4.18.2014

The WTF? Worst Films Extravaganza Presents: Amityville 3-D (1983)

DIRECTED BY
Richard Fleischer

STARRING
Tony Roberts - John Baxter
Tess Harper - Nancy Baxter
Lori Loughlin - Susan Baxter
Robert Joy - Eliot West
Candy Clark - Melanie
Meg Ryan - Lisa
Neill Barry - Jeff


Genre - Horror/Supernatural/Ghosts/Haunted House

Running Time - 105 Minutes


PLOT
A journalist named John Baxter (Tony Roberts) and his partner Melanie (Candy Clark) expose shenanigans after they learn some old couple are doing fake seances inside the infamous Amityville house to make a quick buck. Thinking that the stories about the house are just fabrics of someone's imagination, John decides to buy the house while he separates from his wife (Tess Harper). But soon people start dying around him - including the real estate agent who sold the house. Melanie believes something is wrong with the house, but John is in denial and doesn't believe anything is wrong. But as soon as his family, especially his daughter (Lori Loughlin), is threatened, John involves a paranormal expert (Robert Joy) to stop the evil of the Amityville house.

REVIEW
I have three words for AMITYVILLE 3-D:

WHAT THE FUCK!?

I've made it pretty clear that the 1979 version of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR is pretty overrated and not as great as many horror historians have claimed. Yes, I get why it was popular, but the film adaptation doesn't do much for me other than being an average haunted house flick. Honestly, I prefer the 2005 remake, which I find more entertaining. But 1981's AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION is the franchise's highlight, taking aspects from THE EXORCIST and using them in fun ways. Unfortunately, AMITYVILLE 3D just takes the series downhill quickly, with cheap visual gags, annoying characters, and a weak story. While I'm sure the series does get worse than this installment - at least from what I've heard - AMITYVILLE 3D was made to capitalize on a then-fading fad while boring the audience at the same time.

The screenplay is pretty much what ruins AMITYVILLE 3D, at least for me. While I'm not the biggest fan of the first film, at least the story somewhat interests me and the drama between the characters is worth investing in. Same goes with the second film. But this installment is just lazy in terms of its storytelling. For one, there's no sense of continuity with the other films. Why is there a well in the basement all of a sudden? Why is it holding some sort of demon that has never been mentioned before? I mean, the idea to have a visual evil presented is a good one - IF ANYTHING WAS DONE WITH IT! Hell, the film has bigger villains in the form of flies that seem to harm anyone they come across. But we get astral projection at one point for a dead character, and these flies actually leaving the house to attack someone at their workplace inside of an elevator - what are the rules again? If things were more explained, rather than the filmmakers just being focused on the visual gags, maybe I'd like this sequel more.

I also gotta say that the characters are either uninteresting, or just plain annoying. The John Baxter character, in particular, deserved to be sucked down that well in the basement from the first frame. I get that characters have to be somewhat skeptical about the supernatural occurrences around them to up the tension and suspense along the narrative. But this dude was dense as hell! People are dying around the guy and not once does he believe what his friends and family are telling him - THAT THE HOUSE IS EVIL! How many people have to croak before the dude gets it? It's only when a certain member gets killed that he finally realizes his home is haunted! Well no shit.

The other characters aren't much better. John is going through a divorce, or a conscious uncoupling, with his wife Nancy. She's kind of a clingy nag who becomes a bit mental by the final act. Daughter Susan is extremely cute, but there's not much to her besides that. Melanie is better than John and actually sees things for what they are, but more could have been done with her character. Susan's best friend, Lisa, is the only character I genuinely liked. Why? Even though she had the expository dialogue about the house's history, at least she had a personality. Although I did find it really dumb that she, Susan, and two guy friends decided to do a seance inside of a haunted house. Because, you know, that just makes the evil weaker and stuff...

Dumbasses.

It also doesn't help that the story is pretty much nonexistent for the most part. The narrative is pretty much glued together by the 3-D gags and special effects that are shot while trying to do a teenage version of the original story. What makes things worse is that the evil isn't just inside the house, but can travel outside of the house to do bad things. For example, a bunch of flies attacks a character inside a work elevator, while controlling the elevator to make it crash with the character inside. There's also a car that's miles away from the house, whose doors just happen to lock on their own before bursting into flames. And then a character drowns in a lake outside of the house off camera. So now the house can't possess people, yet it can travel out of its source to attack people anywhere?? Maybe the filmmakers felt that this would bring some freshness to the AMITYVILLE franchise. But it just goes against its own logic - logic that was set up for two straight films without much of a problem. It's a haunted house movie that wants to be a slasher flick to bring in a younger audience. It doesn't work.

The 3D effects could have saved the film by using the visuals as a distraction to the weak story. I mean, those opening credits - where the words fly towards the screen - could have been cool in three dimensions. Watching flies travel towards the screen, as well as hands, a flashlight, a skeleton, stream, a Frisbee, a demon popping out of a well, and people being thrown towards the screen could have been a lot of fun wearing 3-D glasses. But unfortunately, I watched this in 2-D. Sure, some of these effects made me laugh a bit. But they look a bit hokey and distracting without that added effect. Still, I can tell the producers were trying to make it work. I'm sure if I were wearing special glasses, I would be having a blast with these dumb visuals. So I can't hate the film for that.

What I can hate the film for is that fake looking demon that comes out of the well. GREAT special effects, guys!  The Ghoulies looked more realistic than this thing. I doubt this "demon" scared anyone back in 1983. I probably would have died laughing. Maybe that's the demon's power - death by laughter. In that case, he's doing his job right.

The direction by Richard Fleischer, best known for directing 1954's 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, 1973's SOYLENT GREEN, 1984's CONAN THE DESTROYER, and 1985's RED SONJA, is okay at best. I can't judge his work on the 3-D stuff, but I'm sure Fleischer used them to the best of his ability. But honestly, Fleischer's direction is pretty much TV-movie level. There are attempts at tension and creating this bleak atmosphere at times. But Fleischer had to deal with a terrible script that no one was going to be able to salvage. So it was going to be a lost cause either way. But the film isn't an eye sore, so there's that.

The acting was a mixed bag as well. Tony Roberts had a terrible character, but he made it work as John Baxter. I was more distracted by whether he looked more like Will Ferrell or Ron Perlman, rather than his acting. Tess Harper didn't do much for me as Nancy, although I found her traumatized act in the final act of the film pretty funny. Lori "Aunt Becky" Loughlin was good in her role as the cute daughter, Susan. She was pretty endearing and charming. Robert Joy didn't get much to do, but he was pretty good anyway. Candy Clark seemed to be trying too hard at times as Melanie, but I thought her exit was memorable. And Meg Ryan, before all the botox and plastic surgery, is pretty much the best actor as Lisa. I really dug her spunk and she seemed to be having a blast making this film. I'm not surprised she eventually became an A-lister soon after.

THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE DESTROYING THE AMITYVILLE HOUSE WITH A WRECKING BALL

- During a seance, a mother learns her dead son has passed over into fire. Man, that must be hell - literally and figuratively.

- John Baxter, who is going through a divorce, wants to leave his home for the Amityville house - against his soon-to-be ex wife's wishes. Seeing that his daughter, Susan, is played by Lori Loughlin, it may be just a Full House he needs to exit from.

- The real estate agent was attacked and killed by insects in the attic. I'd be bugged if that's how I go out.

- Once a fly entered an elevator, the lift lost all control. Knowing the weight capacity, this fly must have weighed close to a ton!

- Melanie got frozen from a gust of cold air from the basement. Since this was 1983, Superman must be on red Kryptonite and being a drunk douche again...

- Sex with a ghost is supposed to be fantastic. Barbara Hershey would disagree with that though.

- Lisa knows the history of the Amityville House and seems excited about being inside the scene of the crime. WHEN RONNIE DEFEO MET SALLY seems like such a missed opportunity...

THE FINAL HOWL

AMITYVILLE 3-D is probably not the worst AMITYVILLE installment, but it's still pretty bad due to it being kind of a bore to watch. The film isn't scary and the special effects are unintentionally funny. The story is bare bones, hoping the dull visuals would compensate for that. And the acting is a mixed bag for many reasons. I'm sure some will get a kick out of AMITYVILLE 3-D, but it didn't do much for me. This film deserves a "For Sale" sign, in my opinion.



SCORE
1 Howl Outta 4




4.16.2014

Midnight Confessions Ep. 10 - "HALLOWEEN In April Part 2: The Curse of the HALLOWEEN Franchise"


HALLOWEEN in April rages on! This week Rev. Phantom and yours truly review HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS (1989) and both cuts of HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS (1995). Plus the good, bad and the ugly of Halloween themed movies.





 

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4.12.2014

Full Moon Reviews Celebrates Its 6th Anniversary!!





It's always weird when I publish these anniversary posts because it makes me wonder where the time has gone. Full Moon Reviews has really grown and become pretty major in my life, especially since it started as just a way for me to express my love [or dislike] for certain films. I never thought I'd be still blogging after almost eight years, with close to 700 reviews under my belt. Also, Full Moon Reviews recently hit over a million views, which boggles my mind. I really want to thank anyone who has viewed, commented, or shared to others about Full Moon Reviews. It has truly meant a lot to me. In fact, there will be a giveaway of some sort due to that milestone. I haven't decided on what yet, but it will happen probably sometime in May.

As you know, I haven't blogged as much as I would like. Getting older and having more important things take priority have really limited my posting. But I'm glad to have Mike Huntley, who has done well with his Watchtower of Justice posts, pick up some of that slack. He's a movie nerd like me, especially when it comes to superheroes and comic book stuff. So it's great to have him on board. I also have to thank Reverend Phantom, who has allowed me to be his co-host on Midnight Confessions Podcast. It's an honor to discuss films with him, since we get along really well and have different looks on movies, even when we both agree. The podcast has really started to pick up, and Phantom and I have started to find a groove now. We have a lot planned for Spring and Summer, which I'm very excited about. I also have to thank 'Moronic' Mark Arnold for allowing me to post his reviews as well. He's done a great job on YouTube with his humorous look on bad films. I haven't posted anything from him yet, but I will soon. Just glad to have these men on board keeping this going for me.


 
Also, special mention goes to Aaron "Dr. AC" Christensen for asking me to contribute to his latest horror review book, Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks. I had a wonderful time writing my feelings on the underrated 2001 film, FRAILTY, and I'm very happy the book has done extremely well on Amazon and critically as well. If you ever want to know why I love FRAILTY, buy the book because it's the only way you'll know. It's a great read if you love horror. Thanks, AC!

What's coming up this year? A lot of superhero stuff this summer, as Marvel kicks it into high gear with their multiple franchises such as X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Summer will probably be focused on "Animals Run Amok" with the highly anticipated sequel, SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE. There might be another SEQUEL SEPTEMBER, not sure yet. But HORROR MOVIE MONTH in October will definitely be back and I'm always excited when that time of the year comes.

Thanks again to everyone who has supported me and Full Moon Reviews in any way. Without you guys, I'd probably would have discontinued a lot time ago. But I'm very excited about the upcoming year, so please stay tuned to a lot of great stuff coming your way.

- Fred [The Wolf]


TOP 10 MOST VIEWED POSTS [from 4/12/13 to 4/12/14]

10. INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 (2013)
Posted September 14, 2013, this post has 858 views

One of the most anticipated horror films of 2013, the review for James Wan's ghostly-possession sequel did really well once I published my quick thoughts on it. It's still a film that's a bit inferior to the first film, but it's a film I would love to watch again to see if my feelings stay intact. It's now currently on the U.S. Netflix Instant Watch, so I may get that chance soon. But from what I remember of it, I dug this film for the most part.

9. GHOST SHARK (2013)
Posted on August 30, 2013, this post has 912 views

Probably one of the more surprising successful posts on Full Moon Reviews, GHOST SHARK wasn't really a film that a lot of people promoted or knew about - at least not on the level of SHARKNADO [which I'll be getting to shortly]. But SHARK SUMMER is a pretty big attraction on Full Moon Reviews, so I'm guessing that's why this SyFy movie did as well as it did. I honestly only remember how silly it was to have a vengeful spirit of a scorned shark have the ability to attack others through any form of water, whether it'd be in a swimming pool, a toilet, or a sitting bucket of water at a car wash. Not as fun as SHARKNADO, but GHOST SHARK amused me more than I thought it would.

8. THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT (2006)
Posted on May 15, 2013, this post has 999 views

Of all the sequels to this car franchise, I'm really surprised that TOKYO DRIFT was the most viewed. Maybe it's due to the fact that the recent FAST AND FURIOUS 6 connects to TOKYO DRIFT in a major way. But honestly, I figured FAST FIVE would do much better than it did. But a lot of you either love TOKYO DRIFT and don't care to admit it, or were just curious as to my thoughts on it. It's a decent sequel, I guess. And I'm interested to see how Lucas Black figures into FAST AND FURIOUS 7. So there's that.

7. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980)
Posted on July 31, 2013, this post has 1065 views

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST was one of those films I wanted/dreaded to review. It's probably one of the best found footage type of films ever made, but it's such a tough watch due to the animal cruelty and other messed up subject matter. The only reason this review even exists is due to Guts and Grog's Extreme Week, which this post was a part of. I probably would have never watched the film again if it weren't for that. And honestly, I don't see myself watching CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST any time soon. But I'm glad a lot of people enjoyed my thoughts on this controversial movie.

