn't occur to any of them to put somebody into "holographic stasis" to go after Slash, as that is the only way he could be taken out. Also, citizens appear to be driving sleek, futuristic vehicles so why are the police driving old Ford Taurus's, Mazda MPV's and Chevrolet Caprice's? There are also certain scenes which lead to nowhere. One was a warehouse shootout which appears to be filmed at the docks at Long Beach and the soul purpose of it being there seemed to be that the director just felt it had been too long since the last action scene, so he just threw that in for good measure. There is also a sex scene involving Slash and his girlfriend I presume who is killed off near the start but is this necessary? What's the point in showing us Decoda taking a virtual reality course? Sure, it shows he has a perfect shot but that is now useless because Slash is a hologram and gunfire has no effect.

Fortunately however, none of the above has a particularly large impact on the entertainment value of the movie itself and it remains entertaining throughout and moves quickly enough for much of it's runtime.

Evan Lurie is especially entertaining as the character of Slash Gallagher. Granted, what he does doesn't require a great deal of effort in the thespian department but he plays the character in a suitably over the top fashion about as well as anyone could do in a movie like this. William Sanderson as the up his own arse "genius" computer geek is fun, as is Nicholas Worth as "One Eye" who attacks Sanderson's character with a bunch of ridiculous computer related insults such as "You little computer virus" or "You little gigabyte chipset"! All in all, the villains get two thumbs up from me and appear to be having fun themselves playing the parts. But this leads to one of the films greatest problems, which is Joe Lara's incredibly bland hero. He makes the mistake of playing the character straight and is completely overshadowed by the far more charismatic bunch of baddies, and given the dullness of his character and the fact he keeps associating with Jamison, I found it hard to route for him as the hero until he finally turned on Jamison!

Overall, Hologram Man is badly flawed but it's certainly an entertaining movie. If your expectations aren't too high and you don't take it too seriously, then this is an enjoyable little flick. With a better hero and slightly more fluid direction, we could have had a DTV winner on our hands but as it stands, it's worth a watch nonetheless.

By the way the bus chase is certainly not a rip off of Speed. The chase is typical PM fare, and almost all of their action movies from this period include some form of vehicle chase. Plus this movie has a copyright date of 1994 at the end credits, so it's most likely that it was filmed before Speed came out.

Half Past Dead

Honestly one of the most inept theatrically released action movies in recent years.
Well, it's not as awful as the two Charlie's Angels movies but make no mistake, Half Past Dead is awful and is probably the worst example I've ever seen of wasting a decent budget. I had relatively high hopes for this movie originally. I enjoyed Seagal's older movies and coming after the surprisingly good Exit Wounds (the awful Ticker was filmed before that), having an interesting enough premise and a good budget I had relatively high expectations for this. Sure, the idea of Alcatraz being re-opened isn't very likely and is a pretty thin excuse for having Alcatraz as the setting but I wouldn't mind seeing exactly the same story had it been handled with competence. San Francisco is a truly beautiful city, and I'm always interested in seeing action movies set there and a cat and mouse game around Alcatraz Island could be a lot of fun.

However, upon viewing the final product, it's far worse than I would ever have expected from it. Firstly, they had a budget of 30 Million and despite that, it looks painfully cheap. In fact I think this is worst waste of 30 Million I have ever seen and that's saying a lot. Despite being set in Alcatraz, it was filmed in a prison in Berlin and never leaves it. Like really bad B-movies that are posing to be somewhere they aren't really, it attempts to convince us that it's San Francisco by repeatedly showing stock footage of it and the bay. So they didn't shoot it in the real location. Maybe all that budget went on the cast? Hell no, apart from Seagal and Ja Rule, the rest of the cast looks more like something you'd find in a Jim Wynorski flick, with no-talents like Matt Battaglia, Claudia Christian and Hannes Jaenicke. And just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, I suddenly saw an entire parachuting scene lifted from Navy Seals. So we have a poor cast, a faked location and a claustrophobic one at that, stock footage lifted from other movies plus the cost efficiency of shooting it outside of the USA. So where on earth did all that budget go? The only things that looked remotely expensive was a fairly decent effect of a chopper crashing into the top of the building and a chopper explosion at the end but for all I know it could have been from another film also. If they couldn't use the real Alcatraz Island, with a budget like that and a cast consisting of mostly no names, they could have even built a replica Alcatraz in Bulgaria or somewhere and torn that apart. Honestly, I have never seen a good budget blown as badly as this. I thought Derailed with Van Damme was a horrible waste of 18 Million but this is so much worse. Drive which had a budget of 3.5 Million looks much more impressive than this.

Unsurprisingly, the whole cast turn in remarkably poor performances. Seagal is billed first but doesn't have much screen time at all. While other reviewers have commented that his weight gain is the problem, I beg to differ and say that the appalling editing and PG-13 rating are at least as big a problem. He puts in a strikingly uncharismatic performance and looks tired and bored throughout the movie. Say what you will about his earlier movies, but his acting style suited the movies he was in and they were entertaining to watch. Here, he is a painful shadow of his former self. The rest of the cast are no better, especially Morris Chestnut providing a very boring and unmemorable villain. Nia Peeples looks great, especially for her age and does about as good as anyone could play the character. Unfortunately the character is a completely ridiculous one who's hair stays wet for the whole length of her screen time and jumps around defying gravity.

All the action scenes are claustrophobic, flat, unexciting and horribly edited. Despite Seagal's slow movement, the enemies fire thousands of rounds of ammo and fail to hit him. As previously mentioned, all of the fight scenes are horrible and reminded me of the ending of Ticker. At many times I was reminded of an Albert Pyun movie, from the stock footage of the place it pretends to be set to the conversations which appear to be people speaking off camera, then edited together and the claustrophobic and poorly shot closeups. Coincidentally, the director of this has had acting roles in 2 Albert Pyun films. I wonder if that is what has inspired him. This is the first feature he has directed and I sure as hell hope it's his last. He shows no talent in the action scenes and no sense of pacing - it jumps between scenes and back clumsily and Seagal has limited screen time, making him feel like a supporting character.

