REVIEW: THE BAD PACK

 

CAST

Robert Davi (The Goonies)
Roddy Piper (They Live)
Ralf Moeller (Conan)
Larry B. Scott (The Karate Kid)
Shawn Huff (Christmas Trade)
Patrick Dollaghan (The Rapture)
Brent Huff (Chasing Beauty)
Marshall R. Teague (Armageddon)
Daniel Zacapa (The River)
Jeep Swenson (Batman & Robin)
Sven-Ole Thorsen (Gladiator)
Vernon Wells (Power Rangers Time Force)
Cristian Crocker-Reilly (The Other F Word)
Clifton Collins Jr. (Westworld)

001136_37Everyone once in a great while, a B-movie comes along that redefines and distinguished the often dismissed sub-genre. The case in point is The Bad Pack, an action movie starring a number of familiar faces for aficionados of this kind of entertainment.  After repeated violations to their people and property, two villagers travel from Mexico to Los Angeles in an effort to hire a former commando and his band of mercenaries to fight back against a local militia. The immigrants in the Texas border town are down to their last hope, when McCue (Robert Davi) and his men (Roddy Piper, Ralph Moeller, Larry B. Scott) bring their technical expertise and strength to combat the volatile situation.hqdefaultDirector Brent Huff stages the film with energy and has the sense to cast under-rated talents in key roles. The cast is headlined by Robert Davi, who normally portrays villains, but makes for an appealing hero. B-Movie mainstay Marshall R. Teague is the dastardly head of the formidable Militia. The Bad Pack is The Expendables a decade before the latter reinvigorated the sagging careers of its participants. Unlike that film, The Bad Pack has been made on a limited budget, but every cent has been squeezed to present the best possible product on-screen.

 

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REVIEW: JURASSIC HUNTERS (AKA COWBOYS VS DINOSAURS)

CAST

Eric Roberts (Amityville: Death House)
Vernon Wells (Power Rangers Tiem Force)
Casey Fitzgerald (The Shift)
Rib HIlls (Port CHarles)
John Freeman (Luna)
Sara Malakul Lane (Sun Choke)

maxresdefaultShortly after an injured cowboy, Val, returns home to make amends with his ex-girlfriend and father (Eric Roberts), a group of geologists set off a huge explosion at the local mine. However, instead of finding precious metal, they accidentally unearth hundreds of terrorising and formerly believed extinct, breeds of prehistoric dinosaurs. Anarchy ensues as the rampaging beasts are unleashed upon Val s trembling hometown, running amok and hunting the horror-struck humans who have become their prey. In order to save the terrified citizens, Val has to use his animal-taming skills and band together with the local gunslingers, risking their lives to defeat the deadly predators. Only one species can win. Who will survive? PHLrhdfzhjK0OO_1_lThe title(s) alone suggests that this movie is going to be ridiculous and trust me it does not disappoint. The acting? Bad. Special effects? Some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Plot? It’s there but as bad as everything else. All these are ingredients for a horrible movie but a horrible movie that one with a sense of humor should certainly get a kick out of. I cracked up watching this movie especially the ridiculous ending. cowboys-vs-dinosaursI shouldn’t have to tell you to go into watching this kind of movie knowing it’s bad or to watch this with a sense of humor, you should know this by the title alone. Anyone expecting something like Jurassic Park is barking up the wrong tree here. Enjoy this movie, it’s wonderfully awful!

