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10 Of My Favorite Bad Movies – #1 GYMKATA!

gymkataposter

The Best Of The Worst!

There are movies featuring Ninjitsu. There are movies feqaturing Gymnastics. But there is only one movie about Gymnastic Ninjistu and that movie is GYMKATA! Of all the movies I could pick only this one could be listed as my favorite bad movie. I mean the premise of the movie is not only the stupidest thing ever imagined, it is the stupidest thing ever imagined with a Hollywood budget. Seriously, some idiot thought combining gymnastics and martialarts to make a super deadly-form of fighting was a good enough idea to turn into a movie. A movie starring a former U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist no less. Look, movies about gymnastics don’t sell and movies about gymnastics starring ACTUAL GYMNASTS sell even less. I mean the fact that this and Mitch Gaylord’s American Anthem came out in the same year should speak volumes about how people do not want to see movies about gymnastics!

I mean let us take a more in depth look at Gymkata shall we?

“But James” I can already hear at least one of you saying, “Do we have to? I mean it is Gymkata and Gymkata SUCKS!”

While that is true, Gymkata does indeed suck, it is important to examine it to understand exactly why it sucks.

I mean does it suck in an ironic way?

Not really…

Does it sucks in the ‘Worst Movie In A Great Actor’s Career’ way?

Well given that there is no major star in this movie the answer would be no to that as well.

No Gymkata sucks because it does the impossible, it takes a movie that features Ninjas and makes them uncool!

Look, there are certain rules of cinema. Rules like, everything is funny if you add a monkey or a penguin to it. Rules like, if you’re a female in a Blaxploitation you will end up sleeping with John Shaft. Mind you, John Shaft doesn’t even have to be in the movie but that girl is getting it from ‘The Black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks’. It is a rule of cinema and it should always be adhered to… ALWAYS!

Well Gymkata breaks one of the most important rules of cinema, that being “Ninjas make everything badass”. See in the movie Jonathan Cabot, played by Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Thomas, is recruited by the, I swear I can’t make this up, Special Intelligence Agency to enter the country of Parmistan and participate in an endurance race called ‘The Game’. First of all let’s get this out of the way first… PARMISTAN? I know how they came up with the name for this country and it involves a meatball sub with a certain cheese on it and a map with a dart in it, because there is no way anyone would just ‘imagine’ a country named Parmistan. If the name of the country wasn’t bad enough, The Game is even worse since it involves rounding up all the foreingers in the country and making them run a cross-country enduance race. The catch? The whole time they are being hunted by Parmistanian warriors. First of all, fuck this movie for making me have to think about what you would call someone from Parmistan. Second of all, if any Government Agency approached me and asked me to do this I’d tell them to fuck off. Did I mention that the S.I.A. is asking Cabot to do this because he who wins The Game gets one wish granted to them by the King Of Parmistan?

The S.I.A. wants Cabot’s wish to be a U.S. manned satelite monitoring station. Fuck it, why not? I mean it is 1985, we need that station to keep tabs on the Russkies right? So let’s make nice nice with the people of Parmistan, undermine their somewhat racist cultural sporting event and introduce them to the Big Mac. To sweeten the deal though, the S.I.A. informs our man Cabot that his father was sent to infiltrate The Game but was never heard from again. Cabot agress to take the mission, hoping he can… wait for it…. find some clue to his father’s whereabouts. Now call me crazy, sbut someone at S.I.A. headquarters probably read the mission dossier on this and flipped the fuck out. “We just recruited a fucking gymnast to run in The Game? FUCK! Get me Special Ops, we actually need to train this moron! Oh and tell the asshole who thought this idea up that he’s fucking fired!”.

Gymkata

Now That Peasant Knows The Power Of... GYMKATA~!

So, realizing that a gymnast isn’t going to set the world of espionage ablaze, the S.I.A. sends Cabot for training with a ‘Martial Arts Master’ played by Conan Lee. From there it is time to learn the art of war from all the cultures of the world… all 2 of them! See Cabot  learns from… again wait for it… a white guy and a Japanese guy. Because in the history of mankind the only countries to ever wage war successfully in the history of man have been The United States Of America and Japan. It is during all this training that Cabot develops the greatest Mrtial Art known to man… GYMKATA!

Finally deemd ‘worthy’ to take on the mission, Cabot is introduced to the Princess of Parmistan, Princess Rubali. Rubali then takes Cabot to the small nation of Karabal on the Caspian Sea, so they can sneak into Parmistan. Along the way they raid a terrorist training camp and Rubali gets taken hostage. Luckily, she has nothing to fear since Cabot is sole heir to art of… GYMKATA! With such an art at his disposal, Cabot is unbeatable and takes out the terrorist cell. With that out of the way he and Rubali are ready to sneak into Parmistan. Of course Cabot, being the world’s greatest gymnast turned super-spy, gets caught right away and put into The Game. It is here we are introduced to the King of Parmistan, The Kahn. The Kahn apparently as no other name. When he came out of the womb his mother just said “Fuck it, he is THE KAHN”. When he goes antiquing in the Berkshires and stays at “Mr & Mrs New Englander’s Bed & Breakfast” he just signs the regisstry as ‘T.Kahn’. Yes I know is another word for King but honestly, you just don’t go around calling yourself The Kahn unless you’ve recently escaped Arkham Asylum and plan to fight Batman!

Anyway, The Kahn puts Cabot in The Game and we get introduced to an actual antagonist in the form of The Kahn’s right hand man Zamir. Now, don’t tell anyone this but Zamir is totally evil and planning to overthrow The Kahn. In fact, Zamir somehow knew that the S.I.A. was planning this mission and sent a bunch of idiots to try and kill Cabot earlier in the film. Of course Zamir, just happens to be one of the hunters in The Game and feels it is his duty to kill Cabot, y’know for ethnic purity and all.

Anyway shit happens, the other players in the game all get killed and Zamir has everyone chasing Cabot because he is, well the white devil. The people of Parmistan finally have the cracker where they want him when a lone Parmistanian warrior saves Cabot and reveals himself to be… wait for it… a little longer this time…

CABOT’S FATHER (GASP!)!

Mary_Lou_Retton

C'mon! Gymkata With Mary Lou Would've Been Awesome!

Cabot’s Dad covers his whitebread son’s escape from Zamir. Zamir determines that Cabot Sr. doing that wasn’t quite cricket, shoots Dad with an arrow. Cabot then gets his horse to jump an impossible gorge. Zamir’s band of… y’know I can’t figure out what Zamir’s guys are. Are his followers like Islamic Jihadists or something? I mean they dress like Ninjas but they are in Parmistan and its cultural heritage is… well, hunting white gymnasts apparently. I mean they are near the Caspian Sea but that tells us fuck all about the ancient ways of Parmistanian culture. Hey, maybe the Mormons had it wrong! Maybe Parmistan is the lost 13th tribe of Israel! It doesn’t explain the Ninja outfits though…

Anyway, Princess Rubali, remember her? Yeah she convinces The Kahn that Zamir is an evil fuckwad and must be stopped. So the Kahn moves into action, gets the people who were hunting Cabot to turn on Zamir and thus avoid a bloody civil war. Now to top it all of The Game is still going on and Cabot, being the only survivor, rides up on his horse with with his new pincushion… er.. that is Father in tow. Cabot wins The Game, there is peace in Parmistan and apparently, the movie lets us know that in 1985 the first U.S. Satelite Monitoring Station went active in Parmistan. Of course in a country where they play ‘Let’s hunt Whitey’ once a year, putting a U.S. Statelite Station is just a plain bad idea.

There you have it, that is Gymkata. Look I’m not saying it is a bad movie. No sir, I’m not saying that at all… no wait… YES I AM! Look, for some reason in the 80’s, whenever Olympic Fever would grip the U.S. of A, some Gymnast becomes the poster-child for a marketing idea. Can you imagine what would’ve happened if Mary Lou Retton made Gymkata?