Overall this is absolute rubbish made even worse considering the potential and the budget. I do not recommend this to anybody, as it's not good enough to spend 90 minutes on and there are far better examples of "so bad it's good" stuff. This could only serve as an example of how not to spend 30 Million. Stay as far from it as humanly possible. That involves lifting it up if you see it in a shop.

Lethal Ninja

*Mild Spoilers*

Yossi Wein is the God of awful Bulgarian productions that usually fall into the "so bad it's good" category. This was his directorial debut and is probably his second best work to date in terms of laugh out loud entertainment with only Disaster (aka Sudden Damage, Cult Of Fury) beating it. Make no mistake, it's a p*ss poor film with absolutely no redeeming values what so ever, but that's why this is worth watching. It's so awful in every angle that it needs to be seen to be believed, and is so entertaining. I have seen a lot of bad movies and although this is by no means the lowest quality (that award would go to Urban Menace/Corrupt/The Wrecking Crew), I don't thin I've ever seen anything so goofy that tries to take itself seriously.

OK, where do I start? It was filmed in South Africa and all of the cast appear to be local including several who have no other starring role listed on IMDb which is hardly surprising given the performances they pull off. Although it is set in Africa, they even manage to mess things up badly with this. Firstly, both the lead and "Dominique" are supposed to be American but it doesn't explain the thick South African accents. Not only do they not try to put on an accent, the acting level of them (and the entire cast) is absolutely abominable. I don't think I've ever seen a film with a worse display of non acting from absolutely everyone involved. The award for the worst performance goes to the scientist who gets killed at the beginning who says "We've got no time for visitors, tell them to go away". The way in which that line is delivered is indescribably awful. The worst performance from anybody who has a significant amount of screen time is from Karyn Hill who plays "Dominique", the wife of the "hero". She delivers all her lines in exactly the same tone throughout the movie just like everyone else, but the entire facial expressions she reads them with is beyond laughable. It's her only acting role listed on IMDb to date. What a surprise, eh? However I do have modest hopes that she'll accept a sometime role in the near future, I could use the laugh. Quite simply, the whole cast in this provide abnormally bad performances.

The plot is utterly stupid and full of the biggest holes I've ever seen and is entirely pushed along by coincidence. Once they arrive in Africa, Joe (Ross Kettle) dials a number and asks the person at the other end of the line to meet him at a disco but who was this? And how did they happen to stay at the same hotel where Joe's wife is held? But after 20 minutes you can give up looking for plot holes, as you will never keep track and you'll probably be laughing too hard at other things.

Lehtal Ninja boasts the worst choreographed fight scenes ever seen. They are all painfully slow and everybody appears to be overly careful not to get hurt in them. Anybody who's in at least reasonable physical shape could pull these off. Even when slitting throats and breaking necks, it still manages to come off unconvincing and laughable. It is only made even worse that these involve laughable ninja's who are obviously wearing protection as their swords even bounce when they hit the human target on occasion. And to top it all off, these are all complimented with the same cartoonish wind sound almost every time a "ninja" moves a muscle.

But wait, there's more. Gawk at:

A song and dance that needs to be seen to be believed. Yossi probably choreographed it himself and wrote the lyrics of the song.

Before leaving America, we see stock footage of San Francisco yet they state that they have flew from Los Angeles.

A Mercedes which crashes over a small hillside and suddenly appears about 60 ft in the opposite direction back on it's wheels only to explode. On a sidenote, I'm surprised they crashed a 1970's Mercedes which would surely have been of interest to far more people than this movie!

Incredibly cheap production values. Grainy picture which just reeks of low budget and exceptionally poor lighting.

Ninja's who circle round the "hero" on roller skates with blades on the side and let themselves get slowly taken out one by one.

Simply put, this is one of the worst movies ever made but Good Lord, it's hysterical. Another movie that would make a very fun drinking game. It isn't the most worst movie ever or the most funny bad movie ever, but it is a runner up and is definitely worth seeing for that!

The Alternate

Very standard Die Hard clone with no surprises.
I bought this on a double set DVD with Black Moon Rising for £2.99 here in the UK. I didn't have particularly high hopes after reading the majority of the reviews here. Nevertheless, I decided to watch it anyway and it more or less met my low expectations. I certainly didn't find it as bad as some people are making it out to be for sure. Some have labelled this as "the worst Die Hard wannabe ever", "funniest movie ever" and even "the worst movie ever". It's none of these. Go see "Blast" if you want to see the worst Die Hard clone ever. See "Disaster" or a Jim Wynorski movie if you want to see the most unintentionally funny movies ever. See "Crazy Six" if you want to see the worst movie ever. People who aren't used to "B-grade" movies probably watch it based on the familiar names in the cast and overreact. Because while by no means good, it passes fairly painlessly.

The plot, while just another take on the basic Die Hard plot, is acceptable enough for the kind of movie we're in and although it takes a while before getting onto the real kidnapping, overall it moves at a comfortable enough pace and is rarely boring.

What the biggest problem the movie is faced with is that for the majority of it there is only one villain and he makes some incredibly stupid decisions, and they both appear to have appalling shots. Most of the gunplay consisted of firing thousands of rounds of ammo and destroying background scenery rather than hitting the targets. Plus those scenes had zero suspense as he was only up against one person, so you knew neither of them were going to hit until the end. There are also certain times when both could have taken each other out and don't, and some ridiculous decisions from the villain - he decides to chase Eric Roberts character around with a flame thrower for ages and has no success. However, the action scenes and the stunts do get better as the movie progresses and there are some entertaining hand to hand action scenes, and a relatively exciting climax. There is a faked helicopter crash which looks surprisingly convincing, and some pretty explosions.

The production values in general look okay with good lighting and clean, earthly colours but there is grainy stock footage of police cars that occasionally pops up and adds absolutely nothing. There are also certain other things that make it obvious that costs have been cut such as the older cars that explode and especially old police cars that I find hard to believe would have been in use by LAPD as late as 2000, and then there's the protesters that others have pointed out.

Overall, this is a very basic Die Hard clone which moves in exactly the way you'd expect it to and really doesn't do anything new or original and has a lot of problems. However if you catch it on TV or find it for a very low price and have nothing else to do, by all means watch it. Just don't actively seek it out or get your hopes up. Certainly a watchable, inoffensive affair but nothing memorable at all.

