Thursday, April 10, 2014

1988: Guilty Pleasures

Now for the stuff I love in spite of myself.

This Roger Corman produced flick about an alien vampire looking for blood is a remake of the 50's version only this time Arthur Roberts from Revenge of the Ninja is the vampire and the nurse out to stop him is played by Traci Lords.  This might be one of Jim Wynorski's best movies, though that isn't saying a whole lot.  The film is campy, funny at times and sports some decent low budget f/x work, though the opening credits sequence which has clips from previous Corman productions is the highlight.

This one, I freely admit stinks like death but I do find it moderately entertaining.  Treat Williams and Joe Piscopo are cops who find themselves investigating an outbreak of zombies with Williams becoming one a few minutes in.  It all turns out to be a plot by millionaire Vincent Price and the local coroner played by Darren McGavin and it all ends rather well, though sitting through 88 minutes of Piscopo mugging is more than any human being should have to endure.  Still, Williams is fine and the f/x from Steve Johnson are top notch.  Also nice to see Vincent Price.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Belushi try to make this formulaic buddy cop film work (even a year removed from Lethal Weapon it was starting to get old) but having the big guy try to play a Russian isn't quite enough to get the job done.  Walter Hill directs everything well enough and there are some nice action beats but this is a case where at the end of the day it wasn't quite worth it.  Still, I do get a kick out of the unintentional humor that Arnold just naturally exudes and the supporting cast is quite eclectic as well with supporting parts for Gina Gershon and Laurence Fishburne.  Red Heat is not the best of Arnold's worst but it's still good for a chuckle or two.  Scarily enough, it might be the best thing Jim Belushi has ever done.

The seventh Friday the 13th series tries to mix things up a little by pitting Jason against a young girl with telekinetic powers.  For the most part it works pretty well, though the elaborate gore f/x from John Carl Buechler (who also directed) were mercilessly hacked down.  In spite of this, not to mention that this is so far the seventh frigging Friday the 13th film, it ends up being a solid enough affair with a nice finale and a great Jason in the form of veteran stuntman Kane Hodder.  Hodder really made the role into an actual part, which goes a long way in making the film work as well as it does.

The third and final Missing in Action movie is a bit of an odd duck.  For some strange reason the film ret-cons Braddock's (Chuck Norris) backstory so that he is present at the fall of Saigon in 1975 whereas in the first two movies, he was still in prison at that point.  The sole purpose for this is so we can get a story about him having to leave behind his Vietnamese wife only to find out thirteen years later that she is still alive and so is his son who he has never met.  This sends him back to Vietnam to rescue them and naturally, tons of soldiers get shot and lots of things get blown up real good.  The film is sappy as hell though with bad pacing, bad acting from pretty much all involved and honestly, by this point the whole jingoistic action movie trend was getting a little old.  Still, it's Chuck doing what he does best and there are some good action beats and fun bits of dialogue so it's worth your time.

To be honest, this might be too good to actually qualify as a "guilty pleasure" but come on, a slasher movie where the soul of a deranged serial killer is trapped in a doll?  It's actually fairly decent with the great Brad Dourif providing the voice for Chucky as well as playing the killer in his human guise.  Chris Sarandon is also good as the hero cop.  The Kevin Yagher f/x steal the show though and would only get better in the sequels.

God help me but I get a genuine kick of out of this one as well as the original.  Cheesy, stupid as hell, silly as all hell, all of these are true.  Nevertheless, along with all that you get a nice villainous turn from John Astin, an early part for George Clooney and some nice spoofing of product placement.  The film is more or less disposable but it's still fun to check out every once in a while.

We end things with the funniest entry in the Rambo series.  This time, Rambo is in Afghanistan to rescue his buddy played by Richard Crenna from a bunch of evil Russians.  Unfortunately for the film, by the time it came out Russia was already out of Afghanistan, dating the film horribly but also making it one of the most unintentionally hilarious films of the year.  The film takes a little while to get going but about fifty minutes in it turns into the non-stop slaughter fest that any cheesy action movie should be.  Stallone doesn't do much outside of grunting, tossing off the odd one-liner (the film was such a comic book that it actually worked for the character by this point) and being his usual competent self in the action scenes.  It's well worth checking out just for the last half.

And that does it for the guilt, stay tuned for the top ten!

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.