Wait bad example, I’d actually pay to see Mary Lou Retton go Gymkata crazy on someone and then fuck Zamir up with a box of Wheaties. Shit, Hollywood really missed out on Mary Lou Retton. She could’ve been the next Seagal. No, I don’t mean crazy and delusional about being a re-incarnated Buddha! Given Steven Seagal’s size these days, I’d say he ATE all the other Buddhas in a past life and its coming back to haunt him. Mary Lou could’ve made Gymkata and then made a swarm of bad direct to video movies. She could’ve had Cynthia Rothrock’s career!

janet5

Janet Jones Is Not In Gymkata! Therefore Gymkata Sucks!

I’ve actually got nothing bad to say about Kurt Thomas. As a non-actor in movie that really isn’t a tour de force for any one actor, he does ok. I mean Gymkata is what it is. Still, it COULD’VE BEEN more! Can you imagine if some Hong Kong studiuo got involved in this pile of ferret shit of a movie? My lord, the epic kung-fu fight on parallel bars alone would made make weep tears of joy. 2 Chinese guys going nuts on pommel-horses trying to kick the other off would be… well ok it would suck. I mean it doesn’t matter who could’ve been involved, it is still Gymkata! Be glad there is only one. I mean this could’ve gone all American Ninja and had more movies than any bad ranchise has the right to have. We could have ended up with Gymkata 2: Pommel Horse Of Pain followed by Gymkata 3: Floor Routine Of Death. God forbidwe end up with enough movies to give us a TV series!

Still between this and the other Gymnastics themed movie of 1985, Americna Anthem, Gymkata comes up as the lesser of the two. “Why is that James?” I can hea the same person from before asking me, “We thought you still kinda liked Gymkata?”

Because as much as American Anthem sucked balls, and make no mistake American Anthem sucked hard, that movie still had Janet Jones in it. Janet Jones in a one-piece and THAT my friends beats Gymkata ANYDAY!

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10 Of My Favorite Bad Movies – The 5 That Didn’t Make It!

With 10 Of My Favorite Bad Movies wrapping up this week, it seems only fair to take a look at soe movies that just missed the cut. I mean there are hundreds of movies that are worse than Billy Jack, but they are not nearly as much fun to watch or to make fun while watching. The key lies in that while Cobra is terrible, it is terrible in a way that makes it almost palatable. I mean no one should have to sit through a bad movie that is… well… y’know… bad… a movie that is so bad that you cannot laugh at it, is a movie I have no interest in seeing, nor should you. So here are 5 movies that just miss the cut.

manos_the_hands_of_fate11. Manos The Hands Of Fate – This movie was already immortalized in the best-worst episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I could never be as savage to this movie as Joel and the bots were so why try? Besides trying to watch the non-MST3K version of Manos is pure torture. The movie is SO BAD that you just sit there, numb to the world and you come out of watching it looking like you just visited the Yad Vashem Memorial. Manos The Hands Of Fate NEEDS the running MST3K commentary because otherwise it is just plain unwatchable!

judge_dredd2. Judge Dredd – Sweet Jesus! Another Stallone flick? Really? Yes and on top of that, it is another BAD COMIC BOOK MOVIE! Stallone murders the english language, Rob Schneider hams it up for the camera and we don’t even get Judge Death. This crapfest is really bad and deserves every bit of vitriolic hate I can muster. Sly and director Danny Cannon make me hate Judge Dredd, something I didn’t think was possible. I mean Judge Dredd is a movie that makes me so mad because it doesn’t even try to get anything right. It fails as a representation of the comic (though Constantine fails way more as representation of its source material) and it fails as any sort of entertaining cinema. In other words Judge Dredd just fails!

AcesIronEagleIii3. Aces: Iron Eagle III – Y’know, Iron Eagle was a decent little Pro-America flick. I mean it was pretty much Top Gun-lite but it is totally inoffensive to watch on your local cable station during a rain delayed baseball game. However, it totally didn’t merit a sequel, let alone 2 sequels. Choosing which of the 2 sequels is worse or more improbable is actually quite simple. Aces: Iron Eagle 3 has the distinction of featuring Sonny Chiba, yes THAT Sonny Chiba, as a grumpy pilot that doesn’t get along with anyone. The entire theme of the film was mocked in an episode of Family Guy, as well it deserved to be. This also makes it the WORST movie of Sonny Chiba’s career and I satthrough Message From Space! But back to Iron Eagle II… You can take the worst of the Police Academy movies and it is still better than Iron Eagle III. In summation, this movie makes Iron Eagle II look like it is less than a piece of shit. That in itself is quite an accomplishment.

KK34. Karate Kid III – How bad is this movie? So bad that 2 of my friends who love The Karate Kid didn’t even know it existed! They thought the Mr. Miyagi Saga (because really, who gives a shit about Daniel anymore?) went Karate Kid, Karate Kid II and The Next Karate Kid. They either were either in denial about Karate Kid III ever existing or intentionally blocked it from ther minds. To do either is actually perfectly acceptable. I mean the concept of Cobra Kai getting their revenge on Daniel is fucking fantastic in theory but man did it Blow Moses in execution. I mean Cobra Kai Sifu John Kreese shouldn’t be relying on his rich buddy from ‘Nam to recruit a dirty fighter. Kreese should’ve found his own fighter and trained him to be an absolute killer. I mean the plot that Kreese and his buddy Silver come up with is just way to elaborate and stupid to ever be effective. Honestly though, I know why this movie sucked hog dick and it isn’t just the story… it lacked Tamlyn Tomita, who played Daniel’s Japanese girlfriend Kumiko in the previous movie. This movie would’ve been scads better with her returning to cheer Daniel on and possibly give him some Exotic Oriental Massage. Wax On, Wax Off indeed!

night-of-the-lepus5. Night Of The Lepus – The premise of this movie is so incredible that it deserves a spot on the actual top 10 list, but it being horrible overall precludes it at the same time. I mean thje story is about a crazy scientist trying to interrupt the breeding cycle of rabbits through use of newly developed serum. Of course his daughter gets attatched to the serum’s final test subject, swaps him out with a rabbit in the control phase of the experiment and things just get worse from there. If you are still reading this synopsis of Night Of The Lepus and are still interested in the rest of the article, congratulations. I’m WRITING this synopsis for Night Of The Lepus and I don’t want to continue! Anyway, control rabbit escapes, breeds and this results in the next generation of Super Bunnies to become Giant Carnivores. Now when I sat Giant Carnivores, i don’t mean they get big appetites for meat. I mean they grow t othe size of a house and EAT PEOPLE! This movie should rule, I mean you’ve got human beings getting devoured by GIANT rabbits. Even better is that we’ve got DeForrest Kelly in this bad boy. Dr. McCoy versus Giant Rabbits, what’s not to love?

So there are the fabled 5 that missed the cut. I mean if you feel you MUST watch all my selections, then by all means hunt down a copy of Night Of The Lepus. I wouldn’t recommend it but please feel free. Trust me, at least the 10 mivues that got selected for my final list are bad but in a good way. These movies above, are just plain bad. I mean if KISS Versus The Phantom Of The Park wasn’t a TV movie, it would so be in my top 10. Fuck I’ probably have EVERY Lifetime Original movie that ever starred Greg Evigan on these lists… but that would require me to watch Lifetime (or the Lifetime Movie channel, yes such a thing is real) and that my friends will never happen! So my final words of wisdom, only watch these movies if ou are forced to at gunpoint. Because your life being threatened is the only should you ever watch Aces: Iron Eagle III!

10 Of My Favorite Bad Movies – #2 (tie) Supergirl/Superman IV – The Quest For Peace

C'mon, You Should've Known This Was Coming!

C'mon, You Should've Known This Was Coming!