6. TURBO: A POWER RANGERS MOVIE (1997)
Posted on July 22, 2013, this post has 1225 views

There are a lot of Power Rangers fans out there, and TURBO: A POWER RANGERS MOVIE may be one of the most infamous pieces of that franchise's history. It's really just a terrible film that seems to forget what made the previous seasons so damn cool. It has a lame, yet really hot, villain. The characters and writing just seem dull. The way the Rangers gain these new powers is just lazy as hell. If it wasn't for Evil Kimberly, with Amy Jo Johnson looking so hot, I wouldn't bother with this movie. Thankfully, the franchise quickly bounced back from this and continues to thrive today. But this "Shift Into Turbo" should have crashed into a wall before it even got out of the starting gate.

5. ORCA (1977)
Posted on July 22, 2013, this post has 1240 views

ORCA was never a film I planned on reviewing. But it was expiring on Netflix Instant at the time, and I said why not. And not only did I like the film more than I had remembered liking it as a kid, but the views for this review blew up quickly once I posted it. Of all the JAWS ripoffs I probably reviewed within the year, ORCA was definitely the best one. Just a really well made film with a great score. Within a summer of sharks, it was a killer whale who made one of the biggest impressions on Full Moon Reviews.

4. THE PURGE (2013)
Posted on June 8, 2013, this post has 1416 views

THE PURGE was one of the more anticipated horror films of 2013. It also managed to be one of the more disappointing in a lot of ways. Great cast. Great concept. Nice bits of tension and suspense. But the execution was flawed, especially when we realized THE PURGE was nothing more than a home invasion film really. At least YOU'RE NEXT did it in a fun way. THE PURGE started out strong, but turned generic by the halfway mark. Still, it's not a terrible film and I am interested in the sequel that's coming out this year. I just wish they had worked around the concept better.

3. THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (2001)
Posted on April 27, 2013, this post has 1552 views

The original 2001 THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS was a film I wanted to review for so long now because the entire franchise is one giant guilty pleasure. It's a film that honestly should have never built a franchise. Yet it did, and the films have never been better. I'm really surprised so many wanted to read my thoughts on this film, because so many consider this film nothing but fluff. But it's fun, exciting fluff that created stars out of Vin Diesel, the late Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster.

2. THE LORDS OF SALEM (2013)
Posted on April 21, 2013, this post has 1865 views

THE LORDS OF SALEM was a film that had a ton of buzz behind it, but audiences had trouble finding due to limited theatrical release. But Rob Zombie proved that he was a true filmmaker with this original tale inspired by Italian horror from the 1970s, especially Bava and Argento. THE LORDS OF SALEM was really a film that surprised me, as it didn't really make a whole lick of sense, but it captured my attention like no other in the horror genre last year. It's a visually stunning movie, with Sheri Moon Zombie having the performance of her career. I think people flocked to this post because the film was so rare at the time when I published my review. But I think people found some appreciation for the film once it was released on DVD and Blu Ray, praising Zombie for making his own film rather than remaking someone else's. The fact that it was so anti-mainstream struck a chord with me, making me respect Zombie for doing his own thing rather than selling out to make a quick buck. We need more filmmakers like that in the horror genre.

1. SHARKNADO (2013)
Posted July 12, 2013, this post has 3449 views.

SHARKNADO was probably my most anticipated film of 2013. I mean seriously - a film about a tornado made up of sharks attacking California - how can one not want to watch that? And it was everything I had hoped it would be. Sure, Tara Reid's presence brought the film down some. But Ian Ziering, John Heard, those CGI sharks, and chainsaw fun really entertained the hell out of me. The film because SyFy's biggest pop culture moment, to the point that a sequel was rushed for this year - this time in New York City. I'm so there. A lot of folks ripped this film to shreds, but I loved the hell out of it and still do. And judging by the view count, so did a lot of other peeps as well.


TOP 10 MOST VIEWED REVIEWS [April 12, 2013]

1. 1408 (2007) - 58,824 Views

2. WITCHBOARD (1987) - 23,748 Views

3. ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK (1988) - 5,513 Views

4. BABYSITTER WANTED (2008) - 3,748 Views

5. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1990) - 3,262 Views

6. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010) - 3,122 Views

7. NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (2009/2010) - 3,014 Views

8. NEIGHBOR (2009) - 2,969 Views

9. 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS (2010) - 2,722 Views

10. PIRANHA (2010) - 2,655 Views


TOP 10 MOST VIEWED REVIEWS [April 12, 2014]

1. 1408 (2007) - 129,480 Views

2. WITCHBOARD (1987) - 28,871 Views

3. ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK (1988) - 5,809 Views

4. BABYSITTER WANTED (2008) - 4,019 Views

5. PIRANHA (2010) - 3,674 Views

6. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1990) - 3,579 Views

7. NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (2009) - 3,564 Views

8. NEIGHBOR (2009) - 3,560 Views

9. RED SONJA (1985) - 3,527 Views

10. SHARK ATTACK 3: MEGALODON (2002) - 3,490 Views

4.09.2014

Midnight Confessions Ep. 9 - "HALLOWEEN In April Begins!"


Reverend Phantom and yours truly review HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982) and HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS (1988) as part of our HALLOWEEN in April. HALLOWEEN franchise all month long [excluding part 1 and 2 because what more can be said of those great films?]. Plus the Top 5 "Underrated Slasher Movies".





 

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

DIRECTED BY
Anthony Russo
Joe Russo


STARRING
Chris Evans - Steve Rogers/ Captain America
Scarlett Johansson - Natasha Romanoff/ Black Widow
Sebastian Stan - Bucky Barnes/ Winter Soldier
Samuel L. Jackson - Nick Fury
Anthony Mackie - Sam Wilson/ Falcon
Cobie Smulders - Maria Hill
Frank Grillo - Brock Rumlow
Emily VanCamp - Agent 13
Robert Redford - Alexander Pierce


Genre - Action/Adventure/Thriller/Comic Books

Running Time - 136 Minutes


PLOT
After the events of THE AVENGERS, Captain America (Chris Evans) - now a member of SHIELD - struggles with adjusting to his life in a very modern world. As Cap becomes somewhat disillusioned by the current world, SHIELD begins to crumble when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is almost killed by a mysterious assassin named The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). With the help of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and a soldier named Sam Wilson [codenamed Falcon] (Anthony Mackie), Captain America plans to save the world from the Winter Soldier and those possibly closest to him.