REVIEW: FORTRESS (1992)

CAST

Christopher Lambert (Highlander)
Loryn Locklin (Denial)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Lincoln Kilpatrick (The Omega Man)
Jeffrey Combs (Gotham)
Tom Towles (The Prophecy II)
Vernon Wells (Mad Max 2)
Clifton Collins Jr. (Westworld)

In a dystopian 2017, ex-army officer John Henry Brennick and his wife Karen are attempting to cross the Canada–United States border to Vancouver to have a second child. Strict one-child policies forbid a second pregnancy, even after their firstborn has died, so Karen wears a magnetic vest to trick the security scanners. A guard notices and raises the alarm. Brennick is caught, believing Karen to have escaped, and sentenced to 31 years at the Fortress, a private maximum security prison run by the Men-Tel Corporation. To maintain discipline all inmates are implanted with “Intestinators” which induce severe pain or death as a form of physical control and mental conditioning. The prison is co-run by Director Poe, who oversees Zed-10, a computer that monitors day-to-day activities. The prison is located underground, in the middle of the desert, inside a deep pit that can only be crossed by a retractable bridge, while the prisoners are kept in overcrowded cells secured by laser walls.

John is imprisoned with inmates Abraham, a model prisoner who works as Poe’s manservant and is awaiting parole; D-Day, a machine and demolitions expert; Nino Gomez and Stiggs, who tries to extort John. John learns his wife has been captured and is held in another level with his unborn child who, being illegal, is now officially owned by Men-Tel and will be confiscated at birth. Stiggs has a friend, Maddox, who intimidates John and the two are involved in a brawl which culminates with Maddox being shot by a security turret. John manages to grab Maddox’s Intestinator and gives it to D-Day before he is taken away to be subjected to a mind-wipe procedure as punishment.

Poe, infatuated with Karen, tells her that if she lives with him he will treat John well and release him from the mind-wipe chamber. She accepts to help John. Poe is revealed to be a cyborg, powerfully enhanced by Men-Tel cybernetics. Four months later, a heavily pregnant Karen manages to use her access to the prison computer in Poe’s quarters to help John by restoring him from his mind-wiped state. Karen steals a holographic map and gives it to Abraham to give to John. D-Day dismantles Maddox’s Intestinator and uses a magnetic component to pull out the others’ Intestinators. During their next work shift John’s group puts their Intestinators in an air-duct and stage a brawl, causing Zed to trigger the devices and blow the duct open to prepare their escape. Poe promptly flushes the duct with steam and sends in “Strike Clones”, networked cyborgs armed with flamethrowers and machine guns. Stiggs surrenders and gets shot dead, but the rest of the group kill a Strike Clone, steal its weapon and use it to kill the remaining clones.

Zed alerts Poe of Karen’s actions. He reveals to her that her child, like all MenTel-owned babies, will be extracted in a fatal Caesarean to be made a cyborg. Abraham and Karen resist, but are powerless against the cyborg Poe and Abraham dies of strangulation. Hijacking one of the gun turrets and using it as an elevator, John’s group travels to Zed’s control room. John takes Poe hostage and orders him to release Karen. Poe gives the order, but Zed refuses the command while stating that MenTel does not engage in any negotiations during hostage situations and a gun turret blasts Poe, blowing him to pieces and leaving John’s group with no leverage. Once brought over to the core computer, D-Day hacks into Zed and accesses a powerful virus confiscated at the start of his sentence. D-Day manages to activate the virus after being shot and incapacited, causing a complete systems crash and all automated security to fail. John and Gomez rescue Karen, hijack a truck, and escape to Mexico where Karen enters labor in an abandoned barn and gives birth to her and John’s child.

It’s a good popcorn action movie, and one of my favorite Stuart Gordon Films. In my opinion, this is probably Gordons Second best film, after re-animator.