Note: This week I wrap-up “10 Of My Favorite Bad Movies”. The last 3 enteries (technically 4 as you will see below) will post Monday, Wednesday & Friday. Tuesday and Thursday will have other content (possibly about Kamen Rider) and then J-Band Of The Week on November 1st. That’s the set-up for the week. Enjoy it!

When it comes to Superhero movies, more specifically American Superhero movies, there is no middle ground. Either the movie is good or it is a total assfactory of an attempt. Lately there fave been way more bad American Superhero movies made than good. The exception to these have been Dark Knight and Iron Man, both done really well, both excellent that to call either ‘Attempts’ really does not do them justice. Then there are the rest, the actual attempts that are just so awful that you want to gouge out your eyes and probe your own brain with a barbed wire Q-Tip. Movies that fall into this category include Ghost Rider, Watchmen, the furst Hulk movie, 3 of the 4 X-Men movies, all the Batman movies from the 90s (not counting the animated ones), any movie bearing the name of the Punisher and of course, Superman Returns. Lord knows I wanted to like Superman Returns and while the first 30 minutes or so are quite good, I cannot forgive the remaining 120 minutes.

Sadly, Superman’s track record of good movies pretty much stopped after 1978’s Superman – The Movie. I adore Superman – The Movie, as it gets everything about Superman right, I mean seriously this movie is spot on its depiction of Superman (not so much on the Clark Kent side, even in the Silver Age and Golden Age Clark was never portrayed so buffoonishly). So why hasn’t Hollywood been able to make another good Superman movie?

This brings us to today’s #2. It is a pretty much a dead tie between Superman IV – The Quest For Peace and Supergirl. Both mvoies are equally horrendous. Both movies manage to fuck-up Superman yet again. Hell, Superman IV actually made a villain played by Richard Pryor seem more dangerous than Lex Luthor as played by Gene Hackman. I mean of the 4 original Superman movies, the fourth is just so unbelievably awful that I left the theater thinking “What the FUCK just happened?”.

I mean, Superman determines that he has to rid the world of nuclear weapons, Lex Luthor builds an evil Super-Clone named Nuclear Man and Lois Lane really doesn’t do much of anything. I mean… Nuclear Man? Really? Idon’t know which is worse Nuclear man or Jon Cryer as Lenny Luthor (fuck I wish both of those things were just hallucinations picked from my fevered brain). Let me expand a bit. Lex Luthor (and his nephew Lenny… FUCK!) steal a sample of Superman’s hair, combine it with genetic material and manage to get said sample thrown into the sun where Superman has been tossing all of the world’s unclear arms. The sun acts as a giant centrifuge and creates an evil Superman clone that ISN’T Bizarro and blond. Thus we get Nuclear Man, who is totally solar-powered and thus completely useless after 6pm in the months of December through April. Superman and Nuclear-Turd fight (in broad daylight, bad move there Kal-El) which results in Nuclear Man scratching Superman. Not punches his heart out of his body, not kicks his alien ass back to Krypton… no he scratches him, on he neck no less! It is like the world’s worst catfight!

Aw... And She Brought Cousin Kal With Her!

Aw... And She Brought Cousin Kal With Her!

Oh but this scratch is something special. Does it rob Superman of his amazing abilities?
No nothing that drastic.

Does it make him Super-stupid like that one time he was exposed to Red Kryptonite in the comics?

FUCK! I wish it did that! A movie with Super-stupid Superman would be AWESOME! He’d be like a superpowered retard in blue pajamas. That right there is a movie that pays for itself right there! I mean retarded Superman going on a berserk rampage because “Batman Scary!” or because he saw a spider is just too incredible that you’d HAVE TO SEE IT!

Anyway about this scratch…this scratch gives Superman something he can’t cope with… THE FLU! Min you this is Kryptonian-Nuclear powered flu. So he gets all phlegmy and has a fever. Even Lois Lane’s chicken soup doesn’t work. What do you expect? Word to the wise there Supes, don’t have a shiksa make your chicken soup. You gentiles have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to chicken soup I swear to God!

Hell if anything the Superman movie franchise has taught us 2 very important lessons. Lois can’t cook and she is, quite possibly the world’s worst investigative reporter for a major new outlet… EVER! I mean even retarded Superman could figure out that he was Clark Kent but here is poor Lois, still reeling from that kiss our boy Clark gave her in Superman II! I mean those Kryptonian men were some serious pimps if they could master the Kryptonian Mind Erasing Tongue Swirl!

Meanwhile, back in Superman IV… Supes uses the last of his old Kryptonian green crystals to get better, because, again Lois Lane is a Shiksa, can’t cook and is fooled by a pair of glases and parting one’s hair differently. The big rematch with Nuclear Man goes down, Superman prevails, puts Lex Luthor in jail and Lenny Luthor (SWEET FUCK~!) in reform school and then does his little fly off in space thing as he smiles to the people in the audience and a John Williams score plays.

Hey Badguys! I'm Over Here! Yo, Faye Dunaway! Ms. Vaccaro? Someone Pay Attention To Me! I'M SUPERGIRL DAMN IT!"

Hey Badguys! I'm Over Here! Yo, Faye Dunaway! Ms. Vaccaro? Someone Pay Attention To Me! I'M SUPERGIRL DAMN IT!\

Just writing that synopsis made me go all Le Chiffre and start weeping tears of blood, I hate to imagine what has happened to those of you that actually read it. If you think that’s bad, I still have to talk about Supergirl. Fuck, Supergirl… I mean Why was this movie made? What is this movie even about? I mean I can always go to Wikipedia and read a synopsis but that will just remind me that I sat through this in theaters… TWICE! I could watch this movie again today and if you asked me “James, what exactly happened in Supergirl?” I’d blink twice and tell you plainly that I have no fucking idea and then find a blue blanket to hold and start sucking my thumb. I mean fuck, they paid actors to be in this movie. GOOD ACTORS like Peter O’Toole, Faye Dunaway and Mia Farrow. Hell it had Brenda Vacarro who was pretty MILFy for a gal in her mid-forties. I remember something about the Phantom Zone… and Faye Dunaway using a Kryptonian superscience thing-a-mabob to bend reality, making her think she was was a witch and… Helen Slater looking really good in those red boots… and FUCK! I just remembered plot points from Supergirl! I now what it feels like to have one’s own brain melt… I… I… lord I hate this movie… I hate it with a fire that burns with a the power of a billions suns!

But this doesn’t settle the debate of “Which is worse, Superman IV – The Quest For Peace or Supergirl?”. No what you, as a reader do not realize, is that in a case like this, there is no winner. By sitting through not one but BOTH of these harrowing odes to bad taste I have lost any sense of what is right and what is wrong. For Jesus’ Jock Strap! I just said I’d enjoy a movie with Super-retarded Superman as the main character! Does that sound like the writings of a SANE MAN? I mean we’ve had 5 non-retarded Superman movies and only one of them was any good! What would make me think Super-retarded Superman would be any better?

No these films are eternally struggling with one another for worst Supermovie movie of all time. I mean they are both that bad. I mean, if I ever reproduce, I’m not going to send my children to their rooms or have them take a ‘Time Out’. No sir, little Harold Jordan Harris and Bartholomew Allen Harris are going to be forced to sit in a dark room and watch BOTH Superman IV – The Quest For Peace AND Supergirl. If either of them can tell me the actual plot of Supergirl then they will be rewarded with a Doctorate’s degree in film studies from UCLA. They’ll have earned it!

So in summation, most modern superhero movies make me want to weep tears of blood, some actors will do anything for a buck and Superman IV – The Quest For Peace and Supergirl are so bad that you should use them as a form of punishment on small children. Also, no matter how great Brenda Vaccaro’s rack is, it can’t make Supergirl a good movie. Hell Brenda Vaccaro could’ve done full frontal and Supergirl would still be awful! When not even tits can save a movie then you know for sure, IT SUCKS!