Octopus 2: River of Fear

Let's make a giant squid movie in Bulgaria, but set it in New York!
*Mild Spoilers*

When it's a sequel to something that you've probably never heard of and something that was probably awful to begin with, you know you're in trouble. You know you're in even more trouble when it's directed by a certain Yossi Wein, the master of cheap and crappy Eastern European filmed action pictures like U.S Seals, Disaster and the likes. I have been actively seeking out his pictures which are often so bad they're funny.

The premise of a giant octopus terrorising New York Harbor isn't really something that can be easily accomplished in a direct to video movie as with the budgets Yossi Wein works with, he could never afford to shoot there let alone get a convincing giant octopus created, CGI or not. So, how exactly has Yossi managed to make a movie called "Octopus 2" set in New York involving a giant octopus?

Badly, is the first word that comes into mind and I wasn't expecting anything else from Yossi but if you've never seen a movie of his, the low quality will amaze you. Firstly, instead of actually filming it in New York, this movie was filmed in and around Sofia, Bulgaria. In an attempt to convince us that it's New York we're seeing, between almost every scene it cuts to stock footage of Manhattan, the New York centre and boats going through the river. A bunch of underwater stock footage and stock footage from "Daylight" starring Sylvester Stallone is also used and in the end, a good 30% of the movie must consist of stock footage mostly of New York and it isn't fooling anything, as all of this leads to a bunch of continuity errors. For example, it will show footage of a boat going through the river then cut to new footage of a completely different boat back in Bulgaria. Also there are big conflicts in scenery. The area in which Octopus 2 is filmed is obviously in a river or lake located outside of Sofia as we can see hills and woodland in the background, as opposed to the built up area of New York Harbor. But we'll be treated to another 20 seconds of stock New York footage after seeing this! More and more stuff keeps popping up, such as horribly out of sync voice dubbing of local Bulgarian "actors" being used as filler and the ever obvious European cars.

Now to the effects which are cheesy, cheesy, cheesy. You were probably wondering how they managed to fill in the giant octopus on a budget. Well, apparently not even filming it in Sofia, Bulgaria could spare them enough to create a convincing looking octopus as the giant squid in this is if anything, even worse than the mechanical shark in Jaws 4: The Revenge. It's a completely laughable rubber thing which we never see in full other than in some awful CGI and a small plastic model. The rubber object is quite obviously operated by hand off camera and gets wrapped around or hits it's victims from a bunch of different camera angles (obviously to hide the human operating it). It really is that bad. But it doesn't end there. Incredibly cheesy modelwork is used several times including a small model boat and an absolutely hilarious scene in which the lead has a nightmare about the "octopus" attacking a plastic toy of the statue of liberty while he is inside it. What this toy means to him, we will never know! When the octopus is broadcasted on the news, the news footage is absolutely laughable. We see a woman reporting it over a completely black background. Talk about cheap.

The characters are also ridiculously unimaginative and clichéd such as the long time detective who witnesses this giant octopus and everyone else basically telling him he's insane and that they want to get on with celebrating the 4th of July and the drunk witness named "Mad Dog". None of the characters are likable or convincing at all and you don't remotely care for them. The acting level is really embarrassing and is even harder to take seriously when you see them in action around stock footage and laughable effects.

With all the above taken in, this movie has no decent suspense, drama, thrills or action and like most Yossi Wein movies just comes across as a complete joke. Don't look at this expecting anything resembling a decent action/horror movie, this is a bad, bad movie but it's so bad and played so straight that it is unintentionally hilarious and is another Grade Z flick for those that enjoy awful cheese!

Cabin Pressure

Another Grade Z plane movie starring Craig Sheffer!
If I ever met Craig Sheffer, one of the first things I'd ask him would be why after the clichéd but admittedly hilarious mess that was Turbulence 2: Fear Of Flying did he go on to star in not one, but three other straight to video flicks with very similar scripts and similarly limp production values. Make no mistake, Fear Of Flying and Heavy Metal are both terrible movies but are so clichéd, cheap and poorly acted that they are hilarious to watch, and this is just as bad the others, which equals just as amusing.

Having saved the world from an anthrax bomb in Fear Of Flying, saved the world from being taken over by evil in Heavy Metal, big Craig now has the responsibility of stopping a hacker from control of the world's first automated jetliner is the! Yeah, as if! The plot itself is the source of major hilarity. The overall look of the movie has that whole Canadian B-movie feel. No stock footage is used this time around, instead we have a phony CGI plane which crashes with very cheap and unconvincing special effects.

But it's with the characters where it really gets amusing. First up is Sheffer's character, who is fired for saying he flies better when drunk. Like in Fear Of Flying, he's clearly phoning his performance and doesn't do much other than read his lines. It really makes me wonder why he decided to take the lead in four extremely similar B-movies. John Piper Ferguson appears to be in a different film, and appears to be enjoying every minute of his ridiculous character, which is a stereotypical "computer geek". He's dressed in drab clothes and sporting greasy hair and glasses, and his best friend is a rare Australian spider! The writers also seem confused as to whether this character is an evil psychopathic menace, or a pathetic character who we're supposed be sympathetic to. He befriends a little girl who lives in the same block, which appears to be an attempt to humanise the character. The way he handles the character itself is pretty hilarious. Not for one second taking it seriously, he jumps around the room and hams it up to the max. His character is great fun to watch but not exactly in the way I believe the filmmakers intended it to be. He's clearly just poking fun at the ridiculous character and seems bemused to have this on his CV.

The movie itself is also incredibly poorly pieced together. It feels like they made it as they went on, culminating in an ending so ridiculous that I can't even begin to describe it. I won't spoil it for you but I laughed a LOT when I saw what finally lead them to the "hacker". It involves the pet spider and an extremely lucky coincidental turn of events.

Overall, this is rubbish and only one member of the cast seems to be aware of that, but it's at least funny rubbish. As a thriller it fails abysmally but as a comedy, it's a great laugh. If you found Turbulence 2: Fear Of Flying, Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal or Flying Virus to be entertainingly bad, then I recommend you also see this.