REVIEW

Due to a pretty hectic weekend, I was unable to share my thoughts on what was my most anticipated film of 2014 - CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. I've made it no secret how much I enjoyed 2011's CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER and 2012's THE AVENGERS, so I was definitely excited about the sequel. Plus, it is based on one of the best Captain America stories surrounding The Winter Soldier, an arc that changed Captain America's world forever. And just like that comic arc, the film adaptation changes Cap's world as well - in one of the best ways possible. Yes, it's nice to see a comic book sequel again that's better than the film that preceded it.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
is a comic book film that's actually smart and serious, despite the colorful characters and the special effects. Joe and Anthony Russo's direction is top notch. Who knew the two men behind YOU, ME, AND DUPREE would direct one of the best comic book films ever? The action is fantastic, with epic car chases, huge explosions, a really cool air battle, and fight choreography that looked and felt brutal. Honestly, this felt less like a superhero movie and more like your standard action flick, which I didn't mind at all. There was a gravitas when it came to the fights and action, which was a great move to set Captain America apart from the other solo Avengers films.

I think the best part about CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER has to be the screenplay. While there are some lighthearted moments, the sequel really takes itself seriously when it comes to its narrative. In a lot of ways, the film felt like a commentary on our current political landscape, making us question how much freedom really costs for all of us. Captain America is seen as a boring character because he doesn't have cool superpowers and is

presented as a boy scout. But I've always been a fan of Steve Rogers because he's a character raised by old school methods, unwillingly stuck in a modern world where these methods don't have a place anymore. He questions this new society, upset when his fellow SHIELD members use methods that he feels are negative. It's also quite sad when he feels alone when he's walking through the Smithsonian, where an exhibit for him is placed; or when he visits a much older Peggy Carter at a hospital. Cap also teams with people who are morally suspect, like Black Widow and Nick Fury, never sure if they're giving him the truth or not. He doesn't know how and who to trust in this new world, which makes Captain America an interesting character who gives opinions that are presented as unique.

It's also great that Captain America has a great villain [not named Red Skull] in The Winter Soldier. He's like the Terminator, just causing chaos in Captain America's world. He has a great look, doesn't talk all that much, and has a personal connection to Captain America. It's hard not to spoil much about the character for those who have never read the comics, but I enjoyed how he was presented in the film. We learn enough about him and his struggle, while keeping enough stuff hidden for a later movie. I wish there was a bit more of him honestly, but I loved the live-action depiction of the character and how it'll effect Cap's world for films to come.

The acting was also solid. Chris Evans really proves he was the right choice to play Captain America, anchoring the film with his sincerity and charisma. Scarlett Johansson has never been better as the Black Widow, sharing great screen chemistry with Evans, as well as kicking ass and looking good in her black suit. I'd really love to see her in a spinoff film. Sebastian Stan was cool as The Winter Soldier. Samuel L. Jackson is Nick Fury. Robert Redford was a fantastic choice as Alexander Pierce, especially since the film was obviously inspired by political thrillers from the 1970s [which Redford acted in a few at the time]. Anthony Mackie was great as the Falcon, who I hope to see in a bigger role in a later sequel. I thought everyone was super and couldn't ask for a better cast.

THE FINAL HOWL

I think I have to say that CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER may be my favorite Marvel Studios film to date, maybe tied up there with THE AVENGERS. It had everything I wanted from it, and then some. The story was interesting and well written. The action and direction was fantastic. The characters finally felt true to their comic book counterparts. And the acting was great as well. I honestly want to see this again.



SCORE
4 Howls Outta 4



3.26.2014

Midnight Confessions Ep. 8: "Giant Rape Maggots and Vampires from Outer Space!"





This week, Rev. Phantom and Fred The Wolf review GALAXY OF TERROR (1981) and Tobe Hooper's LIFEFORCE (1985). Plus Top 5 Horror/Sci-fi movies, Godzilla talk, and "found footage" movies.





 

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3.21.2014

Lunar Cycle #3 - 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded (2013)/ Inside Out (2011)/ The Reunion (2011)/ Bounty Hunters (2011)


This new section of the blog is due to me being lazy, I mean swamped with watching so many films that I want to discuss on this blog. But I don't really have the time, so I decided to quickly [well as much as I can really] to review films I don't really want to focus too much time on. You'll be seeing these more often than not. Time for the reviews!




DIRECTED BY
Roel Reine

STARRING
Randy Orton - Nick Malloy
Cindy Busby - Sarah Malloy
Brian Markinson - Patrick Heller
Tom Stevens - Tommy Weaver
Venus Terzo - Detective McKenzie
Sean Rogerson - Detective Sykes


Genre - Action/Thriller

Running Time
- 95 Minutes


EMT Nick Malloy (Randy Orton) is thrusted into a deadly cat-and-mouse game by Patrick Heller (Brian Markinson), who knows Nick from a moment in their past. The game involves 12 rounds, with Nick having to pass most of them in order to save his wife's (Cindy Busby) life, as well as the lives of others. Nick must follow this madman's plans, as well as evade cops who think he's a terrorist, while figuring out why he's been picked as this game's contestant.




REVIEW
WWE Studios released an action-thriller with John Cena called 12 ROUNDS back in 2009, which pretty much bombed in theaters - but had a longer life on home video and cable. Although no one really asked for a sequel, especially yours truly, WWE Studios was at least smart enough to give 12 ROUNDS 2: RELOADED a direct to DVD release in order to gain some sort of profit. Instead of Cena reprising his role, the spotlight goes to Randy Orton [the son of Bob Orton, Jr.] and current WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Orton was given the role after he was fired from starring in THE MARINE 3: HOMEFRONT [which eventually went to Mike "The Miz" Mizanin, who will reprise in THE MARINE 4 coming soon], due to Orton's past issues in the military and complaints from certain members of the Armed Forces.

While 12 ROUNDS 2: RELOADED isn't a great action-thriller, I did find it slightly better than the first film. The first movie seemed way too over the top at times, especially when it came to the 12 rounds themselves. In the sequel, probably due to a lower budget, the rounds seem a bit more grounded and even plausible - well as much as they can be in a film like this one. However, the whole SAW inspiration is very much dated at this point, and 12 ROUNDS 2: RELOADED doesn't do anything with the concept to change it so it feels fresh. It feels kind of lazy at times because the 12 rounds is really just an obstacle course where you have to steal cars, kidnap people, or drive to a certain destination before a timer runs out. It's not horrible or anything, but no new ground is broken. But at least there seems to be a focus that the first film lacked somewhat, and the game is kind of fun to watch on a brainless level.

The characters aren't deep enough for anyone to know who they are. The situation that puts Nick in this game is extremely convoluted, but at least makes sense within the story. I do like that our main character is an EMT though, rather than the stereotypical cop. It makes his quest to save lives more plausible. Too bad everyone around him, including his hot wife [who happens to be blonde, of course] and the stock villain [who talks rather than acts] are pretty uninspired. The Tommy character is an interesting sidekick, only because actor Tom Stevens gives the character some life and seems to be having fun. The dialogue and the road to the conclusion are definitely generic and pedestrian.