10 Of My Favorite Bad Movies – #3 Disorderlies

And Ralph Bellamy Was Never Heard From Again...

And Ralph Bellamy Was Never Heard From Again...

Musicians and movies, a combo that goes incredibly well or horribly wrong. For every good Elvis movie there is an equally bad Elvis movie. For A Hard Day’s Night there is Magical Mystery Tour. There are exceptions, Joan Jett for example, was in Light Of Day a surprisingly good (if not underrated) movie. However no musical genre has produced a larger stable of bad movies than Rap/Hip-Hop. I mean outside of Krush Groove you’d be hard pressed to name a good rap movie (Ed Lover and Dr. Dre’s Who Da Man? being an obvious exception to the rule). If we need to trace where Rap and mvies first collidied into a well of suck than we need only point the finger at The Fat Boys and their foray into “comedy” Disorderlies. Say, remember how related the story to everyone about taking my Father to see Cobra and how I’m pretty sure he never really forgave me for it? Yeah, I did something far worse to Grandmother. While visiting her in Florida during the summer of 1987 and made her go see Disorderlies with me. My family doesn’t like to talk about me much…

Reason #214 Why James Hates His Sister - Ica Castles!

Reason #214 Why James Hates His Sister - Ica Castles!

It isn’t like I’m trying to be intenionally cruel to my family members… well maybe to my sister, she made go see Ice Castles with her 3 times for God’s Sake! I’ll believe almost anything in a movie. I mean there was a time I was convinced that China was the most dangerous place in the world because random Kung-Fu fights would break out between Shaolin Monks and The White Lotus Clan. But Ica Castles is a movie about a girl from Iowa who becomes a top figure skater, loses her sight and then makes a comeback as a BLIND FIGURE SKATER~! First of all, Ice Castles came out in 1978. I was six years old. There is no six year old boy in his right mind that would WANT to see Ice Castles. It is a movie about figure skating… FIGURE SKATING! A six year old in 1978 doiesn’t give fuck all about figure skating. A six year old in 1978 only cares about seeing Star Wars for 12th time or Superman: The Movie. Speaking as a 6 year old in 1978 I can promise you, I sure as fuck didn’t want to go see Ica Castles once, let alone the two more times my sister made me go when she was baby-sitting me. I had to watch a blind girl figure skate 3 times and each time a part of my young innocent soul died. So I’m taking this part of my review to say this to my sister Lisa… FUCK YOU! I STILL HAVEN’T FORGIVEN YOU FOR THAT SHIT!

Now, as far as Disorderlies goes. Any movie where The Fat Boys are playing home care providers should let you know that you are, in fact, watching some high fantasy. I mean Tolkien wished he could write somethign this insane. See Winslow Lowry is trying to off his uncle billionaire uncle Albert Dennison. Winslow is played by Anthony Geary aka Luke of General Hospital fame so that right there tells the level of talent they went after ffor this contribution to film. Of course Albert Dennison is played by Ralph Bellmay, who played Randolph Duke, one of the 2 racist Duke brothers in Trading Places. Ralph Bellamy was old in Trading Places and that was in 1983. This movie was 4 years older and Ralph Bellamy wasn’t any younger. Anyway, Winslow is a sleazy little fuck, who is deep in debt and i trying to off his Uncle sicne he is sole beneficiary. It just so happens that The Fat Boys have lost their jobs as hospital orderlies. To say that this movie relies on thold sledgehammer of plot is a gross, gross understatemnt.

So in come The Fat Boys to Albert Dennison’s life. They nearly kill him by accident a few times and Kool Rock-Ski almost drowns in a pool. To relax The Fat Boys rap i ntheir spare time, even going as far as to rap over The Beatles. Seriously, this movie is the equivalent of getting gang raped in The Born Losers. I mean c’mon man, there are soemthings you just don’t do and having The Fat Boys rap to The Beatles “Baby You’re A Rich Man” is one of them. FUCK! Having anyone rap over The Beatles should be a stoning offense in EVERY country and strctly adhered to by the Geneva Conventions! You know what, to my dear sister Lisa, I apologize for my comments above, you know the whole Ice Castles rant? Yeah forget that shit, I forgive you. I have a new target for my venomous derision, because if he weren’t already dead I’d kill Michael Jackson myself for al.owing this travesty to have occurred.

Fuck! I’ve given myself a migraine just writing about this fetid heap of trash on celluloid. To think that if Michael Jackson hadn’t been such an insufferable douche bag and outbid our man Paul, the Lennon/McCartney catalog would be in safe hands. Instead Jacko has to be greedy little fucker and lease out 3/4 of The Beatles catalog to anyone with a big enough checkbook (well ok, he didn’t exactly do that, but he could have and THAT is what should fucking terrify you!). We’d be spared the Nike “Revolution” debate and in turn the friendship between Jackson and McCarntey would have endured resulting in more collaboration. Ok, that is a mixed bag, I fully admit it, since the 2 tracks we got fro mthem resulted in semi-brilliance (“Say Say Say” from McCartney’s Pipes Of Peace Album) and the other was one of the worst songs on Thriller (“The Girl Is Mine” is pretty goddam awful compared to everything else on the record).

Think How Much Better This Movie Would Be If It Starred Them...

Think How Much Better This Movie Would Be If It Starred Them...

Oh hey!  I was reviewing Disorderlies wasn’t I? Yeah I was! So The Fat Boys get onto Tony Geary’s little scheme, help Ralph Bellamy out and get to live the high life. Pretty fucking simpe. I mean it is basically a Three Stooges short expanded to 86 minutes and for an added bonus The Three Stooges in this movie are racially diverse. Hmmm… so if The Fat Boys are The Three Stooges does that Markie or Kool Rock-Ski Moe? I mean Buff Love (aka The Human Beat Box) is obviously Curly right? Or maybe they are supposed to be some bizarre mash-uop of The stooges that never worked together. Like a Shemp, Moe and Curly comco? I mean none of the Fat Boys is weird enough to Larry. Fuck, this has me baffled…

FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!

Now I’m going to have to watch Disorderlies again to figure this out. Of course this begs the question… If The Fat Boys are The Three Stooges, who are The Marx Brothers of Hip-Hop? The Beastie Boys? Tha Dogg Pound? The Ghetto Boys? The mind boggles (Note: It really doesn’t, the answer is obviously The Beastie Boys).

So to sum up what I’ve said here today… I really fucking hate the movie Ice Castles! It is terrible beyond belief. Ice Castles did to me what, in all likeliness, I did to my Grandmother by taking her to see Disorderlies. Scarred her for the rest of her days. My Grandma wa a kind Jewish lady from chicago, she didn’t deserve that shit. But given what the other movie playing was , I was pretty much fucked either way. No one should make their own Granmother watch Dolph Lundren play He-Man!

Also, I don’t care if he is dead now FUCK MICHAEL JACKSON!

Just… just man I hope he is in the Center of Hell, burning in the mouth of Satan with Cassius, Brutus and Judas!

10 Of My Favorite Bad Movies – #4 COBRA

Sylvester Stallone Or A Very Butch George Michael? You Decide!

Sylvester Stallone Or A Very Butch George Michael? You Decide!

My track record with Father’s Day pretty much sucks. I think my Dad still holds a grudge for making him see Robocop 2 as his Father’s Day gift in 1990. Honestly, I can’t forgive myself for that. I mean that movie… I can’t even begin to write how bad it is. But that was not my first “Father’s Day Faux Pas”, oh no, there is a special movie that tops it. See, I have this weird relationship with the movies of Sylvester Stallone. It is a pretty abusive one. I keep thinking Sly is going to treat me right and then, just as it seems things are getting better (i.e. First Blood or Rambo: First Blood Part II) he turns around and smacks me around with something really harsh and awful. Cinematically speaking, I pretty much play Tina Turner to Sly’s Ike. How does this relate to Father’s Day and my Dad?

