“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Archive for August, 2008

Saw IV

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

People are always talking about “jumping the shark,” making fun of tv shows or movie sequels for trying to come up with new gimmicks to mix it up so they don’t just keep repeating themselves. In a horror series you’re gonna start shaking things up pretty quick. In HALLOWEEN they tried getting rid of Michael Meyers by part 3, though they brought him back for part 4. In ELM STREET 3 they added this idea of a group of kids who can dream together and all have different super powers in their dreams, and people liked that so they stuck with it. For FRIDAY THE 13th 4 they added a little kid (Corey Feldman), not to mention they changed who the killer was in part 2. The Chucky series turned into absurdist comedy by part 4.

All of these series have time passing, they might have a back-to-back story like HALLOWEEN and HALLOWEEN 2 but for the most part when you get to a sequel it’s been a year or more and a new group of people is here to have a run in with Freddy or whoever. The SAW series is very unusual in that this is part 4 and they are still dealing with the same killing spree, same characters introduced in previous sequels and still connecting everything to those events, and the timeline even overlaps with the last one. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

“Montani semper liberi (Latin, “Mountaineers are Always Free”)”

–West Virginia state motto

I’m always searching for DTV gems and this one has gotten some talk so it’s about time I got to it. But the truth is I didn’t like the first WRONG TURN. I know a few people who like it, but to me it was a big bag of mediocrity, forgettable enough that I apparently forgot to ever review it. So now I can’t read my review to refresh my memory about it. But I do remember that it took one of my favorite horror setups (tourists intrude on crazy backwoods inbred/mutant/cannibals, savagery ensues) and then hardly bothered to riff on it. Too slick, not enough mayhem, not enough imagination. THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake has problems and nobody besides me seems to like it, and I hated the sequel to it. But even in that one you at least get a couple OH SHIT adrenaline moments, some uncomfortable laughs. You don’t know what that ugly crazy fucker is gonna do next. WRONG TURN was the clean studio version of that. TV stars in some Ontario woods running from guys in monster makeup. Just no rush, no grit, no nothin. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Scorpion King 2: The Rise of a Warrior

Monday, August 18th, 2008

THE SCORPION KING 2 RISE OF A WARRIOR is the story of a warrior who rises. In movies we’ve seen many people and things rise, including The Machines, Carlito’s Way, The Silver Surfer, Leslie Vernon, Taj, Cobra, the Lycans, Gator, Jack Johnson, and Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. But never before have we seen the RISE OF A WARRIOR.

In this movie there are actually a bunch of different warriors but in my opinion the specific warrior who is rising is the one who will later be called the Scorpion King, not in this movie but in the very end of a different, better movie called THE SCORPION KING. What I’m trying to say is that this is the prequel to the prequel to the sequel to THE MUMMY, a movie I thought sucked. So the fact that this one is above average for DTV is pretty impressive. If you met a guy whose great, great uncle by marriage was a Nazi or a serial killer, but the guy you met wasn’t that big of a dick or anything, you would think “Good for him.” Same goes for THE SCORPION KING 2 RISE OF A WARRIOR. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Scorpion King

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

Well, I gave up on Stephen Sommers after the rhythmless THE MUMMY so I never watched THE MUMMY RETURNS. But I have since learned to enjoy The Rock so today I finally got around to watching the prequel/spin-off THE SCORPION KING. It’s directed by Charles NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3 Russell, so I didn’t have to break my Sommers boycott. And I’m glad I finally watched it. This is probaly the best riff on the CONAN THE BARBARIAN type of movie I’ve seen. Not as stylish or violent as 300 but a little more fun. And a hell of alot better than KULL THE CONQUEROR.

The movie got me from the opening scene where Tyler Mane and a horde of barbarians have some hapless dude who they call “an Akkadian” tied up. They are very proud of all the races and nationalities they’ve murdered but they never bagged them an Akkadian before, so this is a big day. But the Akadian says, “May the gods have mercy on you, because my brother won’t.” (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

VERN Reviews KILL SWITCH!

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Well, shit. I’ve had this review done, but I was letting it sit and simmer or something. Or being too lazy to send it in. But now poor Isaac Hayes has died, so I better address that. Black Moses isn’t shown on the cover or in the trailer for this upcoming Steven Seagal DTV event, and that’s fair because he’s barely in it. But Hayes does in fact appear in a few scenes as “Coroner.” Seagal’s homicide detective character is buddies with Isaac, so Isaac is pretty liberal with letting him check the dead bodies for clues. I call him Isaac because that appears to be his name – Seagal’s character refers to him as “Is” (or “Eyes”). My theory was that Hayes was playing himself and that this is what he’s been doing in Memphis since quitting that snot-nosed cartoon you guys are so fanatic about. But maybe not.