The direction isn't that bad, honestly. It doesn't have a ton of style going for it. But the picture quality is nice and the pacing is pretty good. There are moments of tension and suspense that work as well. The visuals won't change the world or anything, but I wasn't expecting anything special from a direct-to-DVD feature from WWE.

The acting is also decent. Randy Orton isn't much of an actor in terms of emoting. But he's definitely a physical presence and looks like a bad ass. His line delivery is adequate enough I guess, and I'm sure fans of the guy [there are many, especially female] who will enjoy him here. Cindy Busby is your typical wife/damsel-in-distress. Brian Markinson seems to have a bit of personality and range [I dug his intensity], but man - his character is just your token James Bond villain in a lot of ways. He deserved a better role honestly. But at least he kept the film's energy up. The other actors are hit-and-miss, but nothing too terrible really.

All in all, 12 ROUNDS 2: RELOADED was more entertaining than I was expecting it to be. I wasn't a big fan of the first one, but the sequel slightly exceeded my lowered expectations. The action is competent enough. The direction is okay. The acting wasn't the worst. And the predictable storytelling worked for this film. It's a fun, easy watch that you probably won't remember once it ends. Harmless, brainless entertainment that's unfortunately too uninspired to take a risk and try something new. Hopefully Randy Orton gets a better role [and film] than this one.



SCORE - 2 Howls Outta 4







DIRECTED BY
Artie Mandelberg

STARRING
Paul "Triple H" Levesque - Arlo Jayne
Michael Rapaport - Jack Small
Parker Posey - Claire Small
Michael Cudlitz - Detective Calgrove
Bruce Dern - Vic Small


Genre - Crime/Drama

Running Time - 93 Minutes


Arlo "A.J." Jayne (Paul Levesque) has just been released from prison after serving 13 years for killing a man who tried to take the life of his best friend, Jack (Michael Rapaport). Out, A.J. wants to live a simple life and stay out of trouble. However, Jack is rapped up in his father's (Bruce Dern) criminal business, and he gets A.J. into his messes all over again. Can A.J. get out, or will Jack send him back to jail for round 2?


REVIEW
I have three words for INSIDE OUT:

WHAT THE FUCK!?

This has to be one of the most boring films I've ever seen in my life. I'm not even sure what this film is supposed to be. Is it a mob film? Is it a drama about relationships and how they change? Is it an unintentional comedy about pickles [A.J. wants to be a pickle maker and the characters constantly eat pickles]? Is this film made for wrestling fans, or for housewives on the Hallmark Channel? This movie did absolutely NOTHING for me.

The story itself is pretty dumb. Jack's dad is in the bootleg CIGARETTE business! Really? That's the best you can come up with? Selling cigarettes on the black market, which leads to people getting shot and/or killed? There's even an investigator who threatens about the whole deal that doesn't really go anywhere. And A.J. is caught up in it because Jack wants to prove to his father that he can run the business. On paper, maybe this looked interesting. But the script doesn't do anything important with it and you're left scratching your head as to why anyone bothered.

Even the relationships between the characters, which honestly seems like the focal point, is just dull. A.J. is conflicted between his past and his potential future, which is a great character arc. However, it's predictable in how that evolves. He's protective of Jack, his best friend, who just happens to be married to A.J.'s old girlfriend. And when A.J. learns this, he doesn't even react to it! I guess "bros before hos" doesn't apply in this world. In fact, no one really reacts to anything in this film. One character gets shot after a supposed betrayal, only to be brushed off five minutes later as if it was no big deal. ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?? WHO WROTE THIS SHIT??

The worst thing about INSIDE OUT is that it's just slow, boring, and meanders towards the finish line. I had to watch this film in multiple sittings because I was falling asleep. This movie was a true waste of my time.

The direction isn't all that impressive. Again, the picture quality is nice. But the pacing is way too slow. The editing is strange at times. And there's no real sense of tone or mood in this flick. How is that possible?

The acting is probably even worse. Parker Posey should be embarrassed by her performance. She has to pull off this fake accent that sounds awful coming out of her mouth. And she doesn't have any chemistry with either Triple H or Michael Rapaport in this movie. Hell, Posey had more chemistry with Triple H in BLADE: TRINITY! Bruce Dern is cashing a check, although he tries to be an interesting foil. Thankfully NEBRASKA saved his career. And Michael Rapaport - God... I usually like the dude, but his performance here is just grating! He has so much dialogue to deliver, that it sounds like he can never shut up. It's just too much and Rapaport is all over the place with his performance. I couldn't deal with him. I blame the director for not reining him in a bit.

Honestly, Paul "Triple H" Levesque had the best performance in the film. He's not amazing or anything. But he plays A.J. in a subtle way that comes across as natural, somewhat mysterious, and kinda endearing. The Rock won't be shaking in his boots any time soon, but Triple H was the highlight of this miserable movie.

All in all, INSIDE OUT should be avoided if you value your time. Triple H is the best thing about this film and he has no chance of saving it. It's dull and confused. It's just overall lame. Life's too short to waste one's time on INSIDE OUT. I took one for the team. There's nothing to see here.



SCORE - 0.5 Howls Outta 4






DIRECTED BY
Michael Pavone

STARRING
John Cena - Sam Carey
Ethan Embry - Leo Carey
Amy Smart - Nina Carey
Boyd Holbrook - Douglas Carey
Michael Rispoli - Canton
Gregg Henry - Wills
Lela Loren - Theresa Trujillo
J.D. Garfield - Verdugo


Genre - Action/Drama/Comedy

Running Time - 96 Minutes


After the death of her father, Nina (Amy Smart) wants to fulfill his final wish - bringing the family back together. The problem is that her three brothers are pretty estranged for various reasons, never really getting along. Sam (John Cena) is a suspended cop who keeps a wall up. Leo (Ethan Embry) is an insecure bail bondsman who always puts his foot in his mouth. And Douglas (Boyd Holbrook) is a 20-year-old thief just released from prison, never realizing he had two older brothers and a sister.

Nina tells her brothers that each of them will get $3 million each if they manage to form a business together and keep it running for 2 straight years. While the idea doesn't interest Sam or Leo, who hate each other, Leo's financial woes change his mind. Apparently, a convict who's worth a ton of money is suspected to be part of the kidnapping of a wealthy businessman held for ransom down in Mexico. Leo convinces Sam and Douglas to help bring him in so he can get paid. While reluctant at first, the brothers decide to help each other find this con, as they slowly begin to bond during their dangerous expedition.



REVIEW
Not being the biggest fan of John Cena's movies, I never really took THE REUNION seriously when I saw trailers for it 3 years ago. Although I was kind of impressed that WWE Studios managed to cast both Ethan Embry and Amy Smart in a film produced by them, I still had no real interest in watching this psuedo-western that tries to play out like a long Bonanza episode [which is mentioned in the film multiple times, unfortunately]. But figuring it's Wrestlemania Month and I'd probably have no other reason to watch this film, I gave THE REUNION a shot. And I gotta say - it wasn't half bad!