Say hello to Cobra, one of Sly’s most awesomely bad movies. Of Stallone’s action flicks, it might just be his worst, not necessarily as bad as Rocky V but that isn’t an action film, that movie was sheer farce. See Cobra was my Father’s Day “Gift” to my Dad in 1986. My Dad is not an action movie guy. He never has been, this movie was no exception to that fact. We went on that fateful Sunday, me armed with the money my Mom gave me to treat my Dad (my allowance, even if I saved it for a year came to 52 cents… yes my Dad was cheap but in reflection he was trying to teach me the value of a dollar but when I can’t even buy a comic book for .52 cents in 1985, the lesson is kind of lost on a 13 year old). I was insanely geeked to be seeing Cobra with my Dad. I mean it was Stallone and it was violent, to a 13 year old boy, that is 2 for 2. Sadly the next 87 minutes did little to bring me and my Dad closer together.

With the exception of the first Rocky and First Blood, all Stallone movies can be summarized in one or two sentences. No seriously, I’m not even joking. Allow me to Demonstrate:

Rocky II – Rocky & Apollo Rematch!
Night Hawks – Sly plays cop who hunts a psycho. For some reason Billy Dee Williams shows up!
Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot – Sly’s career takes a turn for the worse!
Driven – Sly makes me hate the ‘Sport’ of Auto Racing even more!

See 4 Sly movies summed up in under 6 sentences. So here is the one sentence summary for Cobra… Sly protects a chick from a cult of serial killers. Now the ‘chick’ in question is Sly’s future ex-wife Brgitte Nielsen. Brigitte’s range as an actress has improved in this movie from her appearance in Rocky IV. She displays a full range of emotions for an actress of her ability, all 2 of them. She plays someone in shock very convincingly and all it probably cost the production was a few seconds worth of electricity to shine a halogen bulb into her eyes. Her second emotion is that of scared and why shouldn’t she be scared? She’s got a cult of crazed killers after her and the only people to protect her are Stallone and Reni Santoni!

Say why is our boy Sly protecting Brigitte anyway?

See Sly is Marion Cobretti, a cop with a bad attitude who doesn’t adhere to the Los Angeles Police Department’s standards of dress code. Cobretti is a member of a special group of officers referred to as “The Zombie Squad”, which I assume is a group of serious badasses, though for all I know they might actually be a team of undead brain-eaters because Sly’s acting range as Cobretti ranges from disinterested to mumbling. Yup, Sly turns mumbling in to an artform in this movie. So much so that it actually becomes a blip on the emotional spectrum for actors. Anyway, after Brigitte’s character Ingrid (I know, it was a real stretch for Brigitte to play someone with a Nordic name) witnesses a member of the Night Slasher Cult do their business she immediately seeks police protection. The cops are so concerned for her safety that they stick their #1 psycho cop Cobretti on the job. Yes the Police, putting your tax-dollars to work!

Cobretti and his partner Gonzales, the only person who really understands him, take poor Ingrid into hiding. Our man Cobretti is convinced that the Night Slasher isn’t a single killer but rather a whole organization of psychos with the same Modus Operandi. “That’s just crazy talk Cobretti!” you imagine his Superiors responding to this crazy theory “You keep talking like that and I’ll have you busted down to walking a beat so fast your head will spin!” (Note: Not actually movie dialogue, but damn it! It should be!). Knowing that Ingrid isn’t safe in the city, Cobretti and Gonzales relocate her to a small remote town. They are smart and bring back-up in the form of another female cop. But look out kids, she bears the tattoo of the Night Slasher Cult, so you just know she is up to no good!

C'mon, He Totally Looks Like George Michael In This Shot!

C'mon, He Totally Looks Like George Michael In This Shot!

Soon the whole cult descends upon the small motel everyone is shacked up in (and I mean shacked up as this is a Sylvester Stallone movie so Sly has to get some from the female lead). The small little town is overrun with cultists and it isn’t that time of the year when the Monster Truck Rally comes to town so they aren’t ready for the overflow yet! The cult chases Cobretti and Ingrid all the way to a steel mill, where Cobretti and the cult leader have their big Mano y Mano showdown. The Cult Leader goes out in true, over the top 80’s overkill fashion as Cobretti impales him on a roaming hook AND then sets the poor slob on fire. I repeat, he sets him on fire AFTER the guy is pretty much dead already from having a fucking hook put through him. I guess for an encore Cobretti finds the Cult Leader’s mother and sister, slits their throats and then pours boiling oil over both. Sly can thank me later since I just wrote the ending for Cobra II – The Zombie Squad! (You know he’s thinking about it! You just know it! It is either that or a sequel ot Tango & Cash which… well… ok that would be FUCKING AWESOME~!).

The tagline for Cobra was “Crime is A Disease, Meet The Cure”. This was obviously thought up by some advertising geniuses who hadn’t actually watched the movie because if anything this piece of shit is cinematic herpes and there is not enough mental penicillin on earth to clear this out of your brain!

And this was my Father’s Day Gift to my Dad in 1986! Is it any wonder that I was cut out from the will? Shit, I’m stunned I wasn’t flat out disowned for taking my Dad to see this movie, though it does go a long way to explain why I was shipped off to boarding school… Anyway, there you have it, another Sly masterpiece. Not by any means his worst movie, again he made Driven for fuck’s sake and I won’t mention Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot… wait… fuck I just did! FUCK! You know he’s probably got a sequel for that all thought up. It doesn’t matter that Estelle Getty is dead, shit there are still 2 other Golden Girls left, let Betty White take over the roll or… NO!

Bad James! Stop giving Sly ideas!

To wrap up, Cobra is one hell of a bad movie but damn if you won’t love watching the sheer absurdity of it. It’s got Sly at his mumbliest and Brigitte Nielsen in the role that earned her a Libyan Oscar Nomination (she is like Meryl Streep to the Libyans). Seriously though, give it a whirl, sure it is bad but it is the kind of bad that makes you think “Well, it didn’t kill all my brain cells so it has that going for it!”

10 Of My Favorite Bad Movies #6 – THE CANNONBALL RUN

A Movie Full Of Stars, A Movie Full Of Suck!

A Movie Full Of Stars, A Movie Full Of Suck!

It is hard not to like Burt Reynolds, I mean this is a guy who just comes across as both charming and smarmy at the same time that to not like him seems like a crime. There is no better movie where this is more apparent than The Cannonball Run. Burt is the star of this movie, which itself is a cavalcade of stors. I mean hell, in one movie you get Burt, Burt’s old buddy Dom Deluise, Farrah Faucett, Terry Bradshaw(?), Adrienne Barbeau, Roger Moore, Dean Martin, SAmmy Davis Jr. and Jackie Chan. That is so many great icons in one movie you just know it could never live up to its expectations.

I don’t know which is more frightening, that fact that this movie got made or the fact that this movie is based on an actual outlaw motor race. One can only hope that the zaniness of the movie actually happens in the actual “Cannonball Baker Sea To Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash”. Of course realistically, I imagine the real thing to be a lot sleazier with people f even moral fiber that is lower than those characters portrayed in the movie. Speaking of the characters of low moral fiber, let’s review actors and the people hey play shall we?

Burt Reynolds, who at this point was America’s most popular film star. He plays J.J. Mclure, driving a souped-up Dodge Tradesman Van/Ambulance. J.J. has his buddy Victor Prinzim along with him and he probably wish he didn’t because Victor suffers from a form of Multiple Personality Disorder. Whenever there is a moment ofhigh stress Vicrotr dons the costume of Captain Chaos, much to J.J.’s chagrin (though mostly to his benefit. Then we have Sammy & Dean, pretty much playing Sammy & Dean. Dean plays form highspeed car racer Jamie Blake and Sammy gets the Jerry Lewis role as Morris Fenderbaum. They drive a Ferrari 308 GTS and are J.J.’s chief rivals in this inasne comedy. Did I mention that they dress Catholic Priests in order to get out of trouble? No? Well they do and of course it leads to all sorts of chicanery.