At the time I thought it was cool to see Isaac Hayes in a Seagal movie. He did so many types of B-movies, from TRUCK TURNER to UNCLE SAM, it was about time he showed up in a Seagal picture. But now it’s kind of sad because really he doesn’t do anything in the movie, it’s too bad they didn’t give him a better role. I hope Seagal at least got out the guitar on set and got Isaac to sing “Walk On By” or something. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Dead Pool

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

THE DEAD POOL is the fifth, last, and worst of the DIRTY HARRY series. It’s still watchable because it’s Dirty Fuckin Harry, but it completes the pattern of each entry being not as good as the last.

It’s important to consider the time of the release though. In the US it came out 20 years from last month. July 13th, 1988. It was a Wednesday. Harrison Ford was out celebrating his 46th birthday. One of the girls from the “High School Musical”s was being born. Long haired kids in Minneapolis were trying to find someone to buy them beer at a convenience store near the Metrodome where the Monsters of Rock Tour would be playing that night. Red Sox fans were trying to figure out what to make of John McNamara being replaced by Joe Morgan. Ronald Reagan was signing Executive Order 12646, establishing an emergency board to investigate a dispute between the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation and certain of its employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. And there was a new fuckin Dirty Harry movie coming out! (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Sudden Impact

Friday, August 8th, 2008

I’m not sure what the title means on this one, but if it were up to me it would be called A DIRTY HARRY SALUTE TO DEATH WISH II. The three before this all felt like “DIRTY HARRY” but in this one he goes to San Paolo and all the sudden he’s in Charles Bronson’s jurisdiction.

Let me point out a few connections: The score is by Lalo Schifrin, but the opening credits are still DEATH WISH sequel style cheeseball drum machine and keyboard rockafire explosion over establishing shot of the city (Lalo’s revenge for not getting to score part 3, I bet). Kevyn Major Howard, the gang rapist Stomper in DEATH WISH II, plays a criminal who gets off due to improper police work by Callahan. And like most DEATH WISH movies the lead villains are maniacally overacting gang rapists. In DEATH WISH and DEATH WISH II Bronson is getting revenge after (among other things) his daughter was gang-raped into a state of catatonia. In this one Sondra Locke is getting revenge because she and her sister were gang raped and her sister is in a state of catatonia. Speaking of which, Bronson’s wife Jill Ireland was in DEATH WISH II, and here we have Clint’s live-in lady friend at the time starring in this one. It ends a little more like the first DEATH WISH with the police (in this case Harry) knowing about the vigilante actions and letting it go because they sympathize. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Prisoner of Shark Island and Ninja Vengeance

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Racially questionable double feature:
John Ford’s PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND

and

Karl Armstrong’s NINJA VENGEANCE
(bear with me here)

After my recent Lincoln assassination phase (which mostly just consisted of reading Manhunt by James L. Swanson) I found out about this PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND movie. It’s about Samuel Mudd, the doctor who treated the leg John Wilkes Booth broke by jumping out of the balcony after shooting Lincoln (fuckin ham). Mudd was convicted as part of the conspiracy but instead of being hung he was sent to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. He tried to escape once, but failed, and had to stay in a dungeon for a while. But when a brutal yellow fever outbreak killed the prison doctor, Mudd agreed to take over and won the approval of 300 soldiers in the fort, who signed a petition for him to be pardoned. Sure enough he was later pardoned by Andrew Johnson. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The DoubleHeader You’ve All Been Waiting For! Vern Reviews STARSHIP TROOPERS 3 And ROGUE!!

Monday, August 4th, 2008

I’ve been sort of looking forward to this new STARSHIP TROOPERS, and if you got a problem with that too bad because I’ve gotten enough “are you gonna review Starship Troopers 3?” emails to know that we can take you. Ed Neumeier takes over as director this time, which means the satirical tone remains since this is the guy who wrote all three STARSHIP TROOPERS as well as ROBOCOP. And, uh, ANACONDAS: THE HUNT FOR THE BLOOD ORCHID. I didn’t know that, I just found that out on IMDB. Hmmm. I had not considered watching that one. This changes everything. This could be the big one.

If you saw STARSHIP TROOPERS 2: HERO OF THE FEDERATION you may or may not remember that it was pretty different from the first one. They scaled it down for DTV, making it into mostly a one-location siege kind of story and incorporating smaller bugs that implant themselves in people’s brains or something. The good part is it was directed by the effects legend Phil Tippett so it ended up having the best effects I’ve seen in a DTV movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.