The story really isn't anything new. And the course it takes is very predictable. But Michael Pavone's screenwriting does have its positives. The dialogue is quite quirky, and even funny at times for all the right reasons. I thought the characters were fleshed out pretty well, and the banter between them was very amusing. It's obvious Pavone was inspired by Bonanza and by films like CITY SLICKERS and MIDNIGHT RUN. It's also interesting that the female characters in the film seem more level-headed and stronger than the men, as they tend to be the glue that brings the brothers together.

I do wish the story had added more action though. While being a character drama is great, the concept requires more exciting moments to carry the story along. We do get some gunfights and an action setpiece involving John Cena leaping across a canyon towards a helicopter. But there really isn't enough of it, which would have helped the western motif.

And the subplot with the kidnapped businessman seems like an afterthought, as not much is really done with it. I have a feeling there was supposed to be more to it than actually seen, as it has a pretty decent set up. But it never goes anywhere. It needs to be in the film for the brothers to bond by the film's end, so the businessman stuff should have had more of a focus.

The direction by Pavone is alright. It's pretty routine for the most part, with the action scenes never feeling intense, exciting, or having much important purpose. The picture quality is very nice though, and the film is decently paced. Scenes are nicely staged, but the visuals won't be memorable by the film's end.

The acting is probably the best part of THE REUNION. John Cena is probably the worst actor in the main cast, but even he's decent as the older brother, Sam. If you've watched him in WWE, you know the guy has charisma and personality. I kind of wish more of that was in display here, but he's not terrible. Ethan Embry is energetic as Leo, the talkative and eccentric brother. I thought he had good moments in the film. Boyd Holbrook played the pretty boy, soft-spoken and intelligent brother well. Amy Smart doesn't get a whole lot to do as the sister, but she's decent. None of the actors are bad and seem to be enjoying working together onscreen.

All in all, THE REUNION is a decent WWE Studios film. I wasn't expecting anything from it, and it exceeded expectations. It's a film that doesn't show its full potential in terms of story, action, or direction. But it still manages to work well enough to be entertaining and likeable. After the really boring INSIDE OUT, this was a refreshing watch. Definitely worth a rental.


SCORE - 2 Howls Outta 4








DIRECTED BY
Patrick McBrearty

STARRING
Trish Stratus - Jules
Frank J. Zupancic - Ridley
Boomer Philips - Chase Thomson
Joe Rafla - Hal Lambino
Christian Bako - Francis
Enrico DiFede- Mario Antonio
Andrea James Lui - Ruby


Genre - Action

Running Time - 80 Minutes


Jules (Trish Stratus) is a stripper by night and a bounty hunter for the rest. Her squad captures an informant (Enrio DiFede), who has a million dollar bounty over his head. Unfortunately, a mob boss (Joe Rafla) has a vested interest in him, wanting a trade with the bounty hunters. When they refuse, the mob boss sends his goons to capture the informant - leading to a showdown between the hunters and the goons.


REVIEW
I really only watched BOUNTY HUNTERS - also known as BAIL ENFORCERS - for one reason: 7-Time WWE Women's Champion and Hall of Famer, Trish Stratus. If you know anything about me, Trish Stratus was [still is] my women's crush since 2000. I would watch any match she participated in, or any segment she was a part of. I even own her DVD, which had a documentary and her best matches. I just dig this woman and was very curious about her first feature film, which she also produced.

Quite honestly, Trish Stratus is the best part of BOUNTY HUNTERS. She won't win any awards for her acting. But damn - the camera LOVES this woman. She's fetching, majorly charismatic and quirky, and can kick some ass on screen. In fact, she has the best fight scenes in the film, especially two with the awesome Andrea James Lui. Stratus uses her wrestling moves, her experience in yoga, and some Muay Thai she learned for the film to display some believable fight choreography. I thought the ambulance scene was quite great, in my opinion. Stratus is the glue that holds this film together. And you can definitely tell when she's not in the film, as the other actors and characters don't have the ability to carry the movie without her.

And that's the issue with BOUNTY HUNTERS - without Trish Stratus, this film is pretty much not worth your time. Sure, Boomer Phillips' character of Chase is actually funny as the comic relief, and Phillips does put in a good performance. But Stratus is the focus, and the 15 minutes in the middle where she's missing are quite bland and uninteresting. Plus the characters do really stupid things, like chasing an ambulance on foot when they have access to a car. And there's a lot of expository dialogue from most of the characters, explaining things at you rather than engaging you with this information. The villain in particular, Hal Lambino, is terrible at this since he has to explain why his presence is in the movie. Plus as a mob boss, he's one of the most stereotypical villains I've seen in a film in a very long time. He's trying to be a Tony Soprano type, but it's not working. And Jules "love story" angle with her boss, Ridley feels more like a father-daughter, as the two don't really have much chemistry together. Plus we get small subplots like Jules' daughter [who is never seen] and Chase's constant rejection from the police academy that are brought up more than once but never followed through with. What's the point then?

The worst part of the narrative is that it's a B-movie that takes itself way too seriously. This is a film that really should have had more camp elements to make it more fun than it actually is. It would have made the cookie cutter story feel fresh, instead of it feeling routine.

The direction also has its issues. The editing is pretty bad at times, to the point where you'll really notice that certain cuts don't match. Also, the last few fight scenes are done in long shots, with empty backgrounds. It looks amateurish and takes away from these scenes a bit. They should have been done in a close up for the most part. At least the film is paced well, as the 80 minutes breeze by. And the picture doesn't look too bad, although more lights could have helped some.

All in all, BOUNTY HUNTERS is watchable, but nothing you'll remember once its over. The only reason to watch is if you're a fan of Trish Stratus, who does quite well here and really deserves to be in more movies. Otherwise, you've seen this film before and done much better. 37.5% Stratusfaction Guaranteed.



SCORE - 1.5 Howls Outta 4


3.18.2014

Midnight Confessions Ep. 7 - "The devil and his fondness for pubescent boys..."


This week Rev. Phantom and Fred The Wolf review [or in my case, re-review] 976-EVIL (1988) and review [for the first time] EVILSPEAK (1981). Listen to this episode or face the blade of Father Esteban!



 

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3.12.2014

Midnight Confessions Ep. 6 - "Enter the Cuckoo's Nest & Get the Glow"



This week Rev. Phantom and Fred The Wolf review GYMKATA and THE LAST DRAGON as well as go over our 'Top 5 Action Stars of All Time'. Now kiss our Converse, you jive coolies!