Then we have the Japanese team led by Jackie Chan, who is driving a high-tech Subaru (laugh all you want). Jackie’s main purpose in this movie is to play stereotypical Oriental (except he can drive). Basically you bear through Jackie’s stuff until you get to the big fight scene at the end, when he finally gets to cut loose. Our next high speed felon is Roger Moore playing Seymour Goldfarb Jr. , heir to the Goldfarb Girdles fortune. Seymour, much like Victor, suffers from a very specific delusion, You see Seymour thinks he is actually Roger Moore. The novelty of Roger Moore playing a guy who thinks he is Roger Moore is all kinds of stupid fun as he gets by on being suave and charming. Hell Moore even drives an Aston Martin, which no doubt pissed off Cubby Brocolli (producer of the Bond movies). Using so man Bond mannerisms and cliches led to Broccoli making Moore sign a contract to never make even the slightest Bond reference in a non-Bond film.

Drink Up Sammy, The Racial Slur Is Coming In 3... 2... 1...

Drink Up Sammy, The Racial Slur Is Coming In 3... 2... 1...

The rest of the cast isn’t important (sorry Adreinne Barbeau, though your cleavage is great). The premise ofthe Cannonball Run race is to race from New York to L.A. That is really all you need to know as the rest of the movie is mainly comedy of errors and slapstick. Well, that and the big fight with a biker gang at the end of the movie, but that more of an exscuse to let Jackie Chan cut loose and do his thing. Sadly that isn’t even the best moment in the entire movie. No sir, that belongs to Sammy Davis Jr., who along with Burt Reynolds delivers my favorite line in all of cinema.Now remember, Martin and Davis are dressed as Catholic Priests. After swindling J.J. out of the lead J.J. confronts Fenderbaum and Blake. Whwn they ask him how things are going J.J. responds “Things were going great till you and the Chocolate Monk here…” the reaction on Sammy’s face here is priceless and he immeadiately responds with “The Chocolate Monk?”. I am stating for the record that it is impossible to say that line without immitating Sammy Davis Jr. Hell when there is a lul in a conversation amongst my friends I always fallback on “The Chocolate Monk?” to get a laugh. REally when it comes to that line you have to give Sammy credit. It is a blatanty racist joke that gets a laugh and he easily could have asked to have ti removed. But Sammy was a pro and realized he could play the line for laughs and yet still show Fenderbaum, his character which was another joke playing up on Sammy’s Judaism, getting justifiably angry and insulted at the line.

So here we have The Cannonball Run, a bad movie with a few laughs. The concept is good and the actors are engaging but, let’s face it, they are basically playing themselves, well except Jamie Farr, who plays The Sheik. Movies like this really don’t get made anymore. I mean an All-Star cast comedy is a rarity but an All-Star Cast Comedy that really features an All-Star Cast and no deadweight? Yeah that doesn’t come around too often. Hell the closest thing to deadweight the movie has is Terry Brdshaw and he was a legit sports celebrity back then. I mean George Clooney can try to make as many movies about Dany Ocean and his pals pulling a ‘caper’ as much as he wants, but the fact is you really only consider about 6 of Ocean’s Eleven to be bigtime stars (so by the time you get ot Ocean’s Thriteen you legit star to small fish ratio is even smaller).

Still, you can’t say the movie wasn’t successful. It was the 6th highest grossing movie of 1980 after all. The Cannonball Run is a movie that is entertaining in a good way but by no means is it a ‘Good Movie’. Still it gives us “The Chocolate Monk” and that is good enough for me!

10 Of My Favorite Bad Movies #7 – FLASH GORDON

He Is A Miracle & King Of The Impossible!

He Is A Miracle & King Of The Impossible!

Come on people! You HAD to know that this Dino Delaurentis’ crapfest was going to make this list. It is Flash Gordon the movie with a near all-star cast. I say ‘near all-star cast’ because casting an unknown like Sam Jones kind of made you completely not care about whether THE LEAD CHARACTER lives or dies. Still, the rest of the cast is so incredibly badass that it should make-up for that one casting mistake… shouldn’t it?

I mean we’ve got Topol, of Fiddler On The Roof as Dr. Hans Zarkov, a pre-Bond Timothy Dalton as Prince Barin and the always awesome Brian Blessed as Prince Vultan. Add to this “Mr. Excitement” Max Von Sydow as Ming The Merciless and this cast is so awesome that Flash Gordon should’ve been a movie that was at least as awesome as Star Wars. All this plus Italian UBER-HOTTIE Ornella Muti as Ming’s super slutty daughter Princess Aura. A killer cast, an Italian hottie and a classic pulp hero, how could Flash Gordon fail?

Flash Gordon as playedby ... SOME GUY~!

Flash Gordon as played by... SOME GUY~!

Well, it can start by being cheezy with a pretty craptacular budget. I mean when you have to pay those actors, your budget is going to take quite a hit. Then there is Queen… yes the Rock Band Queen provides what is generally considered Flash Gordon‘s only redeeming trait, the soundtrack. Amazing considering that from a song-writing sense it is some of Queen’s worst stuff (compostiion wise it is actually great, as Brian May scored most of the film and Brian May really can do no wrong). Still even a bad Queen record is like, what? 3 stars worth of good material?

So let us take a look at the story of the movie shall we?

Ming The Merciless of The Planet Mongo, the most alliterative villain name ever, decides that it is time to conquer/destroy the planet Earth. He goes about doing so with his nasty ol’ Doomsday Machine that crashes all sorts of crazy shit from the moon into the planet. Hot Hail? Fuck yeah Ming uses Hot Hail! He is Ming ThE FUCKING Merciless (of The Planet Mongo), he’ll rain down Hot Hail down on you all day long if he wants to, what are you gonna do about it Earthman?

Well for starters, you can send the Quarterback for the New York Jets, Flash Gordon, in a rocket with a deranged scientist and semi-attractive reporter. First of all, the fact that Flash Gordon plays for the New York Jets is not lost on me. Obviously this mission is wasn’t the best laid out plan but given that Flash, Dr. Zarkov and Dale Arden all kind of meet by accident doesn’t exactly get this adventure off to the best start. From there it is off to Planet Mongo (home of Ming The Merciless) where they are all immediately captured and brought before Ming (The Merciless of The Planet Mongo). Ming fancies himself a ladies man and determines that he is just going to take Dale for a bride so he can pound her with his punishing love. Flash isn’t really down with this (neither is Dale for that matter) so he turns Ming’s Royal Court into an impromptu game of football (though it is closer to a game of ‘Smear The Queer’)’. Sadly, Flash ends up in chains again, I mean what do you expect? He plays for the FUCKING NEW YORK JETS!

Still our man Ming (The Merciless of The Planet Mongo) is gracious, he decides to JUST put Flash to death. Of course Flash escapes, with the help of Ming’s slutty/bratty daughter (from the Planet Mongo), Princess Aura. Aura obviously wants to play the slap and tickle with Flash but knows that by helping him, she is likely to be put to death herself. So it is off to the forest planet of Arboria, all to seek aid from Prince Barin (who Aura may, or may not have done a knee-trembler with Barin in the past) and his men in tights. Barin and Flash try to outwit one another, a game that both are woefully ill-equipped for, I mean a Jock and wanna-be Robin Hood matching wits is laughably bad. Finally they decide to play that beloved Arborian drinking game “Let’s stick Our Hand In The Pit Where The Poisonous Nasty Lives”. During all this Princess Aura, who isn’t getting laid during any of this, leaves before daddy dearest and his secret police realize she is gone (Hint: They Know!). Flash makes Barin realize that if the other Princes of Mongo united behind him, they could overthrow Ming (The Merciless Of The Planet Mongo). Barin pretty much fesses up to being a massive douche bag but then both are taken prisoner by Prince Vultan (Brian Blessed Bitches!) and his Hawkmen.