U.S. Seals

Could work as a parody of the action genre.
I saw this on Channel 5 in the UK back in 2002 and having seen a lot of bad movies since then and having seen 2 other Yossi Wein efforts (Disaster aka Cult Of Fury and Lethal Ninja) and found them to be hilariously bad, I wanted to see U.S Seals again as I remembered it being bad but had forgotten most of it. Well, I found the DVD of it for a relatively cheap price and guessed there wasn't really anything to lose in buying it. Was there? Not really. Was it bad? Yes. Bad enough to be funny? Sure.

I'll start with what there is to say that's genuinely positive about it. This was a NuImage production, who work with larger production budgets than most B-movie studios around so unlike say, Crazy Six or Urban Menace, it does look like at least some of the people thought they were making a movie. With the exception of stock footage appearing rather often and outdoor locations which are obviously not the USA, the production values are better than your average Grade Z movie.

But that's all. Yossi Wein is perhaps the worst director in existence. At least Jim Wynorski has the excuse of his low budgets, but Yossi Wein was quite obviously handed a budget that something decent could have been made of with all the explosions, stunts and destruction that takes place. However, not only does he not know how and when to use these properly, he also doesn't seem to know the tiniest little bit about what he's basing the movie around, US Seals!

What this resembles is what a movie is like if it's on in the background and you're doing something else not paying full attention to it. For example, you may miss something and think something is a plot hole. However, this is chock full of plot holes and things happen without any explanation for it at all. In an action movie, I can always suspend my belief. After all, most are just escapist fun and that's why I love them and we have to accept continuity errors to a point. But this absolutely takes the p*ss. There are too many errors, so let's just pick off the most glaringly obvious.

How did the villains know where Mike and Melissa lived? I don't think I missed anything, but there was no explanation.

I'm pretty sure a navy seal would not be allowed to have bleached blonde hair.

Constant stock footage of vehicles driving through San Francisco, then cutting back and forth between locations that are obviously outside of the USA complete with European vehicles (Ford Transit's).

Completely random action that makes no sense at all. For example, the villains, while under attack from our heroes, drive into a cobbled square in the centre of a town and decide to destroy everything in sight. Why? Instead of defending themselves they go out their way to destroy every Lada parked there, while for no apparent reason one comes driving up at high speed and explodes. Again, why? This pointless scene is also badly edited together, as one of the cars is already crushed before the tank is shown going near it. There's more, including three scenes involving cranes, one in which for no apparent reason has an old army truck suspended over it, which they shoot off and it falls and explodes! It looks like Yossi just decided to have some fun with the pyrotechnics and at the last minute realized he was supposed to be making a movie.

Those seals are invincible! I can only assume they're cyborgs with incredibly fast reflex times and eyes on the back of their heads! That theory would also work considering their style of acting. While the villains they are against have never touched weapons in their lives before. In one scene, two goons with automatic weapons shoot at 2 of the seals from above, on top of a crane. Not only do they miss and the seals don't duck, they grab out their pistols and take both of them out with one shot!

These are navy seals and their tactics just include running into the line of fire and taking out the first enemy. Wow!

Weather which changes between sunshine and snow and back in less than a minute.

A small one but nobody is seen reloading in the entire movie. I guess Yossi just completely forgot about that.

There is a lot of action, but I don't think scenes where the good guys run out into the line of fire, don't get hit and take out all the bad guys is anyone's idea of how action scenes should be handled. Clearly, Yossi Wein has absolutely no idea how to make an action movie, and he obviously knows even less about navy seals. I see that he hasn't directed anything since 2001, perhaps NuImage have finally realized just how bad he is?

Anyway, this is a good example of how not to make an action movie. It's chock full of clichés, plot holes and continuity errors. Perhaps all the errors would work if the movie acted like a parody of the action genre and believe me, all the action scenes in this would be perfect fodder for a parody but no, this is marketed as serious stuff! Generally I like what most people call "bad action movies" so if you think they are bad, I recommend you to see this.

Cyborg Cop II

Over the top B-grade action silliness which turns out surprisingly fun!
With a misleading title (there is no Cyborg Cop, only a criminal "converted" to a Cyborg who escapes and goes on a rampage), a director who doesn't exactly have a clean track record, filmed in a foreign country trying to pass off as USA and a rather low rating on IMDb (although I always prefer to judge for myself), this had all the makings of being completely awful. I did however decide to check it out as the DVD was cheap and it was by NuImage who did an excellent straight to video movie titled Hard Justice the following year. And to my huge surprise, I actually found this to be an enjoyable little cheesefest.

Sure it's campy, it's clichéd and doesn't exactly score high in terms of acting, plot or originality but it's well aware of all those, and with those all taken into account, makes the best of them and comes out smiling. David Bradley, who I've considered to be one of the better "actors" in the B-action genre provides a fun performance. He's well aware of the movie he's in, and makes the most of it. Morgan Hunter as the mobster turned cyborg provides a suitably over the top performance that's a lot of fun to watch.

Certainly, it doesn't let down in terms of action. You'll get plenty of explosions and our hero flying through the air with a pistol in each hand numerous times. Opening with a huge warehouse shootout with a large bodycount and an especially huge explosive scene at a Gas station. Production values are generally above average, only let down by some obvious stunt doubles and blatant modelwork which fortunately doesn't appear on screen for very long. Overall, they're definitely no worse than Commando. It doesn't appear that producers have ever said "No" at any point to what director Sam Firstenberg has asked for, as you'll get several big scale action scenes with tons of stunts and explosions which is rather impressive for such a little known and obviously low budget movie. Embarrassingly, there isn't actually a huge amount which Universal Soldier for example does which this doesn't, which either says a lot of bad things about it or a lot of good things about this, depending on your point of view.

One thing I did notice however was that while the movie is set in the USA, it is quite obviously not filmed there. Where it is I'm not sure, but if you know a thing or two about cars, you'll notice a LOT which aren't sold in the USA such as Fiat's and an exploding Ford Sierra at the gas station scene.

Like a James Bond movie, Cyborg Cop 2 provides the familiar ingredients that fans of B-action movies like to see time and time again. Turn off your brain, grab a few beers and watch and by the end you'll probably have the overblown organ music stuck on your mind for a few days. Yes it's silly, it's clichéd but for what it is, it works.