 

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3.10.2014

When Wrestlers Act: No Holds Barred (1989)

DIRECTED BY
Thomas J. Wright

STARRING
Hulk Hogan - Rip
Joan Severance - Samantha Moore
Kurt Fuller - Brell
Tom "Tiny" Lister, Jr. - Zeus
Mark Pellegrino - Randy
Bill Henderson - Charlie
Charles Levin - Ordway
David Paymer - Unger


Genre - Action/B-Movie/Cult

Running Time - 93 Minutes


When I was younger, there used to be a movie theater in my neighborhood called the Commodore. It had two theaters, but each theater would show a double feature for one low price. My first theater experience was at this very theater in 1986, when my mom - for whatever reason - took me to watch David Cronenberg's remake of THE FLY. Even today, I still imagine Jeff Goldblum is going to regurgitate on someone. But I had fond memories of spending hours at the Commodore just watching films, regardless if they were good or [mostly] bad.

One of the more memorable double features took place in 1989. The first showing was for a little known horror movie called CHILD'S PLAY. I think it's about some killer doll or something. Yeah, like that would have turned into a successful franchise! Psh! But the second feature - oh man - was for 1989's Hulk Hogan's movie classic, NO HOLDS BARRED. If you know anything about me, I love two things - horror and wrestling. I remember NO HOLDS BARRED being promoted during WWF television at the time, as the company really attempted to make their biggest star, Hulk Hogan, into a bona fide action star. Even though I was never a Hulkamaniac - I preferred Randy "Macho Man" Savage and the Ultimate Warrior - I still wanted to see the Hulkster tear up the big screen after he made quite the presence 7 years prior as Thunderlips in ROCKY III. And as an 8-year-old kid, I found NO HOLDS BARRED to be quite the fun movie. But that childhood nostalgia can sure be a bitch 25 years later...

PLOT
Rip (Hulk Hogan) is the WWF World Heavyweight Champion. What a stretch. Rip has been the face of the company and champion for so many years, there's no real competition left for him to face. Apparently Rip's massive popularity has reached a global scale, which has captured the attention of a television executive named Brell (Kurt Fuller). Brell wants Rip on his network, ready to give him a blank check to name his price. However, Rip is devoted to the WWF and refuses to jump ship.

Brell, not liking that he got rejected, decides to get revenge on Rip. First, he hires an Account Executive to represent him named Samantha (
Joan Severance), who's supposed to use her bombshell looks to seduce Rip into a deal. When that backfires once Sam actually falls for Rip, Brell decides to start his own fighting promotion to compete with Rip. During one of the tapings, a beast of a man known as Zeus (Tiny Lister) destroys the competition, becoming the only man who can really challenge Rip. As Brell has his goons harm Samantha and lets Zeus paralyze Rip's younger brother, Randy (Mark Pelligrino), Rip wants revenge and decides to fight Zeus for supremacy.

REVIEW

Oh man, I have no idea how to really review NO HOLDS BARRED. Let's just get this out of the way quick - NO HOLDS BARRED is an absolutely terrible movie. The story is cliche. The acting is pretty sub-par. I'm still not sure who exactly this film is aimed for. Hulk Hogan was an idol to many children at the time, yet the film has stuff that would cater more to adults. This film is so stupid, it deserves an audience!

I have so many issues with NO HOLDS BARRED, it's not funny. One of them is the character of Rip. Was it really so hard for Hulk Hogan to play - I dunno - HULK HOGAN?? Because that's exactly who Rip is! Rip works for the World Wrestling Federation. Rip has been their World Champion for years. The people, especially children, love the guy. He doesn't dress all that different in the ring, besides changing the colors from red and yellow to white and blue. I mean seriously, it's not like he's playing a marine, or a serial killer with a mommy's complex, or a bus driving ex-con who wants to get closer to his daughter. He's freakin' Hulk Hogan under a different name! It's like when Arnold Schwarzenegger played Not-Conan The Barbarian in RED SONJA. At least RED SONJA had an excuse. What was NO HOLD'S BARRED? Why confuse the audience when the guy is just playing himself?

The demographic for this film boggles my mind as well. I would like to believe this film was intended for a younger demo, especially since the WWF at the time catered to a younger crowd and it stars their hero, Hulk Hogan. And the first half of the film is pretty tame enough for all ages. Rip wrestles. Rip beats up bad guys in really dumb ways. Rip and Sam have a flirtatious relationship that kids will understand. Even Zeus makes for a pretty good monstrous presence for younger audiences. But the last half suddenly involves attempted rape, woman beating, slaps that paralyze a young man, and the worst crime of all - Hulk Hogan wearing tight orange briefs that outline his butt crack! NO HOLDS BARRED almost broke me when I saw that Hogan likes the color of his undies to match the color of his leathery skin. I thought I was watching a cheesy pro wrestling flick, not a horror movie!! Seriously, who was this film for?

The characters are so stereotypical, other stereotypical characters from other films are pointing and laughing at them. I already mentioned Hulk Ho--- I mean, Rip. There's Sam, who is obviously the most non-dateable woman ever because... SHE HAS A CAREER!

FOR SHAME, SAMANTHA!! DID YOU NOT KNOW YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO POSE FOR PLAYBOY AND STAR IN SOFTCORE PORN FILMS FOR CINEMAX, WOMAN???

Seriously, Sam is the hot bodied mole who is supposed to seduce Rip to the dark side. There's no set up for this plotline, but I didn't write this shit. But unpredictably, she actually falls in love for ol' leather skin! Which leads to her getting slapped around, almost raped, and even kidnapped. BUT SHE HAS A CAREER!!

Little Mac's coach makes an appearance as Rip's manager. Rip's brother, Randy, looks like his son. He looks great in a neck brace and a wheelchair though. And Ordway and Unger, the villain's lackeys, have small penises. Can't beat that characterization!

The only interesting characters in the film are the two main villains - Brell and Zeus. Brell is the stereotypical evil corporate villain who wants to give his network, the World Television Network (!?), huge ratings by signing Rip. When Rip refuses, Brell decides to make his own fighting program - The Battle of the Tough Guys. The guy may be evil, but his marketing and branding skills are definitely questionable. He falls instantly in love with Zeus [must have been the unibrow or the crossed eyes], and begins slapping women and kidnapping them once he feels the power.


And he likes to call people a "jock-ass" every now and then. Even 25 years later, I have no clue what the fuck that even means.

What I find most interesting about Brell is that he represents WWF owner Vince McMahon's subtle [*snickers*] portrayal of a rival promoter/head honcho for a major network. Honestly, I continue scratching my head as to who McMahon could be referring to. A business tycoon who wanted to compete against his company by trying to steal his top stars? That's absurd!!! It's not like Ted Turner ever owned World Championship Wrestling, made it a priority on both TNT and TBS, and stole a bunch of McMahon's top guys from right under his nose! Oh wait...