Of course by now Ming’s goons know that Flash is alive and invade Vultan’s floating city. Ming takes Barin, Dale and Zarkov… oh yeah, they escaped from Ming’s capital city Mingus… no I’m not shitting you; he is Ming The Merciless from The Planet Mongo living in the Capital city Mingus… anyway, Dale, Zarkov and Barin are all taken aboard Ming’s mothership and Flash is left there to die as the city is bombarded by Ming’s Mothership (from The Planet Mongo, that usually docks in Mingus). Vultan decides that destroying his city is a bit much and rallies his Hawkmen for an assault on Mingus (where Ming The Merciless… oh never mind!). I mean he is Brian Blessed for fuck’s sake, He was Augustus Caesar and avoiding getting poisoned by his own wife! You think he is gonna take Ming (The Merciless From… Ok ok, I’ll stop) blowing up his city lying down?

Ming decides that being the biggest badass in the entire universe, with a superlative alliterative name, is hard work and decides that NOW is the perfect time to get married to Dale. Sure why not, I mean you just captured a rebel prince, destroyed another’s floating citadel and eliminated the one guy who would’ve provided a real threat to your firm grip on power. Why not fuck the earth woman to end the day? Its Miller Time on Mongo!

The Mongo Board Of Tourism Advises You To Come Visit Scenic Mongo Or Be Scattered to... ATOMS!

The Mongo Board Of Tourism Advises You To Come Visit Scenic Mongo Or Be Scattered to... ATOMS!

One little problem there Ming old boy, that dude who plays for The New York Jets? Y’know Flash Gordon? Yeah, turns out he actually escaped the destruction of Vultan’s floating city and is now leading Vultan and his Hawkmen in an attempt to sack Mingus (on Mongo… Ming… The Merciless…). The assault on Mingus interrupts Ming’s wedding to Dale and to make matters worse, Flash ends up commandeering Ming’s Battleship. Look out Ming, not even the Lightning Field surrounding Mingus (on Mongo!) can save you from Flash ramming the ugliest spaceship through your wrap-around picture window!

This is Flash Gordon and it is a technicolor nightmare of a bad movie. Could it be that producer Dino De Laurentis and director Mike Hodges stuck too closely to the look of Alex Raymond’s comic strip from the 30’s a bit too much? Or maybe it strays from the source material too much and loses that great feel of the Raymond strips? The answer is a “little bit of both” The look the of movie feels like the comic strip but some of it is just god awful. Not even Max Von Sydow can save this movie and he can save ANY movie. I mean imagine how much better Spider-Man 3 would be with Max Von Sydow?

Anyway, Flash Gordon isn’t a movie you should plop down any significant money to see. I wouldn’t rent it. Hell, I’d be half-tempted to cancel my cable subscriber for just showing it. BUT… dammit that soundstrack saves the whole movie!

The moral of this story kids?

QUEEN FUCKING RULES~!

Next Brave Blog: J-Band Of The Week!

10 Of My Favorite Bad Movies – #8 INFRA-MAN

With A Poster This Badass The Movie Has To Be Awesome!

With A Poster This Badass The Movie Has To Be Awesome!

There are 2 categories of movies in my mind and there always has been. First there is Infra-Man, then there is everything else. I say this with no sense of hyperbole whatsoever. Infra-Man is quite simply the greatest movie an 8 year-old could ever watch. Understand that growing up in New York City, almost every 8-12 year-old would drop everything on a Saturday afternoon at 5pm. See the old Channel 5 would show “Drive-In Movies” at 5 every Saturday. “Drive-in Movies” showed mothing but classic Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest kung-fu films. My primary education in Martial Arts films came from “Drive-in Movies” and it was the best education a child could ask for. It was here that I first watched Infra-Man.

This is what happens when Hong Kong isn’t satisfied with just making epic Kung-fu movies. No, they have to combine elements from 2 Japanese icons, in this case we are talking about the well-known in America Ultraman and the not-so-well known Kamen Rider. Combine the 2 and you get Infra-Man. The movie is undeniably cheap, though I imagine a mint was spent in Hong Kong currency to make it. Hell just the promotion of the movie in Hong Kong was insane enough as Infra-Man had the distinction of being the first movie to use a hot-air balloon during production, the first Chinese Super Hero movie and the first Shaw Brothers movie to ever be storyboarded. With so many firsts you just know this movie is going to destroy an 8 year-old’s mind with its awesomeness!

“But James” I hear you asking, “What the hell is Infra-Man?”

Didn’t you read the movie poster at the top of the page? He is the man BEYOND bionics! That means he would beat the living hell out of The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman AND The Bionic Six all while eating a pork bun!

“No you moron” I can hear you saying in disgust, “What is Infra-Man about?”

Oh… Well the evil Princess Dragon Mom, (her name in the English dub, in Chinese she is Demon Princess Elzebub), and her evil horde of Skeleton Monsters plan on conquering the earth. I mean, they are aliens after all…. no wait they are demons… at least I think they are demons. Maybe they are demonic aliens? Fuck if I can figure it out. They never really clarify to my recollection. Anyway, with the threat of Dragon Mom the world looks to the one country they always look to for ideas to save the planet… HONG KONG! Because when you want the best scientists in the world you want the British to politely ask a country they won in the Boxer Rebellion/Opium Wars for help. Luckily, Professor Chang has the answer to fighting the hordes of demon/aliens… turning his daughter’s fiancee Rayma into Infra-Man!

Infra-Man Has No Need of Your George Lucas Or Your 'ILM'!

Infra-Man Has No Need of Your George Lucas Or Your 'ILM'!

Can you imagine the good Dr. Chang telling the U.N. his plan? “Say I’ve got this technique for turning a regular guy into a one-man fighting force to stop these aliens AND I’m going to use my daughter’s tool of a fiancee as the test subject! Take my baby girl will he!” Anyway, Rayma becomes Infra-Man and does battle with Princess Dragon Mom’s kung-fu trained demons/aliens. A few initial encounters go well for Infra-Man, including 1 fight where he grows 30 feet tall and fights a giant plant monster. Dr. Chang also helps devise new weapons for Rayma to use, which leads to the greatest conversation in all of modern cinema!

Dr. Chang: There are weapons I haven’t given you as yet. For success it is essential you have… Thunderball Fists!
Rayma: Thunderball Fists? Can I have such a thing?
Dr. Chang: YES! [raising up his arms with clenched fists] THUNDERBALL FISTS!
Rayma: Hmm, [scratching his chin] Thunderball Fists…

Finally getting fed up with Infra-Man kicking her ass, Princess Dragon Mom has her goons, led by the cleverly named She-Demon, kidnap Dr. Chang’s daughter. This leads to the big showdown of the movie as Infra-Man invades Princess Dragon Mom’s base within Inner-Earth (Inner-Earth? Ok so they are demons!). Marvel as Infra-Man gets his ass-kicked and gets frozen in ice. But thanks to the power of the flashback Infra-Man remembers that Dr. Chang told him that if he ever found himself trapped in ice he can always throw 3 rockets on the ground to thaw out. Now see this is where the story breaksdown for me. Nowhere previously in the movie did Dr. Chang tell Rayma this. They invented a flashback as a means for Infra-Man to escape. I, as a movie-goer, am insulted. This entire fever dream flashback destroys the utter-realism of Infra-Man and completely takes me out of the movie.

Anyway, Infra-Man thaws out in record time, rescues Dr. Chang’s daughter and engages Princess Dragon Mom in combat in a fight that if you blink, you’ll miss it. Are you beginning to see why an ADD riddled 8 year-old would adore this movie? Ishtar’s Eyes! It has everything an 8 year-old could want in a movie. Let’s run the checklist!