Urban Menace

A fantastic home video comedy…
…that unfortunately thinks it's a serious film. This is quite simply the most incoherent piece of nonsense ever to come to DVD. No I'm not going to call it a film because it isn't one as it was shot on digital video and has a look which resembles video captured from a digital camera with Pyun's trademark blue filter. In all honesty though, it's not as unwatchable as Crazy Six and the dialogue, the acting, the editing and the fact that you'll probably have no clue as to what is going on makes this absolutely hilarious to watch, especially with the commentary track.

What this video (not, it's not a film) resembles is a home video of a bunch of idiots running around an empty building with paintball guns pretending to be gangsta and going completely over the top with their dialogue and using the f word at the end of every second word. I had no idea who was the good guys or who was the bad guys, if there were any good guys that is. The acting is hilarious, especially Big Pun's mumbling and fact that he's obviously reading off cue cards behind camera. This is one of the worst performances I've ever seen, rivalling only Anna Nicole Smith in Skyscraper and Mario Van Peebles in Exterminator 2. A good 80% of the dialogue consists of the words "f*ck", "motherf*cker" and "n*gger".

Probably the funniest thing is that Albert Pyun comes completely clean about how bad this video is in the commentary. He admits that several members of the cast never met and were edited together to make it look like they were in conversation which is funny, because that is exactly what it looks like. Something which I have suspected he has done in several of his films. He also admits that one of the characters running around in black is actually Snoop Dogg's stunt double and not him, which is necessary if for a second you thought of trying to make the tiniest bit of sense out of this nonsense, because I had no idea this was even meant to be him as it could quite easily have been one of the many gang members. Snoop Dogg was only there for a limited amount of time, he also tells us in case we hadn't already guessed that. Being the first billed character, his face only flashes on and off a few times and then appears at the end, and his stunt double fills in for the rest and believe me, if you don't listen to the commentary you probably won't even realize that the stunt double is supposed to be him. He also tells us that several scenes were the same corridors we saw earlier, just with all the factory mess rearranged and shot in the opposite direction which is exactly what it looks like!

There's also plenty of continuity errors. Such as how did this preacher become so skilled with weapons? In one scene he takes out what I counted to be 17 people in a corridor and apparently has eyes on the back of his head. While viewing it I noticed that one of them even collapses without being shot at in the sea of falling bodies. I could go on and on but it would take all day, so for now I'll just point out the church with the laughable CGI flames!

If you like seeing "filmmaking" at the very bottom end of the spectrum then I seriously recommend you to check out this. Honestly, if enough people see this I think it could be come a Grade Z classic in the future, it has all the makings of it. This video is a joke, nothing more, nothing less and if you have a sense of humour, then this DVD is a lot of fun! There is just simply no way to take this seriously, and the fact that those involved seem quite unaware of it only adds to it.

Oh, and there's a "Disclaimer" from Ice-T at the start but don't worry, much of the stuff he says in that doesn't even happen in the fi…sorry video!


Better than usual for Albert Pyun, but...
Produced in the dying years of Cannon films, directed by Albert Pyun, starring an early Van Damme claiming to be "the first hero of the 21st century", claiming to be a "post apocalyptic battle" and with the title "Cyborg", somehow I don't think it will bring many to a state of disbelief when I announce that it's a very poor film. Cheap and tacky in every area, unless you're a huge fan of Van Damme it really should be avoided.

For Albert Pyun in the 80's and early 90's, a "post apocalyptic" movie was just an excuse to avoid any expense for sets and have a bunch of goons in ragged clothes running around large areas of open land or empty buildings. The "post apocalyptic" world Cyborg takes place in was filmed in North Carolina and looks like…uh…North Carolina.

There is action, but it's all rather dull and extremely forgettable and the overly dramatic musical score which accompanies it is extremely irritating. Plus there's no buildup to them, just randomly thrown together which throws away any excitement they may have had. On the plus side, the fights aren't half as bad as those I've seen in later Albert Pyun movies but Van Damme has done a lot better.

As far as acting goes, you'll get zero. Not that you'd expect award winning performances in a movie like this, but still, Van Damme has absolutely minimal dialogue and could pass off for somebody who doesn't speak any English simply being told to speak his lines phonetically. He is that poor, but at least it's evidence enough that he has tried in later movies. I do find many of his movies entertaining, this isn't one of them. The villains are the complete opposite, and they overact and make embarrassing howling and screaming when fighting Van Damme without being remotely scary in the least. Although it certainly doesn't say much for the state of humanity if the world was to be under threat for a second from these clowns!

The post apocalyptic genre is generally one of the weakest in the field of B-movies with the likes of Steel Frontier being one of the few exceptions and this is just about as poor as it gets. Not good enough to be worth watching or not even bad enough to be funny. At best it's tedious and dull so unless you're a huge fan of Van Damme I recommend you to stay away. On the plus side, it remains the best film by schlock director Albert Pyun I've seen to date but that's probably even more of a reason to avoid it than anything else.

Bad Blood

Standard direct to video material
As of now, this is the third Lorenzo Lamas movie I've seen as well as the TV series Renegade. The other two being CIA 2: Target Alexa and the absolutely abominable Gladiator Cop. Keeping in mind that from what I've seen of him, he's one of the least charismatic and most wooden "actors" in the genre, I wasn't expecting much from this. I wasn't let down in that aspect as it didn't exactly deliver much but unlike Gladiator Cop, it didn't leave a bad taste in my mouth either.

The plot is standard genre stuff, pretty thin but nothing more or less than I would expect from this stuff. It's not paced particularly well either, and there's a couple of pointless sex scenes which last for several minutes and are only an excuse for some nudity and to extend the runtime but at the same time, it's rarely boring. As for Lorenzo Lamas, there's nothing much I can say for him other than "wooden". There's no better word than that, he's just wooden. As far as acting goes, he simply reads his lines and that's that, without showing any form of emotion or varying his tone. Although I didn't find him as annoying as say, Michael Dudikoff, or Jalal Merhi, he really is poor. Giving him minimal dialogue may have worked better, but unfortunately he is given more than I would have liked to have heard from him.