 

REVIEW: THE EVIL BENEATH LOCH NESS

CAST

Patrick Bergin (Lawnmower Man 2)
Lysette Anthony (Krull)
Brian Wimmer (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2)
Lysa Apostle (Perfume)
Vernon Wells (Power Rangers Time Force)
Robert Foxworth (Syriana)

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The TV series, “The Expedition Channel” finances digs and expeditions. While having a crew at Loch Ness, Gus (Dick Stilwell) dies while scuba diving Loch Ness. The studio relocates a different heavy weight, Brian Wimmer to replace Gus. You get a peek at Nessie early in the film. The diving crew discovers rocks which look like large eggs, and whenever they go to look at them, Nessie appears and disrupts their dive. Meanwhile some kids with a web site about Loch Ness plant a fake looking shiny metallic green Nessie for their on-line cam to get subscribers. Got the plot figured out 15 minutes into the film?
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Filmed in the US, the movie also stars Lysette Anthony from “Krull” and Lysa Apostle whose short movie career ended after this film. This movie was written and directed by visual effects producer Chuck Chomisky (Avatar)who never wrote or directed after this film.
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Lysette Anthony actually gives us a good performance in what is a bad script. It was almost as if she was doing Shakespeare, and no one else was. The film cruises along as a fairly decent “B” movie, then all of a sudden it turns real bad…and the ending? Really? That was the best Chomisky could come up with or did they run out of money?

REVIEW: PLUGHEAD REWIRED: CIRCUITRY MAN II

CAST

Vernon Wells (Power Rangers Time Force)
Debroah shelton (Hunk)
Jim Metzler (One False Move)
Dennis Christopher (Django Unchained)
Nicholas Worth (The Naked Gun)
Traci Lords (Blade)
Paul wilson (Office Space)
Tom Kenny (The Batman)
George Murodck (Star Trek V)
George Flower (Power Rangers In Space)

Plughead is reawakened by an agent(Traci Lords)and uses her to help him “seize souls” in a desert outpost. Plughead’s gun-toting henchmen tour the desert for undesirables so that he can suck their minds. An FBI agent with an attitude, Kyle(Deborah Shelton)releases asylum inmate, synthetic, Danner(Jim Metzler, returning from the previous film)to assist her in a mission to find and upend Plughead for the murder of her colleagues. Meanwhile, prisoners Leech(Dennis Christopher)and Rock(Nicholas Worth)wish to escape their chains(..they are “rebuilding the earth” by planting trees)so that they can steal “longetivity chips” from Plughead..as fate would have it, they’ll get that chance. Meanwhile, detectives Beany and Squaid(Paul Willson and Andy Goldberg, playing keystone cops pretty much)are also out to make their arrests, hoping for promotions.
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While receiving star treatment, Vernon Wells, returning as Plughead, is basically in a supporting role tormenting Lords who is forced against her will to operate a machine that drains the minds of the “derelicts of society no one cares for”, attempting to fight his power, often unsuccessful. Shelton and Metzler get the most of the screen time, in their attempt to survive on the difficult journey to Plughead’s lair. Christopher & Worth, along with Willson & Goldberg, service the film as the comedy..mostly inept, stupid characters poked fun at. The film is directed in a black-humored, tongue-in-cheek manner. Again, the earth is polluted without the proper oxygen and this problem is showcased throughout as Kyle and Danner often run into difficulties when it comes to air. The film is almost entirely shot on the surface, the environment a desert wasteland where nothing much lives except humans with oxygen canisters and maybe rodents who have adapted somehow. We see in this film that a certain root can provide a type of ingredient which will provide temporary sustenance in regards to oxygen for Kyle and Danner when their tanks run out. Plughead has a sinister plot to use a DNA sequence buried in Danner’s mind..and there’s a second “link” climax in a surreal world within Plughead’s mind where twisting wires resemble thorns as his face is quite demonic.

I guarantee that after watching Plughead Rewired things will never ever be the same again.

REVIEW: COMMANDO

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)
Rae Dawn Chong (The Colour Purple)
Dan Hedaya (The Ussual Suspects)
Vernon Wells (Power Rangers Time Force)
James Olson (Amityville II)
David Patrick Kelly (The Crow)
Alyssa Milano (Charmed)
Bill Duke (Hoodlum)
Drew Snyder (Cruel Intentions)
Michael Delano (Ocean’s Eleven)
Chelsea Field (Masters of The Universe)
Branscombe Richmond (The Scorpion King)
Bill Paxton (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Retired Delta Force operator Colonel John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is informed by his former superior Major General Franklin Kirby (James Olson) that all the other members of his unit have been killed by unknown mercenaries. The mercenaries, among them Bennett (Vernon Wells), an Australian ex-member of Matrix’s team fired for overt brutality in service, attack Matrix’s secluded mountain home and kidnap Matrix’s young daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano). While trying to intercept them, Matrix is also overpowered by the mercenaries.