Superhero? Check!
Evil Women in skimpy outfits? Check! It is possibleShe-Demon my have resulted in my first pre-teen hard-on
Rubber suited monsters? Check!
Guys in shiny jumpsuits doing Kung-Fu? BIG CHECK!

My lord, this movie is a smorgasborg of juvenile awesomeness! Seriously, God bless the Shaw Brothers for making a movie this insane. It is the greatest 90 minutes of movie ever put to film. Shit, the reason why kids didn’t take to Jet Jaguar in the classic Godzilla vs. Megalon was because the Chinese made Infra-Man, who was already a Million-Billion times cooler. Other 8 year olds got mocked for expressing admiration for Jet Jaguar when Infra-Man was epically more awesome!

Reason #118 Why Infra-Man Is Awesome - She-Demon, The Woman You Can't Hi-Five Or She'll Go Blind!

Reason #118 Why Infra-Man Is Awesome - She-Demon, The Woman You Can't Hi-Five Or She'll Go Blind!

My god, children aren’t just cruel, they’re like little Nazis when it comes to ostracising others in their own age group. Me and my friends were like the Infra-Man SS, hunting down Jet Jaguar fans and mocking them until they cried… well not really… I was a pretty lonely kid… but a lonely kid that could do the Infra-Man arm motions to transform! Suck on that you 8 year old pricks! Go ahead and read you copiesof “Frog & Toad Are Friends” or marvel as your parents read E.B. White books to you… I’ll have Infra-Man!

So there you have it, a review of the over the top awesomely bad Infra-Man and brief look into my rather damaged childhood psyche. By the way, the lessons of this movie still hold true today. If Earth is getting invaded by demons, aliens or even worse Demonic Aliens, find a chinese scientist with a helpless daughter. He probably can turn you into the earth’s most bugfuck insanely awesome superhero… INFRA-MAN~!

10 Of My Favorite Bad Movies – #9 BILLY JACK

Peace & Love Through The Power... OF HAPKIDO!

Peace & Love Through The Power... OF HAPKIDO!

Billy Jack is quite the awesomely bad movie. I mean let’s go over the story to start with. Billy Jack is a half-breed Cherokee Native American, Green Beret, Hapkido master and gunslinger. That is the main character. Doesn’t that just signal to you that a whole bunch of people are going to get their asses kicked?

I mean, it is one thing if you’re main character is a half-breed cherokee Indian. That pretty much means he is bitter and there is a 50/50 chance he hates the white man. Add the ex-Green Beret, Hapkido master stuff in there and it is a miracle he doesn’t go John Rambo on the small southwestern town he has moved to after the events of the first Billy Jack movie The Born Losers. Here is the synopsis of that movie, Billy Jack fucks up a gang raping motorcycle gang. Pretty basic drive-in fare. Ah but the second movie is all about Billy Jack (that’s why his name is on the poster kids). Anyway, a bunch of hippies open a ‘Freedom School’ in a small southwestern town. Billy Jack gets tied up with these counter-culture cut-ups (including a pre-WKRP Howard Hesseman) much to the chagrin of the redneck locals. See traditionally, rednecks in both film and real life don’t really like hippies.

Despite just wanting to be left alone, Billy Jack stands up for the school and gets himself into several fights with the locals. The locals like Billy Jack even less than they like hippies (if you can fathom that) and one of them, a total fucking idiot by the name of Bernard, decides to go ahead and rape Billy Jack’s girlfriend Jean. To give you an idea just how dumb Bernard is, raping Jean isn’t bad enough so he goes and kills a Native American student of the Freedom School. Jean won’t tell Billy Jack about the rape because it is established that he’ll go bugfuck insane and kill Bernard. Let us review things we know about Billy Jack already that helps Jean come to this conclusion:

1. Billy Jack is a half-breed Native American (soemthing the rednecks like to mention quite a bit)
2. Billy Jack just came back from Vietnam where he was a Green Beret.
3. Billy Jack is a Hapkido Master. He can fuck you up pretty good
4. Billy Jack probably already hates the white man on some level.

Hey you know what could only make things worse? If Bernard was the son of the wealthiest and most infuential man in town. Wouldn’t that be some kind of cosmic irony? You see where I’m going with this right? Yup, you guessed right, Bernard pretty much gets a pass on murdering a child because daddy owns the cops. The fact that the cops hate hippies and Billy Jack, kind of helps also. Finally, having had enough of the corruption of the white man Billy Jack does exactly what you want him to do… GOES BAT SHIT CRAZY! He finds Bernard, gets shot and then kills the redneck dirtbag with a deadly karate chop to the throat, despite the fact that Billy Jack isn, in fact, A Hapkido Master). This all leads to Billy Jack being pinned down by the cops in a deadly shootout. It takes pleading from Jean and the hippies to get our hero to surrender. So as the cops lead Billy Jack away, the hippies exercise their right to silent protest by raising their fists in the air in defiance. Of course this isn’t the end because it all leads into The Trial Of Billy Jack. I wish I were kidding…

All things considered, Billy Jack tries to be a socially concious film, as one of its main themes is Billy Jack getting in touch with Native American roots. We get to see Billy Jack engage in several tribal rites and tell tales to impart Native American wisdom to the next generation. How much of it is authentic Native American lore is up for debate but director, writer and star Tom Laughlin was very socially concious about the plight of the Native American during the Civil Rights Movement. I mean we tend to forget that nobody got screwed more than Native American during westward expansion and even before that. Sure Billy Jack hammers the plight of the Native American a bit overzealously but it is effective because you can’t come away from that movie without thinking “Man, the Native Americans got screwed in that movie”.

Billy Jack - Possibly Not A Fan Of The White Man

Billy Jack - Possibly Not A Fan Of The White Man

The ironic thing about Billy Jack is that it’s main message is peace and loving your fellow man, yet it is quite possibly one of the most violent movies of the 1970s. I mean it isn’t Godfather level violent, but when you consider that Billy Jack beats the living fuck out of people (in self-defense always… save for Bernard) and the movie features one of the main characters getting raped and a child being murdered… well it is a giant contradiction of a movie. Honestly though, if Billy Jack didn’t go around kicking ass in the name of the Freedom School he would just babble on about how the white man had done nothing but cheat him and is not to be trusted (No really, there are several times that our hero won’t shut up about it). So what we end up with in the end is a violent movie with a pacifist message.

The biggest irony of this is that Tom Laughlin made a mint off of Billy Jack and its 2 sequels by pretty much inventing the concept of the Blockbuster film. See the way movie theaters used to work is, there were a limited number of prints of a film made, then theater owenrs would have to book the print for a certain number of weeks before the print would move to the next theater. The studio, Warner Brothers, decided to make hundreds of prints of Billy Jack so it could open at every major theater simultaneously. Thus Billy Jack made huge bank and actually one of the most successful movies of all time, hell it remains in th top 100 grossing films of all time when adjust for inflation. I mean, it is a pretty cheap looking film and the acting can be laughably bad but it delivers in the action and violence department. Not bad for a movie about Pacifist half-breed, Green Beret, Hapkido Master.

I need to warn you about the theme song of the movie as well. “One Tin Soldier” by Coven, is a song that will get stuck in your head and trust me, YOU DON’T WANT IT THERE! It is your typical hippie/counter-culture song with a message about peace and love. Ironically listening to this song enough will incite you to want to punch someone. Even worse are the hippies in this movie. For the record I hate hippies but these aren’t the type of hippies you can really hate on. They aren’t the traditional dope smoking, haven’t showered in 6 weeks hippies. These are actually kind of ok hippies, who want to teach kids that being different is ok and to love each other. I mean how often do you actually want hippies to win? About as often you’d like to see Nazis win is my guess (maybe its just me…) .

So to recap, Billy Jack is about a pacifist Half-Native American who can totally KICK YOUR ASS! GO RENT THIS RIGHT FUCKING NOW!

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