What saves this from the bottom of the barrel heap is generally good production values and the action scenes that are there are well handled. The fight scenes were better than in other Lamas movies I've seen, and were generally quite entertaining. The villains are suitably despicable, so at least I wasn't longing that they'd just blow away Lamas and that would be the end of it. The climax IS entertaining, and ends with a high bodycount and a large amount of explosions and sparks flying.

Overall, this was a cut above what I'm used to from Lorenzo Lamas, but I still can't recommend it. Overall it's a pretty average direct to video action movie. If there's nothing better on TV then give it a go, but there are many better movies which do pretty much the same thing with much better acting and pacing, so I wouldn't bother recommending you to buy or renting it unless you've already seen most.


One of the most intense, well acted and suspenseful action movies I've ever seen.

This is one of the best acted, most intense and oh so real action movies I've ever watched. How this didn't get a theatrical release is absolutely beyond me. Or an Oscar. Marnie Alton should certainly have won an Oscar for her fantastic performance in this masterpiece of a movie, and Yossi Wein should have won an Oscar long ago for U.S Seals! I mean when that villain blew up the overpass, I could really see the fear in the eyes of that poor truck driver and it made me feel like I was there and feeling this too. All the effects were some of the best I've ever witnessed, it should have also won an Oscar for "Best Special Effects". I just can't get over how this masterpiece of cinema has gone almost unnoticed for the last 3 years. I have to make a change to that. I am going into town and handing out free copies and urging everybody to rate and review it. I know they'll enjoy it and maybe a cult following will eventually get it a theatrical release. It's such a fantastic movie I just can't over it. I am watching it just now for the 33rd time and haven't missed one minute. I've cancelled many of my plans just so I can watch this masterpiece and I feel no regret. This has brought me more joy than anything else on the planet probably could.

Erm, maybe not...

This movie was terrible, and for that reason, was hilarious.

It's funny to think that once upon a time NuImage used to do movies like Hard Justice, The Peacekeeper, Top Of The World, Scarred City and many more. By no means were these movies masterpieces, but they were solid, well made and above all highly enjoyable action movies with excellent production values and solid action scenes. Hard Justice being one of the best direct to video action movies I've ever seen. But where did it all go wrong? Did they lose money over spending considerable budgets on movies that went direct to video? In recent years they have put out such dreck as U.S Seals, Derailed, Death Train, dreadful Operation Delta Force movie after another and much more. Why are they even employing this Yossi Wein anyway? Currently on IMDb, only one of his movies have a rating over 3 and what's even worse is that the production budgets in his movies certainly aren't as low as other awful B-movie directors like Albert Pyun, Jim Wynorski, Fred Olen Ray etc. so he has no excuse to botch them in the way he does.

"Sudden Damage" as it's called in the UK is quite possibly the most pointless movie of all time. I won't even get started on the script, it is ridiculous and makes no sense what so ever. Much of it takes place in a casino in Las Vegas and the climax takes place at the Hoover Dam. If you've seen the earlier, and enjoyable NuImage movie that was Top Of The World then that will probably sound overly familiar. That's because this uses footage from Top Of The World and is basically the same movie with:

  • Worse actors who are taking the thing far too seriously. Witness one of the most boring, and most wooden and unscary villains in history.

  • A bunch of grainy news footage of a firefight from the 1980's by the looks of things. Not just by the quality of this can you tell this is dated footage, but the vehicles, the clothes, the hairstyles etc. are enough for us to tell this is from a different era. There is no way director Yossi Wein couldn't have seen this, but I'm only assuming he didn't really care or was deliberately trying to make a bad movie.

  • Some of the cheesiest modelwork I've ever seen. Witness an inch tall plastic toy truck exploding which doesn't even match the type of vehicle used in the footage prior to it. Honestly, this is the worst modelwork I've ever seen. If you've seen the toy train in Derailed and thought that looked bad, just wait till you see this. It's one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

  • Car chase footage from Top Of The World which makes absolutely no sense being in this movie.

  • Locations faked with actors standing over a static background, ,which looks like something out of the 1950's where the lighting of the sun doesn't match at all.

  • Dreadful, out of sync voice dubbing.

  • A cruise ship exploding with absolutely laughable CGI flames.

What's even sadder about this mess is that it actually looks like Yossi Wein has been handed a budget that something decent could have been made from. The interior set of the casino is passable and there's tons of explosions and some decent stunts. However, it looks like he's decided to blow it all on a random explosion inside the building every 2 minutes. I've never seen less competent directing than this, NEVER.

Overall, this is Grade Z material and the sheer quality or rather the lack of it will absolutely blow you away and it gets worse at an unbelievable rate. If you want a movie to make fun of then only Extreme Limits is a better choice than this.

Oh, and the title "Disaster" is because the villain, after falling several hundred feet down the Hoover Dam courtesy of footage from Top Of The World, has enough energy left to press a button which blows up the whole dam and causes a "Disaster". This only happens in the last 4 minutes and is so badly implemented it may as well not have been included at all.

Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal

Entertainingly bad mess of stereotype and cliché.
This is the third "Turbulence" movie I've seen, although none of these "sequels" are real sequels at all, they just have the same basic premise and the same clichés. In fact, what these belong to is a group of terrible low budget aeroplane "thrillers" starring Craig Sheffer which includes Turbulence 2: Fear Of Flying, Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal, Flying Virus and Hijack'd.

What amazed me about this is that it's almost identical to it's Grade Z prequel. While last time we had a "Fear Of Flying group" onboard, which a member of ends up as the hero, this time we've got Slade Craven, a supposed Death Metal God performing his farewell concert on an aeroplane along with his biggest fans, and he himself ends up being the hero. I'm trying to decide which of the two is more stupid. This is certainly more far fetched, but come on, "Fear Of Flying Group"? That sounds like something out of Father Ted. The two movies are so similar, let's compare them both shall we:

Psycho takes the plane hostage. This time taken over by somebody who looks and sounds exactly like Slade Craven and is played by the same actor, but the real Slade Craven is actually tied up in the back. I can't remember what the demands of the hijacker in the previous movie were or if he even had any clear demands. But what this hijacker wants is utterly hilarious - he wants to crash it into "the most unholy place on planet earth" so that the world will be taken over by evil. Now if you don't laugh at that, then in my opinion you have no sense of humour!