It is revealed that Matrix is needed to carry out a political assassination for a South American former dictator named Arius (Dan Hedaya), who wishes to lead a military coup in his home country of Val Verde. Arius, who was deposed by Matrix in the course of one of his missions, has chosen the colonel because the current president trusts him implicitly. With Jenny’s life on the line, Matrix reluctantly accepts the demand. After boarding a plane to Val Verde, Matrix manages to kill his guard, Henriques, and jumps from the plane just as it is taking off. With approximately 11 hours’ time (the period of the flight), he sets out after another of Arius’ men, Sully (David Patrick Kelly). He then enlists the aid of an off-duty flight attendant named Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong), and instructs her to follow Sully to a shopping mall. Cindy first assumes that Matrix is a maniac, but after seeing him desperately trying to get his hands on Sully, she has a change of heart and henceforth assists him in his endeavor. After a lengthy car chase, Matrix catches up with Sully whom he drops off a cliff to his death. Taking a motel key from Sully’s jacket, Matrix tracks down and confronts Cooke (Bill Duke), a former Green Beret in Arius’ employ. He kills Cooke in combat and learns where Jenny is being held after searching Cooke’s car.

Matrix breaks into a surplus store to equip himself with military weapons, but the police arrive and Matrix is arrested. Cindy helps him escape with an RPG and, after commandeering a seaplane from a nearby marina controlled by Arius, Matrix and Cindy land the plane off the coast of Arius’ island hideout. Matrix instructs Cindy to contact General Kirby and then proceeds to Arius’ villa, where he embarks on a killing spree. Matrix stabs a number of soldiers, dispatches tens of Arius’ men with his machine gun, fights further opposition from within a shed utilizing gardening tools before then taking possession of the dead soldiers’ weapons and proceeding to the main building, shooting every single man he encounters on the way. Matrix then faces Arius man-to-man in a furious gunfight, and even though Arius has the high ground, Matrix outsmarts and shoots him dead.

Matrix locates Jenny in the basement of the villa, where she has fled, and encounters Bennett. After a fierce struggle during which each is injured, Matrix finally impales Bennett with a steam pipe, finishing him once and for all. However, Kirby arrives with a military detachment and asks Matrix to rejoin the Special Forces Unit, but Matrix declines with “No chance.” and departs the island aboard the seaplane with Jenny and Cindy.

The great thing about this film is that Arnold goes though at least 60 extras who are all shooting at him, they miss him and he kills them all. But it’s just fun to watch, as unrealistic as it is.  Commando is a great action film that anyone could at least get a good kick out of.