Zeus, on the other hand, is just a brute of a man. Who doesn't wax his brows. And probably doesn't know exactly who he's looking at while speaking to them, or in this film's case, grunting at them. But he's definitely an imposing figure who destroys anyone in his path, including Rip's son - I mean, younger brother. He's a great character to counter the more charismatic Rip for sure on paper. Unfortunately, it didn't translate into box office success or pay-per-view buyrates for Summerslam 1989 [which you can now watch on the WWE Network - plugs!!], but at least visually, the two make it seem like their battle could be a great one.

Unfortunately, the script leads into a final act that's just dull. The Rip vs. Zeus fight is pretty weak, with Zeus just breaking apart the set to use props against Rip. There's a lot of false finishes that make Zeus look really stupid more than once, and it's just not that climatic or as tense as it should have been. I thought the scene where a dude rides in front of Rip's motorcycle and crashes into a tree had more suspense. And even when the villains are taken down, the film just ends. No celebration. No follow up to any of the angles presented before the fight. The film just finishes and goes straight into the end credits. Pretty weak, NO HOLDS BARRED.

The film does have some classic moments though. The sexual tension scene inside the hotel room between Rip and Sam is memorable, just for how it insinuates that Rip enjoys jerking off in bed next to a hot chick in lingerie. Don't get your panties in a bunch. Rip was just doing push-ups, having his feet on the edge of the bed. It's not like the dude makes sex tapes for a living!

..........

There are also two restaurant scenes. One, in which a French waiter looks down on Rip for being an uncivilized neanderthal. However, Rip happens to be a regular customer at this restaurant and actually speaks French! Rosetta Stone does work for neanderthals! The other involves a robbery at a diner, which Rip takes care of quick easily. How do you combat two men holding you a gunpoint? Why, by throwing pies at them of course! Now I see why Samantha fell for this dude. The man knows how to take care of business, unless it's not required in his guaranteed contract brother!

The most famous moment of NO HOLDS BARRED is actually in the first act, in which Rip takes out a bunch of Brell's bad guys after he refuses to jump ship to his network. The last guy Rip confronts gets roughed up by our hero, only for Rip to sniff around and ask about the smell. When the henchman whines, "DDDDDOOOOOOOKKKKKIIIIIIIIIEEEEEE...", hilarity ensues. My God, after all these years, that moment has remained stamped in my memory. And it's funny as hell. That's why I can't hate NO HOLDS BARRED. It has moments involving DOOKIE that puts a jock-ass smile on my face.



I think the issues with the silly narrative were due to the fact that Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan weren't happy with the original script. Instead of hiring a script doctor to fix things, McMahon and Hogan decided to write a new script in 48 hours. If NO HOLDS BARRED doesn't prove that cocaine wasn't one hell of a drug during the 1980s, I don't know what will.

The direction of Thomas J. Wright is there, I guess. It's not a visually impressive at all. The pacing is off at times. The tone and mood shifts now and again. Even the wrestling and fight scenes are pretty bland, and that should be NO HOLDS BARRED's strongest aspect! I read Wright still directs stuff for television, and NO HOLDS BARRED definitely reflects that. Nothing special about the direction at all.


The acting is all over the place. Hulk Hogan plays himself here, so it's kind of hard to judge his acting ability in NO HOLDS BARRED. However, he does growl alot, tries to be a charming love interest, and actually CRIES in one scene! Definitely not Hogan's finest moment really, and I think even he would admit to that. Joan Severance is smokin' hot as Samantha. She doesn't get much to do really besides play the damsel-in-distress. But she looks great doing it, so no complaints from me! Charles Levin and David Paymer are pretty comical as Brell's subordinates, Ordway and Unger. I think every scene they were in was quite amusing. Both actors definitely made lemonade out of this dookie. And I actually forgot that Mark Pelligrino played Rip's brother, Randy, in this! He doesn't really get to do much either but get his ass kicked by Zeus. Nice to see the guy still have a television career, especially in the sci-fi/horror genre. He's a good actor.

Tiny Lister is memorable as Zeus, mainly for his presence. He still pops up in films every now and again, especially in the FRIDAY series as Deebo. Can't really talk about his acting since all he does is grunt and look mean. So I guess he's good in this. Really, the best actor in the film is Kurt Fuller as Brell. Fuller, probably one of the most underrated character actors of this era, is just awesome as this hammy, scene chewing, slimeball who makes the worst dialogue sound fantastic. His facial expressions when he's upset as just great. His use of "jock-ass" will never be topped. What makes Fuller's performance even better is that you can tell he's taking his role really seriously, which makes him more entertaining in the process. Definitely the film's highlight.

Plus we get wrestling cameos by "Mean" Gene Okerlund, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Stan Hansen as the penis inspector, Bill "Ax of Demolition" Eadie as Rip's opponent at the start of the film, and even Jeep "Bane" Swenson as Lugwrench Perkins.

And the Jim Johnston music is exceptionally 80s cheese that has not dated well. But dammit if that theme song doesn't get stuck in your head. Ugh...




THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE TAKING MY VITAMINS AND SAYING MY PRAYERS

- Rip chanted "Rip 'Em! Rip 'Em!" as he made his way to the ring. Even with this advice, Vince McMahon still wanted to produce the screenplay to NO HOLDS BARRED anyway. What a jock-ass!

- Brell says Rip is what sells. And sex sells too. So Rip is equal to sex. Bubba The Love Sponge's wife seems to think so...

- Rip can't be bribed by the competition. Apparently it's not 1994 yet.

- The limo driver, scared for his life, wet himself with dookie. You mean like Green Day? I guess it is 1994...

- Zeus gave a lot of children nightmares. Must have been that wicked unibrow. Joan Crawford has nothing on him in that department!

- Sam felt the bed shaking as she slept, not realizing that Rip was doing push-ups on the edge of the bed with his feet. That's not how the "Rhythm of Love" is supposed to go, Rip...

- Zeus beat the crap out of Rip's younger brother, Randy. If Being Human means almost getting killed for your family, then it's Supernatural that you may not make it to see Tomorrow, People.

THE FINAL HOWL
NO HOLDS BARRED has everything one shouldn't want in a film. The narrative is ridiculous. The direction is bland. The acting is over-the-top and not realistic at all. And for a film supposedly about pro wrestling, it barely has pro wrestling! But dammit if I don't have some love for NO HOLDS BARRED. It's an awful movie, but it's an awful movie that the child in me still enjoys for the most part. It's a campy, B-movie that takes itself way too seriously, increasing any sort of entertainment value it deserved to have. The dookie scene alone is one of the greatest moments in film history, in my opinion. NO HOLDS BARRED epitomizes a film that's so bad, it's sorta good. And if you can't respect that, then go watch something else, you jock-ass!



SCORE
3 Howls Outta 4



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