Passengers who attempt to tackle the villain unsuccessfully several times.

Passenger who gets hold of the gun and then reveals to be in on the plot and on the villains side. Monika Schnarre in this case.

Stock footage used for exterior shots of the plane in the air which are very similar, if not identical to that of the previous movie.

The oh so suspenseful cliché of the pilot being killed and somebody with no previous flight experience having to land the plane assisted by radio from somebody in the ground. In the previous movie we had Craig Sheffer who played a member of the "Fear Of Flying Group" in this role, assisted by Tom Berenger from Air Traffic Control. Slade Craven himself lands it this time, this time assisted by somebody who also has zero flight experience! Craig Sheffer's character is a computer geek who says "Some kids grew up playing Nintendo, for me it was flight simulators". So you've guessed it, he switches on his flight sim and tries to land a plane on it and then guides Slade Craven via this. Oh please! If we go by the logic of this film, then there wouldn't be any need to sit a driving test in a real car, since simulators are all completely accurate according to it.

The characters are either stereotypical or flat out ridiculous. I don't know anything about Death Metal myself as I don't listen to it, but this guy comes off as about as talented as William Hung. The goth fans are all completely stereotypical, and it doesn't help that none of them can act. Then there's Gabrielle Anwar and Craig Sheffer, who's characters are nothing short of stupid. Gabrielle Anwar's character could never pass as FBI for a second, and Craig Sheffer as a hacker is even less convincing. There is literally nothing this guy can't do and he hits out with lots of stupid lines like "That would take somebody smarter than me, and that's not possible" and upon his first words with Slade Craven, he seems more concerned to tell him how big a fan he is rather than worry about his safety.

As with it's prequel and almost identical twin, the silliness of this film leaves lots of questions to be answered. Would they really be allowed to hold a concert on a plane to begin with? Why did fake Slade look and sound exactly like real Slade? (It does attempt to turn you away from this by an unconvincing computer voice matching program saying they don't match but they sound exactly the same to my ear) Is he related in any way to real Slade? Would they really be allowed to fly again in a plane where several murders have taken place?

The movie is low budget and sure as hell looks it. For something set in an aeroplane that doesn't really require the need for much stunts or effects, the obvious stock footage and a very badly imposed explosion of an air traffic control tower bring the look of the product down severely.

Overall, this is awful, Grade Z cheese but it's so overly clichéd, so far fetched and so idiotic that it's impossible not to laugh at it. If you enjoy making fun of a movie, then this is certainly a good choice to pick.

Crazy Six

The worst movie I have seen to date.
There's been many movies which I thought at one point were the worst movie I've ever seen. However, this is the outright worst I've seen so far. I won't safely say it's the worst movie of all time, as Urban Menace, Corrupt, The Wrecking Crew I have heard are worse, but this is by far the worst movie I have ever seen.

Firstly, I didn't pay to see this and I knew it would be awful as it's an Albert Pyun movie. I just wasn't ready for how awful it was. As long as I've known who Albert Pyun is, I have always considered him one of the worst active directors for atrocities like Blast, Knights and Omega Doom among others. I figured I would watch it just to see how bad it was and that it would maybe be so bad that it would be amusing to watch. Although it was so awful that I laughed at several points, I really feel for the poor souls who've shelled out their hard earned cash for this junk expecting a good movie.

Where do I start? I cannot think of one positive thing to say about this "movie". I really can't. Everything in the movie that is significant to the story could have been told in 15 minutes but it is stretched out to 90 minutes. This is accomplished by filling it with lots of pointless, long drawn scenes, usually long slow motion shots that have nothing to do with the story itself, in between (very little) dialogue and what little "action" there is. Many movies can convince you of their quality in the opening scene, Crazy Six certainly doesn't let you down in this regard. The opening of Crazy Six is about 25 minutes long, with small scenes of dialogue backed by sounds of the wind and thunder in between close ups of the character played by Ivana Milicevic singing a dreary song (which is heard repeatedly throughout the movie) surrounded by hideous pink lighting. This scene is exactly like an extremely bad 25 minute music video, in fact the entire movie is like a 90 minute amateur music video. A very similar scene is repeated in the final 10 minutes. The average human being would probably have difficulty trying to figure out just what the hell this is if they turned on TV and found it on. It sure as hell doesn't look like a movie, that's for sure. Visually, it's also hideous on the eyes. All of the indoor scenes are shot with bizarre pink, orange and red lighting and filters, not to mention the picture quality is extremely blurry. While the outdoor scenes are mostly filmed in wastegrounds and ruins under grey skies. This has to be the dreariest movie I've ever seen. And then there's the camera-work which for the most part is jerky and full of quick cuts. Much of the indoor conversations are filmed with close up mugshots of the cast, barely showing more than one on screen together. The action scenes are terrible, just terrible. Full of the aforementioned close ups and quick cuts, in the shootout and fight scenes it's impossible to see who's shooting who, or who's hitting who. In one scene you see two silhouettes hitting each other, but who is who is not clear. That's how bad the lighting is. Some people have defended Alert Pyun and said that his style is "stylish, creative and different". Sorry but no. Adding close ups, ugly filters and extending the run time of the movie with long drawn out sequences in slow motion that have no relevance to the plot is anything but creative. Your own style should be something that adds to the movie, not detracts from it and serves as an excuse to extend the runtime. It may be different but it's not big or it's not clever. A car with rectangular wheels would be different but would be neither big nor clever, and would only detract from it rather than add to it. And then there's the performances. The only character that actually stands out is Mario Van Peebles with his laughable French accent, which is not a compliment. Rob Lowe is poor. Burt Reynolds is poor. Ice-T is poor. Nobody looks to be enjoying themselves one bit, and rightly so. No matter who was cast in this travesty, they could not save it. I could also rip apart the story itself. What are all those foreigners doing here in Eastern Europe? Why is it even set in Eastern Europe to begin with when only one of the main characters isn't foreign? But it's hardly worth it, as it's far from the worst of the problems in this nonsense.