REVIEW: MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR

CAST
Mel Gibson (Braveheart)
Vernon wells (Power Rangers Time Force)
Bruce Spence (Star wars – Episode III)
Michael Preston (Steel)
Max Phipps (Thirst)
Virginia hey (Farscape)
William Zappa (Dead Europe)
Supplies of petroleum have been nearly exhausted in the near future following a major energy crisis and a global war. Ex-Main Force Patrol officer “Mad” Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) roams the now depopulated and desolate desert in his scarred, black supercharged V-8 Pursuit Special, scavenging for food, water, and fuel. His only companions are an Australian Cattle Dog and a rare functioning firearm–a sawn-off shotgun–for which ammunition is very scarce.
While trying to escape a group of gang members – led by a crazed motorcycle rider named Wez (Vernon Wells) – Max manages to crash two of the gang member’s vehicles and injure Wez; recognising his defeat, Wez flees. After collecting some fuel from the destroyed cars and checking a nearby Mack semi, Max inspects a nearby autogyro for fuel. Its pilot, the Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence), ambushes Max and manages to capture him briefly before being overpowered. In exchange for his own life, the pilot guides Max to a small oil refinery nearby. Max arrives to see the facility is under siege by a gang of marauders riding a motley collection of cars and motorbikes. The gang leader, known as “Lord Humungus” (Kjell Nilsson), tries to convince the refinery’s defenders to surrender the facility in exchange for safe passage out of the area.
A group of defenders attempts to break out of the compound, but the marauders capture, torture, and kill all but one of them, who is rescued by Max. Max makes a deal with the mortally-wounded sole survivor: he will bring him back to the compound in exchange for a tank of fuel. The man dies shortly after they enter the facility, and the facility leader, Pappagallo (Michael Preston), reneges on the deal, saying it died when the survivor died. His group is on the verge of killing Max when the marauders return, and Humungus repeats his offer. When the Feral Kid (Emil Minty) kills Wez’s male companion, Wez becomes enraged, urging his leader to take the compound; Humungus wrestles Wez into submission, but placates Wez by revealing he has no intention of letting any of the settlers leave. Max offers Pappagallo a different deal: he will retrieve the abandoned Mack semi-truck, which is capable of hauling the tanker trailer that the facility inhabitants use to store the fuel they refine, in exchange for freedom, his vehicle, and as much fuel as he can take with him. The group accepts, but keeps Max’s car to ensure his co-operation. Max sneaks out, locating the Gyro Captain (dragging the branch he is chained to) and conscripts him to help find the truck using his gyrocopter.
After finding the truck, Max drives it back to the compound, evading Humungus’s men. The defenders want Max to escape with the group, but Max opts to collect his petrol and leave. However, his attempt to break through the siege fails: Wez gives chase in Humungus’s nitrous oxide-equipped car and runs Max off the road, wrecking his vehicle and severely injuring him. The marauders kill Max’s dog with a crossbow, then attempt to siphon the fuel from the Pursuit Special’s tanks, but trigger an explosive booby trap, which kills some of the attackers. Left for dead, Max is rescued by the Gyro Captain as he is trying to crawl back to the refinery.
With no other means of escape and with the refinery’s defenders preparing to depart, Max insists on driving the repaired truck. He leaves the compound in the heavily-armoured truck, accompanied by the Feral Kid he has befriended and by other inhabitants aboard as defenders. Pappagallo escorts him out in a captured marauder vehicle. Humungus and most of his warriors pursue the tanker, leaving the remaining inhabitants free to flee the compound in a ramshackle caravan and buses, blowing up the refinery as they leave. Pappagallo and the other defenders of the tanker, as well as numerous marauders, are killed during the chase and the Gyro Captain is shot down. Max and the Feral Kid find themselves alone, pursued by the marauders. Wez manages to board the truck and attack Max, but a head-on collision with Humungus’s car kills both Wez and Humungus. Max loses control of the tanker and it rolls off the road. As the injured Max carries the Feral Kid from the wrecked tanker, he sees not petrol, but sand, leaking from the tank.
The truck and its trailer are thus exposed as a decoy, allowing the other settlers to escape with the precious fuel in oil drums inside their vehicles. With Pappagallo dead, the Gyro Captain succeeds him as their chief and leads the settlers to the coast, where they establish the “Great Northern Tribe”. Max remains alone in the desert, once again becoming a drifter. Years later, the Feral Kid, now the Northern Tribe’s new leader (voice by Harold Baigent), reminisces about the legend of the mythical “Road Warrior” (Max) who now exists only in distant memory.
The Road Warrior influenced the sub-genre of post-holocaust science fiction throughout the eighties. There were numerous imitators, mostly low-budget efforts, and none of them came close to succeeding at this level. A true classic.