Overall, I do not recommend you to go near this under any circumstances. It is the most ugly, badly made, poorly shot and dreary garbage you'll ever see. If you happen to get it for free or catch it on TV, it may be worth a watch so that you can witness for yourself just how bad it is. It will make any mediocre movie look like an Oscar winner. What I did find hilarious is the fact that it ends with a scene which indicates that they think the viewer will care about the characters. Avoid at all costs.


Not as awful as Extreme Limits, but still awesomely bad.
Jay Andrews aka Jim Wynorski. Most people would probably think "Who?" after hearing the name but if you know a thing or two about B-movies, you'll probably be aware that this guy is the master of modern day Grade Z cheese. Yes, his work is on par with the infamous "Grade Z" Sci-Fi turkeys of the 1950's. Under many different aliases over the years, he's directed a number of dreadful so called horror films with tons of pointless nudity, outrageously bad sexploitation flicks starring the likes of Julie Strain and Nikki Fritz and finally, hilariously bad "Action" movies made up of stock footage from bigger budgeted movies often starring has-been actors in the lead which he usually does under the alias "Jay Andrews". Militia happens to be just one of those.

To date I've only seen two of the "Jay Andrews" patchwork movies, this and Extreme Limits. This is a better quality movie in the sense that it isn't quite as cheap as the latter. There are about 3 original explosions and they actually hired helicopters here. WOW! Isn't that something? Compared to Extreme Limits however it is something, as it just used (extremely grainy) stock footage from Cliffhanger and Narrow Margin for helicopter scenes. However, what made Extreme Limits so unintentionally hilarious was the fact that it was the cheapest looking thing I'd seen outside of an Ed Wood movie, so the fact that this doesn't look quite as cheap kind of makes this a bit less fun to watch. But this is still pretty awesome in it's awfulness. The opening scene uses footage from Delta Force 2 and Rambo: First Blood Part 2. I am 100% against taking whole action scenes of stock footage from other movies. If you don't have the budget, then don't do it is what I say. The first thing that makes it obvious what's stock footage and what isn't is the fact the new footage is shot in dry California countryside, while the footage from these movies is jungle scenery. There are countless errors like this but more later. Later we are treated to Terminator 2 footage. Some advice Jim, if you insist on using stock footage in your movies, try to find some relatively obscure footage that people haven't seen. Terminator 2 was a highly successful movie and nearly everybody has seen it, so nearly everybody will recognise that. And besides, why would you want to watch an action scene you've seen in a far superior movie all over again in a movie that is inferior in every way? On the positive side, the new footage is edited together with this relatively well and isn't nearly as obvious as any of the scenes in Extreme Limits but the fact that everybody has seen Terminator 2 makes it obvious. In another scene, there is a brief chase in which Dean Cain and Frederic Forrester's characters jump from a moving truck which cuts to a scene of a truck crashing and exploding courtesy of footage from American Ninja 2. There was nothing remotely good about the original American Ninja 2 footage which was a relatively low budget movie itself and this particular scene could have been emulated very easily on a small budget. Just goes to show how little effort went into this project. Not only that, but both vehicles are different colours. And the patchwork only gets worse towards the end. I'm not quite sure where this footage comes from, but it is hideously grainy and the difference in quality is absolutely obvious. And again, we have the scenery conflicts. At one point we are treated to two missiles being fired at a building from stock footage, which we are meant to believe is the building Dean Cain and Stacy Keach are inside, yet we saw them walking into a completely different building earlier on. I can only assume that they thought we would have forgotten about that by then. Unfortunately, I had not.

The performances are largely terrible. Dean Cain and Frederic Forrest don't look like they're interested in the film they're in at all. Jennifer Beals is very pretty, but has almost nothing to do in her part. The award for the worst performance by far goes to Stacy Keach, who hams it up in a totally over the top character who spends most of his time sitting on a chair and only interacts with 2 or 3 characters.

Extreme Limits directed by Jim Wynorski as Jay Andrews has to be the most hilariously bad movie I've ever seen. Militia disappointed me in the sense that it wasn't quite as bad as that one, but this is still awful, Grade Z cheese of the worst kind and for that, it's still hilarious to watch.

Death Wish 4: The Crackdown

Silly, but enjoyable if you're in the mood.
The Golan-Globus produced Death Wish sequels have never been movies that were very popular with critics. The original Death Wish was hardly a film longing for a sequel, as it's hardly believable that one man could face such bad luck not twice, but a total of 5 times. Death Wish 4 may be B-grade cheese to the max, and although if you look at it on a serious level it pales in comparison to the original in just about every way. But if you judge it as a simple, OTT 80's action movie then it's surprisingly entertaining. Perhaps it may have faired better as a standalone film rather than a sequel (the same goes for all the other Death Wish sequels) but as it is, it's fun to watch and is certainly better than that trash which shall remain unnamed starring Robert Ginty.

Death Wish 4 makes no attempt to hide what it is at heart, which is a cheesy vigilante actioner with a thin plot that's just basically an excuse for more scum to kill and it does it's job at that just fine, with most things being well handled and the pace never slowing down. Visually, other than the laughable wine bottle explosion, there's nothing wrong with the production values. Considering this was made in the years that Cannon were starting to fall apart, the overall look of the movie is rather good. The lighting is crisp, and the shootouts and death scenes are pleasing and professionally handled. And fortunately, the movie doesn't take itself completely seriously and has some priceless dialogue such as "He's such a jerk, I wish he'd drop dead" 2 seconds before the character in question suddenly comes falling to his death. Bronson is Bronson, and his style works perfectly for the character of Paul Kersey. All the bad guys give suitably over the top performances which is fine for the kind of movie they're in. Much of the movie is entirely predictable but that's okay, including a twist in the third quarter which I'm sure everybody will see coming.

Overall, Death Wish 4 may be a bad movie on paper but as far as cheesy vigilante actioners go, it works and is certainly one of the better ones out there. If you like Chuck Norris's movies of the 80's, then you're sure to like this. As flawed, predictable, preposterous and derivative as Death Wish 4 may be, it's a fun way to kill an hour and a half and I'd rather watch this over all the new PG-13 big studio crap posing as action movies coming out these days any day.

I watched this on the Region 1 MGM release DVD. For a 17 year old, relatively low budget movie the transfer is excellent and everything looks clean and crisp.

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